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That dragon, rust: Mazda recalls 190,000 SUVs over suspension separation

Is there anything that water and salt can't screw up?

2009 Mazda CX-7. (08/20/08)
Ford, Wieck
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Steering: Best when functional.


Anyone who's spent at least one winter in a state that lays down salt will know all about the dangers of rust. Mixing salt, water and time results in corrosion that can eat through a number of vehicle components, some of them vital. That's the reason for Mazda's latest recall.

Mazda issued a recall for 190,102 examples of its 2007-2012 Mazda CX-7 crossover. The vehicles included in this recall have manufacturing dates between 14 February 2006 and 9 May 2012. Since salt is the antagonist in this story, Mazda's focusing its initial recall efforts on states that use salt in the winter.

The problem comes from the suspension system. Water might enter the front suspension ball joint fittings. If there's salt in that water, it could start corroding the ball joint. If the part is made weak enough, it can separate from the lower control arm, which could produce an immediate and not-at-all-welcome loss of steering control.

Sadly, the parts are not currently available, and a strained supply is yet another reason why Mazda is prioritizing its recall in salt states first. Once the parts become available, dealers will replace both front lower control arms. After the salt states are addressed, Mazda will focus its efforts on the rest.