Honda Recalls 412,000 U.S. Vehicles on 'Soft' Brakes

The recall affects 2007-2008 model years of the Odyssey minivan and Element sport utility vehicle.

Due to the fact that customers complained their brakes felt "soft," Honda has recalled some 412,000 vehicles in the United States, the company said on March 16.

Honda said the problem is caused by air accumulating in a "vehicle stability assist modulator" which causes the pedal to get closer to the floor than normal before the vehicle stops.

The recall affects 2007-2008 model years of the Odyssey minivan and Element sport utility vehicle.

Honda said some accidents involving brakes were reported to safety regulators in the vehicles covered under the recall. Three people suffered minor injuries in the crashes. "It's tough to link those injuries to this cause," Honda spokesman Chris Martin said.

That's because the brakes continue to function long after they begin to soften and the softening process take a long time to develop. "It's a very slow progression because it's a tiny, tiny amount of air that gets in -- it's smaller than a drop of water," Martin said. "Customers get a lot of warning."

Honda will be sending letters out to owners next month asking them to schedule an appointment to have the modulator sealed to prevent air intrusion.

This latest action comes a month after Japan's second-biggest carmaker recalled more than 400,000 vehicles worldwide to fix airbags that it said can explode and spray out potentially deadly metal shards.

In January some 191,000 Honda Fits were recalled in the United States because the power window switch could short out and cause a fire if a lot of water got into the door handle.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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