Bizarre issue in Honda vehicles leaves the clock stuck in 2002

Owners of various Honda and Acura vehicles that have integrated GPS systems have encountered a strange problem that began on New Year's Day. The issue is that clocks on vehicles impacted by the bug are stuck in the year 2002. Reports indicate the clock issue affects Honda and Acura vehicles from model year 2004 up to model year 2012.

The Issue

The issue impacts all vehicles equipped with factory navigation systems, and owners of affected vehicles report that they are unable to change the time to correct the problem. Those who have successfully fixed the time note that when they turn the vehicle off, the clock reverts to 2002. Vehicle owners are also reporting that the plus and minus buttons on the navigation systems used for changing the time and date aren't functioning correctly.

The clock problem is affecting vehicles in the US and the UK. Presumably, it would affect any Honda or Acura vehicle with a vehicle navigation system anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, for now, there is no fix.

Honda is Aware of the Issue

Honda has issued official statements in the US and the UK on various forms, including the CRVownersclub forum. Honda USA issued a statement telling owners of affected vehicles the NAVI Clock issue has been escalated to the engineering team. Unfortunately, the engineering team has not found a fix for the problem. However, Honda USA did say that the issue with an inaccurate clock would plague vehicle owners from January 2022 through August 2022.

It would be no surprise if Honda doesn't issue a fix and simply makes owners of these older vehicles wait until August, when the clock issue will resolve itself. However, Honda USA stated that it was monitoring the problem and would advise owners if a fix is made available before August.

Honda UK offered owners a bit more information but still offered no fix. Honda UK says the technical department is working on the issue, and when a fix is discovered, authorized dealers will be made aware and will assist owners. Owners are advised to contact an authorized Honda dealer for updates because they have the latest information. It sounds like Honda dealerships in the US, and the UK are about to be inundated with questions about fixing the clock.

What's Causing the Issue?

As for the root cause of the issue, that is a mystery. However, there is speculation, as noted by Jalopnik. The publication cited some information from a forum user going by Jacalar on the Drive Accord forums. According to that user, when they went into the navigation system diagnostic menu, it was discovered the GPS date was set to May 19, 2002. That date was precisely 1024 weeks behind the current date.

That is an important discovery as GPS systems calculate time based on a specific starting point counting down from 0 to 1023, with the rollover occurring on the 1024th week. Since GPS systems debuted in the 80s, the first GPS week began January 6, 1980, and rolled over on August 21, 1999. Since then, another rollover has occurred on April 6, 2019. Following the same schedule, a rollover will happen in the year 2038.

It would seem when software developers working for Honda were coding functions for the navigation system, they failed to account for these rollovers properly. It's also important to note that Honda vehicles have had similar problems in the past. It would seem that whoever's in charge of programming navigation systems isn't taking GPS rollovers into account.

Previously, odd behavior from navigation system clocks in the Honda and Acura vehicles occurred in August 2017 and in January 2021. In both instances, clocks went back exactly 1024 weeks in the past. Unfortunately, it would seem the odd behavior will continue unless Honda corrects the underlying software code. Fortunately, Honda offered impacted owners update discs that fixed the issue in those past instances.

It's unclear at this time if Honda will offer update discs again. At any rate, eight months from now, the clocks will fix themselves. It will be a long and annoying eight months for vehicle owners.