— Following a federal investigation, Mazda is recalling over 193,000 model year 2007-2014 CX-9 crossover SUVs after owners complained the front wheels could detach from the SUVs.
Mazda says it first learned of possible problems in May 2012, when a left-side lower arm ball joint detached. In July 2012, an investigation led Mazda to believe rust on the ball joint caused it to loosen and separate, although the automaker was still unsure of the root cause.
Further investigation determined the boot covers were cut and cracked and the lip seal was worn which allowed rust to form on the inside of the ball joints.
In February 2013, Mazda found water could invade the boot covers and rust the stud bolts. Changes were made during manufacturing to protect the parts from water intrusion and rust. However, the automaker determined the cars could keep going up to two years after an owner first noticed noise coming from the front-end. Mazda believed this would give the CX-9 owner plenty of time to know of and fix the problem.
The view that owners would have plenty of warning before the ball joints separate wasn't a view held by everyone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a formal investigation after owners kept complaining about lower ball joints separating and causing the front wheels to dislodge from the cars. Some owners said they had no warning before the separations occurred.
Mazda says the recalled 2007-2014 CX-9 SUVs were built October 24, 2006, to December 28, 2013.
The automaker will begin mailing recall notices in September 2015, but the recall will be rolled out in phases and parts won't be available when the first letters are mailed. Once parts are ready, a second letter will be mailed to CX-9 owners in specific states. Dealers will replace both the left and right lower control arms.
Mazda says the recall will get underway with model year 2007-2009 CX-9 SUVs registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The second phase will be for model year 2010-2014 Mazda CX-9 SUVs in the same states. Finally, all remaining vehicles will be repaired.
Owners of the recalled 2007-2014 CX-9 vehicles can contact Mazda customer service at 800-222-5500 and give them recall number 8515G.