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Toyota is not the only Japanese car company with braking problems. Now the Associated Press and Sky News have reported that Honda will recall 412,000 Odyssey minivans and Element vehicles due to braking problems that make it difficult for the vehicle to stop if not repaired.

From the AP:

DETROIT — Honda Motor Co. will recall more than 410,000 Odyssey minivans and Element small trucks because of braking system problems that could make it tougher to stop the vehicle if not repaired.

The recall includes 344,000 Odysseys and 68,000 Elements from the 2007 and 2008 model years.

Honda said in a statement that over time, brake pedals can feel "soft" and must be pressed closer to the floor to stop the vehicles. Left unrepaired, the problem could cause loss of braking power and possibly a crash, Honda spokesman Chris Martin said.

"It’s definitely not operating the way it should, and it’s safety systems, so it brings it to the recall status," he said.


Honda has traced the problem to the device that powers the electronic stability control system, which selectively brakes each of the wheels to keep the vehicles upright during an emergency situation.

When the device, called a "vehicle stability assist modulator," tests itself when the vehicles are started, it allows a small amount of air into the hydraulic brake lines. Over time, an air bubble in the lines can cause a loss of braking power and require that the pedal be pushed farther toward the floor than normal to stop the vehicles, Martin said.

"Although not all vehicles being recalled are affected by this issue, we are recalling all possible units to assure all customers that their vehicles will perform correctly," Honda said in a statement.

Sky News reports that this is not Honda’s only recall in recent months.

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

The latest recall adds to the woes of Japan’s auto industry, a key export earner of Asia’s largest economy.

Toyota made global headlines after recalling more than eight million vehicles over faulty accelerator and brake systems.

Honda’s latest recall affects 2007-2008 models of the Odyssey minivan and Element sport utility vehicle.

The firm said some accidents involving brakes in vehicles covered under the recall were reported to safety regulators. Three people suffered minor injuries in the crashes.

Japanese automaker Toyota has been involved in a safety nightmare as it engaged in a pattern of cover-ups and deception before finally recalling more than 10 million vehicles worldwide because of sudden acceleration problems.

Let’s hope Honda has learned from Toyota’s mistakes.

You can learn more at our safety blog and become a fan of Langdon & Emison on Facebook.

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