What kind of problems does a Mazda 3 usually have? In this blog, we’ve listed the most important problems you should consider while buying a Mazda 3. First, let’s take a look at a quick answer.
Most commonly, owners of the Mazda 3 had to deal with infotainment issues and brake problems on the 2014 to 2016 models. Transmission problems on the 2012 model were a major concern due to their expensive fixes. Clutch failure was a common problem in the 2010 to 2015 models. Melting dashboards and defective seat lifers were also common problems in the 2010 model.
That was the simplest answer possible. In the article below, we’ll outline all the problems in detail. We want to clue you in on what causes these problems, what solutions are available, and how much these fixes cost. Read on!
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Also read: How Many Miles Can A Mazda 3 Last? (Answered)
1. Clutch Failure
One of the most troubling issues with the Mazda 3 is its clutch failure and the model years suffering most from it are 2010 to 2015. The failure is caused by defective release levers, bearings, and pins that lead to untimely wear on clutch disks, pressure plates, and flywheels. Many owners attribute this failure to poor quality on Mazda’s part calling it an error-prone clutch system whereas Mazda dodges any responsibility for the failure.
The failure tends to occur quite early in the life of the Mazda 3 with many consumers reporting their first clutch failure between 25,000 miles and 50,000 miles. Yes, you read that right, first clutch failure. Consumers have reported having two to three clutch failures on their Mazda 3s with each of them accompanied by a hefty bill. Car Complaints states that the average repair cost for a clutch failure s $1,270. If that’s not enough to enrage Mazda 3 owners, they always have Mazda’s lack of accountability towards the problem.
In fact, as a result of Mazda’s take on the problem, owners have launched a lawsuit against Mazda.
Also read: Types Of Gas A Mazda 3 Takes (Explained)
2. Melting Dashboards
A melting dashboard isn’t something you’d want or expect in your car. Unfortunately for some Mazda 3 owners, that’s exactly what they’re getting. The dashboards melt to form a sticky and shiny coating that’s not only annoying but also dangerous. The stickiness itself is mostly just annoying as it makes the dashboard untouchable.
However, the shiny nature of the sticky coating makes it hazardous. It adds heavy glare on the windshield lowering the visibility. There have been complaints that state the glare was so bad that the road was no longer visible, this can be a very dangerous situation to find yourself in. There were no recalls or fixes by Mazda which resulted in a lawsuit.
Fortunately, for owners of the 2010 Mazda 3, in which the problem was most noted, Mazda issued an extended warranty of 10 years. 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 any other defects caused by hot environments such as discolored or warped dashboards. The warranty was also limited to the 2010 Mazda 3 where the problem was most commonly found but this left other Mazda 3 (2009-2013) owners in a pickle if they ever faced the problem.
Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Mazda 3
3. Defective Seat Lifters
The seat lifter links on some 2010 and 2011 Mazda 3s are defective and could break or detach from the seat frame. This could happen on either side of the driver’s seat but is usually reported on the left side, leaving the driver in an awkward position. There were multiple complaints on the issue with one complaint stating that the driver’s seat was like a rocking chair, rocking forward when braking and backward when accelerating.
We found that some consumers opted for repairs that cost them $500 to $1000 while others resorted to makeshift solutions. Mazda issued a recall in 2017 which requires dealerships to install reinforcement brackets or replace the seat adjuster unit altogether. This is done free of charge but owners who’ve already spent money to get repairs done may be eligible for a refund.
The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 17V082000
4. Brake Problems
Some 2014 to 2016 Mazda 3 owners have complained about having to replace rear brake parts multiple times within 100,000 miles of their vehicle’s use. These parts include calipers, rotors, and pads that can set you back anywhere from $200 to $750 each time.
There’s also a recall for the 2014 to 2016 Mazda 3s concerning a water leak into the brake caliper. This could cause the parking brake actuator shaft to corrode and bind making it difficult to fully engage or disengage the parking brake. As part of the recall, the actuator shafts will be inspected and replaced if necessary, free of charge. We can conclude that the rear brakes of these model years aren’t Mazda’s best work but at the same time, the problems aren’t too expensive to fix or so commonly found that you run the other way.
The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 17V393000
5. Rattling and Vibrations
There have been complaints of vibrations and rattling sounds in the Mazda 3 with many of them originating at the back of the car. This can be due to a faulty motor mount or sway bar links that have become loose, bent, or rusted. The solution is to replace the motor mount or sway bar link, both of which cost around $30 to $100. You’ll also have to bear labor costs to get these parts replaced.
The problem is usually only reported in Mazda 3s before the 2016 model.
6. Infotainment Issue
Touchscreen infotainment systems have become common in modern cars but so have the issues and glitches concerning them. We’ve seen some complaints about Mazda’s infotainment system randomly acting up or becoming unresponsive. A number of these complaints were regarding the 2015 model year and reported that the system would randomly change navigation, phone, and radio settings or dial numbers from the address book.
Some solutions implemented by these owners included reinstalling the system to stop it from changing settings or replacing the CPU and screen to prevent the system from acting up or being unresponsive. A service bulletin is also issued by Mazda for the 2014 to 2016 Mazda 3s to have their screens fixed for no cost. However, owners of the 2017 and 2018 Mazda 3s have also reported the same problem but aren’t covered under the service bulletin and may have to pay up to $1000 to get the issue fixed.
7. Transmission Problems
Although transmission problems aren’t all that common on the Mazda 3, one model year, the 2012 Mazda 3, seems to suffer from it. Owners reported noticing the problem as gears grinding mostly when shifting from the third to fourth gear. Some owners claim that the problem is caused by worn-out bearings.
This grinding of gears is a pretty severe problem since it can leave you stranded with no drive power and costs a huge amount to fix according to Car Complaints. Many of these owners had to have their entire transmission replaced and the average cost of fixing the problem was $4,800. Even though the problem isn’t too frequent, it delivers a major cost setback.
Also read: Mazda 3 Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids
8. 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.
Also read: Types Of Gas A Mazda 3 Takes (Explained)
What’s The Worst Year Of The Mazda 3
The Mazda 3 is a reliable car that should last you around 200,000 to 230,000 miles. Like any other car on the market, Mazda 3’s longevity depends on good care and maintenance. We’ve covered Mazda 3’s most common problems but we’d like to take it a step further. Essentially, we want to leave you with a guide so you know which Mazda 3 years to favor and which to avoid.
The worst years of the Mazda 3 would have to be 2010 and 2012. Mazda 3’s 2010 model had the most complaints on Car Complaints and owners had to deal with problems such as melting dashboards, defective seat lifters, and clutch failure.
We also selected the 2012 model as being one of the worst years solely because of its transmission issues. It’s the only model with noteworthy transmission issues and we all know transmission issues pack a punch when it comes to your wallet. We’ve already seen that most owners who dealt with this problem chose to replace the transmission, costing them an average of $4,800.
2005 – 2009 models as well as models after 2015 are great options. These models had fewer complaints and escaped most major problems that the Mazda 3 faced. You might see some brake issues on the 2016 model but they were less severe and less common than on the 2014 model. Overall, these models should last you a more or less worry-free time.
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.