We've reported three times on Honda's recent major recall that's affected vehicles sold in the U.S., China and Japan. Not being mechanics, we've done our best to relay what the actual issue is that's prompted the recalls, but most articles we've found on the topic stop after mentioning something about the fuel pump and engines that won't start.

Fortunately, Honda noticed we were in the dark and shot us a quick email to explain exactly what the issue is, which we found interesting since the mainstream media's descriptions have been pretty vague and off the mark in comparison.

The issue involves not the fuel pump, but a fuel pump relay, which is like a fuse. During production of the relay, presumably by a supplier, sealer leaked inside and coated parts of the metal coil that transfers the electrical signal within the relay. As the relay activates during normal operation, it continually heats and cools. Because these particular relays may be coated with sealer, they cannot contract and expand properly, which could cause them to become brittle and break. If that happens, then the car will not start or may stall while driving. Fortunately, the relay is located right in the under dash fuse box, so repairing the problem is simply a matter of popping a new relay in.

This more detailed explanation certainly puts the severity of the recall in perspective, though unfortunately its scope, which now reaches over 1,000,000 vehicles sold around the world, cannot be denied.

[Source: Honda]