Rust is causing a potentially dangerous problem in some Honda Accords, according to a 2012 article by Ron Regan in Cleveland,hondasubframerust Ohio’s The article is entitled “Center for Auto Safety Requesting Recall of 1.5 Million Honda Accords for Rust Issue in Sub- Frame.” It says that complaints have been filed with federal safety regulators over rusted-out sub-frames on the passenger side of some Accords. The problem, according to complaints, seems to be caused by the placement of an air conditioner drain. The affected Hondas range in model year from 1999 to 2002. Honda, however, denies any connection between the sub-frame rust and the air conditioning drain, calling it “incidental,” not “causal.” They say their decision to change the location of the drain in the 2003 model had nothing to do with this issue. There have apparently been no complaints filed about this problem occurring on the driver’s side (where there is no air conditioner drain) or in Accords built in the model year 2003 or later. From 2009 until the date of the article’s publication, the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) had received only 11 complaints about this problem. But even so, the Center for Auto Safety considered it serious enough that it asked Honda to voluntarily recall 1.5 million vehicles built with the potential design flaw. Regan gives us a peak at the personal side of the problem:

Tom Hites is a Cleveland area resident who first became aware of a rust issue last August. “I heard a big clunk from the front end,” said Hites. He immediately headed to a local garage near his home where he was advised his sub-frame was rotted through and the vehicle was unsafe to drive. That came as a surprise to Hites who has years of Honda service records that failed to indicate his sub-frame was rusted through. “Nobody says anything,” said Hites. “All of a sudden, from the last oil change to this one, all of a sudden the sub-frame is rusted out.”

The Honda Accord is a very popular car model, largely because it has proven itself to be reliable and long-lasting. But if the sub-frame (one of the most important parts of the vehicle’s skeleton, which supports major components and holds the whole thing together) is really failing because of a design error, it’s not hard to imagine why the Center for Auto safety issued its request. If you drive a Honda Accord in one of the affected model years, you should probably get the sub-frame checked, just to be on the safe side. And if you haven’t brought your vehicle in for its annual rustproofing yet, maybe this scary story about one of the most reliable cars on the road will be a good reminder to do so. A proven rust-prevention method like the Canadian Army uses for its vehicles, the RS3000 treatment from The Rust Stop Pro costs a fraction of the price of most rust-out repairs. And preventing structural rust damage is much less dangerous than hoping to catch it after it happens, but before your trusty Honda collapses on the highway.