The Most Common Problems with Mazda Cars: What You Need to Know

Mazda is a renowned automaker known for producing reliable vehicles. However, like any other car brand, Mazda has its share of common problems that drivers have reported over the years. In this article, we will explore some of the most common issues that Mazda owners have experienced with their vehicles. From brake problems to transmission issues, we will cover it all. So, if you’re considering buying a Mazda or currently own one, read on to find out what you need to know.

1. Brake Issues

One of the most critical safety components in a vehicle is the brakes. Unfortunately, Mazda has had its fair share of brake problems reported by drivers. One model that has been particularly problematic in this regard is the Mazda CX-9. Drivers have complained about the CX-9 failing to stop when they want to make a halt, which can potentially lead to a crash if not addressed. This issue seems to occur more frequently in hotter climates, where there is a potential loss of power assist, causing the brakes to be hard to push.

Drivers have reported hearing weird noises from the pedal area and experiencing an abrupt loss of stopping power. This problem has been attributed to a faulty brake booster, which prompted a government investigation in February 2014. It was discovered that the issue resulted from a material defect in the brake booster diaphragms, causing tears that lead to noise and slow performance. The primary cause of this defect has been identified as the mold used during manufacturing, with hot temperatures exacerbating the problem.

2. Clutch Failure

Another common problem reported by Mazda owners is clutch failure, particularly in the Mazda 3. The clutch systems of some Mazda models have been found to have faulty release levers, known as clutch forks, pins, and bearings. When these components fail, it can lead to the deterioration of flywheels, pressure plates, and clutch disks, ultimately resulting in clutch failure. Many drivers have experienced their first clutch failure at an average mileage of around 37,627 miles, with another failure occurring before reaching the 70,000-mile mark.

Mazda became aware of this problem after receiving numerous complaints and warranty claims from customers, leading to several redesigns of the clutch assembly. However, the problem has persisted, with the 2010 Mazda 3 model being particularly problematic due to issues with its internal accessories. Clutch failure is the primary complaint about this model, although the 2011 model also has some complaints in this regard. Additionally, the 2012 Mazda 3 model has been reported to have problems with grinding gears.

3. Emission and Electrical Problems

Some Mazda models, such as the Mazda 6 Tourer, have been known to have issues with emissions and electrical systems. Customers have reported their vehicles not moving when needed, particularly within the first three years of ownership. The most prevalent problems reported by Mazda 6 Tourer drivers are failures of the electric window, emission problems, and non-engine electric problems. Despite these issues, the Mazda 6 Tourer has received above-average ratings in terms of reliability, with a three-star rating out of five.

4. Engine Issues

Engine problems have also been reported by Mazda owners, particularly with the CX-5 model. Drivers have complained about issues with the Engine Monitoring Unit (EMU), as well as non-engine electrical problems. A study conducted in 2020 found that the petrol models of the CX-5 have been more reliable than their diesel counterparts. While there have been more complaints from diesel models, it’s important to note that none of the newer models have experienced complete engine failure. Most issues with the CX-5’s engine can be fixed relatively quickly, with even complicated repairs taking no more than 24 hours.

5. Variable Valve Timing Problems

Mazda models with L-series engines have been known to have issues with variable valve timing, leading to loose timing chains, engine failure, and oil leaks. Drivers have reported hearing a loud ticking noise when starting their vehicles, which is indicative of this problem.

6. Melting Dashboards

One of the nagging problems with Mazda 3 and Mazda 6 models is the melting of the dashboards, resulting in a sticky surface. This issue is particularly prevalent when the car is parked under the sun for extended periods. It is believed to be caused by low-quality materials used for that part of the vehicle.

Once the dashboard melts, it becomes glossy and can obstruct the driver’s view of the road. If the car is still under warranty, Mazda should fix the problem at no cost to the owner. However, if the warranty has expired, the owner will likely have to pay for the repair out of pocket.

7. Transmission Issues

The Mazda CX-5 has been associated with a range of issues, including battery voltage problems, defective windshield wipers, and failure to deactivate cruise control. Drivers have also reported broken warning lights, flawed fuel gauges, and transmission problems. The most significant issue with this model is the failure of the transmission system, which can be expensive to fix if the vehicle is not under warranty.

8. Exterior Lighting System Failure

Owners of Mazda 6 models have reported issues with the exterior lighting system, which can cause the headlights to dim abruptly. This can make driving at night more dangerous. Additionally, there have been complaints of potential speed control loss, which can lead to a crash. These problems are often caused by misalignment of the crankshaft position sensors, resulting in sensor malfunctions and subsequent engine performance issues.

9. Engine Misfires and Other Problems

The Mazda Tribute, like other Mazda models, has also been plagued by engine problems. Common issues include failure of the EGR differential pressure sensor, engine misfires, and engine stalling. The blower motors in this model are also known to be defective, and the PCM wires are prone to damage. Fortunately, the repair costs for this vehicle are relatively low, with an average annual repair cost of around $500.

10. Water Pump Failure

The Mazda CX-9 has been reported to have issues with the water pump, particularly when the vehicle reaches the 90,000-100,000-mile mark. Fixing this problem often requires the replacement of the entire engine, which can be a costly repair, amounting to as much as $4,000. In some cases, drivers have also experienced failures of the brake power boost unit, which can also result in a crash if not addressed promptly.

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Pros and Cons of Mazda Cars

While Mazda cars have their fair share of common problems, they also come with several advantages. Some of the pros of owning a Mazda include great interiors, smooth transmission, capable engines, affordability, great design coupled with capable handling, hatchback versatility, and fuel efficiency. On the other hand, some cons of Mazda cars include mediocre gas mileage, a lack of stability control, and limited interior space.

Mazda cars are generally known for their reliability and low maintenance costs. While they may have some common problems, proper maintenance and regular servicing can help prevent or address these issues. It’s important to research and understand the specific problems associated with the Mazda model you are interested in or currently own. By being aware of these common issues, you can make informed decisions and ensure the longevity of your Mazda vehicle.

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