Mazda3 Recalled for Sudden and Unexpected Emergency Braking
Mazda is issuing a vehicle defect recall for nearly 1.2 million vehicles from the 1990s because of defective ignition switches that can pose a fire hazard.
According to a Consumerist.com news report, the Japanese automaker announced this week that it would recall several models of cars after determining that the ignition switch can overheat and potentially cause a fire.
According to a notice filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the presence of an excessive amount of grease in the contact points inside the ignition switch.
Grease Accumulation Causes Fires
The substance can potentially accumulate and carbonize between the points, reducing electrical insulation performance inside the switch. If this happens, continuous use may lead the points to become conductive and overheat resulting in smoke or fire. Vehicles included in the recall are the Protégé, MX-6 and MX-3, all from the 1990s.
The issue apparently dates back to May 2001 when the company first received reports of short circuits in ignition switches in vehicles sold in Japan. In 2008, the company investigated the switch failures and determined an accumulation of grease could lead to smoke and short circuits.
Two years later, the company had determined that the cause was likely grease injected into the switch as a result of normal wear-and-tear. Then, in 2015, the company decided it was unable to determine how the vehicles collected the excessive grease. However, at this point, it was deemed a safety hazard and the vehicles were recalled.
When the recall begins, Mazda will notify owners and dealers will replace the ignition switch free of charge. The company also says it was changed the grease used in the ignition switch so it is less susceptible to fires.
A Much Delayed Recall
It is disturbing that it took Mazda more than 15 years to identify the problem and issue the recall. We hope federal regulators will look into the process and ensure that Mazda did not stall or put off the recall deliberately, knowing that consumers’ lives were in danger.
Car fires have the potential to result in severe burn injuries that can devastate victims physically, emotionally and financially.
If you or a loved one has been affected by these or other recalled vehicles, please contact an experienced auto product liability lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.