Honda has issued a recall for 500,000 of its most popular models, including its top-selling Accord, Acura and CR-V brands, after a front seat belt latching issue was discovered to be widespread.

Honda says the problem stems from a surface coating on the channel for the buckle. The coating has been found to deteriorate over time, leading to the possibility of the release button shrinking against the channel at lower temperatures.

If that happens, it can increase friction and stop the buckle from latching properly. The result is concern that a driver or passenger may not be restrained in a crash, increasing the risk of injury.

Of the more than 20,000 people killed in car crashes in 2020, 51% were not wearing seat belts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, endorsing the lifesaving values of functioning seat belts.

The recall covers cars only in the U.S. and Canada. Honda said it is not aware of any injuries or deaths stemming from the problem.

The recall impacts the following vehicles and model years:

  • CR-V -- 2017 through 2020
  • Accord -- 2018 and 2019
  • Odyssey -- 2018 through 2020
  • Insight -- 2019
  • Acura RDX -- 2019 and 2020

Owners of impacted models will be contacted through mail starting April 17. Dealers will replace the front seat belt buckle release buttons or the buckle assemblies as necessary.

This recall marks the Japanese automakers' second of 2023, following a February notice for over 8,000 cars with a potential airbag default. That issue was linked to over 30 deaths worldwide and was regarded as much more dangerous than the more recent announcement.