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Product Liability Lawsuit Charges Honda of Concealing Fire Risk in CR-V, Element Models

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In a class action suit against American Honda Motor Corporation, an Illinois man charges that a design defect  in certain Honda CR-V and Element models makes them prone to fast-spreading engine fires, according to an article posted on ConsumerAffairs.com.

The lawsuit charges that the vehicles’ oil filter is dangerously close to the exhaust manifold on 2003, 2004 and 2005 model CR-Vs, and is mounted vertically, creating a situation where leaking oil can spray directly on the hot exhaust manifold. The suit also alleges that this reported defect occurs in Element models equipped with the 2.4-liter DOHC i-VTEC engine as well. According to the consumer watchdog Website, they have received complaints about this problem from consumers since 2004.

Hal Pilger, the Illinois man who filed the recent lawsuit, alleges that Honda has known about the supposed defect, but has failed to issue a recall. According to the complaint, Pilger’s 2003 CR-V burst into flames while he was driving it. Honda has denied all of the allegations and says the fires were caused as a result of improper installation of the oil filter.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) initially accepted Honda’s explanation that “it was the mechanics’ fault.” But, according to the Consumer Affairs article, the fires continued. NHTSA re-opened its investigation in September 2006 after at least 44 fires had been reported. Still, Honda stuck with its story.

Pilger’s lawsuit questions Honda’s explanation, the article states. The complaint charges that the company’s own internal investigation found that 68.4 percent of the oil leaks and fires did not “in any way” involve the so-called “double gasket” problem. The suit also asks the court to award damages to owners of vehicles that were damaged by fire and to launch a recall campaign to repair or replace the allegedly defective vehicles.

Denial never comes as a surprise coming from auto manufacturers. For decades Ford Motor Co. denied problems with its SUV models, especially the Explorer despite thousands of people getting injured and dying in rollover crashes. Now, it’s Honda. The NHTSA is to blame as well for not taking these reports seriously enough. What would it take to get the agency’s attention – a death or maybe two or more? It is disheartening that a federal safety agency, which is funded by public money, will not put the public’s concern and safety ahead of private business interests.

If you have been injured as a result of this reported defect in Honda CR-Vs or Element models, call Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys or respond to this blog post. We would definitely like to hear from you. Our efficient and aggressive attorneys have gone after irresponsible auto manufacturers collecting millions in damages for our clients over the years. If you have been injured or have suffered a loss in an auto accident, call us for a free consultation at 800-259-6373.

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  • ibrahim sabha

    i have a honda element no enjory but i receiced a booklrt about the the case do i need to do anything

  • Neil

    Dear Sir,

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