By on November 19, 2017

2017 Honda Odyssey

It’s never easy to find out something you thought was objectively perfect has a fatal flaw. Honda is recalling over 800,000 Odyssey minivans due to faulty passenger seating that has resulted in around 46 reported injuries. According to the manufacturer, vehicles from the 2011-2017 model years may have second rows that latch improperly.

The solution? Honda says its working on that and will be issuing an official recall late next month, once it knows the best way to approach the repairs. In the meantime, it has provided step-by-step instructions on how to properly position the second row outer seats and confirm they are securely latched to the floor. The final step involves shaking the crap out of a seat to insure it does not tip forward. 

If an owner follows the diagram religiously, there should be no problem. However, forgoing those steps could result the seat tipping forward under hard braking and risk injury to the person occupying it.

While safety recalls are never a good thing, Honda’s still coping with its $484 million settlement tied to Takata’s dangerously faulty airbag inflators. As of this fall, roughly 20 million vehicles possessing the units still needed fixing and a more-than-fair-slice of those belong to Honda. That number is expected to grow significantly by the end of 2018, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attempts to implement a plan that replaces the most dangerous examples first.

While Honda is, by no means, the only manufacturer affected by those recalls, it was among the hardest hit. The company has said it is doing everything in its power to expedite the process but, with so many vehicles involved, progress remains slow.


[Image: Honda]

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45 Comments on “Say it Ain’t So: Honda Recalls Over 800,000 Minivans Over Dangerous Seating Situation...”

  • avatar

    But, as the local Honda once told me regarding a warranty issue, “Hondas are perfectly designed and manufactured. Any issues are definitely owner misuse and abuse.”. /s

    • 0 avatar


      They are middling, at best, in terms of reliability, now (and for the last 5 years), and their reliability will slide even further with their introduction of imbecilic wide-scale rollout of turbocharging many of their vehicles along with CVT and other foolish things.

      They are backsliding faster than ever, and Soichiro Honda is having his good name tarnished badly.

      Also, Acura is an absolute disaster case, worthy of Seppuku (切腹) at this point.

      • 0 avatar

        100% agreed.

        What with the toxic mix of turbocharged engines, CVTs, and V6 engines with their destructive cylinder deactivation, there’s only one car left with the Honda name on it that I would trust: the Accord hybrid.

        Everything else in their lineup probably makes a used BMW look better.

        • 0 avatar

          Nothing makes buying a used BMW look good – now get a hold of yourself, for the love of mike.

        • 0 avatar

          considering the accord hybrid has only been available for 6 model years (05,06,07,14,15,17), you might want to wait for a slightly larger sample size…

          • 0 avatar

            The 05-07 Hybrid has nothing at all in common with the MY2014 and up Hybrid.

            My entire point was, it’s the only naturally aspirated engine that doesn’t have cylinder deactivation and doesn’t have a belt-driven CVT.

            Frankly, it’s the only bit of old-school reliable Honda tech left in their stable.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I got the same treatment during 20 months of 05 Odyssey nightmare, which required a lemon law court to resolve.

      Priceless = the area rep’s face when I told him I should have bought another Chrysler instead.

  • avatar

    Suspension creaks, sliding door problems, a history of transmission failures, and now massive safety recalls.

    Good thing smart shoppers pay extra for Honda quality – imagine how much worse a Chrysler minivan must be…

    • 0 avatar

      “Suspension creaks, sliding door problems, a history of transmission failures, and now massive safety recalls.

      Good thing smart shoppers pay extra for Honda quality – imagine how much worse a Chrysler minivan must be…”

      OMG, I came here to say the same thing!

      I was a Honda guy from the early 80s, and American Honda treated me like a valuable customer–not only with the cars they built and sold me, but also with customer service from the factory when needed.

      So naturally, come family time I bought an ’02 Odyssey. After all, as you say, “smart shoppers pay extra for Honda quality,” right? And I got away with paying only $500 under sticker for that bad boy–the first one sold of the newer refresh of that generation, the highest amount paid for a car from that dealership to date.

      It took only 7 years and one severe recession for Honda to overcome all that goodwill and, through their choices, throw it all in the toilet. It wasn’t just the glass transmission; no, it was how Honda responded to me regarding that very expensive repair (not to mention how they continue to deny, to this day, that there’s any problem with those transmissions).

