By on July 3, 2017

2015 Mazda3 Sport Touring, Image: Mazda

Previous generations of the Mazda 3, while popular, soon became known as much for corrosion as for zoom-zoom potential. Tears of iron oxide poured from rear wheel arches, taillights and center-mounted brake lamps, adding a somewhat tragic element to the models’ insanely happy visage.

Despite efforts to relegate rust issues to the past, Mazda just can’t seem to shake this automotive cancer. Less than a year ago, the automaker was forced to recall a slew of newer models — 2.2 million vehicles in total — after insufficient corrosion protection on hatch lift supports put owners in danger of a sudden head-whacking.

Of course, that was just a couple of months after Mazda recalled six models years of its CX-7 crossover over fears of suspension separation caused by, that’s right, rust.

This time around, it isn’t unprotected body panels or corrosion-prone suspension components causing Mazda grief. Still, rust remains the culprit behind the recently announced recall of more than 307,000 Mazda 3 and 6 vehicles, some 227,814 of which can be found in the United States. In this case, it’s rust that could cause your Mazda to stubbornly stay put, or perhaps take an unexpected, driverless journey.

The latest recall covers Mazda 6 vehicles from the 2014 and 2015 model years, as well as 2014 to 2016 Mazda 3s. At the core of the issue is the conventional parking brake found in lower-end models. In short, it might hold too much, or maybe not at all.

“On the mechanical (cable) type parking brake, the parking brake actuator shaft may rust resulting in increased sliding resistance of the actuator shaft or a stuck actuator shaft,” the automaker wrote to its dealers.

“This is due to an inappropriate sealing performance of the rear brake caliper protective boot, particularly in cold temperatures, which could allow water to enter the brake caliper and cause the parking brake actuator shaft to rust. If the vehicle’s rear parking brake has this concern, the parking brake holding force may be insufficient to hold the vehicle if parked on a slope or hill resulting in unexpected movement.”

After learning of a problematic Mazda 6 in the Canadian market in April of 2015, reports of rollaway incidents arrived from Germany and the UK. As of February, Mazda had logged 13 U.S. incidents. The automaker claims affected customers should be notified by August 21st.

[Image: Mazda]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

97 Comments on “Recall Watch: At Mazda, It Seems Rust Never Sleeps...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    So somehow this doesn’t impact the Mazda 5, which is built on the same platform and shares many components with the Mazda 3?

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Our 08 Mazda 5 GT is a bit rusty and this news nearly takes a new Mazda 3 off my list of next cars. I took care of the wheel arches myself, but the underside is pretty ugly. The rust is returning to the wheel arches too. Ours has been well cared for compared to most of its line mates and is low miles (just turned 58k) but it has lived in western PA it’s entire life.

    I enjoy my 5 and always have, but the Mazda rust issues for those of us who have that worry, is not a small concern. I know, ours is 9 years old, but the littlest bits of rust on the wheel arches showed up at age 4 and only about 35k.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I think here in western PA has to be one of the worst areas in the country for rust (except maybe for coastal areas), since they use road salt like crazy.

      I’ve never owned an AWD car here – despite the hills – because the liberal use of road salt means I don’t need to.

      Personally, I’d take AWD over road salt any time.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        We had an 03 Legacy sedan. The AWD came in really handy once or twice over the 36 month lease. I started buying 4 snow tires and they suffice for 90% of what we end up driving in. ~$1000 for dedicated snow tires and wheels is much less than the AWD premium upfront and over time from worse fuel mileage, AWD upkeep,etc.

        Double-edged sword, clear roads thanks to salt or cars that die from rust before anything else. I wish salt wasn’t a thing here, but that won’t happen.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        Why don’t you start with actual snow tires first and see what happens?

        WAY cheaper than AWD. And frankly, even with AWD you should have snow tires anyway.

  • avatar
    mankyman

    Oh lord, this again.

    I have an ’02 Protege5 that has only 86,000 miles. The entire underside is a heaping pile of rust. I am waiting for the strut towers to collapse from rust. All 4 wheel arches are basically gone, with only a few fasteners holding the bumper cover on. The rust started happening within 3 years. It’s fun to drive, but man….

    • 0 avatar

      I agree with all points. There should be a Protege meetup, like the Miata guys have. Somewhere highly visible.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        All this. And we wonder why Mazda doesn’t have the following it should. Any enthusiast in a salt-prone area can tell you why. And that’s with cars taken care of by people who like them. The vehicles owned by the Point A to B people who pick up Mazdas because they are cheaper or have more incentives than a Toyota or Honda suffer more.

