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Honda Recalling 2018-2020 Odysseys Over Short-Circuit Fire Risk

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Honda has announced that it is recalling over 240,000 Odyssey minivans over a defect that could potentially create a short circuit, thus leading to a risk of fire.

The defect, which Honda believes all of the vehicles being recalled suffer from, involves a wiring harness that could potentially become pinched. That could lead to a short circuit, which would increase the risk of a fire breaking out.

The recall, which takes effect officially on March 16, identifies 241,339 2018-2020 Odyssey models as having the defect. It is not known at this point how many of those might be in Canada.

Honda received an initial report of a fire in an Odyssey minivan in August 2018, but that report contained no details regarding its cause. In April 2019 it received another report of a fire, and this time it actually bought back the vehicle to have it examined.

The company says it has received three reports of fires in all. Its internal investigation of the fire incidents lasted for several months and this January, the common cause was identified.

The recall documents explain that the source of the fires was a damaged third-row seat-accessory power-outlet wire harness. When the harness became pinched between the unibody and the rear trim panel, an electrical short resulted. According to the official report, "If the electrical short is intermittent, the current would not exceed the fuse’s amperage, allowing the wire harness to overheat and combust".

Honda says dealers will replace any harnesses found to be damaged. Otherwise, technicians will add protective tape and redirect the harness so it can’t become pinched.

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