V.O.S.A. Chassis failure reporting procedure.


 Lo & Behold, VOSA want to know.
They require as many as possible to subscribe to the Dangeous Fault reporting procedure.
If you are so motivated to assist with your particular case, here is the link.
They require as many as possible to subscribe to this process.
They will act if we do. If not, nothing much if anything will happen.
Over to you guys.

Would this item get more feedback if it was added to the Multiple posts on Chassis rust?

What’s the objective here?  Are you looking for Mazda to repair the cars?  It wouldn’t be economical, so you’d be looking at compensation.

The closest precedent I can think of is the Lancia Beta, and IIRC Lancia bought a few back, but they were much younger vehicles.  A ten year old car would normally be at the end of its design life anyway.

Compensation might be one outcome, but repair is another. Making sure people don’t get hurt is another. This is rather different from rear “sill” [sic] rust (where generally it wasn’t the sill strengthening member that was affect, but the outer wing panel, very few of these cars were rendered into a truly dangerous condition by the time they got around to making reapirs).

Recently, Toyota, Honda and Mazda recalled large numbers of 10 year old cars, worldwide, for replacement of airbag modules. The sorts of cars affected were only worth a few hundred pounds, but nevertheless, airbags costing £600-1000 were fitted FOC to these cars. In another example, in 2011, Ford recalled 400,000 1999 Windstar people carriers due to advanced rusting in the subframes. These cars were repaired FOC. Toyota recalled every  2001-2004 Tacoma for complete chassis replacement due to advanced rusting.


Its likely, certainly in  the case of the Windstars, that these were not economical repairs. But there was a reputational aspect. Tacoma frame replacement; was this ever economical?;


Love the beater Tacoma getting a full new chassis for free.

If you have followed the quite long thread on this topic, you will see that quite a few MK2.5s and some Mk2s have been suffering advanced front chassis leg corrosion, near the front anti-roll bar mounting and subframe attachment points. And this can affect cars less that 10 years old (average age of a car on scrapping in the UK is 14 years, average age of a car on the roads in the US is 11 years, so the popular “cars are only designed to last 10 years” has no basis and is complete bunk). The corrosion can only be seen once the engine tray has been removed, so is not spotted during a MOT and so potentially, the cars could suffer catastrophic failure during drivng. Engine trays cannot be removed during the MOT.


This extreme example had received no MOT advisories

This 2002 car was reported on this forum by an owner:

This 2003 car had only 30k miles, and a fresh MOT; luckily the owner got most of their money back from the supplying dealer:


Mk1s do not suffer rusting in this area, to this extent. Owners in the US have the same issues; some who have looked at the problem more closely, report that on the later cars, these front chassis rails are made up of interleaving thin folded sheets of steel, seperated by a “tar like” substance, suggesting that the problem is a problem in design, affecting a structural area. The rusting proceeds from the inside out, so that by the time owners are aware, the area is already seriously compromised.

What happened to Lancia is something that carmakers nowadays try to avoid. Lancia brought back a few cars over 30 years ago, but its rather pathetic response pretty much killed the brand in the UK. MX5s used to have a good reputation for corrosion. I recall posts back in 2000-2002 when we bragged how much longer lasting the MX5 was compared to Fords and Vauxhalls. Now we have threads concerning rot in Mk3s, and people can refer to their shopping trolley cars without an an ounce of rust (eg. my 2004 Alfa Romeo 147, ironically, looked completely  fractory fresh in 2012). When one of Mazda’s car transports, the Cougar ace, developed a list, when the ship was recovered, despite the cargo of mostly brand new CX5s being apparently undamaged, Mazda had every single car crushed, presumably to protect its  brand.






Yep, Lancia cars wer failing after 3 years, not ten or more.  VOSA are now well aware there is a problem and have advised testers.  I guess there will be lots of failures on this now as testers look specifically for it.

Same thing happened with the Saab 900 convertibles,  they cracked the bulkhead by the steering rack, but it was difficult to see, you had to shine a light from inside the bonnet, down the side of the brake servo to see it.    VOSA advised testers and the failure rate went through the roof!  Lots of cars scrapped as it was difficult to repair as the engine and dash had to come out to do it properly…

if what I hear is right and the corrosion is due to a double skin chassis rail, it’s going to be very difficult to do any preventative maintenance to stop the rust.  Slapping some underseal on and squirting some in the chassis is not going to solve the problem if the corrosion is in the joints…

Can anyone confirm the chassis is double skin?