        • 0 avatar
          dror

          I will tell you why I stopped follow (-:) Mazda, I had 2 of them, 2006 3 hatch bought new and 2011 3 hatch leased for 2 years.
          The 2006 was OK, fun to drive and all that but Mazda replaced the same engine mount 5! times in 3 years! it kept spitting oil all over the engine, the A/C was very slow to cool the car and the Good Year RS/A tires had to be replaced at 25K! and I am in no way an aggressive driver.
          The 2011 had a locked up caliper at 10k miles and loose back spoiler.
          Both cars were so loud that it was impossible to have a phone call over B/T at 60MPH.
          Both cars ate tons of gas, 2.3 liter and 2.5 liter, I am now on my second Accord, a much bigger car with much better MPG!
          I did test driver the then new 2014 3 and also the 6, very nice inside but way too loud, I just could not take it anymore.

          • 0 avatar
            Rickipedia

            Yes I’m surprised there are not more engine mount comments. Broken engine mounts are extremely common on the first gen Mazda 3 and yet there are no recalls for it. I need a new one for mine and I’ve been quoted a price of nearly $400 for the work.

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            Cabin noise figured VERY heavily into our last car purchase. Previous different brand car was as you described at 60 mph.

            Trips to grandma’s house plus we aspire to take some long trips during the ownership of this vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      At least the engines still healthy, right?

      I’m surprised the structure of your car hasnt split in two yet!

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I had ’98 Protege and kept it for 16.5 years before selling. Living in the moderate salt area, I never had such extent of rust. Rear wheel wells rusted out and I patched them around 13 years in. I changed main exhaust pipe but muffler was original all the way.

    • 0 avatar
      starskeptic

      Just traded in my ’02 Protege5 with 277,000 miles on it – not a speck of rust.

  • avatar

    I haven’t seen rust on the ugly 2009+ Mazda3s yet. I have seen it on early 3s, and still have nightmares about my Protege.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      My old Ford Escort (the one collaboratively engineered with Mazda) was very rust resistant. There’s something that Mazda should have tried to learn from Ford during their partnership.

      • 0 avatar

        I also had the first-generation Protege that Escort was based on, and it only ever rusted a quarter-sized spot beneath the black rubber or plastic on the b-pillar. It’s the 2nd and 3rd generation Proteges that really sucked, as far as I could tell.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        I’ve only ever heard of two older Protescorts with rust issues, otherwise they’re surprisingly rust resistant vs later Mazdas, perhaps they cheapened out on paint?

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        They did – non-interference engines. Brilliant!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Mazda is justifiably getting a bad rep here for corrosion, but TTAC is that Hyundai/Kia have had massive recalls ovr the last few years to apply preventative rust protection on both undercarriage and suspension components.

    My Sedona was recalled twice for the same issue (front control arms), yet the parts actually look fine.

    • 0 avatar
      focus-ed

      I can confirm this – I’ve ripped sway-bar end link off the control arm off our MY 2000 Sephia (and junked it shortly after despite my honest intent to keep it as winter beater). What a pile of rust (true, it’d spent all it’s life in the Great (salt) Lakes area but still. Engine was ok (is unrefined), transmission was pile of crap (it’d be so much more reliable and getting decent mpgs with an MT). It handled not too bad (likely because it was so low and rust had reduced it weight) but number of AT and AC failures (like windshield freezing over in blizzard, wtf), freezing locks, power windows issues made me hate it with passion. And the rust.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Incidentally Mazda had a hand in designing Sephias of that time, but many Hyundai/Kias of that time did have rust issues as well, they just dont have the “draw” of Mazda.

        • 0 avatar
          joeaverage

          With the Sephias around here it would be a race to the junkayrd by rust or by neglect. Those cars never seemed to be owned by people who took care of them around here.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    Well you think they would have improved this. Kind of like all the domestic full size trucks that still seem to rust over the rear wheels. Appalling actually. Let’s hope that the alloy f150 s are better. As for Mazda, the only model of theirs I ever owned that wasn’t a rust bucket was a Miata. I still have fond memories of my ’89 323 lx but the rust killed a damn fine car. Shame shame.

  • avatar
    2manycars

    So Jap cars rust, who knew? In other news, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I think we could do without dated racial slurs, nevermind that many Japanese cars have gotten better about corrosion resistance.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Racial slurs? Mrs Clinton? So sensitive! Which part of your car I shouldn’t touch?

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          It’s all inoffensive until someone finds something that offends you. And rest assured, something will. It always does.

