Severe Corrosion, Steering Failure Sparks Investigation of Older Mazda 6 Models


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Mazda can’t seem to shake a recent history that saw its vehicles fall victim to the flesh-eating disease in embarrassing numbers. We’ve seen corrosion issues crop up in a myriad of recalls issued by the automaker over the past several years, and it’s raised its flaky brown head once again.

This time, it’s just a preliminary investigation, but probes conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have a way of turning into recalls in a hurry. The model in question is the 2009-2010 Mazda 6, and the issue is a subframe that can become so corroded, you might have trouble staying on the road.

The investigation, first noticed by Forbes, affects an estimated 84,513 vehicles sold in the United States. According to the NHTSA, it has received 20 complaints about steering or suspension failure related to severely rusted subframes. Another five owners spotted the corrosion before a failure could occur.

Vehicle owner questionnaires (VOQ), along with supporting information, “indicate that severe corrosion in the right-rear corner of the subframe may result in failure of the right steering rack mounting bolt (7) or detachment of suspension components (e.g., lower control arm mount) from the subframe (5),” the agency states.

“Thirteen (13) of the VOQs allege experiencing failures while driving that resulted in vehicle handling or control concerns. The complaint trend is increasing, with 16 received in the last 12 months. In addition, ODI has received 5 VOQs reporting severe corrosion of the subframe detected prior to failure (e.g., during routine oil change service), including 3 in the last 12 months.”

Of the 20 incidents, all but one occurred with 2009 model year Mazda 6 vehicles. The outlier is the sole 2010 vehicle.

Complaints logged to the NHTSA include this one, sent from an Ohio driver last September:

“I was driving on a city street at approximately 30 miles per hour. There was a sudden and significant loss of steering control,” an owner wrote. “The front cross member subframe was completely corroded to the point of breaking. The steering rack became totally separated from its mounts on the passenger side, resulting in the steering loss.”

There’s something to be said for frequent undercoating. Should Mazda issue a recall, we’ll let you know on these digital pages.