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The faulty component was manufactured in Japan by Akebono Brake Industry Co., Ltd. NHTSA's defect report summarizes the issue, which may be worse in cold weather:
"Due to inappropriate sealing performance of the rear brake caliper protective boot on hand-operated parking brake system, particularly under low temperature conditions, water may enter the brake caliper and cause the parking brake actuator shaft to become corroded. In continuous use under this condition, the corrosion may increase the diameter of the actuator shaft and inhibit the sliding motion of the shaft. In extreme cases, the corroded actuator shaft may potentially become stuck in the brake caliper body, which may lead to either a decrease in parking brake holding force, or to brake drag while driving."
In other words, the parking brake may become stuck in either the engaged or disengaged position--and of course, neither is desirable. The former will slow the vehicle; the latter will make the parking brake less effective or perhaps entirely ineffective.
The recall affects the following models:
NHTSA says that 227,814 of those vehicles are currently registered in America.
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Mazda expects to mail recall notices to owners of those vehicles around August 21, 2017. After receiving those notices, owners will be able to take their cars to Mazda dealerships for service. Dealers will inspect each car's parking brake actuator shafts and replace any that show signs of corrosion. The fix will be carried out at no charge.
If you own one of these vehicles and have further questions, you're encouraged to call Mazda customer service at 1-800-222-5500 and ask about recall 1217F. Alternately, you can ring NHTSA's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #17V-393.
(c) 2017, High Gear Media.