          Therefore, best not to trade in racial/ethnic slurs at all.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            I disagree here. This was said not in reference of a person or people. But rather in reference to “japanese” made. You can take any word out of context and make it “offensive”. Lets not turn polit-correctness into polit-tyranny.

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            “It’s all inoffensive until someone finds something that offends you. And rest assured, something will. It always does.

            Therefore, best not to trade in racial/ethnic slurs at all.”

            But if people invent things out of thin air to be offended by, the only answer is to remain completely silent.

            That is, if your goal in life is to avoid offending people.

            My goal in life is to say what I want to say, and let the the offense-takers clutch their pearls and do whatever else it is that gets them through their clearly difficult days.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Actually I wasnt offended by the slur myself, I just though it was a bit wreckless to use even in the context of cars, but whatever floats your boat.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Wouldn’t rust be a big problem in an island nation like Japan?

        I think I just answered my own question – they junk cars very early there and thus the many JDM mechanical systems for sale in the USA.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yeah, seriously…leave the racially bigoted stuff elsewhere.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        To be fair, I don’t think it was at all intended in that manner, some older guys simply call Asian vehicles that. Never mind that I see more ’92-’96 Camries in good cosmetic condition in the rust belt than just about any American make of the same time period.

        • 0 avatar
          carlisimo

          Older guys would never use racial slurs!

          I have to assume that the people who don’t think it’s a big deal aren’t close to any Japanese- or Asian-Americans. It was certainly used as a slur here in California, and you don’t have to be old to have heard it. And every Asian-American growing up in the ’80s knew about Vincent Chin, the Chinese-American murdered by Chrysler workers who thought he was Japanese. They got a few years of probation, which led to a sense of wariness and defensiveness by Asian-Americans – without that incident, it’s entirely possible that we’d let the word go.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            A few of of my Midwestern coworkers (mid 40s) still use the term “Orientals” to describe Asian people, and when I was into the vintage Japanese motorcycle scene the term “Jap bike” was likewise widespread, as a convenient shortening of the term by two syllables. No negative connotations implied (heck the guys were really INTO “Jap bikes”). Not everyone is out to be some sort of meany-racist, they just somehow missed out on the memo for proper current/PC terminology. A friendly correction without assumed ill intent is only fair IMO.

            To quote Walter Sobchak: “And Dude, Chinamen is not the preferred nomenclature, Asian-American, please.”

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            A Korean shop owner shot black girl in the back of her head with no good reason and got probation. so?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            When I see someone refer to Jap motorcycles, I always assume they’re talking about British bikes made by John Alfred Prestwich Industries.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          ……Never mind that I see more ’92-’96 Camries in good cosmetic condition in the rust belt than just about any American make of the same time period……

          You will find those Camrys in better cosmetic condition than ANY car made by ANY major mass market producer in that time period. The same certainly cannot be said by the next generation of cost-cut Camry. The evidence out on the roads is quite eye opening…

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            golden, I’d say the ’97-01s have held up pretty darn well too, very rust resistant as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Speed3

      I agree, that language was unecessary. I think it just goes that as part of being in the TTAC best and brightest we should be respectful of others and not use language that is or could be perceived to be offensive – regardless of the intent behind the words.

    • 0 avatar
      DownUnder2014

      In my neck of the woods, 2G 1987-92 Camries and 3G 1992-97 Toyota Camries/Vientas are very common. Although the earlier 1987-89 models are thinning out now…I don’t see those often with rust…but I suppose I live in an area where cars don’t rust as much.

      As for the language, I’m sure the OP meant no harm…

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        DownUnder, that earlier ’87-’92 Camry is indeed very rugged and mechanically durable/robust, but holy cow did their sheetmetal get eaten up in northern/salty climates. Not just the “usual” spots starting at the rear quarter panels, but front fenders totally eaten up, the whole outer door skins blooming, entire rear quarter panel/dog legs eaten away. What’s interesting to me is that the late 90s narrow-body variant V40 JDM Camrys/Vistas that I see in Sibera are also very rot-prone, unlike the V30s that preceded them. Basically 90s-early 2000s Nissan-tier in that regard.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    I take issue with the problem being called “rust “. The substance found on the brake hardware was “more premium and upscale corrosion ” which is found on more premium and upscale marques such as Mazda.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    I believe it’s true that Mazda no longer produces any of its vehicles in the USA. I’ll bet that turns some Americans off.

    Next we’ll be reading that Mazda’s are being recalled because of radioactive steel. Or something.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Probably appeals to more people – I’d still rather have a car made in Japan.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        deanst:

        Yep!

