By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times –
LOS ANGELES — American Honda Motor Co. is expanding an earlier recall of Acura TL sedans to include 572,000 model-year 2003 to ’07 Accord vehicles with V-6 engines in the United States.
But the recall is being delayed into next year because the automaker doesn’t have enough parts to fix the problem.
The automaker said the power steering hose may deteriorate and leak fluid. That might cause a loss of steering assistance or, if it leaks onto a catalytic converter, may result in smoke or in the worst case, fire.
But the improved power steering hoses won’t be available until early 2013. Honda is sending out a notice to Accord owners telling them of the problem and describing the symptoms. Drivers who think their cars are affected should take them into the dealership for an “interim” repair, the automaker said. The most commonly reported symptom is a smell from the seeping fluid.
“It will take some time to produce the updated hoses to replace them in every vehicle,” Honda spokesman Chris Martin said. “These vehicles have been out of production for quite some time.”
Honda will send out another letter once the parts are ready, telling owners they can take their cars in to get the power steering hoses replaced.
No crashes or injuries have been linked to the problem, but Honda said one engine fire has been reported. The recall does not include four-cylinder Accord models.
Getting owners to take their cars in for repair is more of a problem than most consumers realize, according to auto information company Edmunds.com.
In a report this year, Edmunds said its analysis of two General Motors Co. recalls showed a completion rate of just 52.5 percent. GM said its recalls generally reach a completion rate of about 70 percent. No other automaker would provide Edmunds with a completion rate for their recalls.
These unrepaired vehicles can be sold to unsuspecting buyers who have no clue they are purchasing a flawed vehicle.
Edmunds Senior Editor John O’Dell said used-car buyers should register their vehicles with the automakers to make sure they’re in the loop on any existing or future recalls.
They should also check out SaferCar.gov, the U.S. Department of Transportation database where a car buyer can find out whether a certain model is part of a recall.
In May, Honda recalled 2,615 model year 2007 to ’08 Acura TL sedans because of the same problem.