Mazda recalls 206K SUVs for front suspension fix

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Mazda North American said Tuesday it is recalling 206,000 SUVs that may have rusted suspension parts — less than two months after the U.S. government opened an investigation.

The Japanese automaker said the recall covers about 193,000 2007-2014 CX-9 SUVs in the United States with front suspension ball joints that may corrode from water leaking into the fitting. It also covers 988 vehicles in Puerto Rico, 10,600 in Canada and about 1,000 in Europe.

Mazda dealers will replace both the left and right lower control arms when the remedy parts are available. The recall will begin with 2007-2009 vehicles registered in states that use significant amounts of road salt: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The second phase will be for model year 2010-2014 vehicles in the same states. Finally, all remaining vehicles will be remedied in non-salt weather states. Mazda said it has no reports of of accidents or injury related to this issue.

Mazda told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it first began investigating the issue in 2012. In June 2013, Mazda decided to change the shape of the top surface of the boots cover and add the suspension plate to the undersurface of the knuckle as mass production countermeasure under the severe environment to the rust. But it opted not to recall the vehicles since it says the vehicles will work without problems for approximately two years even after unusual noise occurred. “Therefore, Mazda considered that the separation of the ball joint did not occur suddenly during driving and that there was enough recognition by the unusual noise to notice the failure,” Mazda said.

In June, NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation based on 16 complaints into the failure that front suspension lower ball joint separates while driving, resulting in a loss of vehicle control. Mazda said it now recognizes “that the failure might occur without customer's noticing unusual noise because some (complaints) showed that a ball joint fell out suddenly.”