• Mazda will recall 52,000 Tribute SUVs over a fire risk.
  • The issue has caused no injuries so far.
  • Owners will soon get notice of the recall, which begins immediately.

Mazda recently announced that it will recall more than 52,000 units of its 2001 and 2002 Tribute due to a problem with the SUV's brake system that could pose a fire hazard.

According to the automaker and the federal government's National Highway Traffic Administration, the recall is necessary due to a faulty reservoir cap on the brake master cylinder that may allow brake fluid to leak from the cylinder. According to the NHTSA, the leaking brake fluid could come in contact with a wiring harness connector in the SUV's anti-lock braking system, leading to melting, smoke, or even a fire.

The recall comes on the heels of a similar action that affected more than 240,000 units of Ford's 2001 and 2002 Escape SUV, which is mechanically identical to the Tribute and was manufactured in the same Claycomo, Missouri factory. In that case, Ford hadn't received any reports of injuries due to the problem, but noted that it was aware of property damage stemming from fires caused by leaking brake fluid making contact with the wiring harness connector.

To remedy the issue, Mazda dealers will replace the brake master cylinder reservoir cap on affected Tribute models and modify the SUV's anti-lock braking system to ensure the problem doesn't return. Although Mazda says the recall will begin immediately, owners of affected units who can't immediately come in for service are advised to park their vehicles outside in order to avoid potential property damage.

While Mazda says it will send out recall letters to owners of vehicles affected by the recall, customers with questions or concerns can call the automaker at 1-248-393-5990 for more information.

The aging Tribute will be replaced for 2013 by Mazda's newest crossover, the compact CX-5. Released at last year's Los Angeles International Auto Show, the CX-5 features a standard four-cylinder engine that was recently rated by the EPA at 35 miles per gallon in highway driving, making it the most fuel efficient SUV currently on sale.

What it means to you: If you own a 2001 or 2002 Tribute, be prepared to receive a recall notice in the mail.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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