NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2004 Mazda RX-8

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 2004 Mazda RX-8, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. Air Bag Inflator Rupture NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA15001

    • Status:
      OPEN
    • Date Opened: February 24, 2015
    • Date Closed: Pending
    • Recall: possible recall

    Component(s): Air Bags
    Air Bags:Frontal

    Summary: The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened PE14-016 in June 2014 based on six inflator rupture incidents involving consumer owned vehicles produced by five vehicle manufacturers.All six vehicles were operated in Florida or Puerto Rico at the time of the rupture and for the majority of their service life, and were equipped with inflators produced by Takata, a tier-one supplier of automotive air bag systems.During the course of PE14-016, ODI determined that five additional vehicle manufacturers used inflators of a similar design and vintage also supplied by Takata. No evidence of field failures was found in vehicles produced by these five additional manufacturers.Nonetheless, at ODI's insistence, all 10 vehicle manufacturers initiated a regional recall within approximately two weeks of the opening of the investigation.The regions recalled initially included Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, areas with high absolute humidity and climatic conditions believed to be a significant factor in the inflator ruptures.As part of the recall actions, inflators removed from remedied vehicles are to be returned to Takata for testing.Takata's initial test results on passenger inflators from remedied vehicles indicated a much higher than anticipated rupture frequency for inflators returned from Florida.Accordingly ODI requested all 10 manufacturers expand the regional recalls for passenger inflators to include other geographic areas where high absolute humidity conditions exist, including the Gulf States and other coastal areas.Takata's testing of the passenger inflators to date continues to indicate this geographic area as having the highest risk, with no ruptures occurring from inflators returned from outside the expanded recall regions.During PE14-016 four additional passenger inflator field events occurred, all in vehicles from the same expanded geographic region.Also during PE14-016 four additional driver inflator field events occurred including two in vehicles from regions not known for high absolute humidity, specifically California and North Carolina.Accordingly, ODI requested all five of the affected vehicle manufacturers currently using the subject Takata driver inflators expand to nationwide recalls.Significantly, neither of the affected vehicle manufacturers or Takata provided any explanation to account for these two driver air bag inflator ruptures outside the area of high absolute humidity.Takata testing of returned driver inflators indicates a lower rupture frequency as compared to passenger inflator testing.All test ruptures reported by Takata to date have occurred on inflators returned from high absolute humidity areas.The investigation now includes all manufacturers and vehicles known to be affected at this time.ODI's investigation will focus on, among other things, root cause analysis, other potential defect consequences, identification of affected vehicles scope, and adequacy of the remedy.The five ODI reports cited above can be reviewed online at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchNHTSAID under the following identification numbers: 10537899, 10568848, 10585224, 10605877, 10651492

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA15001 »

