The recall bug bit Mazda this week. The new Skyactive energy saving system the company calls i-ELOOP is the latest recall. Although there have been no accidents, breakdowns or injuries associated with the recall Mazda will send notices to customers of Mazda3 and Mazda6 vehicles produced last year from roughly May through December.
i-ELOOP is an energy regeneration system that works similarly to a hybrid system. When the car brakes, some of the energy that would normally be lost to heat in the brakes and tires is instead recaptured. Mazda’s unique solution is to store that energy in a capacitor. A capacitor acts like a battery, but can be charged and recharged more quickly. The energy recovery and storage is used to power the vehicle’s accessories such as steering, lights, audio, and other electrical systems. The upshot of this is that the vehicle has better fuel economy. Mazda claims that the system can improve efficiency up to 5%.
The reason for the recall is that the Mazda’s power control module (PCM) incorrectly senses a failure of the i-ELOOP in heavy rain and deep puddles and then shuts it down. In theory this could lead to the vehicle losing power. Mazda does note that before this condition there would be three separate warning lights as well as a message to the driver.
The recall affects relatively few vehicles, likely less than 6,000 in the US. Mazda will reprogram the PCM to fix the problem. Customers with affected vehicles will be notified in May.
In a related story, Mazda this week also announced that some of the Tribute compact sport utility vehicles Mazda sold 10 to 14 years ago may have a corrosion issue with lower control arms in the steering. Customers with the 2001 through 2004 vehicles affected will be notified in the coming month.