WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Mazda on Tuesday announced it is recalling 69,477 RX-8 sports cars in the United States because of the risk of fires due to fuel leaks.
Mazda is informing owners of the recall for the vehicles, but said new fuel pump ring sets and added thermal insulation padding for the fuel tanks are not yet available. Owners will receive a second notice when the parts are available.
A timetable was not disclosed and no injuries were reported by Mazda to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
The recalled cars were manufactured from April 10, 2003, to Feb. 18, 2008. The vehicle was discontinued after the 2012 model.
Mazda says insufficient heat resistance on top of the fuel tank can cause the fuel pump rings to deteriorate from engine and exhaust pipe heat. The fuel pump seals can crack and leak gasoline onto hot surfaces, leading to a possible car fire.
Mazda first received a report in September 2013 about the possible problem with the seals. The automaker requested the affected parts and investigated.
In January 2014, Mazda closed the investigation when engineers determined "improper maintenance" caused the failures. But by January 2015, Mazda received reports of six additional cracked fuel pump rings, so Mazda opened another investigation and engineers found the cracks were caused by plastic materials' deterioration.
Mazda also found the problem parts were a certain color. Engineers found exposure to heat caused the difference in colors. That's when engineers added thermal insulation to reduce the heat exposure.
Owners with questions can contact customer service at customer service at 800-222-5500 and give them recall number 0516J. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit to safercar.gov.