Severe Corrosion, Steering Failure Sparks Investigation of Older Mazda 6 Models

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
severe corrosion steering failure sparks investigation of older mazda 6 models

Mazda can’t seem to shake a recent history that saw its vehicles fall victim to the flesh-eating disease in embarrassing numbers. We’ve seen corrosion issues crop up in a myriad of recalls issued by the automaker over the past several years, and it’s raised its flaky brown head once again.

This time, it’s just a preliminary investigation, but probes conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have a way of turning into recalls in a hurry. The model in question is the 2009-2010 Mazda 6, and the issue is a subframe that can become so corroded, you might have trouble staying on the road.

The investigation, first noticed by Forbes, affects an estimated 84,513 vehicles sold in the United States. According to the NHTSA, it has received 20 complaints about steering or suspension failure related to severely rusted subframes. Another five owners spotted the corrosion before a failure could occur.

Vehicle owner questionnaires (VOQ), along with supporting information, “indicate that severe corrosion in the right-rear corner of the subframe may result in failure of the right steering rack mounting bolt (7) or detachment of suspension components (e.g., lower control arm mount) from the subframe (5),” the agency states.

“Thirteen (13) of the VOQs allege experiencing failures while driving that resulted in vehicle handling or control concerns. The complaint trend is increasing, with 16 received in the last 12 months. In addition, ODI has received 5 VOQs reporting severe corrosion of the subframe detected prior to failure (e.g., during routine oil change service), including 3 in the last 12 months.”

Of the 20 incidents, all but one occurred with 2009 model year Mazda 6 vehicles. The outlier is the sole 2010 vehicle.

Complaints logged to the NHTSA include this one, sent from an Ohio driver last September:

“I was driving on a city street at approximately 30 miles per hour. There was a sudden and significant loss of steering control,” an owner wrote. “The front cross member subframe was completely corroded to the point of breaking. The steering rack became totally separated from its mounts on the passenger side, resulting in the steering loss.”

There’s something to be said for frequent undercoating. Should Mazda issue a recall, we’ll let you know on these digital pages.

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5 of 65 comments
  • Davis Jones Davis Jones on Jun 07, 2018

    Have a 12 Madza 6... Had to replace part of the exhaust system because of rust.. Probably should check the sub frame just in case.. Maybe spray some kind of undercoat on it... Good car over all...

  • Davis Jones Davis Jones on Jun 07, 2018

    Have a 12 Madza 6... Had to replace part of the exhaust system because of rust.. Probably should check the sub frame just in case.. Maybe spray some kind of undercoat on it... Good car over all...

    • See 2 previous
    • Slavuta Slavuta on Jun 08, 2018

      @gtem I put DuraLast gold on my '10 and in 3+ years they still look good. They were covered in black protective layer. I think, I will not have issue to pull them off. Still though, Mazda hardware is nothing like high quality Toyota stuff. I was replacing rotors on highlander that stayed on for 9+ years. No whacking required. Just 2 bolts that go into holes. 30 sec and rotor is off. I could resurface it but come on, $120 for set that lasts nearly 10 years, is not worth it to pay $25 a pop for machine job. Especially, considering all the time spent. Ordered OEM pads/rotors on ebay and they came to me. Ah, and on my '11 I put Carquest Wearever rotors. Seem not worse than OEM until now. And I am wondering if Fords have same issues. Because Mazda brake parts come marked FoMoCo.

  • Kcflyer on one hand it at least wont have dirty intake valves like Honda's entire lineup of direct injection ice vehicles. on the other hand a CRV offers more room, more range, faster fueling and lower price, hmm
  • Tassos BTW I thought this silly thing was always called the "Wienermobile".
  • Tassos I have a first cousin with same first and last name as my own, 17 years my junior even tho he is the son of my father's older brother, who has a summer home in the same country I do, and has bought a local A3 5-door hatch kinds thing, quite old by now.Last year he told me the thing broke down and he had to do major major repairs, replace the whole engine and other stuff, and had to rent a car for two weeks in a touristy location, and amazingly he paid more for the rental ( Euro1,500, or $1,650-$1,700) than for all the repairs, which of course were not done at the dealer (I doubt there was a dealer there anyway)
  • Tassos VW's EV program losses have already been horrific, and with (guess, Caveman!) the Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory growing by leaps and bounds, the future was already quite grim for VW and the VW Group.THis shutdown will not be so temporary.The German Government may have to reach in its deep pockets, no matter how much it hates to spend $, and bail it out."too big to fail"?
  • Billccm I had a 1980 TC3 Horizon and that car was as reliable as the sun. Underappreciated for sure.