D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has appeared on legaladvice.com, themanifest.com, and vice.com.

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jan 18, 2021

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American Honda Motor Company has announced a voluntary recall of 1.5 million vehicles in the United States to update the software that controls the automatic transmissions of models of Accord, CR-V and Element models.

According to the company, the transmission in the affected vehicles can be damaged if the transmission is quickly shifted between reverse, neutral and drive positions. Honda says this should only occur in an “unusual scenario” and offers the example of a situation where a driver would shift between these gears in an attempt to dislodge a vehicle that is stuck in snow or mud.

The software update to the automatic transmission control module will ease the transition between rapid shifts by limiting the engine speed at which such a shift can occur. The update should keep damage from happening, even in situations as described above.

Honda says if the transmission is damaged due to these types of actions, the affected vehicles may experience engine stalls and difficulty in engaging the parking gear. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that in addition to the problems described by Honda, the damage could lead to these vehicles rolling after a driver has placed the transmission into park, which could potentially injure people within the path of the vehicle if it rolls. They also warn that engine stalls increase the risk of being involved in a crash.

The affected vehicles include:

  • 2005-2010 Honda Accord
  • 2007-2010 Honda CR-V
  • 2005-2008 Honda Element

Owners will be notified sometime after August 31, 2011 and the software update will be provided free of charge. Honda’s recall campaign number is R89, and owners may contact the company’s customer service line at 1-800-999-1009. The NHTSA campaign number is 11V395000, and owners may contact the NHTSA vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

In addition to the 1.5 million being recalled in the United States, Honda will also be recalling 760,000 in China and 135,000 in Canada of the same models. In all, the company will be recalling nearly 2.5 million models worldwide.