A poorly designed coaxial cable is prone to deforming and causing a lost connection to the infotainment screen.
Backup cameras are almost taken for granted at this point, with vehicles built after May 2018 federally mandated to feature the helpful, safety-enhancing technology.
Honda is having some issues with its backup cameras, however, as over a million units of the Honda Odyssey, Honda Pilot, and Honda Passport are now subject to a NHTSA recall.
A poorly designed cable is prone to loosening from its connection and can result in intermittent power to the infotainment system and even disconnect the rearview camera entirely.
Backup cameras have been officially mandated since 2018 and the helpful technology has reduced the number of backover crashes by 17%, the IIHS says. Furthermore, the cameras have made parking and reverse maneuvering easier for the driving population as a whole, but especially for drivers 70 years and older, according to crash data analysis.
However, because these features are now federally mandated, any sort of mass malfunction can trigger a recall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And in the case of over one million late-model Hondas, a deformed coaxial cable is to blame for a new backup camera-related recall.
The Pilot is Honda’s largest crossover and its only non-minivan third-row model.
Specifically, 2018-2023 Honda Odysseys, 2019-2022 Honda Pilots, and 2019-2023 Honda Passports are all subject to the federal recall. Of the 1,198,280 units affected, the NHTSA estimates only about 50% of the models will feature the defective cable. Even so, all of the million-plus units will need to be examined by Honda technicians.
“The Media Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) communication coaxial cable was improperly designed and manufactured, resulting in deformed terminals and potentially causing poor, or lost, connections intermittently between the audio display unit and the vehicle cable connector,” the official recall statement reads. Notably, the recall notice explains the primary safety reasoning behind the recall is backup camera-related, not infotainment degradation.
Extreme off-roading probably won’t help your coaxial cable stay connected.
That’s technical language for the infotainment system screen power going in and out, though multiple customers complained that the backup camera would stop working entirely even if the screen regained power. The recall tells current model owners to listen for popping or crackling sounds, or the screen may even flicker.
Honda first learned of this issue in 2019 after receiving a quality report related to flickering issues in the infotainment screen, eventually asking its cable supplier to extend the cable for 2020-built models. Waterproof couplers were also used in continuing production of the Odyssey, Pilot, and Passport, though to no success. The warranty was extended on affected models in 2021, though Honda didn’t observe backup camera failures until early this year, triggering the recall.
There is a fix that will be available shortly at no cost to the customer, Honda’s filing with the NHTSA explains. Dealers will install an improved cable harness between the existing display audio and vehicle terminal connections, as well as a straightening cover over the vehicle cable connector to ensure a proper connection. Owners will be notified between July 24 and August 2.
Because these are relatively new vehicles, Honda has also issued a stop sale of all affected model years, given that many are currently sitting on dealership lots. Though these issues should be remedied quickly, a stop sale on Honda’s larger SUVs and minivans is certain to dampen sales shortly.