Christopher Mason heard about Honda’s recall of at least 1.4 million cars for faulty passenger-side air bags around 11 a.m. on Thursday.
Just an hour later, he took his Honda CR-V to Honda’s certified dealer, Car City, to have his air bag replaced.
“I didn’t know about the faulty air bags until someone told me about an hour ago that I should take my vehicle in for inspection. So I said, ‘Fine, for safety reasons I’d love to have them rectify the problem, so I brought it in,’” he said. “Prevention is better than cure. If they say we need to do it, I believe I have to respond.”
Mr. Mason was one of some 300 Honda drivers who had responded to the recall by taking their vehicles to Car City by noon on Thursday. Car City is holding a three-day event in the rear parking lot of the Foster’s airport location, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday.
However, Car City service manager Diane Hedge said that when the dealership’s staff showed up to work on Thursday around 6:30 a.m., they found Honda drivers who had been waiting there from 5:30 a.m. that morning.
Since then, “we’ve been slammed continuously nonstop,” Ms. Hedge told the Compass on Thursday afternoon.
She added that the dealership expects to be most busy on Saturday, when people have time off work to bring their vehicles in. At least 4,000 Honda and Acura vehicles on Grand Cayman need to have their air bags replaced following a worldwide recall of defective air bags.
Around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, there were 14 Hondas being serviced, with another eight waiting their turn.
Paul Martin, a Honda technician from Philadelphia, described what he was doing as he worked on a Honda Pilot.
“I’m replacing a passenger-side air bag inflator on this Honda Pilot,” he said. “Basically, we’re taking out the old inflator. We’ll strip it down and have a new inflator to put in, put a safety sticker on it to show that it’s been replaced, put a new wiring harness, new brackets, new bolts, and put it back in the car,” he said. “It takes as little as 10-20 minutes.”
Another technician, Kevin Newby from Montana, explained that the problem with the air bag inflators is that their manufacturer did not put enough moisture-absorbing desiccant in them.
“When the manufacturer made these, there’s a chemical compound that’s explosive and a desiccant that’s a moisture-absorbent – and there’s not enough of that in there,” he said. “So the powder becomes a solid and when it gets voltage to ignite, it becomes a bomb.”
Mr. Newby said that means that projectiles from the air bag could shoot-out anywhere – a very hazardous situation for passengers or drivers.
Near the work station, Mr. Mason and other drivers waited patiently for their air bags to be replaced. Mr. Mason said he had waited about 25 minutes so far. Other than the hot waiting tent, he said the process was going pleasantly and that the Car City staff had been courteous.
Car owners can determine if their vehicle is affected by the recall by visiting www.hondacayman.com/autos/recalls and entering their vehicle identification number.