Mazda recalls 206,000 SUVs to fix front suspension

2014 Mazda CX-9
This undated photo provided by Mazda shows the 2014 CX-9 SUV. Mazda is recalling more than 193,000 CX-9 SUVs in the U.S. from the 2007 through 2014 model years to fix suspension parts that can rust and come loose, causing a loss of steering control. (Mazda via AP)

DETROIT (AP) — Mazda is recalling its biggest SUV to fix suspension parts that can rust and come loose, causing a loss of steering control.

The recall covers 206,000 CX-9 SUVs from the 2007 through 2014 model years, mainly in the U.S. and Canada.

The company said in documents posted Wednesday by U.S. safety regulators that front ball joints can rust from water leaks and separate from the suspension. Ball joints allow the wheels to pivot when the steering wheel is turned.

Owners will be notified by letter starting in September. Dealers will replace suspension parts on both sides.

When parts become available, CX-9s registered in states where salt is used to clear roads in the winter will be repaired first. Those states are Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.

The recall comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the problem in June. Mazda said Wednesday that it has no reports of crashes or injuries from the problem.

In documents filed with NHTSA, Mazda said it first found out about the problem in May of 2012 and began investigating. It fixed the problem at the factory in January of 2014 but decided not to do a recall because the ball joints did not separate suddenly and owners would be warned by front-end noise.

But NHTSA opened its investigation after getting 16 complaints about the problem. Mazda said it decided to do the recall because in some of the complaints, the failure happened suddenly.

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