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Honda recalls 106,000 Ridgelines because soap can cause a fuel leak

You might want to hide that frequent-washer card for a spell.

2019 Honda Ridgeline

Did you know certain car wash soaps and detergents may contain sulfuric acid? It's normally not a big deal, since you're not drinking it, but according to a new Honda recall, its use could have unforeseen effects on the new Ridgeline's fuel system.

Honda  issued a recall today for approximately 106,000 examples of the 2017-2019 Ridgeline pickup truck. The affected vehicles carry build dates between the start of Ridgeline production and Jan. 17, 2019. Vehicles built after that point lack the defect that spurred the recall.

The issue stems from the truck bed and the fuel system. The bed is designed to drain liquid, so that it doesn't turn into a bathtub when it rains. However, the sulfuric acid present in some car wash detergents might seep out of the bed and come in contact with the fuel pump's feed port. If that happens, it may spring a pressurized fuel leak, which increases the risk of a fire.

Honda discovered this issue after receiving the first report of a fuel leak in early 2017. Honda says it thought that was a unique occurrence, but reopened the investigation following additional reports of fuel leaks. After getting more information from vehicle owners, Honda started investigating the contents of car wash soaps, only to discover that the sulfuric acid within those soaps was the cause of the fuel leaks. To date, Honda says, it has received 14 warranty claims but no reports of fire or injuries.

Thankfully, remedying the issue isn't too hard. Upon receiving the affected vehicles, Honda's technicians will examine the fuel feed port and, if necessary, replace the fuel pump. Fuel pump covers will be added to all vehicles to ensure the problem will not happen again. Dealers have already been notified, but owners shouldn't expect to receive notifications via first-class mail until early March.