By on December 3, 2021

Honda is recalling nearly 789,000 vehicles over a defect that could cause the hood to fly up while driving. While anyone wanting to reenact their favorite scene from 1995’s Tommy Boy is going to be thrilled, those less eager to follow Chris Farley into an early grave will probably want to get their car repaired ahead of any hilarious mishaps.

A report filed by the manufacturer with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) listed the affected models. They include the 2019 Honda Passport, 2016-2019 Honda Pilot, and 2017-2020 Honda Ridgeline. This impacts 788,931 vehicles globally, with the vast majority (725,000) being located in the United States. 

According to Honda, gaps in the front seal located between the hood and the grill can allow for unplanned air entry. At high enough speeds, this is can create sufficient vibrations to detach the hood and throw it back into the windshield. More specifically, repeated movement can cause stress fractures along the hood latch striker until it separates from the hood. All that’s needed from there is a strong gust of wind (or normal highway airflow) and you’ll be driving blind.

Warning signs that you’re SUV or pickup might be on the cusp of giving you a big surprise include hood vibrations and rattling when you’re on the go. Customers may also notice that their hood fits less flush with the rest of the car than before when closed.

Interestingly, Honda seemed aware of the defect as far back as July 2016. Documents filed with the NHTSA indicate that the automaker noticed stress fractures forming on a prototype Ridgeline that was undergoing stress testing. While Honda ended up reinforcing the striker with some additional adhesive to pass, it never bothered to check back in on how this solution fared once vehicles were in production.

An investigation was launched in April of 2017 after concerns were raised about hood vibrations and a technical service bulletin was issued the following December attributing the problem to poor hood alignment. However, corrosion was found in the engine compartment of Passports being tested in 2019, indicating that salt and water had managed to sneak into the bay. Honda said it took special care to ensure Passport and Pilot models left the assembly line with properly fitting hoods that April — with the Ridgeline receiving similar attention a few months later.

Strikers started being examined in August of 2019. But it wasn’t until March 2021 when Honda claimed it actually managed to replicate a scenario where full detachment occurred. The next few months were committed to narrowing down the contributing factors and identifying possible solutions. The automaker said it was not aware of any crashes stemming from the problem. But it has received over 100 warranty claims pertaining to the matter.

Dealers started being notified on November 30th, with Honda recommending that they either reinforce the hood latch so it’s not as prone to breaking or simply replace the entire hood to be extra safe. As usual, repairs will be conducted free of charge as per the NHTSA recall protocols. Customers will be informed starting January 17th, with those who have already paid to have these repairs completed eligible for reimbursement.

[Image:  Paramount Pictures]

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19 Comments on “Honda Recalling 789,000 Vehicles Over Busted Hood Latch...”

  • avatar

    I’m SHOCKED that the 2018-present Accord is not on this list. I had a 2019 Touring and the hood would shake violently around ~80mph (several people in forums confirmed it was happening to them too). When I took it to Honda, they said they found nothing wrong, and were not allowed to test drive the car above 70mph to replicate.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Picture of the day.

    As the this recall, it can’t be possible because Hondas are perfect. /s

    Resonant frequencies are a 2-edged sword – sometimes very useful, and sometimes very, very bad.

    • 0 avatar

      I saw a new wind generation device that uses resonant frequencies to vibrate a giant dil… I mean pole to generate electricity.

    • 0 avatar

      “As the this recall, it can’t be possible because Hondas are perfect. /s”

      I’ve been wondering why we love our Civic.

      It’s reliable an practical, but so is our refrigerator. I don’t have emotions about our refrigerator.

      The answer is that the Civic subtly exceeds our expectations every time I drive it.

      That’s due to a complex interplay of branding, pricing, and product design. In other words, I think of it as a cheap reliable car — and I’m only reminded that it’s actually quite nice when I drive it.

      Every time I drive it somewhere, I get that “wow, this is nice” feeling — even though it’s a 5 year old car with 90k miles on it.

  • avatar

    There are probably some U.S. engineers at Honda rolling their eyes right now because:
    a) This has likely been an actual problem for a tiny tiny percentage of vehicles (if any?)
    b) The engineers, if it were their vehicle, would notice the problem way before it became a real problem

    Bonded not welded? The report is worth a read (link copied from the article):

    “toughness” as used on page 4 of the report has a very specific meaning.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Replacing whole hoods will be quite expensive, when that’s needed.

      I can see how they hoped adhesive would avert the problem; adhesive is a wonderful tool in the right application. But here – they don’t specify, really – it looks like the QC on its installation and environmental aging pushed the solution back into the “not working” category.

      I think Honda didn’t understand how little margin their fix provided.

    • 0 avatar

      From past experiences with American Honda, the situation likely involves more than a tiny percentage – Honda couldn’t pass it off as “owner abuse / misuse” as they usually do for any and all issues probably because someone had a good attorney that was willing to go up against the “Honda has more lawyers than you can afford” (what I was told once by an American Honda area manager). I urinate in Honda’s general direction on this.

  • avatar

    Great Movie, R.I.P. Mr Farley

  • avatar

    replacing hoods is just going to lead to complaints about mismatched paint. its really hard to match paint- i see cars every day that have parts that are slightly off in color

  • avatar

    Time to bring back NASCAR style hood pins.

    • 0 avatar

      What would be really cool would be solenoid-operated hood pins which are Bluetooth enabled so that you can:
      a) Verify on your smartphone while driving that the hood pins are securely latched (for safety)
      b) Open the hood remotely from your smartphone

      Additionally, the hood pins could be tied to the telematics system so that the manufacturer (and the dealership, and the affiliated dealership nearest to the location of a hood-opening event) received an alert whenever your hood was opened – this would be an excellent time to sell things to you.

      • 0 avatar

        Thinking bigger, the “Open Hood Request” sent from the customer’s phone could be just that – a request. Then the Manufacturer and the Dealer and the Finance Company and any other Interested Parties could determine together whether the Opening Signal should be sent to the vehicle to give the customer access to the working parts of the vehicle that the customer thought the customer owned.

        (All of this goes for the Frunk, too. More solenoids = more better.)

        Probably unrelated:

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Since 2016? The sharks, I mean class-action lawsuit lawyers are in a frenzy. Most manufacturers just say recall all of them, each and every one of them. Does the mechanic find the part(s) are just fine? Replace it/them under recall, no questions asked.

    • 0 avatar

      Amazing that Honda used adhesive as a fix and that passed muster with the attorneys…contrast that to the ridiculousness of what Mazda did when a transport ship listed badly and damaged *some* cars that were inside. Every car on that ship was written off as totaled and destroyed. Somewhere between a slap dash repair and a disgraceful waste of resources has to be a happy compromise that would address what is needed and still provide legal cover.

  • avatar

    ah, Wiggly Hood. My 2008 (!) MDX has had this issue forever. I’ve checked the hood…the latch….the rubber adjusters. I installed a trim rubber that the later cars had. No help.

    The hood vibrates, and from the angle of the driver’s seat it looks like it’s going to go. Stop car, hood is secure….but the viewing angle is unsettling to say the least.

    I’m amazed that other cars do it and/or it wasn’t fixed.

    225k miles, though and the hood is still on, and I do check the latch occasionlly.

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