Honda Recalls 870K 'Runaway' Vehicles
SUVs, minivans roll away without key in ignition
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 12, 2012 8:51 AM CST
A 2003 Honda Odyssey and 2003 Honda Pilot are shown in a undated file photo. Safety regulators are investigating complaints that the vehicles can roll away after drivers have removed the ignition key.   (AP Photo/Honda Motor Company, File)

(Newser) – Honda is recalling more than 870,000 minivans and SUVs worldwide because they can roll away even though drivers have removed the keys from the ignition. The recall announced today affects older-model vehicles sold mainly in the United States. They were big sellers with families because of their ample space and reputation for quality.

Here are details of the recall:

  • Models affected: 347,000 Honda Odyssey minivans and 277,000 Pilot SUVs from the 2003 and 2004 model years. Also 247,000 Acura MDX SUVs from 2003-2006. All have automatic transmissions.
  • The problem: The mechanism that locks the key in the ignition while the vehicles are in gear can wear out. Drivers are then able to remove keys without shifting into park. Some have left the vehicles, which have rolled off unexpectedly.
  • Injuries: Two people were hurt in crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which received 43 complaints. In the most serious case, the driver reported a broken leg after being run over by his Odyssey in a steep driveway.
  • The fix: Dealers will repair the ignition interlock system free of charge.
  • Other problems: NHTSA is also investigating brake problems with the 2005 Pilot.

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Showing 3 of 29 comments
Dec 14, 2012 11:20 AM CST
If the vehicle is parked the vehicle with automatic transmission ought to be shifted into PARK. In addition, the parking/emergency brake should be used, especially on inclines. This solves the problem in any vehicle. Some time ago there were some vehicles recalled because of something called "sudden acceleration" while cruising down the road. I've never experienced it in over 50 years of driving but have thought that if such a think did happen and the car can't be shifted into neutral for any reason, the emergency/parking brake could be applied and that should stop it. That is what I would do.
Dec 12, 2012 8:28 PM CST
No. It isn't the fault of the manufacturer, especially so many years later, if parts wear out, especially with all of the junk hanging from keyrings these days. Furthermore, it is the driver's responsibility to ensure that a car is in park or neutral with the parking brake on.
Dec 12, 2012 6:05 PM CST
Experts predict, much like the Audi 5000s, most of these cars will come in to the dealerships on their own - especially those located at the bottoms of hills.