Honda Backup Camera Problem

A class action filed in May 2021 alleges defective tailgate wiring harnesses in 2017, 2018, and 2019 Honda Ridgelines are causing problems with the vehicles’ backup cameras. The plaintiffs allege Defendants American Honda Motor Co., Inc., and Honda Motor Company, Ltd. (collectively, “Honda”), knew of the defect prior to selling the affected vehicles. However, owners and lessees seeking associated repairs are purportedly told there is no recall and must pay for the repair themselves.

As alleged in the complaint, the nature of the defect is as follows: the Ridgeline has a two-way (or “dual-action”) tailgate system, which allows the tailgate to be opened both vertically and horizontally. Opening the tailgate horizontally, however, pinches the tailgate wiring harness. This wiring harness is composed of wires that transmit power and data to the backup camera. The pinching causes the wiring to wear and eventually break or sever, and, in turn, the backup cameras to work only intermittently or fail altogether.

David MacTavish, one of the named Plaintiffs bringing the suit, claims his 2017 Honda Ridgeline experienced the defect about three years after he bought the vehicle. He says the backup camera began intermittently failing and he had to pay more than $400 for the repair. This fix, he says, is only temporary, and he anticipates the defect will return with continued use of the dual-action tailgate.

Another named plaintiff, Margaret Webb, states she experienced the defect in her 2018 Honda Ridgeline. She says when she put her car in reverse, the backup camera showed a black screen and orange grid, instead of an actual backup picture. She alleges the dealership tried to convince her the wiring damage was caused by a collision, blamed her for the problem, and charged her about $180 for the repair. Since then, she says, the backup camera has begun failing again—again displaying a black screen and orange grid.

The lawsuit contends Honda has known of the alleged defect, pointing to sources including pre-release testing, technical service bulletins, and complaints made to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The claims against Honda include alleged breaches of express and implied warranties, fraud, and unjust enrichment. The lawsuit seeks remedies including damages and an order requiring Honda to engage in a corrective advertising campaign.

The case is MacTavish, et al. v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc. et al, case number 2:21-cv-04289-GW-JEM, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.