Automotive Defect Investigation

The NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation (NHTSA) has opened two separate investigations related to unexpected breaking in certain Honda and Tesla vehicles. These vehicles are equipped with collision mitigation braking systems (CMBS) or advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), which visually and audibly alert the drivers of a potential collision. Under certain circumstances, the system will automatically apply the brakes to help reduce the force of an unavoidable collision.

The problem of unexpected braking has been called “Phantom Braking”. Phantom braking is when a vehicle’s brakes activate unexpectedly even when traffic is flowing normally or there is no obstacle to avoid.

Inadvertent Automatic Emergency Braking
2017-2019 Honda CR-V and 2018-2019 Honda Accord
NHTSA Investigation Number: PE22003

The NHTSA has received a total of 278 complaints and several Early Warning Reports alleging unexpected activation of the collision mitigation braking system (CMBS) in some 2017-2019 Honda CR-V and 2018-2019 Honda Accord vehicles. Driver complaints include high-speed braking incidents occurring with nothing obstructing the vehicle’s path of travel. Of the 278 complaints, 6 allege a collision with minor injuries.

Inadvertent or unexpected braking activation while driving can cause unexpected speed reductions that can lead to increased vulnerability to rear-end impact collisions. The complaints allege that the inadvertent braking events occur without warning and randomly.

Unexpected Brake Activation
2021-2022 Tesla Model 3 and 2021-2022 Tesla Model Y
NHTSA Investigation Number: PE22002

The NHTSA has also received 354 complaints alleging unexpected brake activation in 2021-2022 Tesla Model 3 and 2021-2022 Tesla Model Y vehicles.

Driver reports have been characterized as “phantom braking”. Tesla describes the subject vehicles as equipped with a suite of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features referred to as Autopilot which Tesla states will allow the vehicle to brake and steer automatically within its lanes.

The complaints allege that while utilizing the ADAS features including adaptive cruise control, the vehicle unexpectedly applies its brakes while driving at highway speeds. Complainants report that the rapid deceleration can occur without warning, at random, and often repeated in a single drive cycle.

These investigations are a Preliminary Evaluation (PE) to determine the scope and severity of the potential problem and to fully assess the potential of these safety-related issues. If a defect is found, the NHTSA will issue a recall.

Honda will be asking owners of certain 2018-2020 Accord, 2018-2020 Accord Hybrid and 2019-2020 Insight vehicles, to return to their dealerships to repair a problem that could affect various electrical systems in their vehicles.

According to the defect report, a software programming error combined with certain driver actions could disrupt the communication between the body control module (BCM) and other systems. The problem could result in illumination of several warning indicators and the malfunction of one or more electronic components. The affected components include:

  • Windshield defrosting and defogging.
  • Windshield wiping and washing.
  • Headlights and turning indicators.
  • Rear view camera display.
  • Warnings for electrolyte spillage and electrical shock protection on electric powered vehicles.
  • Audible warning of a stopped vehicle and placing it into park.
  • Powered windows, partition and roof panels.

Owners receiving notices will be asked to return to their dealerships to have the BCM software updated. Honda’s number for this recall is X95 and the NHTSA campaign number is 20V-771.

 

Honda will be contacting the owners of certain 2018-2020 Honda Odyssey minivans because of a problem affecting the electrical system in their vehicles.

According to the defect report, the routing of the third row seating accessory power could become pinched between the uni-body and the rear trim panel. The pinch could damage the wire, expose the wiring and cause an electrical short. An intermittent electrical short could overheat the wires and increase the risk of a fire.

Those receiving notices will be asked to return to their dealerships to have the third row seat accessory power outlet wire harness inspected and replaced as necessary. Undamaged wiring and new wiring will be rerouted and a protective tape will be applied. Honda’s number for this recall is T6U and the NHTSA campaign number is 20V-066.

Honda will be contacting the owners of certain 2017 Honda CR-V’s regarding a manufacturing problem affecting the fuel system. An incorrect die may have been used to create the end form on the fuel feed pipe. The feed pipe may not attach properly to the feed hose and could disconnect when pressurized. A fuel leak could result in an engine stall and a risk of fire in the presence of an ignition source.

Owners receiving notices will be asked to return to their dealers to have the fuel supply pipe replaced. For more information about the problem, owners are asked to contact Honda customer service at 1-888-234-2138. Honda’s number for this recall is KH1 and the NHTSA campaign number is 17V-442.

Honda will be asking owners of certain 2016 Honda Civic two and four door cars equipped with 1.5L or 2.0L engines, to return to their dealerships for a problem affecting the parking brake. According to the defect report, the stability assist electronic control unit software could prevent the electric parking brake from engaging immediately after turning the ignition off. The vehicle could unexpectedly roll away, increasing the risk of a crash. If the parking brake cannot be applied, the brake warning indicator will blink on the instrument panel for 15 seconds to alert the driver.

Dealers will update the vehicle’s software to allow the braking software to engage immediately after the ignition is turned off. For more information about the problem, owners are asked to contact Honda customer service at 1-888-234-2138. Honda’s number for this recall is KC6 and the NHTSA campaign number is 16V-725.

Honda will be contacting the owners of certain 2016 Honda Civic vehicles equipped with 2.0L engines to notifying them of a manufacturing error that could result in a seized engine. According to the defect report, the piston assembly may have been built with a missing or misset piston pin circlip. Vibrations from the engine may cause the pis to become displaced and interfere with the engine cylinder wall. If the engine seizes it will cause loss of motive power and potential engine block damage. Continue reading

If you search online for “Honda CR-V engine vibrations” there is no shortage of complaints and video’s from drivers who say that their vehicle excessively vibrates. The problem is found primarily in the 2015 CR-V, but a few complaints have been showing up in some newer models as well. Owners say the shutter can be felt while idling, accelerating, and driving, and is difficult to pinpoint because it resonates throughout the vehicle. In November 2015, Honda released a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB 15-046) addressing the problem, but the repairs have left many owners unsatisfied. Continue reading