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Ford issued a press release today stating that its recent recall of the Mazda5 due to exhaust system fires is not due to defective parts, but rather driver error. Mazda has determined that the cause of these fires is "inadvertent operation of the vehicle in manual mode of the automatic transmission at highway speeds in second gear." Extended high-rpm operation can apparently cause overheating, which could lead to a subsequent fire. The recall is still in effect as Mazda plans to install a warning label with instructions on how to properly operate the vehicle in "M" mode. The company will also install a heat shield and recalibrate the automatic transmission electronic control unit. About 2,700 vehicles were recalled and will receive these modifications, as well as the company's current unsold inventory.  

[Thanks to Richard L. for the tip]

Ford's full press release after the jump…

STATEMENT: 2006 MAZDA5 EXHAUST SYSTEM OVERHEAT

UPDATED ON SEPTEMBER 27, 2005

A safety-related defect may exist in the MAZDA5 as a result of the exhaust system becoming overheated. Although only three instances have been reported, and there have been no injuries as a result of the fires, Mazda will be initiating an aggressive campaign to repair all of the approximately 2,700 affected vehicles either at dealers or in customers? possession. Customers will receive a formal recall notification at a later date.

Mazda has determined that the cause of these fires is excessive exhaust heat caused by inadvertent operation of the vehicle in the manual mode of the automatic transmission at highway speeds in second gear. It is possible that extended high-RPM operation may cause this exhaust overheat, and a subsequent fire.

Mazda will resolve this situation with the installation of a warning label instructing customers on the proper operation of the vehicle in the ?M? mode of the automatic transmission. In addition, a heat-shield will be added to all vehicles as well as a recalibration of the automatic transmission electronic control unit.

Mazda expects all vehicles to be repaired and returned to their owners as soon as possible. New vehicle deliveries will resume as soon as vehicles in inventory are repaired. In the interim, Mazda will provide all customers with replacement transportation at no cost.



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