344,000 Minivans Recalled by Honda for Brake Problem

    The New York Times
    By The New York Times

    344,000 Minivans Recalled by Honda for Brake Problem

     

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    Honda is recalling 344,000 of its 2007-8 Odyssey minivans because a malfunctioning computer could cause “heavy and unexpected braking without the driver pressing on the brake pedal and without illumination of the brake lamps,” the automaker informed theNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    The action is part of a worldwide recall of almost 381,000 vehicles, a Honda spokesman, Chris Martin, wrote in an email.

    It is Honda’s second recall this year for unintended braking problems, after one in March of about 183,000 vehicles.

    The automaker said it was not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the problem that prompted the current recall.

    report from Honda posted on Saturday on the safety agency’s website blamed Vehicle Stability Assist, which is what Honda calls its electronic stability control system, for the problem.

    Such systems are designed to detect when the front or rear of a vehicle is moving in a direction contrary to what the angle of the steering wheel indicates. To compensate, the computer would apply a brake to nudge the vehicle back on course.

    Honda told safety officials a sensor malfunction on the Odyssey could allow brake pressure to build up and suddenly be released into the braking system, thus applying the brakes.

    In June, the safety agency began an investigation after receiving 22 complaints fromHonda Odyssey owners who said their minivans had, unbidden, applied the brakes.

    The recall in March covered 183,000 2005 Honda Pilots, Acura MDX sport utilities andAcura RL sedans. It was set off by a different problem with Vehicle Stability Assist that could also result in spontaneous braking. That was part of a worldwide recall covering 250,000 vehicles.

    The New York Times

    The New York Times

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