Mazda has issued a recall for its Tribute SUV from the 2001 and 2002 model years. Those vehicles may suffer from a fluid leak that could cause a fire in the engine compartment.
According to a bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Tribute recall stems from a faulty brake master cylinder reservoir cap. Under certain conditions, brake fluid can leak from the cap and onto the wiring below -- wiring that controls the Tribute's anti-lock braking system. In time, that leak can corrode the electrical connectors, which could result in melting, smoking, or in certain cases, a fire. The recall affects Tributes built between April 20, 2000 and July 19, 2002.
If you're experiencing a sense of deja vu, you're not alone. An identical recall was issued for the 2001-2002 Ford Escape earlier this month. That only makes sense, since the two vehicles were jointly developed by Ford and Mazda and rest on the same platform. (Ford once owned a significant portion of Mazda, but in 2010 it reduced its ownership stake to 3.5%.)
Thankfully, the Mazda recall is slightly smaller. Whereas Ford issued alerts to some 244,530 Escape owners, Mazda's recall involves about a fifth of that: 52,390 units.
As with the Escape, the Tribute recall is rolling out fast. In fact, Mazda has said that it will begin notifying owners of the recall today. According to the NHTSA, "dealers will replace the vehicle's brake master cylinder reservoir cap and modify the ABS electrical system, free of charge."
If you believe that you own one of the recalled vehicles, we encourage you to contact your local Mazda dealer, or call Mazda headquarters at 248-393-5990 and ask about recall #6712A. Alternately, you can ring the NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and inquire about recall campaign #12V016000.