Mitsubishi Motors North America is recalling 29,000 model year 2008-2009 Lancer and Lancer Evolution cars originally sold in or currently registered in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. The recall also applies to Canada.
Mitsubishi says that in areas where heavy road salt is used in the winter that the long term exposure to a mixture of melted snow with salt thrown up by the other vehicles on the road may cause a water-salt mixture to stick to the front impact sensor.
This brine coating over time may cause corrosion of the sensor. Over time corrosion may cause the sensor case to crack, which could allow water into the sensor, and there is the possibility of a short-circuit of the sensor, which would illuminate the airbag warning indicator. In the event of a crash that would deploy the airbags, the short-circuit may cause a delay in the deployment of the airbags which could result in driver or passenger injury.
Mitsubishi told the National Highway Traffic safety Administration that it is impossible to tell the percentage of vehicles that may experience the corrosion problem since it is caused by snow water mixed with the road salt, which could enter into the front impact sensors when driving on a road covered by salt.
Dealers will install new front airbag sensors that have improved corrosion resistance. This service will be performed free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin on or before November 27, 2009. Owners may contact Mitsubishi customer relations department at 888-648-7820.
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to http://www.safercar.gov.