The issue is with the two gas-powered tailgate struts (support rods) that raise and hold up the power tailgate of those vans equipped with them. Sometimes, the struts fail to hold up the tailgate.
The Honda recall, announced Wednesday, involves 2008 and early 2009 Odyssey EX-L and Touring vans, some 45,800 vehicles in all. The company will begin sending out recall notices March 13.
“A strut failure may result in the tailgate closing under its own power, possibly unexpectedly, with the potential risk of injury and inconvenience to users,” American Honda said in a press release detailing the recall. “Two injuries have been reported related to this issue.”
The struts use pressurized gas to support the back hatch when it's open. When that gas leaks, they fail, and the hatch closes on its own, potentially conking someone in the head.
The problems, or “early life failures," as Honda is calling them, are the result of a manufacturing flaw. The vans came from Honda's manufacturing plant in Lincoln, Ala., which also makes Honda's Pilot SUVs and Ridgeline pickup trucks.
Starting March 13, Odyssey owners can determine whether their vehicles need repair by visiting recalls.honda.com or by calling the company at (800) 999-1009 and selecting option 4. Honda will also be mailing notifications at that time.
Until then, if you have a 2008 or 2009 Honda Odyssey, be careful around your car’s back end, and watch your head. Both reported (minor) injuries were a result of the tailgates striking their victims.
If your van is affected, you will be able to take the car to your local Honda dealer for a free repair of the faulty tailgate struts. For further information, customers can also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety hotline at (888) 327-4236, or on the web at www.safecar.gov.
This isn't the Honda Odyssey's first recall in recent years. In 2010, the company recalled 344,000 of the 2007-08 minivans due to a braking problem. In 2011, another 33,341 2011 Odysseys were recalled for faulty windshield wipers.