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Honda recalling cars to fix airbags that can kill drivers

Honda is recalling this 2001 Accord and other models because exploding airbags can injure drivers.
Honda Motor Co. plans to recall 273,000 Honda and Acura vehicles because of an airbag problem that can kill drivers.

It will also inspect an additional 603,000 vehicles to see if the same defective parts that cause the problem were sold to repair autos that have been in accidents. Honda said it doesn’t know how many of those vehicles might have been repaired with the defective parts.

In the recalled vehicles, the driver’s side airbag can deploy with too much force in an accident, causing a metal inflator casing -- the part that holds and channels explosive propellant -- to rupture.

“The propellant was packed improperly and that allows the propellant to burn off too quickly and it explodes and pieces of the casing are causing the injuries,” said Chris Martin, a Honda spokesman.

The airbag inflator was manufactured by parts supplier Takata in Japan.

Honda has had four previous recalls dealing the same issue, which with this latest expansion includes more than 2.5 million vehicles in the U.S.  The problem does not affect any vehicles newer than the 2003 model year.

Altogether, there have been 18 injuries and two deaths caused by the faulty airbags.

Honda expanded the recall after learning of a driver who was injured in a vehicle not included in its previous actions. It also is concerned that people are still driving unrepaired vehicles listed in previous recalls.

“We really need to get all these cars repaired and there are a lot of customers out there who have not brought their cars in after we have sent them mailers,” Martin said. “This is a very serious thing; people need to get their cars fixed.  This is not something to wait on.”

The latest recall now includes certain 2001 and 2002 Accord, 2001 to 2003 Civic, 2001 to 2003 Odyssey, 2002 and 2003 CR-V, 2003 Pilot, 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL and 2003 Acura 3.2 CL vehicles.

Honda will begin sending recall notices to owners of these vehicles later this month.

It also said the Honda owners can go to www.recalls.honda.com or call (800) 999-1009 and select option 4; Acura owners can go to www.recalls.acura.com or call (800) 382-2238 and select option 4 to get more information.

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-- Jerry Hirsch

twitter.com/LATimesJerry

Photo: 2001 Honda Accord EX. Credit: Honda Motor Co.

 
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