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Honda Vehicle Fires Linked to Oil Changes - Report

Fri Jul 9,12:56 AM ET Reuters to My Yahoo!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - At least 27 Honda CR-V sport-utility vehicles from the 2003 and 2004 model years burst into flames shortly after getting their first oil changes, The Washington Post reported on Friday,

No injuries were reported, but many of the vehicles were destroyed, usually with 10,000 miles or fewer on their odometers, the newspaper said, citing records provided to the U.S. government by Honda.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration investigated the situation and concluded July 1 that the cases were the fault of dealerships or others who improperly installed oil filters, the newspaper said.

According to the report, NHTSA and American Honda Motor Co. (news - web sites) agreed that oil from the filters most likely leaked onto the vehicles' hot exhaust systems, quickly igniting.

"We consulted with Honda. Honda concluded it was a technician's error, and they have taken steps to make sure service technicians who work on this vehicle understand that they need to be particularly diligent when they replace the oil filter," NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson was quoted as saying.

Honda doesn't know why the fires are happening in only the two most recent CR-V model years and not earlier ones, spokesman Andy Boyd told the newspaper "That's the part we're still investigating," he said.

There were about 140,000 CR-Vs sold in the United States in 2003 and Honda said 22 of them caught fire from the apparent oil filter problem, the Post reported. So far this year, five owners of 2004 CR-Vs have reported such fires to NHTSA, the newspaper said.

Source: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tm...e=5&u=/nm/20040709/us_nm/autos_honda_fires_dc
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Another article from MSNBC:

27 Fires Linked To Oil Changes In Honda CR-V

By Greg Schneider
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 9, 2004; Page A01


At least 27 Honda CR-V sport-utility vehicles from the 2003 and 2004 model years burst into flames shortly after getting their first oil changes, according to records provided to the federal government by the manufacturer.

While no injuries were reported, many of the vehicles were destroyed, usually with 10,000 miles or fewer on their odometers.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration investigated the situation and concluded July 1 that the cases were the fault of dealerships or others who improperly installed oil filters. The agency agreed with American Honda Motor Co. that oil from the filters most likely leaked onto the vehicles' hot exhaust systems, quickly igniting -- in some cases as the owners drove the small SUVs home from being serviced.

"We consulted with Honda. Honda concluded it was a technician's error, and they have taken steps to make sure service technicians who work on this vehicle understand that they need to be particularly diligent when they replace the oil filter," NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson said.

But auto safety advocates say they're dismayed that the agency didn't take a stronger stand. "Relatively new cars catching on fire? Running the risk of injuring their occupants? It's a very unusual and a very dangerous situation," said Sally Greenberg of Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports. The fact that a routine oil change could have such catastrophic results suggests "a dire and a dangerous situation that both the automaker and the auto safety agency should have looked much more closely at," she said.

Honda, whose products are consistently rated among the safest vehicles, doesn't know why the fires are happening in only the two most recent CR-V models, spokesman Andy Boyd said. "That's the part we're still investigating. Honestly, that's something we're still trying to understand," he said, adding that there have been no major design changes.

While Boyd said the problem is "absolutely not a design defect," he said the CR-V's engine is configured "such that there is a higher likelihood of oil spraying onto the manifold than . . . on other vehicles." Honda has no plan to recall the vehicles and install a barrier to block the oil from hitting the hot exhaust manifold, he said.

"At this stage I don't believe we think a recall is warranted," Boyd said "We think with a little more communication and education with the dealers, the problem can be eliminated."

About 140,000 CR-Vs were sold in the United States in 2003. Honda said 22 of them caught fire from the apparent oil filter problem. So far this year, five owners of 2004 CR-Vs have reported such fires to NHTSA.

NHTSA's records relate the stories of drivers whose vehicles caught fire. Their names were blacked out. A woman driving on Braddock Road in Northern Virginia last January noticed smoke coming from under her 2003 CR-V. A passerby pulled up and told her it was on fire, so she swerved onto the shoulder, the electrical system shorted out and all the doors locked. She got out without injury.

A North Carolina family driving to church one Sunday in May noticed smoke and had to rush to get their two small children unbuckled from safety seats before their 2004 CR-V went up in flames.

A Georgia man coming home from a flea market stopped when he noticed smoke, tried to open his hood and "heard an explosion and the front end just burst into flames," according to records Honda supplied to NHTSA.

All had recently had their oil changed for the first time. Honda recently warned its technicians about the need to be careful replacing oil filters in a regular newsletter mailed out to all 1,008 U.S. dealer service shops, Boyd said.

Now the company is drafting a letter to the dealerships themselves, as well as preparing an article for a newsletter sent periodically to independent repair shops such as Jiffy Lube and Pep Boys. Honda also plans to change the language on the oil filter itself and its packaging, warning of the dangers of improper installation.

There are no plans to send warnings to customers who might change the oil themselves, Boyd said.

The problem is believed to happen one of two ways: The O-ring gasket on the old oil filter sometimes sticks to the crankcase, and if the new filter is installed over it, oil can leak around it. Or, if the gasket on the new filter isn't lubricated properly, it might set incorrectly and allow oil to leak around it. Then it can spray onto the hot manifold and burn.

Kay C. Brittain of Jacksonville, Fla., was driving to work from her first 5,000-mile oil change when she noticed black smoke in her rearview mirror. She pulled onto the median to turn and go back to the dealership, but a passing motorist shouted that her 2004 CR-V was on fire.

