Honda recalls Civic, Fit to fix CVTs

Some 144,000 cars could end up with broken drive-pulley shafts

Published: October 4, 2015, 12:00 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 2:22 PM

18 of the best back-to-school cars for students - 2015 Honda Fit DX MSRP: $14,575 It's hard to fault the combination of a tall, traffic-friendly seating position, good levels of standard equipment and small footprint. And the highly customizable second-row Magic Seat offers easily customizable interior storage. Basic power amenities, Bluetooth hands-free interface and a rear-view camera are welcome additions, although A/C is not included. A new 1.5-litre engine has direct injection for better fuel consumption and more power than before, now hitting 130 horsepower. Its six-speed manual transition is Honda-easy, and an optional CVT is available, although with a much-higher buy-in of $18,675.

Honda is recalling 143,676 cars to fix an issue with continuously variable transmissions that may lead to drive-pulley failures and potential crashes.

2014 Honda Civic - front 3/4 view

The recall affects 2014-15 Civics and 2015 Fits, and arises from software programming that is written for high-hydraulic pressure under certain operating conditions and may put the drive pulley shaft under high stress. Combine that with manufacturing of the drive pulley shaft at low-stress tolerations and it could result in a shaft fracture if the low tolerance drive-pulley shaft is repeatedly subjected to high stress conditions.

If the shaft breaks during vehicle operation, one of two things could happen. The car may coast to a standstill because no power is being directed to the wheels (meaning the driver may have to steer around traffic to a safe spot on the shoulder or be forced to stop in a “live” lane), or the front wheels could suddenly lock up (which could be catastrophic if it happens at high speeds, and especially in crowded highway traffic conditions).

The issue was discovered during a warranty claim in the United States (there have reportedly been 23 of those), and Honda is not aware of any crashes or injuries related to the issue, although there was also a lock-up reported in Canada that was related to the issue.

Several weeks back, 12,232 City (2014) and Jazz (2015) models were recalled in Malaysia for the same defect. The Jazz is marketed in North America as the Fit.

Owners will be notified by mail, starting in mid-October 2015, and are asked to bring the car to an authorized dealer to have the car inspected and repaired, if necessary. Owners can also check to see if their vehicles are affected by the recall, or call (888) 234-2138.