By on November 7, 2016


It’s like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack, only these needles possess the power to kill.

Of the roughly 70 million vehicles recalled for potentially deadly Takata airbags, Honda vehicles make up over one-seventh of the total. Certain Honda models have been listed as the most dangerous of the group, but, at around 15 years of age, the vehicles are now at the bottom of the automotive food chain, far from dealer lots and manufacturer oversight.

In its quest to rid the marketplace of dangerous Honda models, the automaker has already gone to unusual lengths to find the vehicles. Now, it’s going even further.

To weed out the vehicles, Honda has tapped a company that provides software to 22,000 independent repair shops. With the automaker’s help, CCC has developed a program that flags an affected Honda or Acura vehicle, should one roll into the shop.

According to Automotive News, the program is already on the hunt. Called True Recall, the program allows service technicians to see that an open recall exists for the model. Once it has notified the customer, the shop could help arrange the recall service with a dealership. (They’re encouraged to do so.)

Honda compensates CCC for each vehicle found through the program. Vehicle identification numbers entered into the program as part of the normal repair process are then matched with a database of vehicles provided by the automaker. By providing access to the places where the affected vehicles are most likely to be found, the program gives Honda it a leg up in its race against time.

The U.S. recently saw an 11th confirmed Takata airbag-related death. The victim, a 50-year-old California woman, died after her 2001 Honda Civic rear-ended another vehicle in October. Hers was one of 313,000 high-risk vehicles identified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the NHTSA, the airbag failure rate of the group of 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles could be as high as 50 percent.

Honda has reportedly searched used car lots and recycling yards across the country, purchasing thousands of older vehicles in order to keep them away from unsuspecting owners.

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37 Comments on “Honda Pulls out All the Stops to Find Deadly Used Cars...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This is commendable, but what a mess it is.

  • avatar

    “By providing access to the places where the affected vehicles are most likely to be found”
    Most likely to be found in a repair shop?! A Honda? Good one!

    “According to the NHTSA, the airbag failure rate of the group of 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles could be as high as 50 percent.”
    Now that’s a much better tactic: scare the bejebus out of us!

  • avatar
    George B

    How are the airbags different in the recalled 2001 and 2002 Honda Accord compared to the not recalled 1998, 1999, and 2000 model years? I would guess that Honda would use the same safety equipment including front air bags across all model years of that body style.

  • avatar

    Besides the crappy auto, who knew that I was riding in a potential death trap when I had a ’01 Accord?

    btw, that was one car I seriously disliked. In coupe form the backseat was cramped. The 200hp V6 – at least with that sloggy auto – felt like a 4-cylinder: low on bottom torque, better on top – especially when the VTEC (yo!) finally kicked in. I would have been a lot happier with the 4-cyl and a manual transmission.

  • avatar

    My wife and I have started looking for a first car for our 16-yo daughter, and among the ones she was pointing out to me yesterday was an ’01 Civic, with a new head gasket and timing belt, among other items. This article just reminded me about looking up VINs for recalls. A couple of her friends recently got early 2000s Accords. I should ask to look at their friends’ VINs, and search for recalls.

  • avatar

    Most people I know that drive cars of that age (and some that drive new cars, even) just plain “don’t care.” Car starts, stops, and gets them to where they need to go. Otherwise, meh. It blows my mind that something this serious still can’t get people’s attention.

    • 0 avatar

      If mine was under a recall, I’d get it fixed. If there was a delay in getting the parts, I’d disconnect the bags until they were available.

      My mother-in-law’s ’08 Lexus ES has a recall on the front passenger side bag (for spontaneous explosion, not just during an accident). She’s being told now that the parts won’t be available until next year. She won’t let anyone ride in the front passenger seat.

      • 0 avatar

        When I took my Outback in for the airbag replacement, they told me the wait would be at least 6-8 months for parts.

        I called Subaru HQ and told them I wouldn’t be able to carry any passengers in the front for 6-8 months. They called the dealer and told them to give me a loaner car while I waited for the parts.

        I got a new airbag installed in 2 days.

    • 0 avatar

      yea, its up to the owners to take them in, got my 03 done, I dont care to get metal shards in my face, does not sound like fun.

  • avatar

    I bought my son a 2005 civic for his first car (he chipped in). The second owner had paperwork from a local dealer indicating the recall had been taken care of and the drivers airbag replaced. But it doesn’t mention the passenger side airbag. Anyone here in the B&B know what that means? It seems crazy the dealer would have replaced the drivers airbag and not the passengers side if it were part of the recall. It also seems crazy that Honda used airbags from two different suppliers in the same car. Any thoughts?

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve had the recall done on my 04 Civic. The dealer inspected both airbags, but replaced only the inflator for the driver’s side. It seems they don’t know if the affected parts are in the car or not without physically looking at it. From what I gather not all airbags are defective, but any listed vehicle could contain a defective part. Which must mean they don’t know exactly which batches went into which car.

      • 0 avatar

        At this point Honda is pretty sure what parts they installed in which cars, but thry cannot be sure what the owners have done with them in the intervening 15 or so years.

