Mazda is recalling certain model year 2001 through 2006 and 2008 Tribute SUVs to fix a sticky throttle issue linked to unintended acceleration. The Mazda safety recall comes one day after Ford’s recall of some 423,634 Escape SUVs in the U.S. for a similar problem.
2006 Mazda Tribute i
A notice on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) site lists the number of Mazda Tribute SUVs potentially involved at 217,500. Affected vehicles are those Tributes equipped with 3.0-liter V-6 engines and speed control.
Documentation from Mazda (PDF) indicates that affected Tributes are those built during the entire 2001-2008 model years at the Kansas City Assembly Plant of Ford Motor Company. Note that Mazda did not produce a 2007 model year Tribute.
Mazda said that its recall involves more model years (2005-2006 and 2008) than the Ford Escape recall because the engine covers for the later model years are similar to the ones used from 2001-2004. Also, according to a Ford spokeswoman quoted in The Detroit News, Ford moved to using two smaller engine covers for the 2005 model year, while Mazda did not make the same change.
2001 Mazda Tribute
At issue is the fact that in certain 2001 through 2006 and 2008 model year Mazda Tributes equipped with 3.0-liter V-6 engines and speed control, insufficient clearance between the engine cover and the speed control cable connector could result in a stuck throttle in the event that the accelerator pedal is either fully or almost-fully depressed.
The NHTSA bulletin says that this risk exists “regardless of whether or not speed control (cruise control) is used.”
A stuck throttle condition could result in very high vehicle speeds, making it difficult for the driver to stop or slow the vehicle, causing a crash, injury or death. The Mazda and Ford safety recalls come after the NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation into 730,000 Ford Escapes and Mazda Tributes for possible unintended acceleration after an Arizona teenager died in a vehicle crash in January.
What Mazda will do
Mazda will notify owners of affected 2001 through 2006 and 2008 Tribute SUVs and dealers will repair the vehicles by increasing the engine cover clearance. The repairs will be performed at no charge to owners. The Mazda safety recall campaign is expected to begin on or before August 6, 2012.
In the meantime, owners of affected vehicles with any questions or concerns may contact Mazda at 1-800-222-5500, choosing option #6. Reference the Mazda safety recall campaign number 6812G.
Alternatively, owners of vehicles involved in the campaign may contact the NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to http://www.safercar.gov. Reference the NHTSA campaign ID No. 12V357000.