Grease Overdose Leads to Honda Recall

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Excessive application of silicone grease has led Honda Motor Co. to issue a recall for 19,904 model year 2006 Civics, according to Hondas recall filing with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The recall is expected to begin tomorrow.

Honda advised the government agency of its findings in an Aug. 30 letter. Honda completed its investigation Aug. 23 and determined that the safety-related defect existed.

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The supplier of the steering system lacked proper instructions for application of lubricant grease to the telescoping mechanism of the steering column, resulting in application of excessive amounts of silicone grease, the company explained in its letter to the NHTSA. As a result, oil can separate from the grease, which can form droplets that may fall onto the brake light switch. This can cause the brake light switch to fail, it may not be possible to shift the transmission from the park position and/or the stop lamp may fail to illuminate, leading to a failure to alert a following vehicle of the drivers intent to stop, potentially resulting in a crash.

According to the letter, Honda first received a complaint June 5, 2006, in Japans domestic market from a dealer, that a driver could not shift the lever out of the park position, after which the company initiated an investigation. On Sept. 25, 2006, the company received its first complaint from an overseas market, United Arab Emirates, of the same problem, and investigated further.

The company said it will notify owners of all affected vehicles by mail and ask them to take their vehicle to a Honda dealer, which will replace the brake light switch and connector housing, and install a cover to prevent oil from damaging the switch, free of charge.

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