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Honda recalls 554,000 SUVs over headlights

When it comes to safety-related quality problems, 2011 wasn’t a good year for Honda, and 2012 isn’t getting off to any better of a start.

The Japanese maker, traditionally known for solid reliability, has announced it will recall about 550,000 of its Pilot and CR-V crossover due to problems that could cause the low beam headlights to suddenly stop working.  

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It’s the latest of a half-dozen safety-related service actions Honda has announced during the first three years of 2012 – and comes in the wake of Honda recalling more vehicles than any other auto manufacturer operating in the U.S. in 2011, a dubious distinction held by Toyota the previous two years.

Honda says the newest recall is the result of wiring problems and that they are limited to 2002 to 2004 model-year versions of the small CR-V, and to the 2003 model-year Pilot.  Apparently, there is not enough slack in the wiring and, over time, routine vehicle jouncing can lead to a break in the wiring leading to the headlight switch.

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The maker plans to ask owners to visit dealers so they can inspect their vehicles and, if necessary, make repairs.  There have been no reports of crashes or injuries but the problem could leave a motorist vulnerable at night – though the potential defect does not affect the high-beam lamps.

In 2011, Honda recalled a total of 3.8 million vehicles in the U.S., including a large number equipped with potentially defective airbags.

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The problems this year have covered a wide range of issues, from headlight wiring to faulty fuel tanks – nearly 9,000 new Honda Pilot and Acura MDX models recalled last month due to potentially faulty fuel tanks that pose the risk of a spill or fire.

Up until now, the 2012 recalls have involved relatively few vehicles but the latest wiring service action is nearly double the size of the airbag recall Honda announced last December.  That service action put it over the top as the maker with the most recalls in 2011.

Honda owners can check if their vehicles require repairs by going to calling 800-999-1009.