We Helped Build a Honda Accord—Here’s How It Went
“When I asked to help assemble cars at Marysville, Honda was amenable, but only if I stated that no Accords were harmed in the making of this story. Shannon Freeman put her 27 years of experience to work guiding me along, preventing me from screwing up anything on a customer’s car. But first she had to show me all the steps she takes for each Accord that passes through her station in need of a steering wheel, which she installs.
After first scanning a bar code on each car as it approaches, she plucks a wheel from a bin, scans its bar code, then pops two fasteners into a plastic liner under the hood as she moves toward the cockpit. She also grabs a seatbelt cover, a bolt, and the right and left sun visors from bins. Before she hops in the car, she torques the driver’s seatbelt bolt with a wrench that’s sitting on the seat. Then she snaps the cover in place.
Inside, she fishes the keys from the center console, turns on the ignition, and plugs an electronic test box into the OBD II port under the dash. While the box checks the electric power steering, turning the Accord’s front wheels as it glides forward on the line, Freeman installs one of the visors. Then she pulls a tab off the steering column’s wiring harness, chucking it in a disposal bin before threading the wiring through the back of the wheel as she fits it onto the column.
It was about here that my brain went into overload the first time she demonstrated the process. And the second. And the third time, too. But Freeman still had to plug in the wiring connector, turn off the car, and hand-thread the bolt in the center of the steering wheel. Then hop out of the car, grab an automatic power tool, fit its fixture to the rim of the steering wheel, and tighten the bolt. Time to completion: 54.2 seconds, the same as every station in exterior assembly.”