Kiwi cars in Mazda recall of 4.9 million vehicles over fire risk

Mazda says the problem doesn't affect the cars' operation or safety devices.
BILL KEARNS/FAIRFAX NZ

Mazda says the problem doesn't affect the cars' operation or safety devices.

Mazda New Zealand is working to determine how many cars in this country are affected by a global recall of older models.

Mazda has announced it is recalling 4.9 million of its older cars worldwide because the ignition switches could overheat and catch fire.

Mazda said it put too much grease on electrical contact points in the switches when the cars were manufactured.

Mazda says the problem doesn't affect the cars' operation or safety devices.
Supplied

Mazda says the problem doesn't affect the cars' operation or safety devices.

The grease can carbonise and reduce electrical insulation. The company says continuous use can cause electricity to flow between the points and make the switches overheat. That can cause smoke and possible fire.

Glenn Harris, national marketing manager at Mazda, said it was not yet known how many New Zealand cars are affected.

READ MORE: Toyota recalls 6.5 million vehicles over window defect.

He said the period affected included years when cars were being assembled and sold in New Zealand, and Mazda was going through its records for those vehicles.

"We're trying to pull it together as quickly as possible."

He said while the incident rate had been low, there had been cases where problems had occurred.

Drivers who noticed heat or smoke from the ignition are should get to a dealer as soon as possible, he said.

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David Crawford, chief executive of the Motor Industry Association, said people whose cars were affected should have the part replaced as soon as possible.

"It is definitely worth doing. Particularly, when there is an indiscriminate fault and it is hard to determine which are and which aren't affected, it's always better to get it replaced."

 Mazda's recall covers the 1990-1996 323 and Protg, the 1993-1998 626, the 1993-1995 929, the 1993-1997 MX-6, the 1989 to 1998 MPV and the 1992-1993 MX-3.

The recall follows Toyota's announcement on Thursday recalling 6.5m vehicles  worldwide because of a window fault.

 - Stuff

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