WASHINGTON --- Honda Motor Co. is recalling the popular Accord and Civic passenger cars to address problems with an ignition switch that could allow the key to be removed without the transmission being shifted into park, its third recall over the problem since 2003.
Honda said the most recent recall involves 384,220 vehicles and includes 2003 model year Accord and Civics and 2003-04 versions of the Element. Honda told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the defect with the automatic transmissions could result in a vehicle rolling away, increasing the risk of a crash.
The automaker said in a statement that the recall would involve about 197,000 Accords, 117,000 Civics and 69,000 Elements. The company said it has received several complaints about the ignition interlock and "is aware of a small number of related incidents, including one that resulted in a minor injury."
Honda said that the ignition interlock mechanism could be damaged or worn during use and that "it may become possible to remove the ignition key when the shift lever is not in park." Unless the parking brake is set, the vehicle could roll away under those circumstances.
The three related recalls have involved about 1.4 million vehicles since 2003. Honda recalled more than 560,000 minivans and sedans, including the 1998-99 Accord, to correct the ignition park-shift interlock defect in October 2003. In January 2005, Honda recalled nearly 490,000 passenger cars, including certain 1999-2002 Accords, because of the ignition switch problem.
Owners can go to www.recalls.honda.com or call Honda at (800) 999-1009 and select option four for more information.