Mazda3 cars recalled as wheels may fall off

By CARSIFU | 1 July 2019

PETALING JAYA: Mazda North American Operations has recalled some 2019 Model Year Mazda3 cars as a parts defect could make the wheels come off while driving.

That's really scary news, made more so by Mazda Japan confirming the serious defect is also present in Mazda3 cars made in Japan. A total of 25,003 cars are affected by the recall. The recalled cars were assembled either at Mazda's Mexico plant or its plant in Japan.

This Mazda3 model — in its fourth generation and due in Malaysia this month — would be unaffected as the fix is already under way. Incidentally, local Mazda distributor Bermaz Motor has stopped production of the outgoing Mazda3 in preparation for the arrival of the fully imported new Mazda3.

Mazda North American Operations said in a statement last Friday that the wheel lug nuts may loosen and fall off during normal driving. In the worst case, continuous use will lead to a wheel detaching from the vehicle. A wheel separating from the vehicle increases the risk of a crash. A rattling noise would occur prior to a wheel coming off the car.

READ MORE: New Mazda3 previewed in Malaysia

Mazda Japan weighed in and said the problem had also surfaced in units made in Japan. The root cause, it said, was identified as a partial gap created between the hub bolt head and hub flange of the hub bearing assembly, leading to loss of torque and eventual loosening of the wheel nut.

The remedy involved re-tightening the front and rear wheel nuts to the correct specification so as to remove the gap between the wheel hub bolts and hub flanges.

Mazda North American Operations said no field cases of wheel separation have been reported, and there have been no accidents, injuries, or deaths related to this concern.

The recall affects only 1% of total Mazda3 cars in the US market. Mazda said the affected units were made from Sept 25, 2018 to April 19, 2019. Their VIN ranges are from JM1BPACM2K1100042 to JM1BPAMM0K1136438 and from 3MZBPAEM7KM100048 to 3MZBPAEM7KM100048.