This recall brings new meaning to the idea of driving a car until the wheels fall off.
Usually that means driving a car hard or driving it until it’s so old that the wheels simply fall off like something out of a cartoon. But in the case of the 2019 Mazda3, a manufacturing issue could cause the wheels to actually fall off of your new car while you’re driving.
Mazda issued the recall for roughly 25,000 units of its hatchback and sedan versions of the new Mazda3 produced from Sept. 25, 2018, through April 19, 2019. The problem is an error in how the car was manufactured, which can cause the wheel lug nuts to loosen themselves over time.
According to Mazda, there may be a gap between the wheel hub bolt and hub flange. This is enough to cause the lug nuts to loosen even though they were tightened to the correct specifications at the plant.
Your warning that the wheels are about to come off your Mazda3 is a rattling noise and a bit of steering wheel shudder. Thankfully, no cases of wheel separation have been reported and no one has been hurt as a result of this problem. Still, it’s a significant safety issue that needs to be addressed by anyone who purchased these cars.
It came to Mazda’s attention back in April after they received a report of the problem. It took them only a few days to pinpoint the cause and Mazda then adjusted the assembly line procedure so the gap is no longer an issue.
That takes care of new models rolling off the assembly line, but if you’re behind the wheel of one potentially at risk of having the wheels fall off, expect a notice to arrive in the mail. In the meantime, the fix is about as simple as possible.
Check the lug nuts on your Mazda3 to be sure they’re tight. If they’re not tight, then tighten them to specifications. That’s exactly what the recall instructs technicians to do when they address the issue at the dealership. Once they’re tightened, the gap is eliminated and the lug nuts can’t loosen again. No replacement parts are needed for this one.
If you get this recall in the mail, then be sure to take your Mazda3 into the dealership to have them verify that the lug nuts are on there good and tight even if you snug them up yourself in the meantime.