      A few months ago we had the opportunity to buy a very low mileage 07 Odyssey from a friend. The 02 was rusting (another disappointment) and had 115K on it, and this seemed like a deal. So we took it.

      Now that we’ve had the 07 for a few months, my wife and I agree that in many ways the old 02 was built better–better materials and higher standards. Things just worked better and more smoothly. It’s hard to describe, but 16 years of experience with the old van are not to be ignored. We’re beginning to regret our choice.

      And while I’m sure that Honda’s mid-row seats work fine when operated properly, the Honda engineers of old would have not left any ambiguity with regard to “is it in?” They would have chosen to eliminate the feature before choosing to leave such a dangerous possibility in the car.

      This 07 of ours, maybe we’ll keep until Toyota puts the Sienna on TNGA in 2-3 years. But it’s not a keeper, and nothing has happened over the last few months to make us even think otherwise.

      Honda feared and chased after Kia, and in the end has become what they’ve always thought Kia was.

      • 0 avatar

        jalop, your list of evidence belies your animosity towards the company. Just sayin…

      • 0 avatar

        What trim is your 07 and what mileage? If, like me, you opted for the Touring with VCM and runflats, you have every cause to be alarmed. I didn’t even make it to 100K miles. My suggestion, document everything. Maintenance, repairs…etc

        My issues with this car was the drive train, not so much the interior bits. While I have not experienced the MY02’s interior, the quality of my ’07 was pretty good when compared to Siennas of the time–certainly better than the Sedonas and T&Cs.

        • 0 avatar

          My 07 is the trim level just under Touring. EX-L with Navi and RES.

          I would not have looked even once, let alone twice, to a PAX-equipped vehicle.

          I remember when the 05s came out with PAX. The Ody forum was awash with people who spent all that money, then did nothing but defend their purchase with all sorts of excuses about how nightmarish it would be if their wives were stuck on the side of the road with the kids, as opposed to being able to drive “safely” to the next exit or whatever and get the tire changed/fixed/whatever.

          Logic did not play a bit in their defensive worlds.

          Time told the tale, though.

          I expect to sell this thing before it hits 50K miles, if at all possible. I really, really want the 2019 Sienna to be up to date on TNGA…

        • 0 avatar

          And BTW, I’ve already handled the VCM problem. Turned it off. I’ve known about that one for years as well, watching the stories go by.

    • 0 avatar

      My Kia Sedona is pretty bad, too.

  • avatar

    It is well known that the Odyssey easily outcorners fat American “performance” cars like the Camaro 1LE. Anyone that doesn’t put full Sparco racing seats in their Honda is a poseur that should stick to GM garbage.

  • avatar

    This recall seems to be more to do with improper use than an actual defect. A Takata shrapnel airbag this is not. I love how every recall now is a major news story.

    • 0 avatar

      “This recall seems to be more to do with improper use than an actual defect.”

      Yes, it is.

      But consider: the Odyssey has had mid-row removable and repositionable seats since MY1999. Between MY99 and MY2010, nothing showed up about mid-row seats “suddenly” tipping like that, unlatched. Then they revamped the thing in 2011, and during that model’s entire run–MY2011 through MY2017–it has a design that is suddenly a problem for people to get the seats latched?

      While the seats clearly *can* be latched properly, the recall is about the failure of the engineers for that model to create an unambiguous latching system.

      They seemed to have done so successfully for 12 model years prior. What suddenly changed? New engineers? Beancounting?

      Beancounting, no doubt. Watch this be analogous to the GM ignition switch thing. “Look, we can save $0.005 per seat latch if we do it THIS way!” someone said, just like those GM engineers on their ignition switch.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m sure that it could have been better designed, and there is likely a cost cutting component to it. My point was that it’s not the story that sensationalist media outlets are making it out to be.

        • 0 avatar

          Oh, I dunno. A bad batch of seat sliders, affecting 2,358 cars, is a minor story. But every vehicle in a 7 model year run? Seats coming unlatched?

          It’s not the low level story you’re implying it is.

