February 19, 2012

Honda expands side air bag recall (PICS)

Honda is expanding a Jan. 31 recall of some 2012 Accord and Crosstour vehicles because side air bags could fail to inflate in a crash.

The expanded recall, announced today, includes additional Accord and Crosstour models and adds some 2012 Civics and Acura MDX models.

Honda says owners should wait for recall letters, to be mailed Feb. 24, then take their vehicles to dealers for free repairs.

Honda says no injuries or deaths have been reported. The automaker says incorrect propellant was used in the side bags.

The numbers are small: 347 cars in the initial recall, expanded to a total of 974 now.

But it is the latest example of Honda starting small on a recall, then expanding via subsequent announcements. The car company, for example, recently boosted the number of vehicles included in a recall for driver's air bags that could go off too forcefully, blowing metal and plastic debris into the driver's chest.

Honda hardly is unique, though. Ford Motor last year expanded an airbag recall to include 1.2 million more F-150 and Lincoln Mark LT pickups. The original recall had included just 144,000 trucks.

Automakers expand recalls when they receive new information, such as additional test results not available at the time of the initial recall, or reports of accidents or injuries in vehicles in similar vehicles that weren't part of the original recall.

Federal regulators can fine a car company if regulators believe the company deliberately minimized the extent of a recall, or if the automaker didn't report a defect to the government within five business days of discovering it.

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