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Mazda Recalls 261,000 Older Cars Over the Plastic Emblem on the Steering Wheel

Known as the Axela back home in Japan, the first-gen Mazda3 was jointly engineered with Ford during a time when the Blue Oval was in charge of Volvo as well. The Detroit-based automaker used to cut many corners during that period, and the same can be said about Mazda. As a result of cutting costs left and right, the 3 is called back over a peculiar issue.
Old Mazda3 6 photos
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Six years ago, Mazda received an overseas field report about scattered fragments of the plastic emblem on the steering wheel of a 3 following the activation of the airbag. From 2015 to February 2016, the supplier and car manufacturer investigated the root cause. The culprit is hydrolysis, which is simply the chemical breakdown of a compound due to a reaction with water.

One month later, Mazda found that the supplier made a change to the material of the logo from polyurethane to polyester in June 2006. Hydrolysis doesn’t affect polyester, but the change to polyester was found to be a corrective measure for subsequently produced vehicles. To whom it may concern, the supplier in question is Autoliv Japan Ltd. of Yokohama.

In June 2018, Mazda received a second report about an injured occupant. Another person was injured two months later, and December 2018 is when another person was injured by scattered fragments of the logo. To make a long story short, no fewer than 10 reports were received over this problem.

Better late than never, Mazda held a quality audit meeting to review all the available information to date. Out of an abundance of caution and a fear of lawsuits alleging injury caused by this defect, the Japanese automaker finally decided to call back 260,915 units of the Mazda3 sedan and hatch.

Authorized retails have been informed of the recall, but owners will have to wait until August 28th to be notified by first-class mail. Affected vehicles were produced from June 24th, 2003 to June 22th, 2006 when the Swedish-American supplier made the switch from polyurethane to polyester, and obviously enough, all these cars need replacement airbag module covers.

 Download attachment: Mazda3 steering wheel emblem recall (PDF)

 
 
 
 
 

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