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Honda Fires Are Oil Change Related

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2004; Reuters reported that The Washington Post said at least 27 Honda CR-V sport-utility vehicles from the 2003 and 2004 model years burst into flames shortly after getting their first oil changes,

No injuries were reported, but many of the vehicles were destroyed, usually with 10,000 miles or fewer on their odometers, the newspaper said, citing records provided to the U.S. government by Honda.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration investigated the situation and concluded July 1 that the cases were the fault of dealerships or others who improperly installed oil filters, the newspaper said.

According to the report, NHTSA and American Honda Motor Co. agreed that oil from the filters most likely leaked onto the vehicles' hot exhaust systems, quickly igniting.

"We consulted with Honda. Honda concluded it was a technician's error, and they have taken steps to make sure service technicians who work on this vehicle understand that they need to be particularly diligent when they replace the oil filter," NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson was quoted as saying.

Honda doesn't know why the fires are happening in only the two most recent CR-V model years and not earlier ones, spokesman Andy Boyd told the newspaper "That's the part we're still investigating," he said.

There were about 140,000 CR-Vs sold in the United States in 2003 and Honda said 22 of them caught fire from the apparent oil filter problem, the Post reported. So far this year, five owners of 2004 CR-Vs have reported such fires to NHTSA, the newspaper said.