What are some of the problems that Mazda 6 owners have to deal with? In the blog below we have identified and summarized all the main problems of the Mazda 6. But first, let’s start with a quick answer.
Owners were most troubled with engine failures on the 2004 model and transmission problems on the 2008 and 2014 models, these were expensive problems to fix. Spider infestations were a concern in the 2009 to 2012 models while the Takata airbag recall affected many models from 2003 to 2013. Melting dashboards was another common problem in the 2009 to 2013 models.
That’s the condensed answer we’ve come up with. However, in the sections below, we’ll discuss all the main problems summarizing important details about them such as how to identify them, fix them, and the cost of fixing them. Let’s get to it.
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Also read: How Many Miles Can A Mazda 6 Last? (Answered)
1. Transmission Problems
Transmission problems are a major issue for two specific model years of the Mazda 6, 2008 and 2014. According to Car Complaints, the 2014 Mazda 6 has it especially bad since early transmission problems are the most reported problem for the 2014 model. Owners reported problems like transmission slipping, delayed or rough shifting, and vibrations or jolting when shifting gears.
We know all too well that transmission issues are heavy on the wallet and this case is no different. According to Car Complaints, we found that most owners opted to replace the transmission which costs an average of $3,250 for the 2014 model. However, the worst part of the problem is that it strikes sooner rather than later with Car Complaints recording an average occurrence mileage of 55,000 miles.
The 2008 Mazda 6 was also a victim of transmission problems that usually ended with transmission replacements. According to Car Complaints, the average cost for these replacements was $3,630. Even so, the problem is categorized as less severe since it occurs at an average mileage of 130,000 miles, much later in the life of the vehicle.
Also read: Mazda 6 Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids
2. Engine Failure
Engine failure on the 2004 Mazda 6 is regarded as one of the worst problems of the Mazda 6. According to Car Complaints, it occurs at an average mileage of 98,000 miles and does so without warning. No specific cause has been attributed to this problem, it just happens for the 2004 model.
The problem, even if not the most common one, is a big one since it does a lot of damage. We’ve found that many owners opt to purchase a new vehicle altogether while some dish out more than $3,800 on engine repairs.
Also read: Types Of Gas A Mazda 6 Takes (Explained)
3. Air Bag Inflator Rupture
The Takata airbag recall affects more than 100 million vehicles worldwide including the Mazda 6. Takata airbags have unstable inflators that pose a safety risk and are responsible for at least 27 deaths worldwide. The airbag inflators run the risk of rupturing in case of a collision or crash expelling sharp metal fragments into the cabin that can result in serious injuries or death.
According to the NHTSA website, the root of the problem is the inflator’s susceptibility to moisture intrusion making it defective over time. The propellant explodes with so much force that it rips the unstable inflator into metal fragments.
The recalls issued affected the 2003 to 2013 models of the Mazda 6. As part of the recall, the dealers will replace the airbag inflators free of charge. If you’re in the market for a Mazda 6, we urge you to check if your vehicle was part of the recall and if the inflators have been replaced. We’ve seen many complaints about unavailable parts and long waits for replacement in general for the Takata recall.
The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 17V429000. (One of many)
Unrelated to the Takata inflator issue, another airbag recall for the Mazda 6 affects the 2009 and 2010 models. The airbag control unit (ACU) has an inadequately applied protective coating that makes it susceptible to damage by moisture. A damaged ACU can prevent the airbags from deploying greatly increasing the risk of injuries. As part of the recall, the ACU will be replaced free of charge resolving the problem.
The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 16V594000.
Also read: Mazda 6 Towing Capacity: Can It Tow a Camper Trailer, Boat, or Jet Ski?
4. Fuel Tank Vent Blockage
Mazda 6’s fuel tank vents have some unexpected guests: Spiders. Yellow sac spiders are known to make themselves at home in the 2.5L versions of the Mazda 6 (2009-2012). The spiders and their webs block the EVAP vent hose resulting in an excessive negative pressure that could lead to cracks in the fuel tank. Fuel leaks from these cracks increase the risk of fire posing a safety hazard.
