Automotive News is reporting that Mazda has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it will recall over 200,000 2007 to 2009 Mazda3 and Mazda5 models due to faulty power-assist steering pumps and pipes. The recall announcement comes two months after NHTSA launched an investigation into 33 complaints of power steering failures. In three cases, the loss of steering control led to an accident.
Robert Davis, Mazda's senior vice president of product development and quality has told AN that the power steering system can shut down because sensors in the pump can be contaminated with rust from pipes that connect the pump to the steering rack. The contamination could cause the power steering pump to shut itself down to prevent further damage. When the power steering shuts down, affected vehicles will still be steerable, but the loss of power assist will make steering effort markedly heavier than what drivers are used to.
Owners of the affected vehicles will be notified by Mazda to bring their Mazda3 or Mazda5 to the nearest dealership for a new steering pump and pipes. This recall notice has yet to be added to be made official by NHTSA on its website.