Washington, D.C. – Dec. 18, 2017 – Mazda North American Operations recently issued a recall for 144 of its popular Mazda3 sedans from the 2018 model year, citing concerns over incorrect exhaust valve springs that could lead to engine problems, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The small number of vehicles with the incorrect valve springs are at a greater risk of difficulties, including abnormal noise or vibration, and those springs may break. That, in turn, could potentially lead to the engine stalling, increasing the risk of an accident and injury.
In all, only about 4 percent of the recalled vehicles are expected to have been affected by the defect that prompted the recall, the vehicles produced from Oct. 9 to Oct. 18, 2017.
Specifically, it was determined that when assembling the engine cylinder heads themselves, the company had been installing the incorrect exhaust valve springs into engines, and subsequent investigation found that this happened because a parts supplier had mistakenly shipped the wrong parts to Mazda.
While Mazda tested the incorrect valve springs to determine their durability, and found no unexpected noises, rattling or vibrations, it nonetheless thinks these issues could arise over extended use. To this point, no apparent incidents of loss of control, accidents or injuries have been reported as a result of this defect.
Timeline of Events
The issue was first spotted on Oct. 10, and prompted an investigation by Mazda, which lasted from Oct. 12 to 16. During that time, the automaker determined the source of the incorrect valve springs. The durability testing concluded on Oct. 19.
Then, on Nov. 15, Mazda’s Quality Audit Committee convened and decided to issue the recall for the affected 2018 Mazda3s.
As part of the recall, Mazda dealerships will check affected vehicles to determine whether they have the incorrect valve springs, and replace them with a proper alternative free of charge. Mazda is in the process of trying to contact owners of those vehicles via phone before the notification deadline of Jan. 20, 2018. If unsuccessful, it will send out notification mailers on that date. Dealers were notified of the recall on Nov. 30, 2017.
In the meantime, Mazda has further added an inspection process to ensure the proper diameter of valve springs for vehicles shipped after Oct. 11.