by Bob Beranek
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Mazda has a new warning out on the 2010-2013 Mazda 3 vehicles (FW3087-3551).  The lower driver side pinchweld area can split and cause damage to the VIN plate if the glass removal isn’t completed properly.  This can cause the need to postpone the installation until body work and a new VIN plate is obtained and could take weeks and possibly months for installation completion.

It is common practice to use a long-handled utility knife to cut the bottom recessed bead.  To accomplish this in the easiest and most efficient way, a certain amount of pressure is applied to stretch the urethane bead.  This is the action that can cause this problem as well as the one described in the attached TSB.  It is recommended that a power tool or wire out tool be used to cut the lower bead free from the pinchweld.  If a hand tool is the tool of choice, we suggest that the corners be freed up first before interior pressure is applied to cut the rest of the bead.

Please pass on this information to all technicians you come in contact with.

Dissolvable VIN numbers
The other issue concerning VIN plates is the dissolvable numbers.  VIN plates are either stamped metal, engraved, painted or printed.  It is possible that any painted or printed VIN plates could dissolve with the application of water infused with solvents or other lubricants used for cut out.  Mercedes and Nissan are two vehicle manufacturers that had printed VIN plates and reported VIN numbers dissolving.

It is highly recommended that you check the VIN plates for any indications of printed or painted plates before any applications of lubricants.  The printed numbers can show itself by having edges around the number like a label sticker.  The painted ones are harder to detect but less likely to dissolve but care must be taken nonetheless.  If you can refrain from adding any lubricants directly to the driver side area near the VIN plate, the less likely a problem will occur.

CLICK HERE to view a copy of Mazda’s report.