Honda said the driver's air bag could deploy with too much pressure and send metal and plastic pieces flying, causing injuries or deaths.
Honda said there have been 20 accidents related to this problem, including 2 deaths in the US in 2009
The recall affects the Accord, Civic, Odyssey, Pilot, CR-V and other models manufactured in 2001 and 2002.
The recall spans 273,000 vehicles in the U.S., 27,000 in Canada, nearly 2,000 vehicles in Japan and another 2,000 elsewhere.
Honda plans to notify customers by mail this month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report