UPDATE: Mazda has confirmed to Autoblog that NHTSA's figures and list of effected models are accurate.

Mazda is recalling 1,368,500 older vehicles in the US that date as far back as the late '80s because a potential short circuit in the ignition switch could cause a fire. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the models include:


Mazda reports that over time the grease around the switch's contact points can carbonize and become conductive, which can eventually lead to a short circuit. In some cases this results in smoke, but it could also lead to a fire. According to company spokesperson Tamara Mlynarczyk to Autoblog, there're no accidents, injuries, or fires in the US. Once the vehicle is running, the potential fault also doesn't affect drivability. Documents from NHTSA (as a PDF), indicate there was a fire in one of these vehicles in Japan in 2002 that could have been linked to this issue.

The recall should begin in December. In its announcement of the issue below, Mazda reports 1.2 million vehicles affected and includes the 1990-1996 323/Protégé. Autoblog has reached out to the company to understand the discrepancy.


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RECALL Subject : Ignition Switch may Overheat

Report Receipt Date: OCT 19, 2015
NHTSA Campaign Number: 15V674000
Component(s): ELECTRICAL SYSTEM
Potential Number of Units Affected: 1,368,500

All Products Associated with this Recall
Vehicle Make Model Model Year(s)
MAZDA 323 1990-1995
MAZDA 626 1993-1998
MAZDA 929 1993-1995
MAZDA MPV 1989-1998
MAZDA MX-6 1993-1997
MAZDA MX3 1992-1993
MAZDA PROTEGE 1990-1998

Details

Manufacturer: Mazda North American Operations

SUMMARY:
Mazda North American Operations (Mazda) is recalling certain model year 1989-1998 MPV, 1990-1995 323, 1990-1998 Protege, 1992-1993 MX-3, 1993-1995 929, 1993-1997 MX-6, and 1993-1998 626 vehicles. In the affected vehicles, grease applied to the contact points inside the ignition switch may become conductive and overheat.

CONSEQUENCE:
If the ignition switch overheats there would be an increased risk of a fire.

REMEDY:
Mazda will notify owners, and dealers will replace the ignition switch, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 15, 2015. Owners may contact Mazda Customer Experience Center at 1-800-222-5500, option#6. Mazda's number for this recall is 8715J.

NOTES:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.


Upcoming Mazda Recall for Failure of the Electrical Thermal Base of Ignition Switch

WASHINGTON, DC (October 21, 2015) – Mazda Motor Corporation will conduct a Safety and Emission Recall Campaign for certain models that have a quality and performance issue leading to the potential failure of the electrical thermal base of the ignition switch. The electrical thermal base is the specific part of the component that may fail.

Once the vehicle is running, this situation does not directly affect vehicle drivability or operation, or the operation of any safety devices or features in the vehicle. As a result, there have been no reports of accidents or injuries related to this issue.

Due to an excessive amount of grease at the contact points inside the ignition switch during production, as a result of time and use, the grease may carbonize and accumulate between the contact points, reducing the electrical insulation performance inside the switch. As a result, continuous use may lead the contact points of the thermal base of the switch to become conductive, which may overheat the switch. Should this occur, the resulting effect is smoke from the switch, and, in the worst case, a fire.

Approximately 1.2 million vehicles in the U.S. are affected.

Affected models are:

1990-1996 323/Protégé
1989-1998 MPV
1993-1998 626
1993-1995 929
1993-1997 MX-6
1992-1993 MX-3

Mazda plans to conduct this recall in the U.S. in December 2015.

Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through more than 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.

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