          • 0 avatar
            Car Ramrod

            Umm, actually it is a pretty low level story. What changed, if you bothered to click on the link, is that the outboard second row seats can be set two two different positions. Somehow owners have managed to jam the seats onto the spot just between them. I’ve had this van for 6 years and 135,000 miles and can tell you that you have to really be trying to screw this up. This is merely a CYA recall.

          • 0 avatar

            It’s funny that Odysseys have had the feature for years where they can put the mid-row seats either together or apart, and yet it was only starting in 2011 that end users managed to be confused by that.

            Yes, that’s entirely Honda’s fault. They KNEW how to make it foolproof; they CHOSE to change away from a foolproof system.

  • avatar

    Seems to be a matter of something not clipping down properly in certain situations, which may catch people unawares. There’s only been forty-odd minor incidents reported. Though it should have caught earlier than by now.

    Honda doesn’t have a permanent remedy worked out for it right now. It’s presently a case of checking original installation and making owners aware.

  • avatar

    Who besides Tim Cain thinks that the 2011-17 Odyssey is “objectively perfect”?

    For starters, the unsightly gashes for the sliding door tracks are unforgivable considering Chrysler figured out how to conceal them in, what, 1995?

    • 0 avatar

      I would HAPPILY take the sliding door track gashes in exchange for Honda using everything it knew and applied in, say, 1992/93/94 when engineering and building the Civic and Accord.

      The world is full of tradeoffs. What Honda has given us is what Chrysler always was, and what Honda thought Kia was: junk engineering and construction, but look at those bells and whistles! (And they just have to work acceptably for a 3 year lease, right?)

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Nah, GM would have blamed the consumer; i.e. customer inattentiveness, bulky items in the seats, etc. GM would’ve been sued; Honda just said “recall all of them, very single one of them.”

    • 0 avatar

      To be fair, Honda had GM’s lesson in mind.

      And I bet that was some contentious discussion in the boardroom. I bet the majority of the business-trained execs went RIGHT down the same path the GM execs did with their ignition switch issue–“it’s the customer’s fault”.

      But then probably a cooler head or two, no doubt lawyers, prevailed–and then the beancounters (always in charge) agreed that “yep, cheaper to recall than to face the public in another GM-like moment, especially after GM primed the public for the evil-manufacturer story”.

      Remember, American Honda is the company who’s already been down this path with the airbags. They stuck their heads in the sand initially, but realized they couldn’t play that game long term. To recover, they went as far as paying for rentals for customers who didn’t want to drive their rolling claymores while waiting for replacement parts.

      No other Takata-using manufacturer went that far. Even Mercedes-Benz made you deal with that problem on your own.

      • 0 avatar

        “vehicles from the 2011-2017 model years may have second rows that latch improperly.”

        I agree, “Honda had GM’s lesson in mind.”

        My daughter owns a 2013 Odyssey with ~50K on the odo, and the second row seats have never malfunctioned or latched improperly.

        Come to think of it, those seats have never been unlatched, either.

        So I think Honda is just playing “better safe than sorry.”

      • 0 avatar

        jalop1991, I don’t understand your post here. In the previous post you mention all of the issues you’ve had with your Oddys, but in this one you make apologies for Honda’s actions.

        Using the GM ignition cylinder debacle as a comparison to this issue with the seats is a poor comparison. A better one would be the Takata airbag issue. WRT to the airbags, Honda’s own engineers discovered the flaw with the Takata airbags and then asked Takata to hide the data! They may have been down this road before, but the road you’re thinking of is the road of deception.

        I’m sorry, but I can’t see how any of Honda’s actions concerning the airbags are better than MB’s or GM’s concerning it’s ignition cylinders.

        It’s been a long time since any auto manufacturer hasn’t been concerned with anything beyond the bottom line. Incidents like these just reinforce my opinion.

        • 0 avatar

          “jalop1991, I don’t understand your post here. In the previous post you mention all of the issues you’ve had with your Oddys, but in this one you make apologies for Honda’s actions.”

          Not apologies. I’m simply recognizing what is probably the case.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Wait, is this the Honda that was having used buyers sign waivers over the faulty airbags? Yeah they are looking out for the customer I tell you what.

