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China’s Dongfeng Honda Automobile to issue recall due to lubricant-related issues

Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co. Ltd. will recall 130,455 vehicles to replace parts affected by lubricant-related issues, which could potentially damage the engine and cause safety problems. Dongfeng Honda is a 50-50 joint venture between China’s Dongfeng Motor Group and Japan’s Honda Motor Company, headquartered in Wuhan, China.

China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said the locally made Dongfeng Honda CR-V fitted with 1.5-liter turbocharged Earth Dream engines may encounter “lubricant level” problems in extremely cold weather.

The recall plan reported by state media includes free replacements of the air conditioning control unit and a software upgrade for the electronic control unit, in addition to replacing the motor oil, air filter and adding a new engine cleanser.

For models with continuously variable transmissions, the recall will also include replacing the bottom water pipe for the radiator and a software upgrade for the transmission control unit.

A source familiar with the matter lamented the lack of transparency in the recall, China Daily said.

“Dongfeng Honda has to give at least part of the data and tests results to show its plan is effective in solving the current lubricant oil issue,” the source said.

The recall plan was revised after the government agency rejected the automaker’s initial plan, which was proposed on 1 March 2018. Initially, the plan was to drain and replace the engine oil, provide a software upgrade in the electronic control unit, extend the warranty to six years or 200,000 kilometers, and carry out further research.

A day after the state agency rejected the initial plan, Dongfeng Honda announced that it would halt the delivery of 2018 CR-Vs in response to problems with lubricant levels, without providing further details.

The issue surfaced after vehicle owners of the automaker’s most popular sport utility vehicle (SUV), Dongfeng Honda 1.5T 2018 CR-V, came forward to complain. Initially, vehicle owners in China’s northeastern provinces reported experiencing problems with “lubricant levels” in the 1.5-liter turbocharged Earth Dream engine during extremely cold temperatures; however, even customers in the southern provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, where the weather is milder, also reported similar issues.

Dongfeng Honda said it has received 20,742 complaints nationwide as of January 2018. In February, the automaker said that the “lubricant level” problems should not cause abnormal wear nor shorten engine life.

The 1.5T Earth Dream engine is installed in more than 10 locally made Honda models, including the Dongfeng Honda Civic and the GAC Honda Avancier.