There is no more important safety feature in your car than the brakes. Yes, teenage drivers – that’s even more important than bluetooth connectivity. Unfortunately, owners of the 2010-2011 CX-9 have been having problems bringing their car to a stop.
The Brake Symptoms
CX-9 owners, especially those in hotter climates, have been telling harrowing tales of brake problems centered around:
- A possible loss of power assist making the brakes really hard to push at times
- A sudden loss of braking ability with super spongy pedals
- A strange, hissing noise coming from the pedal area
All signs pointed to a faulty brake booster, prompting a government investigation in February, 2014.
The Brake Investigation
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) centered their investigation on 62,000 model year 2010-2011 CX-9 vehicles. Sure enough, those cars were experiencing brake issues but before the investigation could continue, Mazda announced their had identified the problem.
Mazda narrowed the problem to a materials issue in the brake booster, specifically:
- The brake booster diaphragms develop tears near the outer seal that can result in noise and degraded performance as the tears grow
- The tears allow leakage “from the ambient to the vacuum sides of the diaphragm” which reduces the differential pressure and produces a hissing noise after the tears “reach 10-12mm in length”.
- The problem was caused but a wear of the mold used during the diaphragm forming process.
- Because of the manufacturing defect, high temperatures could accelerate the hardening of the diaphragm, further increasing stress on the area and leading to those tears
Additionally, Mazda found that drivers were having a hard time pushing the pedal during “initial pedal application”, but that effort diminished as the pedal was pressed further and the tear is partially sealed by the outer wall of the booster. This sudden change explains why some drivers felt the pedal turned “spongy.”
Mazda decided to extend their warranty (details below) which satisfied NHTSA, who closed their investigation in July, 2014.
The Extended Brake Warranty
Calling it a “special service program”, Mazda agreed to extend the warranty coverage for this brake issue into two separate actions:
- For repairs done between 03/31/2014 and 03/31/2015: warranty coverage will be extended for an unlimited time and mileage for owners who receive brake repairs in this time period
- For repairs done after 03/31/2015: owners will receive an extended warranty if 7 years or 90,000 miles
Clearly, if you’re having brake problems you’ll want to get them fixed before the end of March, 2015. Call Mazda at 800-222-5500 with any questions.
Mazda brake image via Mr. TinDC on Flickr
OK, Now What?
Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, you can help make sure it gets the attention it deserves.
Below are a handful of steps you can take to make sure this problem gets the attention it needs.
File Your Complaint at CarComplaints.com
CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.
Notify the Center for Auto Safety
The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.
Report a Safety Concern to NHTSA
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.
Spread the Word
Social media is all the rage these days. And for good reason – it can help spread a message quickly. So get out there and start spreading this page.