When it comes to vehicle safety features, many polled would undoubtedly list their brakes as the most important function of their automobile. Whether you’re cruising along at high speeds on the interstate or taking a trip through busy city streets with pedestrians galore, the ability to stop on a dime is absolutely crucial to protecting the driver, passengers and anyone else on the road.

It’s for this reason that automotive makers take the integrity of their brake systems with the utmost seriousness, unwilling to bat an eye at any possible sign of malfunction along the way. When not just the namesake of the company is on the line, but also the lives of customers, there’s no room to mess around.

For Honda and Acura owners, a recent recall notice in the mail may allude to just that. The Japanese automobile manufacturer, one of the largest and most reliable brands on the road in the world, has issued a recall for 2017-2019 Acura MDX SUVs; 2018-2018 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid SUVs; Honda 2016, 2018 and 2019 HR-V SUVs; and 2018-2019 Honda Odyssey minivans. The reason? A faulty brake system that could cause some major problems for drivers.

The problem stems from the rear brake caliper pistons. Upon manufacturing, it appears that several vehicles were insufficiently coated in this area of the vehicle. The result is that with improper coating, gas pockets can form. This can lead to reduced brake performance, which naturally can lead to greater risk potential for accidents.

Acura and Honda owners may notice a rather ‘soft’ feeling when forcing the brake pedal to the floor when gas pockets have formed. Even without this symptom, it’s still entirely possible that your system is experiencing the recall issue and should be checked over. The issue leaves the models failing to comply with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for “Light Vehicle Brake Systems”.

To correct the issue, owners simply need to contact their local dealership with concerns over the recall. The dealership will assist in scheduling a time for maintenance. Service technicians will bleed the entire brake system; in the process of doing so, they will extract any excess hydrogen that has been forming the gas bubbles in the system. The process is relatively quick and does not require new calipers. Furthermore, Honda and Acura are footing the bill for their customers. Unfortunately, Honda states that since the warranty with the vehicle would cover the issue prior to the recall, the company will not reimburse customers that paid out of pocket for the procedure.

Honda, the parent company of the luxury Acura brand, stated that they are not aware of any crashes of injuries related to the rear brake problem. However, the brand has received 170 different warranty claims tied to the malfunction. Honda claims to have first learned of the possibility of the issue not through warranty claims, but in July 2018, when a supplier informed the company that there may be “quality issues involving some of its products”. In response, Honda began investigating manufacturing records and, upon simultaneously receiving warranty claims regarding the problem, issued an announcement about the recall.

Vehicle owners will begin to receive notifications related to this issue on December 17th, 2018. As of February 10, 2019, the recall is still open. If you have not received notification, or if you purchased your Acura or Honda used, please reach out to your nearest dealership to see if your vehicle requires the recall maintenance. For a full list of procedures, please view our summary below for more on the process.


The Details of the Acura Odyssey Recall

If you’re the owner of one of the following Acura vehicles, your car could very well be a part of the recall and you should take the necessary steps to follow-up with the manufacturer to see what steps are necessary to correct the rear brake caliper malfunction. The list of vehicles includes over 65,000 2017, 2018, and 2019 Acura MDX and MDX SPort Hybrids, as well as select Honda vehicles. Specifically, the models in question are:

  • 2016, 2018 and 2019 Honda HR-V SUVs
  • 2017-2019 Acura MDX SUVs
  • 2017-2018 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid SUVs
  • 2018-2019 Honda Odyssey minivans

Honda and Acura are said to have uncovered the problem and fixed it on the assembly line for models dated past the dates in question. With that in mind, if your vehicle falls within the manufacturing parameters listed, it’s highly suggested to reach out to your local dealership and arrange an appointment to have your vehicle inspected and any potential recall concern corrected immediately


What’s the Reason for a Recall?

The rear brake caliper pistons may have not been sufficiently coated upon manufacturing. This can cause gas pockets to form around the pistons, limiting the ability for the rear brakes to perform as desired and increase the risk of crash and subsequent injury.

Estimated Number of Vehicles Affected: 64,785


What Will the Fix Require From the Dealership?

Acura manufacturer Honda will start to notify affected owners on December 17, 2018, about the recall and how to get it corrected. The remedy itself is fairly simply; technicians at the dealership will inspect the rear brake system and, if necessary, bleed out the brakes to eliminate any potential gas pockets.

What Will the Fix Require From the Vehicle Owner?

Only your time. Acura will perform the necessary brake bleeding at no cost to Acura vehicle owners at a local Acura dealership. Dealers have already been notified of the recall, but owners will not receive direct notification of the MDX recall until a first-class mail notice is sent this December.


How to Contact the Manufacturer to Learn if Your Vehicle is Part of the Recall

Owners of the aforementioned 2017-2019 Acura MDX SUVs and Honda vehicles should contact Honda at 888-234-2138. Owners can then contact their local Acura dealership to set up an appointment time to correct the recall. They can also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for more information at 1-800-424-9153

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Campaign Number: 18V-777

Acura’s Recall Numbers: C31 and L30

How to Check to See If Your Vehicle Has an Open Recall Notice

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website will provide further information if your vehicle, whether it’s a Acura or other make, currently has an open recall notification that necessitates your attention to address it.

To search on the site, go to the recall page and type in the 17-character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) located on the lower left of your car’s windshield. You VIN may also be located inside the driver’s side door in some makes and models, as well as on your car’s registration card and occasionally shown on your vehicle insurance card.

Once you plug in your car’s 17-digit VIN on the NHTSA website, if a recall does not appear on the screen then your vehicle is currently free of any open recalls. However, automakers frequently issue safety recalls on vehicles. It is prudent for you to regularly check back on the site to see if your vehicle has any new open recalls that could be affecting the safety or performance of your motor vehicle.


What to Do if Your Car Isn’t Recalled

If your vehicle is having issues but does not meet the criteria of the above recall, you may have a lemon. Contact our California lemon law attorney, Brett Shainfeld, to see if your claim qualifies and get the help you need.