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Rusting Undercarriage: Shock Disconnected at Upper Mount

2003 Mazda Protege5, 118,000 miles

Rusting undercarriage. Area where shock mounts to body/frame (top side of wheel well) is so rusted that the shock is loose. Rust has developed in other critical areas on the undercarriage. Mechanic had to turn me away after inspection because he doesn’t offer welding services.

My first impluse is to sell the car to a junk service as I expect the rust issue to become a recurring repair.

I’m wondering if there is any hope that I could actually have the rusting areas “fixed” for a price that warrants keeping the vehicle.

A family member advised that I should contact Mazda and/or the better-business bureau as the rust seems extreme for its age…

Front or rear? Shock or strut? I suspect this will be an on-going safety issue. You have to have solid steel somewhere to weld to. That’s pretty young to have that severe rusting so guess you might want to have Mazda look at it and also contact the National Highway Safety Center to report the problem.

Rear wheel well. Shock. Any solid steel there?
Thanks for the reply!

I had a plate welded in by a bud for my 71 nova for a rear shock that rusted and punched through, I suppose it could be done for your car. A ten year old car will not get much attention or care by Mazda, no matter how high up the flag pole you run it I fear. Your greater concern is the structural integrity of the car. You need to analyze that before putting any money into it.

I was of similar skepticism concerning Mazda. I fancied the idea that I might earn a bit more on a trade-in if I went shopping at a Mazda dealership.

I would advise the OP to just move on to a replacement vehicle, as rust that is this extensive is equivalent to cancer that has begun to metastasize in a person’s body. (i.e.–You can remove a tumor in one place, only to find another tumor in another portion of the body a few months later, as a result of the metastasizing of the malignancy.) It might be possible to do a temporary repair in this one area, but–more than likely–there will soon be too little intact metal left to weld on.

And, what should concern the OP more than anything is the likelihood that this car will simply collapse in the event of a collision, rather than absorbing energy in order to protect its occupants. Severely rusted metal will not retain the “controlled” energy absorbtion of the original design.

As to, “A family member advised that I should contact Mazda and/or the better-business bureau as the rust seems extreme for its age”, there is no warranty coverage of any kind or even “good will” coverage on a vehicle that is ten years old. I would be extremely surprised if Mazda (or any other car company) was willing to give you repair assistance with a ten year old vehicle.

And, as to the BBB (better known as the Better FOR Business Bureau), you should save your time and effort. When Smart Money magazine conducted a study of the BBB a few years ago, they concluded that, “Few consumers are actually helped by the BBB”.

With a ten year old car, I have to seriously doubt that you have any recourse other than to replace this car with a newer one, and to remember to faithfully rinse the undercarriage of that replacement vehicle after every snow storm, in order to rid it of as much road salt residue as possible.

Sorry for the bad news.

I bet more than the strut tower is rotted. Before spending any real mone on that car, take an awl and see where you can poke through the body. Don’t be gentle. Make sure that car doesn’t have too much rot before spending money on it.

If it were a classic or you were somehow emotionally attached to it, fixing would be worth considering but just go in both eyes open.

Considering the age of the car and especially if you live in the Rust Belt then this is not a matter for the BBB or Mazda.
Many cars no matter the make are eaten alive by road salt and at a younger age than yours.

Our 2000 grand prix had same rust. Sisters 2001 caravan had front shock tower with serious rust also.