      • 0 avatar
        VW4motion

        Yes, I’d rather have a car that eats itself with rust before 4 year loan is up on the car. The whole made in Japan thing is complete BS. Two friends of mine own Nissan’s . One owns a 4 yo Versa with 110,000 miles. The car has never had one thing break on a $14,000 car made in Mexico. The other friend owns a Rogue, the one that 100% made in Japan. He payed around $22,000. Think it’s a 2013. It has 68,000 miles and little things break all the time. Window motors, interior bits, parts in the break petal broke. The whole made in Japan thing is better, complete rubbish.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Nissan is Renault – that is the issue. Junk. Mazda is not.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            True. Buying a Japanese made Nissan is about like buying an American made Jeep Cherokee at this point.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Curiously, my grandfather in-law’s new leased Rogue is a J-VIN. Seems to be a fairly well put together vehicle. But after spending some time in a friend’s J-VIN ’09 Corolla over the past week, I’m convinced country of origin does not mean anywhere as much as the era of Japanese vehicle in question. The Corolla’s interior was such a let down cheap-fest compared to something like an American built ’93-97 Corolla.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      Their Japanese factories are way down south, far from Fukushima. Maybe that’s the problem – Mazda’s basically from a place that doesn’t freeze.

  • avatar
    dmoan

    Funny how most people in forums seem to bash Honda, Toyota and Nissan and proclaim how people are sheep for buying them up. Not realising that it is because of things like thus Mazda is not major brand in sales.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This wouldn’t happen if their engines provided adequate horsepower.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Zoom, zoom, zoom.

    Rust, rust, rust.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    When I made note of Mazdas ongoing rust battle, I was branded a heretic, a crazy, yet here we are today, me being crazy and Mazdas still fighting off rust.

    Its a shame, I’m not a Mazda “hater” but someone that wanted to support them, I shopped Proteges frequently and even some older Mazda, could never find one that didnt have rust bubbling at the back thanks to Mazdas poor rear bumper design.

    It isnt just the “lack of V6 or turbo” that hurt Mazda (even then Fiat will sell you a turbo Miata), its their move into going “upscale” while still forgetting that we have a little thing called corrosion.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    ever time there is a Mazda article I ask have they fixed their rust issue, I guess not, this will more than likely knock a Mazda 6 from the wife list, we keep cars a long time and metro NY uses plenty of salt, her 05 pilot has no rust and has held up great w about 111,000 miles on it but she wants something new and I was debating having her test drive a Mazda 6 , may have to rethink that. Why cam Mazda not seem to fix this???

  • avatar
    readallover

    Mazda will not fix this for the same reason they refused to address their NVH issues or will only offer one engine choice in the 6: Because.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Hey, since I own a Mazda from 1998, I am entitled to say something here. ’98 rust was ok for 10 years. Suspension parts, exhaust were rusty fairly quick in the game but no action required. In the end, the rust related damage was – rear wheel wells, exhaust pipe, bumper brackets.

    Now I have 2011 Mazda3. 7 years. Body – no problem. Suspension looks better than Protege at same time. Here is where Protege had it better – hardware: hose clamps, door hinges, any other hardware, hood loop rusts at its base.

    Bottom line, looks like step forward-half back, in rust department for Mazda.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Where is the fridge?

  • avatar
    don1967

    Hardware issues of this nature occur randomly across all makes.

    Volvo is one of the most rust-resistant brands on the planet, but my 2012 S80 recently needed new suspension bushings due to premature corrosion of a related part.

    As for corroded frames/subframes, name an Asian brand that has NOT had a recall in recent years. Their undercarriages all look like crap after 4 or 5 salty winters unless you keep them soaked in oil.

    Yes, I am aware of Mazda’s rust history. No, I don’t see what it has to do these particular recalls.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      A friend’s V70 XC was condemned by the Volvo dealer for underbody and suspension rust in 2006 with 81,000 miles.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      My ’96 ES300 had a totally mint looking front subframe after spending its whole life in Central Indiana. Toyota and Honda going back even to the early 90s generally don’t have issues with subframes or anything structural like strut towers or suspension mounting points. The ’00 Maxima that preceded it (spent a number of years in Ann Arbord iirc) was a total rust bucket however.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Hard to believe how many people here can’t understand the difference between an inadequate seal allowing water to seize a cable, and body panel rust.

    Recent Mazdas have been notoriously rusty vehicles in salty areas, but this is a minor and completely unrelated issue.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    Had an ’02 MPV. Mechanically, it was a great vehicle. Any issue I had with it in the 3 years I owned it was related to rust.

