After an investigation by federal regulators, Honda said on Thursday that it would recall more than 300,000 2008-9 Accords because the side airbags could deploy without the vehicle being in a crash. Honda said it was aware of 19 minor injuries.
The automaker said if the ignition was on and the door was “forcefully slammed” the side airbags could deploy. Honda blamed the problem on a sensor being improperly calibrated, and said it could be corrected with a software update. The action also includes about 20,000 vehicles in Canada and about 10,600 in Mexico.
The problem affects both the air curtains, which are in the roof above the side windows and provide head protection, and airbags in the side of the seat that protect the torso.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating the problem last year after receiving complaints from owners. Several of them told regulators that Honda refused to pay for repairs after their airbags deployed.
“They had to replace the driver side seat and the entire headliner plus all of the airbags totaling $3,600,” one owner wrote in 2010. “I called my insurance and they said they would cover it, but that I had a $1,250 deductible.”
A spokesman for Honda, Chris Martin, said owners were being reimbursed under the extended warranty.