Mazda confirms bizarre recall for shattering steering wheel logo

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Words: Matthew Hansen
12 Jul 2021

Car manufacturers announce recalls all the time. A lot of them follow familiar lines; poor plastics or rubbers around electric parts failing and causing fire risks, lingering faulty Takata airbags, maybe the occasional seat-belt drama. But over the weekend Mazda confirmed one of the more quirky recalls we’ve seen in a while.

The Japanese firm has announced it will be recalling 260,915 Mazda3 models in North America over steering wheel Mazda emblems that can shatter in the event of a crash. The recall extends to other markets, too, including New Zealand. 

The subsequent fragments can act as shrapnel during a crash, with America’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) noting an overseas incident from 2015 where “scattered fragments of the logo” injured a driver’s face.

Mazda also notes an incident from 2019 where a driver suffered eye damage due to the shattering logo. It’s claimed that the company has received 10 reports of incidents where the badge caused additional injury.

The shatterable nature of the badge is to do with a hydrolysis reaction that can occur with the polyurethane badge over time. The supplier who produced the badge changed its construction in 2006, meaning that it’s not an issue in models sold part-way through 2007 and beyond.

NZ Autocar contacted a Mazda New Zealand spokesperson, who confirmed that the recall will implicate models sold locally.

“We have been made aware of the Mazda3 (BK) recall from Mazda Motor Corporation. We are now taking the appropriate step to release this recall in New Zealand also,” said the spokesperson.

They added that they will be mailing affected New Zealand customers from early August, adding that the recall only affects pre-facelift models (“production dates September 2003 to June 2006”). The recall “does not affect any other Mazda models”, they said.


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