Honda is recalling 448,613 vehicles in the U.S. because a production error could cause the front seatbelts not to latch properly.
The issue affects a wide variety of Honda vehicles from the 2017-2020 model years (more on that below) and was caused by an error in the production of the buckle that caused it to be built out of specification.
Honda writes, in documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, that the buckle channel could lead to interference with the release button. With continuous use, it claims, the surface coating could deteriorate, and the release button may shrink against the channel at low temperatures, creating added friction that could result in the belt not latching.
If that happens, then the seatbelt would be significantly compromised and, in the event of an accident, occupants may not be held in the correct position, increasing the risk of an injury. The issue affects both the driver and the front passenger seats.
Honda first became aware of the issue in June 2019, and it promptly opened an investigation. A year later, it had figured out what was happening and started looking into how widely the issue would affect vehicles in the field.
It found that the 2017-2020 Honda CR-V, the 2018-2019 Honda Accord and Accord Hybrid, the 2018-2020 Honda Odyssey, the 2019 Insight, and the 2019-2020 Acura RDX were all at risk of having bad seatbelts, and decided to launch a recall campaign.
As of March 3, 2023, Honda has received 301 warranty claims for this issue but, fortunately, it is not aware of any reports of injury or death related to this defect having been made between March 2019 and January 2023.
Starting on April 17, 2023, Honda will reach out to customers, who will be asked to return their vehicles to a nearby dealership. There, a Honda technician will replace the seatbelt buckle release buttons on both front seats and, if necessary, will perform a buckle assembly replacement. All repairs will be made at no cost to the owners.