Sometimes, it can take years between when an automaker first receives a field report and the recall that eventually follows. After receiving its first report in 2015, Mazda's finally recalled some Mazda6 sedans.
Mazda has issued a voluntary recall for 57,878 examples of the. The build dates of these vehicles range between Nov. 3, 2014 (the start of 2015 production), and Dec. 9, 2015 (the date the problem was remedied on the line).
While the recall covers issues with the wiring, the root cause was narrowed down to bad welding. Spatter from a weld on the front passenger seat frame could scrape at the occupant classification sensor wiring harness. This is the sensor that determines whether or not the passenger seat is occupied, and it sets the airbag accordingly.
If that harness is abraded thoroughly enough, it can short out. If that happens, lights will appear on the dashboard, and some vehicles may suffer from a loss of power steering and deactivation of the airbags. Of course, this is a big ol' safety concern in an accident, hence the recall. Thankfully, no accidents or injuries have been linked to this issue.
Mazda will inspect each affected vehicle when it arrives at the dealer. If the harness has already been damaged, it will be reinsulated with tape and the seat frame will get a protective pad. The seat frame included in Mazda6 models after the build date mentioned earlier already has this pad. Mazda will notify owners on Sept. 29, and dealers have already been made aware of the recall.
Mazda first learned of a potential issue in 2015. It determined in early 2016 that the frequency of occurrence was quite low, warranting only a monitoring. Later that year, it received more reports and reassessed the situation, continuing its investigation while having meetings with federal regulators. In August of this year, Mazda finally decided to conduct a recall.