Typically, product recalls in the automotive world are a reactionary venture, with the NHTSA compelling automakers to issue safety recalls for various reasons.
Honda is taking a slightly different approach with a newly issued recall focused on inspecting specific parts of one of its most popular models. Honda recently issued a recall of 176,000 Civic models to inspect various aspects of the steering system. This recall is related to several recent models that have required interventions in the power steering rack with replacements. This could be a new way to handle recalls going forward.
It’s a narrow scope, with only some owners impacted by the recall
There’s a concern with Honda Civic models from the 2022-2024 model years that received specific service repairs. This means not all owners of these Civics are impacted. This concern is regarding the possible mishandling of the parts during the installation phase, specifically the power steering racks. Vehicles impacted have had the power steering racks replaced due to a service recommendation or malfunction of the part.
What is the problem?
This proactive product recall is important because an improperly assembled power steering rack could set off a sequence of events that could create severe problems. If this item is improperly assembled, the undue friction between the tire and steering components could result in crashes. If the steering rack chafes the tires, the tire could eventually wear unevenly and fail, causing accidents and risks of serious injuries while driving. The potential of disastrous crashes means this proactive recall is how Honda is getting ahead of the problem before disaster strikes.
Which hardware was installed incorrectly?
We know the power steering rack is the culprit behind this problem, but the overall issue could mean several parts of the suspension and steering system could rub the tire and cause premature wear, leading to failure and a crash. The items that could be part of the problem are the lower suspension arm and tie rod end. It would be certainly disastrous for a driver to suddenly lose control because the steering system became compromised while the tire is punctured and deflating. This seems like an unpredictable situation for the driver of an affected Honda Civic.
Something must have been wrong in the instructions
Each vehicle has specific steps for any repair or service performed at a dealer service center. Somewhere in the instructions for the assembly of the power steering rack, something must have been wrong. This has led to this new product recall of the four and five-door Honda Civic vehicles from 2022-2024. These vehicles have received new power steering racks during the service repairs, which now pose threats to safety due to this incorrect hardware installation.
What are Honda Civic owners supposed to do?
Honda urges owners of potentially impacted vehicles to visit their local Honda service center to have this new recall handled. The service technicians will thoroughly inspect the suspension and steering system to verify the proper assembly of the electric power steering rack. If the rack is improperly assembled, it will be corrected at no expense to the owner. Additionally, if the service team finds undue tire wear from components rubbing on the tires, new tires will be installed on the Honda Civic.
Letters concerning this new safety recall were sent to Civic owners in December, with the official distribution date of December 4. Honda announced this new product recall early and began urging owners to check their vehicles with the Honda customer service center ahead of that date. The goal was to get ahead of this problem and avoid a potentially fatal crash.
Could other recalls be handled this way?
Typically, automakers issue recalls due to safety concerns with their vehicles. This new Honda product recall is a proactive approach to avoiding accidents and potential lawsuits. While a proactive recall shows Honda’s commitment to safety and excellence, it’s also a measure to help the automaker mitigate liability and potential lawsuit payouts.
Could other automakers follow this same approach to recalls? If an automaker knows there’s a risk of failing parts or incorrect installation, there’s nothing stopping them from issuing recalls and verifying proper installation or safety concerns. Unfortunately, recalls cost money and most automakers are likely to continue to allow the NHTSA to compel them to issue recalls instead of getting out ahead of these problems.
Will this approach to a product recall increase your desire to purchase a Honda vehicle in the future? It’s nice to know the automaker has customer safety in mind.
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