AT makes some good points but residuals of Mk2 MX-5s are so low at the moment, and the repair so difficult, that (if I were Mazda’s MD and felt forced into doing anything) it would probably be a discount on a Mk3, or a buyback of some sort.  As they say, you can only make a welded repair if there is something left to weld to.

I do wonder whether the amount of rock salt used on UK roads exceeds the design standard of the MX-5.  Japan doesn’t use much salt and the Americans often use other chlorides which aren’t as corrosive to steel.

I’ll be getting the new car rsutproofed before its first winter.

Well, at this rate, they are going to get worse. NCs look to have future rusting problems, whether its the under carriage looking decidely crumbly on 5-6 year cars, cars with blistering wheel arches, or chronic damp areas behind the seats. An owner of a 9 year old MX5 thats going to the scrapyard is probably not going to be too keen on a Mk3, no matter what discount is offered.

The repairs done in the US have used new chassis rails that Mazda supplies as part of the front damage collision kit. The rusting is at the forward part of the rail, the whole section can be replaced using the same procedures Mazda has developed for collision repair. These are the parts needed.

The de-icing treatments used in the US vary from State to State. Most used a Magnesium Chloride solution, which is more pernicious than rock salt. In rust belt states, Miatas were getting rocker repairs a good 3-4 years before it started becoming common place in the UK. Miataforum has a similar thread to the frame rust thread here, with owners reporting identical damage, and reports have been made to the NHTSA.

When Toyota recalled all 2001-2004 Tacomas for a full frame replacement, that was not an economic repair. Toyota were taking 10 year old pick ups, including those beat to hell, taking the body off, stripping down the chassis, and refitting a brand new chassis, and refitting the same beat up cab on the new chassis. Not an economic repair, considering the work was done by dealers, at $100 an hour.  When the Cougar Ace (a mazda car carrier) developed a list, when the ship was recovered, the load of mostly CX5s, MX5s and RX8s fresh off the production lines, was found to be in perfect condition. Nevertheless, Mazda decided to have the whole lot crushed.

Ready for the scrapyard (note all the deployed airbags; airbags were set off prior to crushing, not because of the sea crossing):


Nearly doomed



Other Mazdas don’t rust like these MX5s. Despite the UK being the third or fourth biggest market for MX5s, are you suggesting Mazda build these cars to a lower standard than, say, a Mazda3?

I imagine the crushing of all those cars didn’t (directly) cost Mazda a penny, since the cargo would have been insured.  There’s probably no insurance available for building cars which turn out to rot a few years later.

I can’t imagine that galvanisation adds more than a few kg to the weight of the car, so presumably Mazda either don’t have the technology (as well as the actual hot dipping, galvanised panels are harder to paint) or they are just saving money.  Skoda can do it, for goodness’ sake.

There is no recall age limit as such.

As just one example of many “aged” recalls,I had both  22 & 24 year old Opel Monza 3ltrs to the Main Dealer to have a mod carried out on the steering wheel tilt mechanism.

For the avoidance of confusion or doubt, this matter is about cars that could ( in the opinion of a VOSA inspector) collapse in the event of even a minor frontal impact due to severe structural, not cosmetic, failure of the front chassis rails.


Its not just MX5’s though is it…  you only have to google Mazda6 rust problems to see they have an ssue across the range.  At this rate they will have as bad a reputation as Lancia did in the 70’s.

Was Toyota insured to repair 10 year old pick-ups?

This was the kind of rusting seen on these 10 year old pickups:


Damage exceeding 10mm qualified the owner to a $10,000 replacement of the full chassis (frame). A 10 year old Tacoma has a book value of $8,000. In fact there were complaints that Toyota refused to buy back some of the affected cars (some owners go $12k compensation, others were forced to accept a $10k frame replacement).


MX5s are galvanized, but different manufacturers have different, propietary ways of achieving it. Rust prevention/inhibition is a combination of the type of steel used, the galvanic costing, the type of primer used, how that primer is applied, and finally, after a paint coat, wax. Of course, design also plays a role as well. When Skoda was Skoda, they couldn’t galvanize. Skoda these days is little more than a badge-engineered VW.


Galvanisation usually involves dipping the steel in molten zinc, the name being a misnomer.  VAG press their panels from pre-galvanised steel sheet and these panels won’t rust for decades, unless they catch fire or someone scrapes off a large area of the surface.  Mazda may just be using an electrophoretic coating process (like most manufacturers since the 1960s) which does not involve metallic zinc.





I reported mine to Vosa today and had a reply this evening to say the issue was closed as it could be spotted during routine maintainance. :-/