While Toyota has been in the news recently as its lawsuits for unintended acceleration are reviewed in court, Honda is in the news for the opposite problem: unexpected and unintended braking.
The problem is with some of its 2007-2008 Honda Odyssey minivans, which may suddenly and unexpectedly brake hard without the driver applying the brakes, due to a software malfunction in the Vehicle Safety Assist system that causes it to not calibrate properly. The problem is further complicated by the fact that the brake lights may not illuminate when the brakes are applied, which further increases the risk of the Odyssey being hit from behind, resulting in a likely auto insurance claim.
In total, 344,187 Odyssey cars are being recalled for the problem, though Honda says it will not have the parts to fix the cars until spring 2014.
In the interim, Honda's car recall website, Recalls.Honda.com, is providing instructions to concerned owners on how to ensure that the safety-assist system calibrates correctly each time the vehicle is driven. Honda is also advising owners that, if the system unexpectedly applies the brakes while driving, to cancel the action by gently stepping on the brake pedal. Then drivers should reduce their speed to under 25 miles per hour or switch off the Vehicle Safety Assist system.
Have you had a problem with your Honda Odyssey?
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.