Posted by: Rehan Today | March 16, 2010

Honda recalls 412,000 US vehicles on ‘soft’ brakes

DETROIT: Honda has recalled some 412,000 vehicles in the United States because customers complained their brakes felt “soft,” the Japanese automaker said Tuesday.

Honda said the problem is caused by air accumulating in a “vehicle stability assist modulator” which causes the pedal to get closer to the floor than normal before the vehicle stops.

This latest action comes a month after Japan’s second-biggest carmaker recalled more than 400,000 vehicles worldwide to fix airbags that it said can explode and spray out potentially deadly metal shards.

In January some 191,000 Honda Fits were recalled in the United States because the power window switch could short out and cause a fire if a lot of water got into the door handle.

The latest recall adds to the woes of Japan’s auto industry, a key export earner of Asia’s largest economy, with Toyota making global headlines over the more than eight million vehicles recalled for faulty accelerator and brake systems.

The recall affects 2007-2008 model years of the Odyssey minivan and Element sport utility vehicle.

Honda said some accidents involving brakes were reported to safety regulators in the vehicles covered under the recall.

Three people suffered minor injuries in the crashes.

“It’s tough to link those injuries to this cause,” Honda spokesman Chris Martin told AFP.

That’s because the brakes continue to function long after they begin to soften and the softening process take a long time to develop.

“It’s a very slow progression because it’s a tiny, tiny amount of air that gets in – it’s smaller than a drop of water,” Martin said.

“Customers get a lot of warning.” Honda will be sending letters out to owners next month asking them to schedule an appointment to have the modulator sealed to prevent air intrusion.

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