Extreme heat causes driver warning systems to shut down on Honda Accord

Posted at 8:10 PM, Jun 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-21 23:10:59-04

The Valley’s summer heat can cause all kinds of problems, and certain car safety features are the latest casualty.

Safety is always top of mind for insurance business owner Jayson Hoffer.

“I've almost died twice; 15 years ago when an 89-year-old man pulled out in front of me there was nothing I could do,” said Hoffer. “Ever since I've had back pain and headaches so I want the safest car I could be in.”

Hoffer said he chose his 2015 Honda Accord for two key protection features. He pays $100 extra per month for the upgraded Accord with its forward collision and lane departure warning systems.

But the system takes an early exit when it's too hot.

“It's not going off.  It should be beeping at me saying get back in your own lane,” said Hoffer, pointing to a flashing light on the dash warning that the forward collision and lane departure system is disengaged.

Honda told ABC15 that the system shutdown happens to protect the windshield mounted camera that runs the system – issuing the following statement, in part:

“As noted in the 2015 Honda Accord Owner's Manual…  the sensing camera used for various driver assistance features, such as LDW (Lane Departure Warning), will turn off under high interior heat situations.

Because cameras create their own heat when operating, when cabin temperature reaches a high level the camera will not operate to ensure it is not damaged.

The cabin temperature at which this occurs is very high (we do not have specifics to share) and at a level most likely to be uncomfortable for persons inside the vehicle. Therefore the situation of a camera not operating due to excessive heat would be very unlikely to occur when the climate control system is being used to make the cabin temperature comfortable for passengers.”

“I've got the air conditioning on high and we've been in the car five minutes now and it still shows the system is off,” said Hoffer, noting that the A/C isn’t an instant fix. 

During ABC 15’s ride along, it took 15 minutes before the system cooled down enough to work. That is most of Hoffer’s commute, meaning the system is rarely engaged when he’s headed home from work in the summer.

“That's just unacceptable to me,” said Hoffer.

Short of a fix from Honda, Hoffer thinks the car should come with a warning... 

“…notifying the consumer that's buying the car, hey, this system may not work in the Arizona heat,” said Hoffer.

Hoffer said he understands there may not be a quick fix – or any fix at all. However, he thinks Honda should let him out of his three-year lease if it can’t offer a permanent solution.

Honda told us it helps to park in the shade and use reflective window shades to keep the temperature down inside the car. Honda also said the owner’s manual has tips for keeping the safety systems working.