Honda Recalling 789,000 Vehicles Over Busted Hood Latch


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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