  • avatar

    Great post, I buy and sell junk cars also in my spare time and I earn a little money on the side. The price per pound is at 6 Cent a pound here in Georgia, I only pay 100$ per car and take them to the crusher and make about 150$ profit. That sure helps out when I average about 4 cars per week, thank God. junk cars

  • avatar

    But it is not Ford, it cannot be true. Fake news. Honda is perfect.

  • avatar

    Always amazed at how the part where Honda silenced their own engineers back in 2004 over Takata airbags, and asked Takata to change failure data to make them appear safer is always left out of these stories.

    Poor, poor, Honda, just a bad supplier among many others who used a bad supplier.

  • avatar

    There was a TSB for this latch issue because our’14 EXL had it taken care of. It was easy to miss the rear latch after removing the seats, but why wouldn’t you check for sturdiness? There were a few times I thought it was locked, only to push down and find it not.

    In 3 years, the only other problem with our Odyssey was that when it was delivered, the front doors were grazing the fenders when they opened. Embarrassing and not confidence inspiring, the dealer and Honda took care of it quickly. Nothing like dropping your new car at the body shop with 37 miles on it to fix a factory defect.

    No sliding door issues, no transmission issues but I didn’t care for the way it shifted (6spd auto). If you look at Tim Cain’s long term of his van, his gripes were similar to mine.

    We have a ‘17 Sienna SE now and I’m not impressed with Toyota. Neither is my wife, who loved our Odyssey. I’d go back to the Odyssey in a minute.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I recently drove a batch of minivans and honestly we’re I in the market, I’d get a Pacifica.

      • 0 avatar

        I like the Pacifica, except for those 3rd row headrests. That’s a deal killer.

      • 0 avatar

        My wife hated the seats and the overall feel of the Chrysler. Her car, she drives it way more than me, I’m not going to argue. I was initially impressed with the Sienna and I still like the overall style and look of the vehicle. The V6/8 spd is great, it is quieter in terms of NVH than our Odyssey was but Honda has apparently (finally?) addressed that for ’18.

        But it’s the little things that make this class and Honda did a better job in IMHO on those things than Toyota. Storage, seats and overall quality the Honda was better. And while the infotainment in the Odyssey was slow and annoyingly so, Toyota’s Entune is awful to me and has been buggy, especially compared to the Apple CarPlay in my new Golf.

        For example, the Sienna has pop-out rear windows, the Odyssey didn’t. Good. But on the SE, even with the Premium package(42k sticker), they aren’t powered, but they are on the XLE and Limited vans. Why Toyota? Even my childhood best friends 86 Voyager had knobs above the second row to crank open the rear quarter windows!

        My wife dislikes the Sienna so much that we might not make it all 3 years on this lease. From a frugal, non-car person (though I have made an impact in 14 years of marriage) those are strong words! But I didn’t want the first batch of Odyssey either and no matter who we asked, no one could say when the ’18 was coming out. We leased the Sienna in May and by June or July, the ’18 Odyssey was out.

  • avatar

    I don’t understand the Honda hate. I owned a 99 Accord and apart from the crappy transmission, it was exceedingly well designed. It had no takeoff power, but it was the 4-cylinder.

    I recently entered the world of minivans and got a ’11 Odyssey and am pretty impressed with it. The engine and transmission are very smooth and there’s plenty of mid-range torque, not to mention the vast interior. And allowing the 2nd row seats to be spread apart means that my daughter really has to stretch to clobber her brother. My only complaint is that there’s this weird flapping noise that seems to come from the roof, and I can’t figure out what the heck it is.

    Oh, and the picture in this post is from a pre-11 model.

    • 0 avatar

      “Oh, and the picture in this post is from a pre-11 model.”

      No, it’s not.

      2011 is when the Odyssey gained the lightning-bolt kink design bit behind the rear doors. 2010 and prior, it was straight.

      The picture at the top of this article of a 2011 and later model.

    • 0 avatar

      “I recently entered the world of minivans and got a ’11 Odyssey and am pretty impressed with it. The engine and transmission are very smooth”

      Do you know what VCM is?

      Read up on it. When you’re done, in a month, feel free to come back here screaming about how you got suckered by Honda junk.

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