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Honda to Mail Service Alerts to Owners of 1994-97 Models

September 20, 2000|JOHN O'DELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Owners of 1.4 million Honda cars and minivans will begin receiving notices in the mail next month alerting them to a potentially defective engine oil seal on their 1994-97 model vehicles, Torrance-based American Honda Motor Co. said Tuesday.

The so-called service update is not a formal recall but is typical of the process permitted under federal law when there is no safety issue. The letters will ask owners to call a local Honda dealer to set up appointments for free repairs.

In Japan, where vehicle recall laws are tougher, parent Honda Motor Co. on Tuesday issued a recall order for the same repair on 75,291 U.S.-built Accords sold in Japan as 1994-97 models.

The service update in the U.S. covers all four-cylinder Honda Accords, Preludes and Odyssey minivans sold as 1994, '95 and '96 models and some of the same vehicles sold as early-1997 models. It also will include a small number of early-1997 model Acura CL coupes.

American Honda spokesman Art Garner declined to divulge the estimated cost to the company of making the repair. He described it as "an extensive procedure" that involves opening the front engine cover and installing a clip to keep the engine balance shaft oil seal from slipping out of place.

Garner estimated that each repair would take half an hour, worth about $30 in labor charges at retail rates.

Although many of the vehicles to be repaired were built at Honda's U.S. plant in Marysville, Ohio, others were built overseas and imported to the U.S., he said.

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