Honda Odyssey Under Investigation For Airbags That Spontaneously Deploy

NHTSA examining whether 320,000 cars need to be recalled

20130610_honda-odyssey_NHTSA said more than 40 complaints have been filed regarding airbags on the 2003 and ’04 Odyssey models (Honda).

A grandmother sat in a parked Honda Odyssey waiting for her granddaughter to come out of a tutoring class in Hattiesburg, Miss., when an airbag in the vehicle spontaneously deployed.No accident. No impact. But the random deployment on May 8, 2012 sent her to the hospital, where doctors stitched her upper lip and dentists repaired several chipped teeth.Four months later, another Honda Odyssey driver endured a similar incident. She had just placed the gearshift in ‘drive’ and the driver’s-side and passenger-side frontal airbags spontaneously deployed. There had been no accident, nor impact.An off-duty police officer witnessed the spontaneous deployment and helped the victim, who had suffered minor powder burns. He noted the airbag-firing mechanisms were still in motion.”I’ve seen a lot of wrecks, but I’ve never seen the airbags continue to fire,” he said of the Sept. 8, 2012 incident, according to a complaint filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “The horn continued to beep.”

Those are two of at least six known spontaneously-deploying airbag incidents that have led NHTSA to open a preliminary investigation into whether 320,000  Honda Odysseys should be recalled. NHTSA announced the investigation Monday.

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Three people were injured in those deployments. The agency said at least 41 other complaints have been filed regarding airbags on the 2003 and ’04 Odyssey models. One of the spontaneous deployments NHTSA cited occurred on an ’01 Odyssey. All six of the cars affected were at least seven years old at the time of their incident.

A Honda spokesperson said the company has been aware of the airbag problem since Chrysler recalled nearly 1 million cars in two separate recalls within the past nine months. The two companies use the same supplier, TRW Automotive.

“Honda has been monitoring this issue since responding to a NHTSA information request involving their investigation of another manufacturer last year,” spokesperson Chris Martin said in a written statement. “Honda will continue to cooperate with NHTSA through the investigation process, and will continue our own internal review.”

Chrysler recalled 744,822 vehicles that contained TRW Automotive parts last November after receiving 215 reports of inadvertent deployments, and followed with a recall of 3,660 cars in February. A spokesperson for the supplier deferred comment to the affected automakers Monday.

Should NHTSA press for a recall on the affected Odysseys, it would be the latest in a long line of airbag-related recalls. Automakers have issued 17 so far this year, and are on pace to eclipse the record 23 airbag-related recalls issued in 2012.

NHTSA announced last week it was investigating whether 400,000 General Motors vehicles needed to be recalled because of a separate airbag problem.

Airbags can be expensive to fix. The woman from Hattiesburg, Miss., said mechanics estimated her car would cost $2,331.22 to repair after its spontaneous deployments. A man who said his airbags spontaneously deployed while he was stopped at a light, said his local Honda dealership quoted him a price of $4,100 for repairs.

The owner, whose name was redacted in the NHTSA complaint, expressed frustration in his dealings with Honda. He said Honda had twice-inspected the car following the incident, but could not pinpoint a cause.

“We left the vehicle at the dealership, asking for more specific documentation on potential causes,” he wrote. “My wife and I believe the airbag deployment was the result of a safety defect, and Honda of America has refused to remedy the situation.”

Pete Bigelow is an associate editor at AOL Autos. He can be reached via email at Peter.Bigelow@teamaol.com and followed @PeterCBigelow.

Filed under: Auto RecallsHonda News
By John Hoffner • June 11, 2013 • 7:33 pm • Leave a comment

Lease verses Buy

Lease? Or buy? It’s always a tough question for residents in the Alief area. But here are a few ideas that’ll make the choice more clear.

Either option gives you a choice of how you might finance your car. If you buy, you’ll pay the full cost of the car, with maybe an initial down payment, then monthly payments on the balance that pays down the loan principal, and the finance charge.

If you lease, you’re financing the portion of the cost of the car that’s used up during the term of the lease. When the lease is up, you return the car to your local Alief area dealership. You’ll pay some money upfront; fees, security deposit, first month’s payment and maybe a capital reduction. The month payments include a depreciation cost and a finance charge.

So how do you decide?

First, how big a down payment can you make? A lease would require a smaller down.

How much monthly payment can you afford? Again, lease payments will be much lower for any given down payment.

A lease needs you to have better credit, so that’s a factor.

How long will you keep the car? If you tend to keep your cars around for a while, buying is cheaper. But just two or three years? Then leasing is the way to go.

 

If your car might suffer a ding or two, like, say a work truck would, then buying’s better. The leasing company will want their merchandise back at the lease end in tip top shape, and if repairs are needed, you’ll pay.

How many miles do you drive in and around the Alief area? Important to consider because leases have a mileage limit, and if you go over, you pay a hefty charge per mile when the lease is up. So high mileage means a buy.

Will the car be used for business? Check with your accountant, but both financing options have different tax benefits, depending on your circumstances.

Over the short term, leasing is much cheaper. Medium term, leasing and buying costs are about the same. Over the long haul, leasing is always costs more.

Leases may sound a bit complicated, and the typical lease decision weighs more on the monthly payment, rather than price. So sometimes leasers may pay on a higher purchase price than a buyer would.

Here is a tip: If a salesman asks if you’ll be leasing or buying, say you’re not sure yet. Make your best deal, then look at financing options.

Here’s another: With a buy or a lease, if you total the car, you’ll owe the full amount of the loan, or the balance of the lease payments, and usually, it’s less than the car’s fair market value – and that’s all your insurance company will pay. But ask your agent about gap insurance, which pays the difference between fair market value and what you owe. Big consideration for a lease.

Remember, you have to return your leased vehicle in excellent condition, and may need to do all manufacturer’s recommended service and maintenance, or face penalties. So see your local Alief service center on a regular basis, get the required work done and save the service records. It’s well worth it.

Mobile Tune Up and Repair
17807 Kieth Harrow Blvd
Houston, TX 77084
281-463-4211

By Amanda Cox • February 26, 2013 • 7:09 pm • Leave a comment

New Website Coming Soon

Mobile Tune Up And Repair has gone under construction for a website renovation! The new site will offer resources for our customers, up to date information about the company and the services we offer, and more! We are excited for the user friendly feel and functions that are being implemented so you can become more involved with our company.

In the meantime, you can visit us online at www.mobiletuneupandrepair.com to contact us or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mobiletuneup

By Amanda Cox • February 25, 2013 • 6:01 pm • Leave a comment
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