Honda to recall Accord, Civic and Element Vehicles

Honda motor Company is recalling approximately 197,000 Accord and 117,000 Civic vehicles from the 2003 model year.  In addition about 69,000 2003 and 2004 Element vehicles are also being recalled.  It’s to prevent a malfunction of the ignition interlock on these vehicles.

The ignition interlock mechanism can be damaged or worn during extended use, making it possible to remove the ignition key when the shift lever is not in “park”. If the transmission is not in “park” and the parking brake is not set, the vehicle could roll away, and a crash could occur.

Honda will be contacting owners of affected vehicles in late September to bring their vehicle to an authorized dealer as soon as they receive notification. Honda has received a few complaints about failures in these vehicles.  Honda says there have been a couple incidents, including one resulting in a minor injury.

Honda will be contacting customers by mail.  After Sept. 20, 2010, owners can go on-line or call Honda to see if their cars are affected ( or call (800) 999-1009, and select option 4.


  1. hiptech says:

    Thanks Tom for the Car & Drivers styling report card, no I wasn’t aware of it, interesting.

    Speaking as a Honda loyalist, you’re correct, it is difficult to contemplate breaking away from the “Mother Ship.” Many have admired Honda’s engineering for many years and they still continue to innovate well on that front. But what is fascinating is people’s reaction to the subjective elements.

    I wouldn’t have thought Honda/Acura could ever go so extreme in their design philosophy as to alienate so many. Remember Honda’s slogan in the early days, “Honda, we make it simple?” Now look at the Accord’s center stack. Totally unnecessary and confusing with far too many buttons. And whatever happened to rearward visibility, not just Honda but a great many vehicles?

    And don’t get me started on the Cross Tour or it’s evil sibling the ZDX. Beyond the subjective styling, sitting in one is tantamount to riding in claustrophobic cocoon with little to non-existent visibility, especially toward the rear. And yes I did bang my head on the roof getting into the ZDX backseat via the amazingly dangerous “piercing” rear door design and once inside couldn’t convince myself this torture chamber came from Honda (IMHO).

    Hyundai styling (again IMHO) is definitely on the right track though I am first to admit it will take them at least another generation to get their suspension engineering sorted out. At this point I would be hard pressed to find a replacement for my ’04 TSX 6-spd Navi which has been one of favorites.

    • TV says:

      At least the latest TSX isn’t too bad. Perhaps the Toyota and Honda grades should have been switched? Best of luck in your search.

  2. hiptech says:

    I remember a time (not so long ago) when Honda’s were renowned for their reliability and quality. My how the mighty have fallen… I blame it on success. My theory is when a company is young and striving (Hyundai is a good case in point) even though they may stumble they seem to try harder to recover by offering something extra. Over time it seems complacency will set in and quality is usually the first to suffer.

    It’s a vicious cycle within the auto industry as companies outsource much of their major components and become over reliant on suppliers. In return, suppliers are saddled with a mandate for ever increasing productivity gains while simultaneously reducing costs.

    I’m not making excuses for suppliers but few people realize how supplier contracts are are written. Over the course of a vehicle model cycle (~5-7 years) their unit cost declines by a specific percentage. So for example let’s say Johnson Controls signs a contract to produce seating systems for an auto company. While they may get $5/part the first year. Year two, that price may drop to $4.50/part, year three it may drop $4/part and so on until the contract expires. This occurs despite rising internal costs and other outside economic influences.

    With less suppliers surviving the economic downturn and providing the bulk of these systems, any deficiency in design or quality has a ripple effect and can affect a wide variety of models and/or brands. Many times the deficiency may not appear for several years as is the case here with Honda.

    Pity. My family and I have owned Hondas for more than 20 years and overall our experiences have been positive. However, I’m growing less pleased with each succeeding generation’s ever increasing frequency of recalls and quality issues.

    And don’t get me started on their styling…