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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 0
Average Mileage:
55,643 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Mazda Tribute seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2002 Mazda Tribute Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #30

Jan 072016


  • 160,000 miles


My airbag warning light has been flashing on and off for a while now. I removed the items under the seat and the lights went off and worked for almost a month. All of a sudden the lights are now flashing again, even though there are no items below my seats. I was able to search online and see that there have been many issues with the seatbelt pretensioners and/or the connections below the seat that need to be wiggled or disconnected and then re-plugged in to make the light go out. It has happened in all situations including stationary, in motion, on the highway, or in the city.

- Greenfield, WI, USA

problem #29

Oct 152015


  • 163,555 miles
I had been driving my Mazda for about 20 minutes on a 75 degree day in South Texas when turning onto a flat, unobstructed, smooth paved road through a koa park. After turning, I was only driving the 5 mile an hour speed limit through this park, when suddenly the driver's airbag exploded in my face without any warning whatsoever. There was nothing that could have even slightly indicated a collision -- not a speed bump, not a bird or animal, or anything. It was just a smooth, slow drive at 5 miles an hour on a sunny day. There was 60% humidity from prior days rain. I had my arm up to my face already when it happened, which took the brunt of the hit to my wrist and forearm. Within less than 5 seconds the passenger side airbag exploded also. Both rang out a shot like a pistol in the closed window car. Smoke and burning smell started filling the car, and I was able to stop since only going 5 miles an hour, and get myself out of the car quickly. My arm sustained huge welts from the impact and wrist felt extremely hurt and bruised and became very stiff and hard to bend. This was all witnessed by an rv camper at the koa park who was sitting 15 feet away and was startled by the pistol fire sound of the exploding bags. He came over to help, while I let the smoke air out of the car. The driver's side explosion destroyed the center of the steering wheel, and a large chunk of 3"X5" plastic had been torn lose and propelled during the explosion. I'm not sure if that is what put the welts on my arm or the bag itself it happened so suddenly. I immediately took my car to my mechanic 3 miles away, dan's auto service of port isabel, Texas, to have him inspect what happened. He indicated he could see no indication that the collision sensors had been touched to set them off, and had no idea why the both bags would trigger like that.

- Port Isabel, TX, USA

problem #28

May 102015

Tribute 6-cyl

  • 138,000 miles
The contact owned a 2002 Mazda Tribute. While driving forward at approximately 35 mph, another vehicle made a left turn and crashed into the front driver side of the contact's vehicle. The air bags deployed. The contact sustained face lacerations from plastic fragments after the air bag deployed, which required medical attention. A police report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 138,000. Updated 8/19/15 updated 9/30/2015........updated 12/17/15

- San Bernadino, CA, USA

problem #27

Feb 012014


  • miles


My air bag light is staying on. I decided to leave a complaint on here because I see multiple complaints from other people regarding this issue.

- Mesquite, TX, USA

problem #26

Apr 212014


  • 119,781 miles
The airbag light has been on for about 2 months in the Mazda Tribute. We took the vehicle to duval Mazda to ask them to reset the computer since we figured that was all that was needed. They called us later in the day and told us that to repair the car so that the light would go out, would cost $397.21. We declined since they told us they needed to rebuild the wiring for the airbags. When we picked up the car (declined the repair), the estimate for repairs stated: "B1881 stored-P/S safetybelt pretensioner circuit failure. Tsb: 08-001/05 has updated connectors that are soldered in to replace and upgrade the failing ones." This sounds like it should be a safety recall item not a customer cost repair issue. Or at the very least, a repair and no charge item done by the dealer since it appears to be a failure of original parts that impact the airbag system. We have not had repairs done at this point since it is a costly one and don't know who, other than the dealer will do the repairs for a more reasonable cost. The dealer did state (not listed anywhere on the itemized list of multiple repairs that they really wanted to do) that the airbag light was impacting the passenger airbag only.

- Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA

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problem #25

Oct 042013


  • miles
My airbag warning light blinks, then stays on shortly after I crank the vehicle. I had it checked and the mechanic told me that it needed a new fuse because it was shorting out. He replaced the fuse and it immediately shorted out again. He told me that my driver side airbag is shorting out and I will need to replace it. I have read several complaints about this issue on this vehicle, so I called Mazda and was told that it was my problem to repair it due to the age of my vehicle. Is this true? I can't believe the complacency of the man I spoke to about the issue. I need this addressed, but do not believe that I had any control in the poor condition of this part. It is not something that suffers from simple wear and tear issues, like brakes or hoses! I hope that with all of the complaints I have read about this, someone will realize that it is a real problem, before someone does get hurt or killed.

- Crystal Springs, MS, USA

problem #24

Jan 172014

Tribute 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles


The air bag dash light came on and stays on. Took it to the dealer to get it fixed but the extended warranty won't cover it. Also Mazda has known about the problem, they said they had a bulletin on it but it expired. I don't think it's fair since we just bought the car 2 years ago and it had already expired. Why didn't Mazda fix it before they sold it to us? I feel this is a safety issue and it's their issue, not something we contributed too. I was also told if we don't fix it we won't pass safety inspection. This is crazy that they can sell things that they willingly know have a safety issue but then want to charge us for the manufactures error. P.S. this car was bought from the same dealer as the original owner bought it and had all the service work done. That's why I can't understand why the bulletin didn't get done.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #23

May 162013

Tribute 4-cyl

  • miles
Air bag light would stay illuminated had it looked at by dealer back in 2005 problem was temporarily fixed started to come back on months after I had the dealer fix it know the light will not illuminate when initial start and there is a beeping sound it beeps 5xs stops then starts again while driving.I feared that while driving to work that the airbag would deploy or if I was in an accident it may not deploy this seems to me like a serious safety issue.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #22

Aug 012011

Tribute 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Airbag warning light has started flashing on and off, then staying on. Is now always on. Dealer said it was a failure in a sensor connection under the seat(s). I have seen many, many complaints about this important vehicle safety system failure online. Apparently it is a known issue. The Mazda dealer wants to charge $500 to fix it. Tough to do during tough economic times. Guess it's food or possible fatality. Which would Mazda recommend?