Mazda issued two recalls to address the problem. The first recall was issued in 2011 and required dealers to clean the vent and install countermeasures to prevent the spiders from re-entering the vent. Unfortunately, the spiders found their way back into the vent which left the owners back at square one.
The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 11V134000.
Mazda took a different approach with the second recall by focusing its efforts on reprogramming the control module to prevent pressure from building up in the gas tank. The dealers were also required to replace the check valve and fuel tank if a web was found in the vent line.
The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 14V114000.
This surprising spider problem isn’t limited to Mazda, we’ve found that it also affects some Toyota models. As to why this problem affects these specific models over all others, we’re unclear. It’s possible that the vent line diameters in these models were just ‘right’ for the spiders and other vent lines are either too big or too small for the spiders.
Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Mazda 6
5. Melting Dashboards
Melting cars seems like something out of a movie, but it’s real and it could be happening to your Mazda 6. Your Mazda 6’s dashboard that is. We’ve seen multiple complaints about dashboards melting on the Mazda 3s and Mazda 6s to form a sticky, shiny coating of inconvenience and danger. The stickiness means you can’t really use the dashboard for anything and you’ll be hesitating to even touch it.
The shininess, however, is more problematic. It significantly lowers visibility by adding heavy glare on the windshield. Some owners complained that the glare was so heavy and the visibility so affected that they couldn’t see the road in front of them. The lack of an adequate response from Mazda led to a lawsuit concerning the issue.
Fortunately for owners of the Mazda 6, Mazda responded with an extended warranty of 10 years to resolve the ‘sticky’ issue. As part of the warranty, owners with a sticky dashboard could get their dashboards replaced.
It’s also important to note that the warranty only covered sticky dashboards, it didn’t cover other defects also caused by hot environments such as discolored or warped dashboards. The warranty was also limited to Mazda 6s between 2009 and 2013 where the problem was most commonly found. If you don’t reside in the hotter regions, chances are that the problem won’t affect you at all.
6. Soy-Coated Wiring
Soy-Coated wiring has become a common issue for most brands including Mazda. Most automakers switched to soy-based coating for their wiring because it was more biodegradable and so more eco-friendly. Although it’s better for the environment, it’s also better for the automaker as these soy-based coatings are cheaper than their plastic counterparts.
The problem with these soy-based coatings is that they attract rodents who then like to chew on them and use them as nesting material. This could cause an array of problems, any system that utilizes wires that are accessible to these rodents is at risk of failing. This has become quite the problem since there is no easy solution and it’s a problem found in most vehicles by most automakers.
There are some simple steps to include into your routine to try and catch these rodents before they cause an expensive problem. This includes regularly opening the hood and looking for signs of rodent activity, looking for shredded pieces of wire where you park your cars, and cleaning out all the food in your car.
What’s The Worst Year Of The Mazda 6
The Mazda 6 is a reliable car that should last you around 200,000 to 230,00 miles but as with all vehicles, proper care and maintenance are vital to its longevity. We’ve discussed some of the most common problems that Mazda 6 owners have to deal with but we’d also like to give you an overall idea of which model years are the worst and best.
In our opinion, the worst years of the Mazda 6 are 2014 and 2004. First, we’d like to talk about the 2014 model. It’s the most complained about model on Car Complaints and that alone is enough to put it on our radar. Among the problems found in the 2014 model, transmission problems stand out. It’s the most complained about problem for the 2014 model which is fair since it occurs prematurely and costs a lot to fix. Owners are less likely to let this one slide and usually find channels to launch their complaints on.
The 2004 model also has quite a few complaints against it and similar to the 2014 model, its main concern is an expensive problem to fix. Engine failure takes the cake with this model. It’s got no obvious cause and it’ll put you at a crossroads: dish out money for repairs or purchase a different vehicle.
Most other model years are decent options but model years after 2014 are recommended. They avoid most major problems mentioned above and you won’t have to worry about the troublesome Takata airbag recall that comes with part availability worries.
His interests in cars, motorcycles, and machines led him to the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore where he is currently a mechanical engineering sophomore.
His future aims include the development of an energy-efficient prototype vehicle for the Shell Eco-Marathon competition and getting a Master’s Degree in Automotive Engineering from Germany.