        Civics of that generation could have shipped with Takata or Autoliv driver’s inflators, and they could have had anything installed as a result of accidents or SRS failures, so they all get checked. If they have the Autoliv, they are free to go. If they have Takata, they get replaced. Since the faulty propellant is very specific, not every car came equipped with the same stuff in both inflators. There are several cars that only have one side recalled, because only one side has the bad stuff.

        You can always take your car to any Honda dealer and they’ll do a VIN inquiry to see where you car stands. Several inflators still need to be ordered (dealers are not allowed to stock most part numbers), but wait time is down to a couple days for almost all cars.

        That being said, most dealers are sitting on dozens of inflators that are waiting for customers to come back and get them installed. You might be surprised how many people are all hot and bothered about getting their car fixed, then wait two months to actually get the work done.

    • 0 avatar

      Om my 03 they just inspected one of them, and replaced the other, might be a thing to verify though.

  • avatar

    I have been waiting over a year for the replacement passenger airbag for my Subaru to be available. I have a feeling it may never get repaired and I may get a buyback of the car which would be perfect.

    • 0 avatar

      When I took my Outback in for the airbag replacement, they told me the wait would be at least 6-8 months for parts.

      I called Subaru HQ and told them I wouldn’t be able to carry any passengers in the front for 6-8 months. They called the dealer and told them to give me a loaner car while I waited for the parts.

      I got a new airbag installed in 2 days.

  • avatar

    So they named the program True Recall.

    Not Total Recall?

    I think that lame Mr. Opportunity character Honda used in their ads is somewhere crying a river of animated tears.

  • avatar

    Lets give Honda credit here, it sounds like they are doing everything they can to get these cars fixed, will it save them money and buy goodwill sure but they are doing the right thing. A strange concept that other car companies could take a look at, and yes VW and GM I am looking at you.

  • avatar

    I had my 12 year old Civic recalled back in April and before I made the appointment Honda was getting pretty aggressive with several postcards and at least one letter, multiple emails everyday and then, finally, several phone calls.

    Getting the car repaired was a bit problematic because the nearest dealer was 150 miles away (a 2 and a half hour drive) and I had to take a day off from work. When I got there they wouldn’t give me a loaner, so I rented a new Toyota Corolla. The lot boy who drove me to the rental agency tried to sell me an HR-V and was telling me how great the old Ridgelines were and how great the new Ridgelines were going to be.

    I think Honda needs to make more an effort to solicit goodwill from drivers of old Hondas. Toyotas are starting to look attractive to crabby old guys like me who will be buying at least one more new car before we kick the bucket.

    • 0 avatar

      So they did everything they could to find you and get your 12 year-old entry level car into the dealership for a free repair of a third party’s faulty product thus possibly saving your life all on their dime but they wouldn’t give you a loaner? Straight to hell with ’em!

    • 0 avatar

      First, Honda (American Honda and Honda Japan) has been one of the top leaders in auto safety. When I started with them, they would not offer a dealer-installed cruise control kit for models coming from Japan without factory-installed cruise control. They didn’t trust dealer technicians to install the kit, for safety reasons. For the longest time, they were reluctant to fit cars with cupholders because at first, they thought holding a cup in one hand while concentrating on driving was anathema to safety. They relented on the cupholder issue when they reasoned that one)it cost them many,many sales at first not to have them, and two)every other carmaker had them, so they couldn’t be singled out for liability as the only one having them.

      Like it or not, if American Honda sent you numerous notices to get your airbag replaced, noting why it’s in your best interest to get the work performed, I’d temporarily set aside your crabby nature this one time. I can understand that this dealer is 150 miles away, and that’s a hardship in terms of time off from work. But, American Honda has a customer relations office(with phone number listed in your owners manual) just for issues like this. I would have suggested asking them to suggest to the dealer to send one of their people 150 miles to your home to pickup your car, drop off a loaner, allow enough time in the intervening day or two to repair your car and bring it back. Customer relations could work out the money issues with the dealer vis a vis warranty claims so that the dealer would lose very little in the action taken by customer relations. American Honda customer relations has a fair amount of latitude and empowerment to handle just such circumstances as your situation involved. As for the kid who turned into the 15 minute car salesman, I’d have politely told them in no uncertain terms that you weren’t buying a car from them – thanks but no thanks – end of story, lot boy.

  • avatar
    Mike G

    Can’t Honda locate these vehicles through DMV records?
    Obviously you don’t want them giving out information casually, but it seems like a life-threatening safety issue would be a justifiable case for the DMV to forward a recall notification from the manufacturer, for a reasonable processing fee.

  • avatar

    My ex-wife owns one. Please don’t repair it.

  • avatar

    Remember the AMC/Renault Alliance of the ’70’s?

    It had a heater core that could burst, dropping 245 degree coolant on the driver’s feet. Extremely dangerous.

    NHTSA made AMC scour junkyards and leave new heater cores on the front seats of even junked cars.

  • avatar

    Why can’t this be done through licensing or insurance?

  • avatar

    Shouldn’t state mv records have all this info?

  • avatar

    I’m actually looking for a 2001-2005 Civic (2 or 4 door) with a manual as a secondary DD…should I pass on this, or will Honda eventually track me down and try to get me to get rid off it?

    (I have a ’16 CRV EX-L AWD, so they already get my money every month)

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