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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening a preliminary evaluation into the 2007-2008 Mazda CX-9 because the lower ball joint in the front suspension can potentially separate while driving. An estimated 54,000 examples of the crossover might be affected.

The investigation was prompted by six complaints of this happening on the road. Because the complaints are coming more rapidly as of late, NHTSA thinks the issue could be getting worse. The problem also appears to be more prevalent in states that use salt on their roads in the winter. None of the failures caused any injuries, and all but one happened at 20 miles per hour or slower.

NHTSA's preliminary evaluations "assess the scope, frequency, and safety consequence" of a potential problem and can sometimes lead to recalls.

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