— Honda Civic CVT problems have caused a lawsuit that alleges the cars roll away even though the gear shifters indicate the cars are in PARK.
The Honda Civic proposed class-action lawsuit includes consumers in the U.S. who purchased or leased 2016-2018 Civics equipped with continuously variable transmissions (CVTs).
Plaintiffs Sheryl Tenzyk and Larry Allen claim the CVTs fool drivers into believing the cars are in PARK and are safe to exit. In addition, the Civics fail to automatically activate the electric parking brakes when drivers exit or when the doors are opened.
Owners complain they knew their cars were in PARK only to cope with the aftermath of the cars rolling away.
"I was in the back seat...the car rolled down my driveway, across my street and into a tree on my neighbors property. I was thrown around the vehicle before being flung backwards out of the door that was still open. Once I came to, I thought I was crazy and had maybe neglected to put the car in Park, but when I checked inside the vehicle, the car was still sitting in Park." - 2017 Honda Civic owner
In 2016, Honda recalled about 350,000 model year 2016 Civics after the automaker found if the "EPB (electric parking brake) isn’t properly set and a parking gear is not selected by the driver, the vehicle could potentially roll away, increasing risk of a crash.”
Honda said dealers would update software to ensure the parking brakes engaged when the Civics were parked and before drivers exited the cars. However, the plaintiffs claim the recall did nothing to fix the CVT problems or the rollaway dangers.
The lawsuit alleges Honda didn't do enough with the recall considering only model year 2016 Civics were included, even though owners also were complaining about 2017 models.
"My new car will let you turn off (push button) and get out and walk away while still being in gear. I exited my vehicle in this situation and it rolled down the drive and hit a tree. It was 3 feet from rolling into a highway that could have resulted in serious injury or death." - 2017 Honda Civic owner
"When pulling into a parking spot I put the car into park but the car kept moving forward, over a sidewalk and into a building. I put the car in reverse and could not stop the car until it hit another object. Had damage to the front bumper and grill." - 2017 Honda Civic owner
Sheryl Tenzyk says she leased a 2016 Honda Civic and in November 2017 she started the car in her driveway and then went inside her home. She came back outside only to see the Civic had rolled down her driveway, then across the street and into another yard.
She says she ran to the Civic to find it still running and in NEUTRAL. The plaintiff alleges the car hit a cable pole and damaged the front part of the bumper, causing her to take the Civic to a body shop.
The plaintiff says she paid about $700 to repair the bumper and couldn't figure out how the Civic had rolled away because she knew it was in PARK when she exited the car.
In May 2018, she drove the car to a business and when she left the business she noticed the Civic had rolled backward into a handicapped parking spot.
Tenzyk says she called Honda corporate and was assigned a case number, but the automaker allegedly never contacted her other than by a letter that said her case was closed. She then contacted a Honda dealer and described both rollaway incidents, but the technician allegedly told her nothing was wrong with her car.
Additionally, the plaintiff claims she was told the problem was likely caused by "user error," but she was never asked to bring in the car for inspection.
According to the plaintiffs, they wouldn't have purchased the cars or would have paid less for them if Honda would have told them about the gear shift and CVT problems.
The Honda Civic lawsuit alleges Honda knew there were better gear shifter designs that included safeguards such as automatically putting the vehicle in park when the driver’s door opens or when the ignition is turned off.
According to the lawsuit, nearly a million 2016-2018 Honda Civics contain the gear shift and CVT problems.
The Honda Civic gear shift and CVT lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York - Sheryl Tenzyk and Larry Allen, et al., v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc.