Back in June, Honda recalled about 56,000 model year 2007 and 2008 Acura TL sedans due to the possibility of fire and of loss of steering. Recently, the Japanese automaker announced they are expanding the recall to include more than 573,000 of their model year 2003 to 2007 Accord sedans. Like the Acura recall, the Accord recall was prompted when Honda discovered that their older model Accord sedans were also prone to engine fire.  The underlying problem causing both of these recalls is now thought to have triggered the recall of over 1.1 million Honda vehicles since 2007.

The Problem

According to a report filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the fire hazard is a result of leaking power steering fluid—a common cause of both engine fires and automotive recalls.  The report outlines the problem in depth, citing the fact that the hoses carrying the power steering fluid have a tendency to deteriorate and thus leak because of abnormally high temperatures in the cars’ engine departments.  Though a recall of this kind and even of this enormity is not unheard of in the automotive sphere, rarely has an automaker recalled a vehicle and not had the resources to repair it.

Unfortunately, when announcing this recall, Honda confirmed that they currently don’t have enough replacement hoses to cover all the vehicles they are recalling and thus have to begin manufacturing more.  Therefore, they told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that they aren’t going to be able to fix the recalled Accord sedans until 2013 at the earliest. Because Honda is only aware of one Accord fire occurring because of this problem, however, they believe the danger to be relatively minimal at this time.

The Bigger Problem

Unlike other types of products, when your vehicle gets recalled, you can’t simply put it back in its box and ship it off to the manufacturer for a quick refund. And, though some people may be able to stop driving their cars until the problem can be fixed, the vast majority of Accord owners are going to have to keep on driving until Honda dealers are ready to make the repairs. So what should you do in the meantime, if you or someone you know owns a 2003-2007 Accord V6?

The best thing you can do is be overly attentive to your car.  If you smell something strange or notice any sort of smoke coming from your vehicle, pull over and turn the car’s engine off immediately. Additionally, be sure to periodically check the ground where you park your car.  If you find abnormal staining on the pavement underneath your vehicle after driving it for a long time, this may be a sign of a power steering fluid leak.  Even if you don’t own one of these cars, be aware that car rental companies are not yet required by law to park recalled vehicles until they’ve been fixed.

This post was contributed by Brittany Larson on behalf of Acura of Fayetteville.