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NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2007 Mazda MAZDASPEED3

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2007 Mazda MAZDASPEED3, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. INVESTIGATION: FAILURE OF ENGINE/TRANSMISSION MOUNT

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE07015

    Component(s): Engine And Engine Cooling:Engine:Gasoline
    Power Train:Manual Transmission

    Summary: On July 2, 2007 Mazda North american operations submitted a defect information report to NHTSA regarding the left hand side (lhs) engine mount bolts in approximately 5,700 model year (MY) 2007 Mazdaspeed3 vehicles built from June 26, 2006 through May 19, 2007 (Mazda recall 4607F, NHTSA recall 07V-295).according to Mazda, the lhs engine mount could loosen under repeated loads produced during rapid accelerations.loose bolts could pull out or break, allowing the engine and transmission to drop on the left side.when the engine drops, the driveshaft may become detached and disable the vehicle.Mazda will replace the lhs engine mount bolts in the recalled vehicles.in addition, the lhs engine mount rubber and bracket will be inspected and replaced if necessary.Mazda stated in its letter that it "continues to believe that there is no unreasonable risk of accident or injury associated with the condition, " citing the lack of accidents and contending that most of the reported incidents were identified by operators before there was any effect on vehicle operation. ODI disagrees with Mazda.although only about half the subject vehicles had entered service by the cutoff date of the failure data submitted by Mazda, ODI's analysis of consumer complaint and warranty claim data identified a total of 36 subject vehicles with repairs for loose or broken lhs mounting bolts.ODI verified 17 incidents of bolt fracture resulting in the engine dropping in these vehicles, including at least 10 that resulted in vehicle disablement.all of the bolt fractures occurred in the first 7 months of vehicle service, with 8 failing within 4 months.these failures result in a relatively high failure rate when compared with other ODI investigations involving defect conditions with similar safety consequences that resulted in safety recalls, particularly when considering the very short service life of the subject vehicle population. ODI interviewed owners to further assess the safety consequences of the lhs bolt defect.more than two-thirds of those interviewed who experienced an engine fall incident indicated the event disabled the vehicle, some being stranded in the flow of traffic.at least three-quarters of these incidents occurred when the driver was attempting to increase speed, resulting in a sudden change in acceleration.each of these drivers expressed some concerns about the potential safety hazards associated with the event, including the possibility of being struck by trailing or crossing traffic.in one incident the vehicle veered to the left across oncoming traffic lanes after the lhs mount bolt broke, stopping in the roadway after striking a curb. Based on this information, ODI strongly disagrees with Mazda's characterization of the safety risk associated with the defect in the lhs engine mount bolts.this investigation has been closed based on Mazda's recall.ODI will monitor the effectiveness of Mazda's campaign remedy and take further action if warranted.

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