Mazda issues its own unintended acceleration recall

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Mazda Tribute

Mazda is recalling 217,500 Tribute SUVs over a familiar issue. Image: v230gh/Flickr/CC BY-ND

In what is starting to sound like a broken record in the automotive press, Mazda has just announced that it will be recalling 217,500 of its Tribute SUVs for unintended acceleration troubles. This comes just one day after the recall of 485,000 Ford Escape SUVs for the same issue.

Unintended acceleration issues

Mazda Motor Corp. announced the recall on Friday, July 27. The problem stems from an accelerator pedal that may stick, leading to unintended acceleration, which can be a very dangerous problem indeed.

The affected Tributes were from the model years 2001 through 2006, and 2008. No Tributes were made in model year 2007. All the affected vehicles are equipped with a 3.0-liter V6 engine and they all have cruise control.

Cruise control cable

The problem can occur when the cruise control is engaged. At those times, the clearances between the cruise control cable and the engine cover may become constricted, causing the throttle to stick.

Tribute and Escape share the same platform

Actually, that both the Tribute and the Escape are experiencing the same difficulty is not at all surprising. The two vehicles are nearly identical, sharing the same platform. However, though the Escape is one of the most popular SUV’s in the United States, the Tribute is no longer sold on these shores.

Investigation and petition

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened its investigation into the Escape and the Tribute last week, based on 99 reports of the problem. Tribute owners have reported 31 unintended acceleration incidents. Escape owners have filed reports of the problem 68 times. Between the two models, there have been 13 reported crashes and nine injuries caused by unintended acceleration.

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A petition from the Center for Auto Safety also called for the recall of both the Tribute and the Escape. That petition was bolstered by a tragic incident in Arizona in January, in which a 17-year-old girl was killed due to an unintended acceleration accident.

A recurring theme

The Ford Escape was first recalled for the problem back in December 2004. At that time, the automaker recalled 470,000 Escapes from the model years 2002 through 2004. That same month, Mazda followed suit with a recall of 121,000 Tributes from the same model years.

Toyota Motor Corp. has likewise experienced its own grief over unintended acceleration issues in recent years. More than 10 million vehicles were recalled by the automaker in 2009 and 2010 over sticky gas pedals.


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