A week later, the elderly parents of one of Brittain's co-workers avoided injury when their 2003 CR-V burst into flames.

Brittain, 56, who learned from Web site chat groups of other such incidents around the country, said she had no problems with the 2002 CR-V she drove for two years before trading it in for the new model. Now that she has gotten her dealer to replace the one that burned with another 2004 CR-V, she has lost her peace of mind.

"It just scares me. Here I'm sitting with a brand new car, and come 5,000 miles I'm going to have to go through it again," she said. "I don't want this to happen to somebody else. If there is a problem, I think Honda should acknowledge it and at least check this out and not write it off.

"I'm just afraid something bad's going to happen. I just want them to take it seriously."
 

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lol holy shit thats crazy
 

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SAZABI said:
holy shit can some one summarize it in 1 or 2 sentences? :lol:
Sure :laugh:
at least 27 Honda CR-V sport-utility vehicles from the 2003 and 2004 model years burst into flames shortly after getting their first oil changes
 

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A loose or inproperly installed oil filter on any car would easily cause an engine fire. This is perhaps the most common modern form of car fires being ignited. Best bet is to keep a small fire extinguisher in the car for emergencies, you never know when you'd need it.
 

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Noel said:
A loose or inproperly installed oil filter on any car would easily cause an engine fire. This is perhaps the most common modern form of car fires being ignited. Best bet is to keep a small fire extinguisher in the car for emergencies, you never know when you'd need it.
I guess that says it all.

Question: How many people actually keep fire extinguishers in their cars?
I've never come close to even considering it. (Yet.)

I know it's silly, but whether or not I decide to do it will probably have something to do with how many other people do it.

I imagine Noel does. (Right???)

Anybody else?
 

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larchmont said:
How many people actually keep fire extinguishers in their cars? I've never come close to even considering it. (Yet.) I know it's silly, but whether or not I decide to do it will probably have something to do with how many other people do it.
You can even get a sophisticated full wired/routed extinguisher system built into the car for more money that'll extinguish most small to medium engine bay fires from inside the car in under less than 3 seconds with a simple flick of a button in car whilst everything is still running and moving. But of course, this is not the route the majority of car enthusiasts or car owners will take.

While a simplier solution is a portable small extinguisher designed for extinguishing car related fires costs about $10 or so from your local Home Depot which you can easily mount anywhere in the car with a few simple drills and screws, in fact all the hardware is provided. If you don't want the excuse to drill, you can simply slide it into the glove box with a perfect fit.

If $10 cannot value the X amount your car costs, I don't know what can. I've seen enough car fires small and big which could've been salvaged, prevented and extinguished if the owners had pack a simple $10 extinguisher with them, so much so all the money spent on modifications, making the car go faster, stop better or handle better couldn't be justified by fitting one.

I've personally burnt off a Supra TT because of an oil filter giving way, seen and know friends that have lost the following cars due to some minor fire which were not self induced/caused over the years. Mini Cooper S (3 months ago), Toyota AE68 Sprinter (1 year ago), Integra Type R (1 year ago), Impreza WRX STi (2 years ago), Lancer Evolution V (2 years ago), Toyota Camry (3 years ago), BMW E36 M3 (4 years ago). How the scale of probability measures up doesn't concern me, but my 6 degrees of separation tells me this isn't exactly an uncommon concern.

I would never use a "popularity style contest" measurement when it comes to safety and preventative measures.
 

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Noel said:
You can even get a sophisticated full wired/routed extinguisher system built into the car for more money that'll extinguish most small to medium engine bay fires from inside the car in under less than 3 seconds with a simple flick of a button in car whilst everything is still running and moving. But of course, this is not the route the majority of car enthusiasts or car owners will take.
I thought about doing that for a senior design project while back in college...but didn't get any funding for it... :rotz:
 

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Noel said:
.....If $10 cannot value the X amount your car costs, I don't know what can. I've seen enough car fires small and big which could've been salvaged, prevented and extinguished if the owners had pack a simple $10 extinguisher with them.....
I'm seriously thinking of getting one.

I don't think anybody's reluctance is due to the cost, it's that we prefer not to put more "stuff" in the car.

I'm not saying it's smart, I'm just noting that it doesn't have anything to do with the cost.
 

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larchmont said:
I'm seriously thinking of getting one.
I'm not at all sure that I'd want my TSX after an engine fire! Do you think it would ever be the same?

I wouldn't buy a Lo-Jack because I wouldn't want to get my car back if it were stolen!
 

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larchmont said:
I don't think anybody's reluctance is due to the cost, it's that we prefer not to put more "stuff" in the car.
I'll rather do without the spare, have a fix a flat can and have an extinguisher. Don't tell me that it's about weight savings. :nono:

bob shiftright said:
I'm not at all sure that I'd want my TSX after an engine fire! Do you think it would ever be the same?
It depends what kind of fires and what caused it, your engine will never catch fire unless your oil filter gives way in an NA car, even then when it's put out before it escalates, the only thing you damage or change is a burnt oil filter, how would that be any different in performance or how the car was?

If it's an electrical fire, it'll depend on the extend of the damage as the wiring would have been cooked way before the fire started, that is a considerable write-off if serious enough which I can understand.
 
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