Owners say Acura HandsFreeLink problems cause parasitic current draw, draining the batteries.

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Acura HandsFreeLink Problems Cause Battery Drain Lawsuit
Owners say Acura HandsFreeLink problems cause parasitic current draw, draining the batteries.

— Acura HandsFreeLink problems have caused a class-action lawsuit that alleges the HandsFreeLink drains batteries and keeps draining batteries.

The HandsFreeLink lawsuit was filed against Honda, parent organization of Acura and one of the first companies to use Bluetooth hands-free technology, calling it HandsFreeLink. The system allows a driver to "pair" a smartphone with the car, but according to the plaintiff, Honda should have warned consumers about the alleged defects that cause batteries to drain at alarming rates.

In addition to the toll on the battery, the alternator and other components of the electrical system take a beating, leading to failures and expensive repairs.

Plaintiff Janice Pfeiffer says she purchased a 2006 Acura MDX in 2008 and by 2012 her Acura experienced its first drained battery, followed by a repeated schedule of jump starts, replacement of the alternator and several batteries.

Pfeiffer says she finally learned in 2016 the HandsFreeLink system was to blame and had been causing a strain on the electrical system.

The lawsuit says Honda messed up when it created the HandsFreeLink unit to stay on even when the ignition switch is turned off. This always-on status creates a constant "parasitic drain" on the electrical system and a series of dead batteries.

The plaintiff says she and other Acura owners are left with the choice of replacing the HandsFreeLink units at a cost of at least $1,000 each or disconnecting the HandsFreeLink units from the vehicles. Even if an Acura owner chooses to replace the unit, the lawsuit says there is no guarantee the new unit won't get stuck in the "on" position.

Despite knowing about the issue with its HandsFreeLink since at least 2005, the plaintiff says Honda has only issued internal service bulletins to its dealers without recalling the vehicles or extending the warranties.

Acura dealers were sent a service bulletin in 2005 that said the HandsFreeLink systems can get “locked up” in an “on” position and the “system staying on may cause a dead or low battery while the vehicle’s ignition switch is off.” Dealers were told to replace the units with the same allegedly defective units, causing repeated trips to replace batteries once the problems reoccurred.

In a service bulletin sent to Acura dealers on December 6, 2008, Honda allegedly said the HandsFreeLink “control unit has an internal problem, which creates a parasitic current draw of 250mA.” One of the symptoms of the problem was the battery would be so drained that it could not start the vehicle.

The plaintiff also claims the system can reset and hide the original problem from technicians. Then the system can get stuck in the "on" position once again and the problem repeats itself.

Some owners have complained about replacing batteries up to four times, with the response from Acura to disconnect the HandsFreeLink unit.

"The hands free link system that uses bluetooth to connect to your cellular phone is defective. It kills the car battery, always drawing current from the battery even when the car is parked and not running. Had battery replaced all ready. Manufacturer suggested repair is to disconnect the hands free link from the vehicle." - 2006 Acura TL owner / Champaign, Illinois

"...the blue tooth hands free on the steering wheel has killed 4 batteries and caused me to be stranded after not using car for two days. this car I bought brand new, more money than I ever should of spent on a vehicle and it is a disgrace!" - 2006 Acura TL owner / Vero Beach, Florida

Included in the class-action lawsuit are all Acura vehicles equipped with HandsFreeLink units with the alleged defects.

The Acura HandsFreeLink lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California - Janice Pfeiffer, et al v. American Honda Motor Company Inc.

The plaintiffs are represented by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Seeger Weiss, Carella, Byrne, Cecchi, Olstein, Brody & Agnello, P.C. and Baron & Budd, P.C.


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