Who knew that regularly cleaning your car could turn it into a fire trap?
Well, no-one really, unless you’re the owner of a Honda Ridgeline ute in the USA, which has been recalled because of its susceptibility to self-combustion after being exposed to car-wash soap.
The issue affects more than 106,000 2017-2019 model-year Ridgelines – which aren’t sold in Australia – and stems from acids found in some car wash soaps degrading the fuel pump's plastic housing over time.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall states that during washing, soapy water can drain off the Ridgeline’s cargo tray on to the fuel pump. Detergents containing sulphuric acid in particular can break down the plastic, which can then lead to a high-pressure fuel leak and significant fire risk.
Many car wash soaps contain acid, and most cars have plastic fuel-pump components but unlike the Ridgeline's they are protected from direct contact with water during a wash.
American Honda is notifying Ridgeline owners of the fault and is checking fuel pumps for signs of damage and replacing them at no cost when necessary.
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It is also installing a cover to protect the fuel pump from liquids, which is now standard on all Ridgelines built from January this year.
As much as Honda Australia would want a dual-cab ute in its ranks, the 3.5-litre V6-petrol powered Ridgeline isn't an option here as it’s only available in left-hand drive. Australian Honda owners need not fear a fire next time they pull into the carwash.
- Main image digitally altered.