Mazda recalls 400,000 cars because of wiper issues

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Mazda3 model

Some Mazda3 models will be recalled next month. Image: /_solguod/Flicker/CC BY-SA

Mazda Corp. will be recalling about 400,000 Mazda3 and MazdaSpeed3 vehicles worldwide in mid-July. The recall comes because of a fault in the windshield wiper motors that could potentially cause an accident.

Affects 103,000 cars in the U.S.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, the Mazdas in question were manufactured between Jan. 7, 2008, and Nov. 28, 2008, at Mazda’s plant in Hofu, Japan. The recall affects about 103,000 vehicles currently owned in the United States.

Installation jig changed in January, 2008

According to the automaker, the ground terminal of the windshield wiper motor “may have been inadvertently bent during assembly. If this condition exists, then over time the electrical resistance of the motor circuit may increase up to a point that the windshield wipers would not work.” The windshield wiper system was manufactured by Bosch Electrical Drives, based in South Korea.

“The investigation identified that the supplier changed the jig used for installing the ground terminal in January 2008 and that the failures were concentrated in the period after this,” Mazda reported to the NHSA. “It was discovered that the revised jig may bend the ground terminal if used improperly.”

Complaints as early as 2009

Mazda received complaints about the problem as early as September, 2009. That complaint came from a driver in the U.S. who said his wipers would not work. A second claim was received on December, 2009. Mazda began its investigation then and determined that no recall was necessary at that time. When another complaint was received in March of the following year, the investigation was reopened, “based on an increasing trend of the concern.”

132 complaints

The complaints continued, and Mazda has since collected 132 reports of the problem. Mazda spokesperson Jerry Barnes said that there have been 20 reports from North America, 30 from China, 29 from Japan, six from Europe and 47 from other global markets.

‘To remedy the concern’

This month, Mazda decided to go ahead with the recall “to remedy the concern because of an increase in the frequency of the occurrences,” the company said. Mazda plans to notify dealers of the recall by July 4, and letters will be sent to all affected owners by July 15.

Dealers will install a new ground harness on the affected wiper motors free of charge. Owners who have already fixed the wipers will be reimbursed for their repair expenses. Mazda has declined to comment on how much the recall will cost the company.


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