2009 Mazda MAZDA5Enlarge Photo
The recall follows an investigation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), looking into power-steering system failures in the 2007-2009 Mazda3. Altogether, 33 complaints were received and three crashes were attributed to the issue.
The recall affects about 300,000 North American vehicles altogether, including some 2007 models, all 2008 models, and most 2009 models of the Mazda3 and Mazda5. A Mazda source told the publication that rust contamination in the vehicles' hydraulic steering system can cause the pump to overheat and shut down, sometimes temporarily. A service bulletin has already been out for more than a year.
“Should an issue occur with the power steering assist, the power steering malfunction warning light will illuminate, and the car will require more physical effort to steer,” Mazda explained in a video available at its U.S. website. “But at no time is the vehicle undrivable.”
Mazda emphasizes that if the power-steering fails, the vehicle will still track straight as normal, so the driver should proceed very carefully to a safe emergency pullout. Mazda spokesman Jeremy Barnes reiterated to TheCarConnection.com that if drivers experience the failure, "It just becomes much harder to steer the vehicle."
After a time, upon restart, the power steering might return and the vehicle might, at the customer's discretion, be driven cautiously directly to the dealership. However, Barnes says, if the issue has already occurred it's likely to again and drivers shouldn't assume that it was a one-time issue.
Through its dealerships, Mazda will be replacing the hydraulic lines and pumps of the affected steering systems.
Should owners have additional questions or concerns, they should call Mazda customer assistance at 800-222-5500.