Mazda Motor Company has announced the recall of more than 200,000 2007-2009 Mazda3 and Mazda5 vehicles in the U.S. to fix defective power-assist steering pumps and pipes.
Mazda’s senior vice president of product development and quality, Robert Davis, said the automaker notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the recall last Thursday.
Last June the NHTSA initiated an investigation into 33 complaints it had received from owners of 2007-2009 Mazda3s. The complaints allege power steering failures and loss of steering control and included three reported crashes that were attributed to the problems.
According to Mazda’s corporate Web site, vehicles that suffer a failure of the power steering system “will require more physical effort to steer, but at no time is the vehicle undrivable.” Mazda has also posted a video that instructs motorists what to do in the event that their vehicle experiences a power steering failure.
According to Davis, the Mazda vehicles can lose power steering if rust from pipes that connect the steering rack to the power steering pump fouls sensors located inside the steering pump. He said that in the event the sensors become contaminated by rust, the power steering pump is designed to automatically shut itself down as a failsafe measure.
Davis explained that rust formed in some of the pipes during the manufacturing process when they were cleaned and coated. He said the NHTSA issued a service bulletin about the problem over a year ago. Mazda, he said, decided to issue its recall due to the large number of vehicles equipped with the suspect power steering system.
Owners of model-years 2007-2009 Mazda3s and Mazda5s are being instructed to take their vehicles to their dealership to have the power steering pump, steering rack and connecting pipes replaced.
The recall comes as Mazda is preparing for the U.S. launch of the Mazda2 subcompact. The five-door hatchback will compete against the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Mini, Nissan Versa, Kia Soul and Scion tC.
On Friday, China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine announced that Mazda and its Chinese joint venture would recall 10,691 vehicles imported from Japan due to similar power steering problems. In China, the recalled models include model-years 2007-2008 Mazda3s and Mazda5s.
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