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Honda to recall 2.1 million Accords after engine fires

Image credit: Dreamstime

The Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co is recalling 2.1 million vehicles after faulty battery sensors have caused a number of engines to catch fire.

According to a spokesman for the manufacturer, 1.15 million 2013-16 Honda Accord vehicles in the US will be affected, and nearly 1 million from other countries. The major recall aims to replace the faulty 12-volt battery sensors responsible for the fires.

Honda first received a claim of an engine compartment catching fire in 2015 in Canada, which was followed by a similar incident in 2016 in China. An investigation of the incidents concluded that the future occurrence rate was “estimated to be low”, although further reports of fires led to the investigation continuing.

Honda launched a redesigned battery sensor in June 2016 in an effort to quell fears of combustion.

Altogether, the company received four reports of engine compartment fires in the US, all in areas that use large amounts of salt grit to de-ice their roads during the winter months. In response to these reports, Honda received nearly 4000 US warranty claims.

Honda concluded that the models’ battery sensors may not be sufficiently protected against moisture intrusion; this could gradually allow salt grit and other materials to enter the battery sensors, causing rust and potentially dangerous electrical faults.

Due to the sheer scale of the recall, Honda has said that car dealers may apply an adhesive to the battery sensors to prevent moisture intrusion as a temporary fix, with Honda carrying out free sensor replacements during the major recall.

Honda – along with Acura, its luxury vehicle line – is among the worst hit carmakers of the recent spree of vehicle recalls. Earlier this month, it was announced that the company would be forced to recall a further 2.7 million airbags with defective inflator mechanisms, which are linked to 12 fatalities in the US so far. The airbags, made by Japanese automotive parts manufacturer Takata, were supplied to Honda, Ford, Nissan and Mazda from 2005 to 2012.

There are no reports of injuries or fatalities linked to Honda’s defective battery sensor.

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