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

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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  • 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.

  • 2ACL What tickles me is that the Bronco looks the business with virtually none of the black plastic cladding many less capable crossovers use.
  • IBx1 For all this time with the hellcat engine, everything they made was pathetic automatic scum save for the Challenger. A manual Durango, Grand Cherokee, Charger, 300C, et al would have been the real last gasp for driving enthusiasts. As it is, the party is long over.
  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.