The rear windows of one of Honda’s top reliable vehicles are shattering

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    Honda is planning to fix an issue with its 2023 Honda HR-V SUVs that has prompted hundreds of consumer complaints about rear windows unexpectedly shattering.

    Numerous complaints have been posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website about the windows breaking spontaneously without any impact. Some HR-V owners reported that the window shattered while the vehicle was parked, while others witnessed it break after they entered the car and while driving. 

    Honda says that the issue is linked to the use of the HR-V’s rear defroster, which weakens the glass because the defroster’s heating elements come into contact with the sealer that secures the rear window.

    “American Honda has received a limited number of reports of rear-hatch glass breaking on 2023 Honda HR-V vehicles associated with rear defroster use. Our investigation has revealed that during the assembly process for some vehicles, the sealer used to secure the rear glass may come into contact with the heating elements of the defroster, leading to a hot spot and weakening of the glass over time as the defroster is used,” a Honda spokesperson told FOX Business.

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    Honda Dealership

    Honda is planning a product update campaign to address the rear window issue in 2023 Honda CR-V SUVs. (Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

    Honda hasn’t issued a voluntary recall for the 2023 HR-V but is planning a “product update campaign” that will look to replace affected parts this spring. The campaign officially kicks off in April, but owners of a Honda 2023 HR-V are encouraged to call their local Honda dealer for a new rear window if it breaks. Owners can also call Honda customer service at 800-999-1009.

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    “Honda will be initiating a voluntary product update campaign related to this issue and is working to secure the needed replacement parts as soon as possible. We estimate that this campaign will begin in April or May 2024,” Honda said. “Note that glass breakage due to external causes (impacts, etc.) is not covered by Honda’s limited warranty but may be covered by a vehicle owner’s insurance policy.”

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    Honda HR-V

    Rear windows on the 2023 Honda HR-V may shatter if the rear window defroster is used due to the heat weakening the window’s sealer. (Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images / Getty Images)

    During a test by Customer Reports last week, a tester in the New England area used a remote start to warm the vehicle and the rear window shattered. The outlet reported, “Nobody was injured, and the cargo in the rear wasn’t damaged. But our tester had to clean up glass shards from his driveway, and the contents of the cargo area were no longer secure from weather and theft.”

    Honda uses tempered glass in the HR-V, as it does in nearly all new vehicles. Unlike traditional glass, which leaves pointed shards, tempered glass breaks into small but mostly harmless pieces. 

    However, Consumer Reports noted that the issue should prompt Honda to recall the vehicles because a rear window shattering while someone is driving could prompt enough of a distraction to cause a crash.

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    Honda 2024 HR-V

    A 2024 Honda HR-V sits on a dealer’s lot on November 27, 2023, in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images / Getty Images)

    “This is a known defect in some Honda HR-Vs, and especially if someone’s driving at high speed or in dense traffic, it could all too easily lead to a crash,” said William Wallace, associate director of safety policy at Consumer Reports. “For the sake of its customers and everyone on the road, Honda should convert its service campaign to an official safety recall of all affected vehicles, which would help get the word out and maximize the number of owners who get their cars fixed.”

    NHTSA is aware of the issue and is discussing it with Honda. The agency encourages anyone with safety concerns about their vehicle to file a vehicle owner’s questionnaire or call its Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236.

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    The 2023 Honda HR-V was among the Honda and Acura vehicles that earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) TOP SAFETY PICK (TSP) rating or better for 2023.

    The 2024 Honda HR-V starts at $24,100.



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