MONTEREY, Calif. -- Mazda Motor Co. is recalling more than 200,000 Mazda3 and Mazda5 vehicles from the 2007-2009 model years because of faulty power-assist steering pumps and pipes.
Mazda alerted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the recall on Thursday, Robert Davis, Mazda's senior vice president of product development and quality, told Automotive News.
The recall notice has not yet been posted on NHTSA's Web site.
The recall comes after NHTSA opened an investigation in June into power steering failures in the Mazda3 from the 2007-2009 model years. NHTSA received 33 complaints of power-assist steering failures in Mazda3 vehicles from the 2007-2009 model years, and loss of steering control was reported as the cause of three crashes, according to NHTSA investigation documents.
Vehicles that experience a power steering failure “will require more physical effort to steer, but at no time is the vehicle undrivable,” Mazda said on its Web site. It also posted a video explaining what drivers should do if the problem happens.
NHTSA has also investigated power steering problems in BMW Z4 roadsters.
Davis said the vehicles' power steering system can shut down when sensors in the steering pump become contaminated with rust from pipes that connect the power steering pump to the steering rack. The power steering pump shuts itself down as a failsafe measure.
Rust formed in some pipes connecting the power steering pump to the steering rack during manufacturing when the pipes were coated and cleaned, Davis said.
A NHTSA service bulletin has been out for over a year, but due to the number of vehicles equipped with the power steering system, Mazda decided the best way to deal with the problem was to issue a full recall, Davis said.
Owners of the vehicles can go to dealerships to replace the power steering pump and pipes connecting it to the steering rack.