Honda ignition switch recall

I have a problem and need your help.

My wife and I are avid Honda enthusiasts. We are now driving a ?99 Accord and an ?01 CRV. The problem is with the Accord. About 5 years ago and at about 50,000 miles Honda sent out a recall to replace the ignition switch. The recall was to avoid the hazzard of the engine stopping suddenly and without warning. This obviously could be dangerous if you were in heavy traffic with no way to safely get off the road. I replaced the ignition switch at that time under the recall and went on my merry way.

But recently the replaced ignition switch failed quite suddenly and without warning. Fortunately, I was able to pullover to a safe place and called a tow truck. I then called Honda but they said the law requires the defective part replaced once. I grumbled, but I needed the car immediately so paid my independent mechanic $225 parts & labor plus towing to get it running again. It appears that 5 years ago the replacement still had the design problem.

I have three questions.

1) It appears that 5 years ago they replaced one defective switch for another. Is it right that they can replace one design defective part with another which displayed the same problem?

2) Should I have to pay for it again or should I be able to get Honda to pony up for the replacement cost?

3) I am concerned that if I keep the car for another 100,000 miles I can look forward to be exposed to the hazzard two more times. Is this a valid concern?

All this makes me question my loyalty to Honda.

I doubt Honda would have replaced your ignition switch with an identical one with the same flaw. Recalls are very expensive to administer and costs the carmaker a lot of free labor, so they’re not going to cheap out on the part.

My guess is you’ve just had a defective ignition switch. It happens. I’m not sure if when you say you called “Honda” if that means you called your local dealer or the national office, but if you give Honda of America a call (number should be in your owner’s manual) and politely grouse about it, emphasizing what a loyal customer you are and geewhiz don’t those '09’s look good, there’s a chance they might reimburse you for it but they’re under no legal obligation to do so.

Do you have the receipt from when the recall was performed. It will have the part number of the switch that was installed. They can compare the part number to make sure the switch was replaced with the updated switch.

Even if you don’t have the receipt you can go to the Honda dealership and have them look up the repair history and check the part number.

Can you go back to the dealer that actually did the recall? They might still have the hard copy of the original repair order, that would have the part number on it.

Sorry, but a recall is a one-shot deal. Honda Motor Co. (just like everyone else) is under no obligation to do anything else.

Do not be so quick to blame the 5 year old switch as being defective. There are a number of reasons that switch, and the original one, may have failed.
Many high current items on the car (wipers, fuel pump, etc.) along with low current ones have their power source directly through that switch.
High current means a large electrical load and this means heat.

On top of the normal high load that exists this load increases further if things like turning the wipers on when they’re frozen to the windshield or iced over, worn/aged fuel pump, and even a partially clogged fuel filter can cause problems with the switch.

How come the fuel filter? Because a partially clogged filter makes the pump work much harder. This means the pump draws more electrical current, which I have mentioned comes directly through the switch itself.

As an analogy, think of a 20 amp wall socket in your home. If you plug 15 amps worth of electrical items into that socket problems will appear at some time in the future. Why? Because every electrical item, car or home, has a current surge that is vastly higher when it is first turned on. (An example could be the fuel pump. A new pump may draw 7 amps worth of current but when first energized it may draw 13 amps. All of this comes through the switch in your car, along with a number of other items.

Hope that explains it. You can try contacting the Honda regional office about a possible reimbursement but do not get mad if they say no. Also, it’s highly unlikely they will remimburse you the full cost of a non-warranty repair. I would also suggest that you keep dealings with them polite as honey catches more flies than vinegar. Hope that helps.