Once the car of choice for millions of American families and today a reliable stand-by for budget-wary college students, the Honda has an iconic history in the U.S. Today, you’ll still find millions of the vehicles diligently traveling the roas.
Now, some older cars have been slapped with a ‘Do Not Drive’ warning by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. On Friday the agency said that 8,200 older Acura and Honda vehicles with Takata Alpha airbag inflators, should be immediately repaired because the defective airbags make it dangerous to drive them if an accident occurs.
The warning relates to various 2001-2003 models with Alpha airbags, including:
- 2001-2002 Honda Accord
- 2001-2002 Honda Civic
- 2002 Honda CR-V
- 2002 Honda Odyssey
- 2003 Honda Pilot
- 2002-2003 Acura 3.2 TL
- 2003 Acura 3.2CL
Owners can check to see if their cars are covered by going to https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and keying in their 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN).
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said owners of those vehicles should not drive them until they get the free repair by contacting their dealership or Acura/Honda customer service. Honda will provide free towing and a free loaner vehicle if it is needed.
According to the safety agency, the risk to drivers and passengers is dire because the Alpha inflators have a 50 percent chance of rupture in a car crash. If the inflators explode, they can shoot shrapnel toward the driver’s face which could kill them or cause serious injuries.
“These inflators are two decades old now, and they pose a 50 percent chance of rupturing in even a minor crash,” NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson said in a statement.
Takata used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate airbags in a crash. But the chemical can become more volatile over time when exposed to moisture in the air and repeated high temperatures. The explosion can rupture a metal canister and hurl shrapnel into the passenger compartment.
Honda said on Friday it has attempted to reach owners more than 18.3 million times including mailed notifications, emails, phone calls, and door-to-door visits. Honda has to date replaced or accounted for more than 99 percent of the “Alpha” inflators.
Since 2009, the exploding air bags have killed at least 33 people worldwide, including 24 in the United States.
–Metro Voice and wire services