Because of a deadly steering problem, Mazda issued a recall on its 2007 through 2009 Mazda 3’s and Mazda 5’s. The recall affects over 500,000 cars worldwide and about 215,000 in North America.
The recall was issued due to the vehicles’ sudden loss of power steering, which makes the vehicle difficult to steer. Mazda began investigating the problem two years ago, and by the summer of 2009 it had discovered the source of the problem – rust was forming inside a pipe on the power steering system, and rust particles were entering the power steering pump, which caused the pump to shut down to prevent overheating.
In 2009, Mazda issued a recall in Japan because of the high occurrence rate of the problem. However, Mazda did not issue a recall in the U.S., claiming that the problem rarely occurred and instead issued a memo to dealers which told them how to fix the problem. In June, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation after receiving 33 complaints about steering problems from Mazda 3 owners.
Mazda finally decided to recall the vehicles in August, although it claimed the problem posed “no unreasonable safety risk”. By law, automakers must inform the N.H.T.S.A. of a safety defect within five days of discovery, or face fines. The maximum fine for failing to promptly recall vehicles is $15 million, but that could be raised to $300 million under legislation currently in Congress.
For more information about vehicle accidents and auto recalls in Orange County, CA, contact Don Sjaarda, Personal Injury Attorney of Orange County – (714) 963-8216.