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #21

Jul 092004

Tribute 6-cyl

  • 20,150 miles
There is a well documented and common problem on 2002 Mazda Tributes where the air bag failure light comes on. Several people have documented this problem and also indicated that their air bags failed to deploy in serious accidents. My air bag failure light comes on intermittently. The Mazda dealership indicated that they are aware of the problem. Amazingly, no safety recall notification has been issued for this problem, although I thought it would surely be issued after all these years and reported problems. Here is just one url with some of the documented problems. One can easily find other, similar complaints on the web. I fear that my airbags will also not deploy should I get into an accident.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #20

May 222012


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Mazda Tribute. The contact was driving 35 mph when the air bag warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated there were two seat sensors that failed on the driver and passenger front seats. The manufacturer was notified of the failure who stated that there were no recalls for the failure and offered no further assistance. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 100,000.

- Falls Street, VA, USA

problem #19

Nov 152009

Tribute 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Airbag light stays on constantly.. found out on this forum that my airbag(s) may not deploy in the case of an accident. Not good. Clearly Mazda/Ford should "man up" and acknowledge this safety problem with a recall!

- Trophy Club, TX, USA

problem #18

Mar 012009


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Mazda Tribute. The contact stated that the seat belt wiring was faulty, causing the air bag warning light to illuminate. In the event of a crash that the air bags would not deploy. The dealer was unaware of the issue and did not offer any assistance. The manufacturer advised the contact that there were no recalls and that since her vehicle was no longer under warranty they would not be able to provide any additional assistance. A local mechanic informed the contact that a new restraining kit would need to be installed. The current mileage was 95,000 and the failure mileage was 70,000.

- Westchester, PA, USA

problem #17

Dec 132010

Tribute 4WD 6-cyl

  • 115,323 miles
I have a 2002 Mazda Tribute with a flashing air bag light. It has been diagnosed as a defective seat belt pretensioner. I called the local dealer and they will charge me for the repair. I called Mazda usa ( case # [xxx])and they will not help. This seems as though it is a common problem with these vehicles. There are 2 safety issues 1) the seatbelt is defective and 2)the air bag may not deploy in the event of a collision. Is NHTSA going to address this safety issue and can you help me get this resolved. Thank you information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Auburn, ME, USA

problem #16

Aug 152009


  • 68,900 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Mazda Tribute. The air bag light is on since the wiring needed to be replaced; therefore, the air bag is inoperable in the event of a crash. The dealer informed the contact that she needed to replace the wiring in the vehicle. The Mazda manufacturer stated that there was nothing they can do to assist with the repair. There were no recalls or warranties for the air bags. The failure mileage was 68,900.

- Bristol, WI, USA

problem #15

Mar 032009


  • 84,625 miles
I have a 2002 Mazda Tribute. I have had the car since new and it has been in a garage the whole time. Recently the air bag light went on and I took into a Mazda dealer to have checked out and repaired. The cause of the malfunction was because of corroded connectors found under the front seat of the car. The resulting repair was over $500. Of the repair $127.40 was parts and the balance was labor. I feel that is a safety device that your life could rely on and feel it is totally negligent of the auto manufacture of the auto manufacture to provide a system that involves safety that is not 100% reliable for the life of the vehicle. This SUV has 84,000 miles on it and failed. I have other cars that have 250 thousand miles on them with no problems. In searching on the internet I find that this is a problem with the Tribute and the Ford Explorer and feel that the manufacture should be required to do a recall on the cars and this part replaced with one that is 100% reliable. I think a consumer should feel comfortable that if needed this product would function was it is expected and sold to function.

- Lakeville, MN, USA

problem #14

Feb 182009


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Mazda Tribute. The contact was involved in a head on crash and the air bags failed to deploy. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to a body shop. The manufacturer stated that they were not responsible for the air bags not deploying. The contact sustained major chest injuries. A police report was filed. The speed was unknown. The failure and current mileages were 110,000.

- Lakebilla, IL, USA

problem #13

Dec 222008

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Mazda Tribute. The contact noticed that the front air bag indicator remained illuminated. He took the vehicle to the dealer for a diagnostic, and error codes were produced for the front passenger air bag retractor circuit and the seat belt light device. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure mileage was 107,000 and current mileage was 108,640. Updated 02/05/09 updated 02/09/09.

- Green Backville, VA, USA

problem #12

Jul 282006


  • 81,438 miles
: the contact stated the air bag light illuminated consistently and flashed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who determined upon investigation that the air bag and seatbelts were affected and needed to be replaced because the air bag would not deploy in the event of a collision.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #11

Aug 012005


  • miles
I have a 2002 Mazda Tribute an in August 2005 the air bag light began to blink and then remained on. After a few days of trying to diagnose the issue the problem was identified, the seat belt pre-tensioner needed to be replaced. Since the part had to be shipped via ground service due to (explosive) materials contained in the part I was told I could pick up my car. I was also told by the dealership that I should not worry about the air bag deploying on its own but that if I were to get in an accident that it may not deploy. After having my car for 10 days the problem was resolved and I got my car back. Fast forward to May 2006, my air bag light came on again. Another issue with the airbag but this time on the passenger side. I am very concerned that I have been told flat out that my air bag may not work if I were to get in an accident. What is even more concerning is that this is apparently not the first issue like this and Ford escape cars in the same make year have had the same issues.

- Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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