At issue is a hose for the hydraulic power steering mechanism that can deteriorate over time, causing hydraulic fluid to leak out. Not only does this make steering the car more difficult, but the fluid can leak onto hot engine components, potentially starting a fire. Only V-6 models are affected; four-cylinder and hybrid Honda Accord models are not subject to recall.
Honda will contact Accord and Acura TL owners and install a new heat-resistant power steering hose at no charge. However, the actual installation may take some time, since Honda is currently short on the necessary part. The original recall started in June of this year; those owners will have their vehicles repaired immediately. However, some Honda Accord owners may not be able to get their cars repaired until early next year. Parts shortages notwithstanding, Honda will notify the owners of affected vehicles beginning on October 26, 2012, and will contact them again when parts are available.
If you own one of the affected vehicles–and considering the popularity of the Honda Accord, there’s a decent chance you do–and you have questions, you can contact Honda customer service at (800) 999-1009. Honda’s campaign number for the original recall is S39; the expanded numbers are S59 (for the vehicle inspection) and S60 (for the repair itself). You can also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s hotline at (888) 327-4236 (TTY 800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov, and reference NHTSA campaign number 12V222000.