American Honda will recall 97,201 Fit sub-compact vehicles in the U.S. to replace springs in the engine valvetrain. The so-called “lost motion springs” are used by rocker arms during engine operation. They may deform or break over time. Honda says this cases abnormal engine noise, and potentially internal engine damage or stalling.
No crashes or injuries have been reported by this Fit safety defect.
Notification to Fit customers will begin in early March 2011 by mail. About the same time, owners of these Fit vehicles will also be able to determine if their Fit requires repair by going on-line at www.recalls.honda.com or calling (800) 999-1009, and select option 4.
The latest Fit stalling recall follows one in January on thousands of 2010 Honda Accord cars and CR-V sport utility vehicles, which can also suddenly stall, increasing the potential for accidents.
That Honda stalling problem also has not resulted in any accidents yet. The root cause is an engine wiring harness connector which may cause intermittent firing of the spark plugs or a complete ignition failure. The connector was damaged during testing because of an improperly repaired tool that damages a connecting pin. It fails over time.
Toyota or the “Toyota Recall Effect” at a newly vigorous National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was the big reason that 2010 was the second highest recall year on record. Three record fines imposed on Toyota for safety defect cover-ups put all automakers on notice to quickly identify and fix problems.
However, a quick scan of previous Honda recalls questions whether the long-standing Japanese reputation for quality is as accurate as previously portrayed by the media.
Consider in December of 2010 alone American Honda recalled:
- 2010-11 Accord and 2011 Pilot vehicles in to prevent a potential front suspension failure
- 1998-2002 Passport SUVs for rear suspension failures
- 2007 and 2008 Honda Fit vehicles because of a bad headlight switch, which can case the low-beams to fail and possibly start a fire
During the rest of 2010 American Honda recalled:
- 2007 and 2008 model year Fit (and Jazz elsewhere) subcompacts for possible fires
- 2006 and 2007 Ridgeline pickup trucks after several of them caught fire
- 2004 through 2008 Acura TSX models for fires
- 2003 Accord models Civic models for rolling away because of a bad ignition switch
- 20003-2004 Element crossover vehicles for rolling away
- 2010 Accord Crosstour for front passenger airbags
- 2007-2008 Odyssey minivans Element crossovers for bad brakes
To be fair, Honda still tops the respected Consumer Reports survey on reliability. And Nissan – the other member of the Japanese Big Three — also recalled millions of vehicles globally during 2010. But with all of the Japanese recalls consideration of Detroit Three vehicles is rising. It is no longer a given – or shouldn’t be – among potential buyers or government safety officials that the Japanese are quality leaders.