Mazda plans a voluntary recall of all 2004 and 2005 RX-8 sports cars along with some 2006s because of damage to the catalyst resulting from oil leaks in the RX-8's rotary engine.
Mazda is preparing to replace the engines in many of its top of the line sports cars as a result of the recall. Any engine that does not pass a specific vacuum test will be replaced according to Mazda.
Engines prone to failing the vacuum test are mostly in hot climates and use synthetic oils, according to the automaker.
Earlier this month Mazda, in an attempt to soothe intense dealer dissatisfaction with the RX-8 maintenance record, promised dealers that it would no count RX-8 owners' opinions in its internal customer-satisfaction scores.
Mazda dealers complained that problems with the RX-8 were unfairly lowering the Mazda customer-satisfaction results.
A video of the dealer complaints was leaked to a Mazda owners' web site and caused an immediate uproar.
In the video, a member of the Mazda National Dealer Advisory Council states, "Mazda is well aware of the negative impact on the scores caused by the RX-8 surveys. They agreed with us that the situation had to be changed. And so, effective July 1st, RX-8 will be continued to be included in the survey, but the scores will no longer be included in the results."
The engine recall is the latest in a series of problems for the RX-8. Mazda will also check each RX-8's battery and starter, which tend to fail in cold climates.
Mazda has already issued service bulletins on such trouble spots as squeaky brakes and engine flooding. Squeaky brakes on the RX-8 are the subject of three Technical Service Bulletins, according to owners. RX-8 owners have also repeatedly complained of engine flooding to failure.
Mazda executives promise to give the RX-8 "white glove treatment" to finally deal with the problems associated with the sports car.
The automaker has a remanufacturing plant in North Carolina that will rebuild faulty rotary engines and return them to service.