Owners of older Honda and Acura models started up their cars on New Year’s Day, only to find that their vehicles turned into time machines, according to a report from Jalopnik. Instead of seamlessly transitioning to the year 2022, cars’ clocks jumped 20 years back in time, and Honda says a fix could be months away.
My @Honda 2007 CR-V clock now useless in 2022; resets to 2:00 MST on 1/1/2002 after every startup. 32-bit signed integer overflow of yymmddHHMM? Would unsigned int fix it? This is time-critical. ;-) Thousands of us need a software update! pic.twitter.com/BSGCaxnMmx— Sumner Hushing (@_______shushing) January 4, 2022
As spotted by Jalopnik, reports of digital clock issues have been popping up in Honda and Acura forums all over the internet, with the issue only affecting older vehicles with navigation. It’s not clear exactly which years are affected, but judging by user reports, it looks like the issue is prevalent in models released from 2006 to 2014 in the US, Canada, and the UK.
No matter the year or model, the Y2K22 problem manifests itself in the same way — the date shown on the navigation system has been reverted to the year 2002 and displays a time that’s several hours off. Some users mention that the separate radio clock shows an incorrect time as well, and even if they attempt to manually tweak the time and date, the system doesn’t appear to save those changes.
“American Honda is aware of a potential concern related to the clock display on certain older Acura and Honda models equipped with navigation systems,” Honda spokesperson Chris Naughton told The Verge. “We are currently investigating this issue to determine possible countermeasures and have no additional details to share at this time.”
A post on the CR-V Owners forum shows a more detailed response from both Honda in the US and the UK, with the US representative noting that drivers could experience the issue from January to August 2022 and that the system will “auto-correct” itself after this period. Meanwhile, the UK spokesperson doesn’t provide an exact timeline for the fix, but says that the “Honda technical department are currently working on this” and that “a service bulletin will be issued to our dealers from Honda UK on how to fix this.”
According to Jalopnik, it’s possible that the issue could be caused by a coding complication. Jacalar, a user on the Drive Accord forum, says that after diving into their navigation system’s diagnostic menu, they noticed that the date on the GPS was set to May 19th, 2002, which is 1,024 weeks ago.
As explained by Jalopnik, a GPS uses a starting point, otherwise known as an epoch, to determine the date and time. This information is sent out to GPS devices in a string of 10 binary digits that represents the current week, which starts at zero and ends at 1,023 — the number is supposed to return to zero on week 1,024. Ever since the first week zero was set on January 6th, 1980, we experience a widescale GPS week number rollover every 19.7 years, with the first occurring in August 1999, and the most recent on April 6th, 2019. It’s possible that Honda’s navigation software didn’t account for a rollover to happen on New Year’s Day, potentially due to a coding oversight, causing navigation systems to return to the beginning of the set calendar.
Apparently, this isn’t the first time that the clocks in Hondas and Acuras have been affected by such a strange problem. On August 16th, 2017, a day that coincides with the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, the navigation systems on older Honda and Acura models failed completely and were mysteriously stuck on 0:00.