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Mazda To Issue Its Largest Recall Ever Over Power Steering

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On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 2:39PM | By: Chris Weiss

Mazda To Issue Its Largest Recall Ever Over Power Steering

According to Reuters, Mazda is planning the recall of more than 500,000 vehicles worldwide over safety issues with the power steering system. The recall includes 215,000 Mazda3 and Mazda5 models in the United States. Model years affected are 2007 to 2009.

The problem relates to a potential loss in power-assisted steering arising from rust off the high-pressure pipe falling off into the power steering pump and interfering with the power assist system. If this happens, it could present drivers with problems steering that could lead to a crash. According to the Reuters report, three accidents have been reported as a result of the problem, but none have resulted in injuries. While Mazda informed the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration that it would conduct the recall, it indicated that it did not believe the steering issue presents a significant safety hazard to drivers.

The recall extends well beyond the U.S. with vehicles in China, Europe and Australia also affected. In some markets, the models are called the Axela and the Premac.

According to its own statements submitted to the NHTSA, Mazda has been investigating the issue for two years. Last year, the company issued an advisory in Japan for the steering issues and made repairs on the vehicles. The company states that the occurrence rate was higher in Japan, which is why it fixed vehicles there a year before issuing the U.S. recall. A specific timetable for the U.S. recall has not yet been published.

The NHTSA began its investigation last June after receiving 33 complaints from Mazda3 owners.

The new recall comes at a time when Japanese automakers are under heavy scrutiny for safety issues. Toyota has issued recalls affecting more than 10 million vehicles since last year, most notable of which are those that relate to unintended acceleration. In April, the automaker was fined a maximum of $16.4 million by the NHTSA for failing to notify the agency quickly enough on the sticky accelerator pedal issue. Other major Japanese automakers like Honda and Nissan have also issued recalls within the past year.

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