Mazda recalls 51,147 new Mazda3s over unexpected-braking issue

Software glitch could “see” non-existent obstacle and activate emergency braking

Published: December 21, 2019, 7:30 PM
Updated: November 17, 2021, 3:44 PM

2019 Mazda3

Mazda is recalling over 51,000 of its new Mazda3s over a software glitch that could activate emergency braking when it’s not needed or expected.

Certain 2019-2020 Mazda3 hatchbacks and sedans may unexpectedly stop due to the activation of the Smart Braking System (SBS) automatic emergency braking feature. The issue is attributed to incorrect programming of the control software, which may cause the detection of a non-existent obstacle in front of the car.

The SBS is designed to automatically apply the brakes in the event of an impending crash, to reduce the speed of impact and even prevent the crash completely (depending on vehicle speed). Although the braking event is accompanied by audible and display-message warnings, the unexpected braking could not only confuse the car’s driver but also increase the risk of injury resulting from impacts with following vehicles. Mazda North America is not aware of any incidents.

There are reportedly two fixes, depending on the year of the affected car. Later-builds will have the software reprogrammed, but older cars will need the entire instrument cluster replaced as the programming for deactivation is different.

The recall affects 51,147 Mazda3s in North America, 35,390 of which are in the US and federal territories. There is no breakdown yet available on the remaining 15,757 vehicles in Canada and Mexico.