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Published: Wednesday, 3/17/2010

412,000 Honda vans, wagons recalled

FROM THE BLADE'S NEWS SERVICES
The recall of Element, wagons, above, and Odyssey minivans is the second callback by Honda Motor Co. in two months. The recall of Element, wagons, above, and Odyssey minivans is the second callback by Honda Motor Co. in two months.
DAVID ZALUBOWSKI / AP Enlarge

Honda Motor Co., Japan's second-largest automaker, has recalled 412,000 Odyssey minivans and Element wagons in the United States to fix a brake-system flaw that triggered customer complaints of "soft" pedal feel.

A part called a vehicle stability assist modulator should be modified on 344,000 Odysseys and 68,000 Elements from the 2007-2008 model years, Honda said yesterday.

Honda said that, over time, brake pedals can feel "soft" and must be pressed closer to the floor to stop the vehicles. Left unrepaired, the problem could cause loss of braking power and possibly a crash, said Honda spokesman Chris Martin.

The company is reviewing at least three reported crashes, none involving deaths, in which brakes were cited, the spokesman said.

The recall is Honda's second of similar size in as many months, after the company said in February that 437,763 vehicles worldwide needed repairs to air bags that may deploy with too much pressure.

The industry faces increased U.S. scrutiny after Toyota Motor Corp. recalled autos for unintended acceleration.

"I am sure the automakers are going to err on the side of caution right now," said Stephanie Brinley, an analyst at consultant AutoPacific Inc. in Troy, Mich. "No one at this point wants to be accused of not reacting quickly."

Honda technicians will put plastic caps and sealant over two small holes in the device to stop the air from getting in, Mr. Martin said.

The automaker is still preparing a list of affected vehicles. After April 19, owners can determine if their vehicles are being recalled by going to www.recalls.honda.com or by calling 800-999-1009, and selecting option four.



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