Mazda Recalls 1.2 Million Older Vehicles Due To Ignition Problems & Fire Risk

October 23, 2015

Mazda has issued a recall for roughly 1.2 million U.S. vehicles from model years 1990-1998. According to the automaker, some of those cars may have a problem with their ignition switch that could pose a safety hazard.

Thankfully, this isn't the same sort of problem that led to last year's "Switchgate" recalls, nor does it bear any similarities to the recall issued Tuesday for late-model Chevrolets and GMCs. However, like those, it can cause the ignition in some affected vehicles to stop working. In extreme cases, it can even cause smoke and fire.

ALSO SEE: Study: Autonomous Cars Need Driver's Licenses, Too

Mazda says that the problem stems from the way that the ignition switch was manufactured:

"Due to an excessive amount of grease at the contact points inside the ignition switch during production, as a result of time and use, the grease may carbonize and accumulate between the contact points, reducing the electrical insulation performance inside the switch. As a result, continuous use may lead the contact points of the thermal base of the switch to become conductive, which may overheat the switch. Should this occur, the resulting effect is smoke from the switch, and, in the worst case, a fire."

The good news is that Mazda vehicles don't appear to be prone to the sudden shut-offs that we saw in last year's recalled GM cars. In fact, Mazda is careful to note that the issue only affects vehicles during start up; after a car is running, it doesn't occur. So, it shouldn't affect a driver's ability to control a vehicle, nor should it disable safety features like airbags. Mazda knows of no accidents or injuries related to the problem.

All told, 1.2 million vehicles in the U.S. are affected by the recall, including:

  • 1990-1996 Mazda 323/Protégé
  • 1993-1998 Mazda 626
  • 1993-1995 Mazda 929
  • 1989-1998 Mazda MPV
  • 1993-1997 Mazda MX-6
  • 1992-1993Mazda MX-3

Details about the fix for those vehicles haven't been released. Mazda officially plans to begin the recall this December. 

Should you have additional questions, we encourage you to contact Mazda customer service at 800-222-5500.

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