A major recall from Mazda this week involving more than a million vehicles that date all the way back to the 80s. The vehicles are being recalled because the ignition switch could short circuit, overheat and cause a fire.
Mazda says the problem is that it put too much grease on electrical contact points in the switches when the cars were built. The grease can carbonize and reduce electrical insulation. The company says continuous use can cause electricity to flow between the points and make the switches overheat. The end result is a possible fire.
Mazda says the problem doesn’t affect the cars’ operation or safety devices. It says there haven’t been any crashes or injuries. However, documents from NHTSA indicate the first problem first surfaced in 2001 in the Japanese market. It also notes that a fire in a 2002 incident, also reported in Japan, may have been linked to this issue.
The dates and models are listed below:
- 1990-1995 323
- 1993-1998 626
- 1993-1995 929
- 1989-1998 MPV
- 1993-1997 MX-6
- 1992-1993 MX-3
- 1990-1998 Protégé
The recall should begin in December.
WASHINGTON, DC (October 21, 2015) – Mazda Motor Corporation will conduct a Safety and Emission Recall Campaign for certain models that have a quality and performance issue leading to the potential failure of the electrical thermal base of the ignition switch. The electrical thermal base is the specific part of the component that may fail.
Once the vehicle is running, this situation does not directly affect vehicle drivability or operation, or the operation of any safety devices or features in the vehicle. As a result, there have been no reports of accidents or injuries related to this issue.
Due to an excessive amount of grease at the contact points inside the ignition switch during production, as a result of time and use, the grease may carbonize and accumulate between the contact points, reducing the electrical insulation performance inside the switch. As a result, continuous use may lead the contact points of the thermal base of the switch to become conductive, which may overheat the switch. Should this occur, the resulting effect is smoke from the switch, and, in the worst case, a fire.
Approximately 1.3 million vehicles in the U.S. are affected.
Mazda plans to conduct this recall in the U.S. in December 2015.