    – Rocker panels had rusted through
    – Edge of rear hatch
    – Rear license plate fell off because the screw holes rusted
    – flex pipe, exhaust pipe, muffler
    – under the hood would rain rust whenever it was opened

    It was a comfortable and mechanically reliable vehicle. The rust soured me off of Mazdas for good, though.

  • avatar
    DownUnder2014

    I find this article interesting, I don’t see many Mazdas with rust here (and the ones I do see typically tend to be 20+ years old) but I live in an area where vehicles don’t rust as much so YMMV…

    Common vehicles with rust here are VB-VL Commodores (typically under the window), 1989-2004 HiAces (under the window and roof rails), 1970/80’s HiLuxes (everywhere) and 1989-94 Corolla/Nova hatches (under the rear window).

  • avatar
    hamish42

    WE got caught between the dealer and Mazda Canada. The dealer yelled and screamed until we took his very expensive rustproofing package just to get out of there. My 3 started rusting around the back, both fenders and underneath, almost right away. Mazda do provide a warranty of sorts. It seems, according to Mazda Canada, that using the rustproofing product the dealer nearly poured down our throats voids the warranty. So, we pay many ways – a useless rustproofing with almost no coverage at the dealer, lost factory warranty coverage, and/or body repairs or, oh yeah, sell it for pennies on the dollar. I admit that there is salt in Toronto, but this should not be marginally unsafe in less than 4 years.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      I think the only reliable way to prevent rust in the underbody in salty climates is to do an oil spray treatment like Krown or Rust Check. Of course you have to do it yearly, but it’s cheaper than having to replace your car every 5 years.

  • avatar
    hamish42

    This just came in my Canadian site mail. This involves rust (surprise)and 307,000 Mazdas:

    The recall covers certain Mazda6 cars from the 2014 and 2015 model years, and the Mazda3 from 2014 through 2016. The company says water can get into the brake caliper, causing a shaft to corrode and bind. If that happens, the parking brake can get stuck in the on position or fail to fully engage. That can let the cars roll unexpectedly if parked on a slope.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    We had an 08 3 that never rusted in 8 years we had it. I’m still driving an 10 6 that doesn’t have any rust. We get snow only a few times a year but they do salt the roads. I’ve got more bumper cracking from sun exposure than anything. Sorta disappointing. Mazda clear coat is also very soft so it scratches and pits easily. That hasn’t been any better even with our 2015 CX 5.

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    Back when I purchased my 1995 Mazda Millenia L new and three years and couple of days later; it had rust in the inside rear fender wells. I went to the dealership I purchase the car from and the service adviser said::”You warranty has expired. Many other owners have the same problem and Mazda will not fix it for you so you out of luck”. Never went back to Mazda every again. Now they extend it to 5 years for “corrosion”.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Despite VW’s crappiness in some aspects, they are still offering a 12 year/120000 mile corrosion warranty. It was 12 years / 144000 miles at one time. Still not bad considering most other makes are 5/60000 for rust.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Gotta give VW where credit is due: as far as corrosion resistance goes, their stuff is top notch. Cars like the B5 Passat are almost invincible it seems when it comes to rust. Very well galvanized sheetmetal with high quality paint, and top notch rust-resistant metal alloys/anodization used on underbody fasteners and hardware.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Those of us who are talking about salt corrosion (and not by an ocean) mean this: During winter, we see more salt on the roads than snow sometimes. If they use a lot of it and then the water dries up, you wind up with a fine powder of salt that blows in the air. This can happen for most of the winter, let’s say 3 months or more cumulatively. The snow melts to slush, containing salt. If it rains, it’s salty until it rains enough to wash it away. Also add in the freeze thaw cycle, which apparently is made worse by garaging a car.

    My point is salt goes everywhere. Car washes are good, but they can blast salt into crevices. For many folks, washing a car inside is not an option or impossible. Rustproofing, if done wrong, can be worse. Mazdas corrosion protection cannot handle this harsh environment and it’s a problem. And it might keep me from buying another Mazda product, which is a shame because they make such fun to drive vehicles.

    Most of the Midwest and around the Great Lakes sit on large salt mines, so it’s a cheap and effective deicer/anti-icing agent. But it makes corrosion a constant battle.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Featherston: +1, ajla – You’ve hit the nail on the head. I think up-engined FWDers skew “bad in...
  • Lie2me: Really? That explains why they use so much salt on the road toward the end of winter
  • ToddAtlasF1: And that’s why you shouldn’t be dependent on people who have no interest in your well-being.
  • ToddAtlasF1: Because they know EVs belong back in the Victorian era, where they were first rendered obsolete by the...
  • FreedMike: This is definitely not good news. China is probably critical to the company’s health.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States