  2. Air Bag Inflator Rupture NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE14016

    Component(s): Air Bags
    Air Bags:Frontal

    Summary: The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened PE14-016 in June 2014 based on six inflator rupture incidents involving consumer owned vehicles produced by five vehicle manufacturers.All six vehicles were operated in Florida or Puerto Rico at the time of the rupture and for the majority of their service life, and were equipped with inflators produced by Takata, a tier-one supplier of automotive air bag systems.During the course of PE14-016, ODI determined that five additional vehicle manufacturers used inflators of a similar design and vintage also supplied by Takata. No evidence of field failures was found in vehicles produced by these five additional manufacturers.Nonetheless, at ODI's insistence, all 10 vehicle manufacturers initiated a regional recall within approximately two weeks of the opening of the investigation.The regions recalled initially included Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, areas with consistently high absolute humidity and climatic conditions believed to be a significant factor in the inflator ruptures.As part of the recall actions, inflators removed from remedied vehicles are to be returned to Takata for testing.Takata's initial test results on passenger inflators from remedied vehicles indicated a much higher than anticipated rupture frequency for inflators returned from Florida.Accordingly, ODI requested all 10 manufacturers expand the regional recalls for passenger inflators to include other geographic areas where high absolute humidity conditions exist, including the Gulf States and other coastal areas.Takata's testing of the passenger inflators to date continues to indicate this geographic area as having the highest risk, with no ruptures occurring from inflators returned from outside the expanded recall regions.During PE14-016, four additional passenger inflator field events occurred, all in vehicles from the same expanded geographic region.Also during PE14-016, four additional driver inflator field events occurred including two in vehicles from regions not known for high absolute humidity, specifically California and North Carolina.Accordingly, ODI requested all five of the affected vehicle manufacturers currently using the subject Takata driver inflators expand to nationwide recalls.Significantly, neither of the affected vehicle manufacturers or Takata provided any explanation to account for these two driver air bag inflator ruptures outside the area of high absolute humidity.Takata testing of returned driver inflators indicates a lower rupture frequency as compared to passenger inflator testing.All test ruptures reported by Takata to date have occurred on inflators returned from high absolute humidity areas.The PE is now closed/upgraded to an Engineering Evaluation (EA15-001) to include all manufacturersand vehicles known to be affected at this time.ODI's EA investigation will focus on, among other things, root cause analysis, other potential defect consequences, identification of affected vehicles scope, and adequacy of the remedy.The recalls related to this PE are: 14V343, 14V344, 14V348, 14V351, 14V353, 14V655, 14V700, 14V701, 14V752, 14V763, 14V770, 14V773, 14V787, 14V802 and 14V817.The number of vehicles affected are an estimate since some vehicles may have both the driver and passenger side inflators recalled. The five ODI reports cited above can be reviewed online at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchNHTSAID under the following identification numbers: 10537899, 10568848, 10585224, 10605877, 10651492

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE14016 »

  3. CLUTCH PEDAL BRACKET FAILURE NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE09045

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: September 23, 2009
    • Date Closed: August 19, 2010
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Power Train:Clutch Assembly
    Power Train:Clutch Assembly:Pedal/Linkage
    Power Train:Manual Transmission

    Summary: On September 23, 2009, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened a Preliminary Evaluation to investigate allegations of the clutch pedal bracket failures in MY 2004 - 2006 Mazda RX8 vehicles.In response to an information request letter sent by ODI, Mazda stated that the failure mechanism may be related to an improper fastener attachment sequence to the body.The improper sequence may create a distortion of the pedal bracket and create a stress amplitude during pedal usage that may go beyond the wear out limit of the bracket.Mazda stated that the percentages of vehicles experiencing the defect is low at approximately 1% of the vehicle population projected to 10 years in service based on analysis of warranty claim data that best represented the alleged defect.In terms of risk to motor vehicle safety, Mazda stated that the failure is progressive with warning manifested in noise and difficulty in shifting gears prior to complete failure of the bracket.Mazda also stated that when a bracket fracture occurs the clutch pedal may lean towards the brake pedal however gear shifting becomes impossible prior to any contact of the clutch pedal to the brake pedal. ODI is not aware of any crashes associated with a clutch pedal bracket failure in the subject vehicles.ODI's analysis of warranty claim data provided by Mazda yielded failure rates of approximately 3% projected over 10 years in service. ODI's analysis of Vehicle Owner Questionnaire (VOQ) data complaint indicates that approximately 5% of the VOQ complainants allege they were unable to get out of the roadway as a result of a clutch pedal bracket failure.None of these incidents occurred on a highway. Approximately 7% of the complainants alleged a contact condition after a clutch pedal bracket failure of the clutch pedal to the brake pedal. None of these complaints noted difficulty in getting the vehicle stopped.Mazda has informed ODI that it will conducted an Owner Notification of an extended warranty coverage program increasing the clutch pedal assembly warranty to 8 years and limited at 100K miles for model years 2004 through 2009 RX8 vehicles.A safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further use of agency resources does not appear to be warranted.Accordingly, this investigation is closed.The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.The agency will continue to monitor this issue and will take further action if warranted by the circumstances.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE09045 »

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