Mazda latest car maker to fix melting dashboard

Posted at 5:45 PM, Feb 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-09 05:48:21-05

Mazda is the latest manufacturer to send letters to drivers alerting them to a free dashboard repair. If you paid out of pocket to get yours fixed before this warranty enhancement was announced, you'll get a refund. Our Consumer Watchdog investigation into the issue has now helped nearly five million drivers.

From the moment Michelle Ferrara saw her Mazda she fell in love with it. That love affair soured quickly.

"I hate the way it looks," Ferrara said.

The dashboard melted into a sticky and shiny mess.

"I hate the way it feels; it's awful," explained Ferrara.

It's also a safety issue. The shiny surface reflecting in the Florida sun blocks some drivers' views.

"I thought it was just me," explained Ferrara. Until we exposed the problem a year and a half ago.

"Saw your Facebook post and was like, 'Oh my God. I have the same issue,' " explained Ferrara.

An issue Mazda wouldn't fix unless drivers paid half the repair bill.

"I said I can't pay $300. That's unacceptable," explained Ferrara.

With a child in college, this single mom, kept driving. The problem growing worse and Ferrara's frustration revving up even more as Mazda's competitors, Toyota and Lexus, rolled out a repair program for its sticky dashboards after our stories.

Mazda didn't budget at first.

"Mazda's like, 'Sorry we're not doing it,' " Ferrara recalls.

The automaker did take notice of what Toyota did, though, sending the Consumer Watchdog an email asking for details on Toyota's repair program.

A year after that email, Mazda is changing directions and finally following the same path as its competitor and fixing nearly 300-thousand vehicles.

As part of the warranty enhancement program, the following vehicles will qualify for repairs:

  • 2009-2013 Mazda 6 produced from February 4, 2008 - August 24, 2012
  • 2010 Mazda 3 produced from October 7, 2008 - April 28, 2010

The warranty will be extended for 10 years (120 months) from the original warranty start date with no mileage limit. The warranty only applies to sticky dashboards and will not cover discolored, warped or split dashes.

"I'm happy," Ferrara said.

Soon after we shared the news, Ferrara was on the phone ordering her new dash.

"I'm going to be able to get a new dash. That's great," Ferrara said. "Now I'm on the list."

A waiting list that wouldn't exist if so many of you hadn't shared your story with us and Mazda.

"It took a lot of people. It took you and your hard work," Ferrara told the Consumer Watchdog.

It's unclear when these Mazda repairs will start. Dealers say the parts are in short supply, and that's why they have a waiting list.

It's a list that many Toyota and Lexus drivers have been on for a year. So why can't Toyota get parts either? We'll have that part of the story Tuesday at 6.

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