We’ve talked extensively about various cars on this blog, including Mazda and its various models. In this blog we’ve outlined all the most important things you should keep an eye out for when you’re in the market for an Mazda 2.
However, let’s first start of with a quick answer to the following question:
What kind of problems does a Mazda 2 normally have?
Most commonly the Mazda 2 has problems with interior noises and difficult steering. The electronics can cause several malfunctions (such as a non-functioning radio), the suspension can start to develop noises over time and the transmission has the tendency to fail which can cause rough shifting.
However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. In the rest of the article we’ll discuss every single problem in more detail. Furthermore, we’ll tell you how to identify it, how to fix it and how much it costs to fix. Read on!
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We Use Real World Vehicle Data To Create This List Of Problems
Before we dive into the most common problems, let’s quickly explain how we created this list.
This data comes from vehicle owners like you. It’s based on real data from real drivers. No guesswork or hypotheticals here.
We use resources like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and many others, to review the most common complaints issues by owners along with the full history of recalls and active investigations.
From there, our team of automotive experts takes a closer look into each problem and breaks down why it happens, what you can do to prevent it, and how to fix it.
We review the data and interpret the results to make your life easier. Now that you understand how we came up with this list, let’s get into it!
Rear Window Washer
The placement of the nozzle is awkward so much so that you can’t even wash the rear window properly unless you spray tons of washer fluid onto the window. So a lot of fluid will inevitably go to waste.
Rattling noise coming from the back
It’s one of those annoying rattles that increases the level of frustration when you are commuting to your destination. If you have a Mazda with a 3rd rear brake light that sticks on the top of the trunk lid, then you are experiencing this rattle. The plastic covering for this light makes this noisy entourage that annoys us a lot.
You can fix this problem by inserting some rubber pieces into the edges after which the rattle will surely go away.
Due to the poor manufacturing quality, the widows tend to rattle when they are slightly opened. The little opening for the air to cross is often termed “the smoker’s Window”, and when you are having your window in this particular fashion, you will be hearing unbearable rattles when going over a bumpy road.
This is something you would have to live with. A little bit of rattle is normal, but if you are having a lot of rattles then you might have to look into it.
This video talks about this issue:
Normally the screws that tighten the metal strip holding the window tight with a rubber bushing, are the culprit. You can just tighten the screws after removing the door panel.
If only one or two doors are having this noise, then you are likely having the holder problem. You can tighten them and the holder will snug your window and the rattles will be no more.
The steering that comes in the Mazda 2 is electric thus you don’t really get much feedback from the road as the steering is extremely light. And if you have a bad alignment, it wouldn’t really be that prominent. From what we have experienced, vehicles tend to have alignment problems after some time on the road.
The bumps and potholes are the major culprits in disturbing the wheel alignment. And even if you have the alignment done by a mechanic, the issue will not be resolved, and the car would still tilt towards one direction when the steering is supposed to be in the center.
It’s due to the ECU not knowing what to make out of the new alignment, so it’s advised to have a computer reset after you have the alignment done. When the computer has been reset, you will finally have the steering in the dead center when going straight and finally the car will not feel out of control.
The cost to have the wheel alignment for a Mazda 2 is around $100.
The Gas Pedal Placement Is Weird
The Mazda 2 has a very strange pedal placement that makes it hard to get used to as the gas pedal is too far away on the right and the brake pedal is more towards the left. This particular setting is not a very comfortable one to say at least.
There are ways to adjust to pedal positions. If the previous owner hasn’t done it, you can have it done if you find it hard to get used to. The reason why we have this problem is due to the fact that the US gets Left-hand drive and thus the center console placement on the right-hand cars makes it hard to use the gas pedal.
While in Japan and Europe, you get the right-hand drive which does not have this problem. Most of these things are the aftermath of cost savings to make an economy car. Another cost-saving thing that is very prominent is the placement of the door locks button. The lock button is placed in the middle as in the European market.
No wonder Americans didn’t buy these cars a lot. They weren’t meant for Americans in the first place. Mazda only sold 3rd gen models between 2009-2014, after that they were discontinued. Now in 2021, the Mazda 2 is rebadged as Toyota Yaris which unfortunately will also be discontinued as the rumors suggest.
The Base Doesn’t Have The Cruise Control But You Can Trick The ECU To Have That
It’s one of those things that a single signature can get the job done but the one who needs to sign is a jerk and you are left with nothing. Mazda could have easily given you a button to have the cruise control because the ECU already has everything in place but they were asking for an extra $3000 for the cruise control i.e the touring package.
You can even have the cruise control in your base model Mazda 2. You only need a Mazda 2 steering of the touring version and an airbag assembly. Put that all in and “Yay” not only will you have the cruise control but you will also have the radio controls. After putting everything in place, you would also need to flash the ECU and reprogram it as the touring model.
With this mod, you don’t really need a touring version, just have a base model and change the steering wheel. And here you go, you just got yourself a touring model at a price of a base model. It’s not encouraged but just letting you know. Because the stealerships are not that keen in providing you with this facility, you would have to move about to get the job done.
Rear Seatbelt Won’t Retract
Unfortunately, this is a common manufacturing fault on models 2015 onwards due to which the rear seatbelt won’t retract after being pulled out.
This is a major safety problem which you can have fixed under warranty if you have. The cost to repair this issue can be more than $600 at the dealerships but it’s better not to compromise safety for aftermarket stuff.
But if you don’t have a warranty, this fix can be quite damaging to your wallet. Make sure to check for this issue when looking to buy one of these.
The Cabin Air Filter Gets Clogged
These filters tend to accumulate lots of leaves and dirt inside – through the air vents and would probably need replacement when you buy it used. The area under the passenger side of the footwell is where this filter is located. You can access the filter by removing four Phillips screws and taking the lid off.
Take the filter out and replace it with the new one and you will be having a nice refreshing smell in the air rather than the weird smell of an old blower. You can get the air filter for about $20.
These are reliable cars given that the periodic maintenance has been done regularly. Low miles are preferred when looking for these in the market. If the maintenance was done properly, these can easily go 200k miles without a hitch.
Squeaking Mazda 2 When Shifting From 1st To 2nd Gear
Very common in models post-2014, due to some stuff hitting each other causing annoying noises. This is one of those noises that you would have to live with. It might go away by using those transmission fix fluids in the market that are mixed with the transmission fluid.
The Clutch Won’t Engage In 1st Gear
The transmission that Mazda put into these is Skyactiv-MT with a dual-mass flywheel, the intent was to give an MX-5 like sportiness to the Mazda 2. With this transmission there comes a brisk feel that makes the driver wanna go fast. This transmission provides a much wider gear ratio as well.
2015 and onwards have this and from purely a driver’s perspective, the kind of gearbox that it has, it can take a lot of beating, the gears inside feel to be slipping when the clutch is released gently but would engage perfectly when driven fast and furious-ly.
The clutch can be adjusted and lubes can also be topped up but it won’t necessarily solve the engagement problem on low speeds.
Having a wider gear ratio means that you can rev the vehicle in full blast when accelerating before needing to change the gear. It also means that if you change the gear earlier then you would face the unwillingness of the gears to engage as they prefer a wide gear ratio.
Clutch Vibrations In 1st Gear
It’s a common problem that occurs due to failed engine mounts. These engine mounts are prone to wear out pretty quickly and then require replacement. These mounts are made of a rubber compound that dampens the engine vibrations that otherwise would vibrate the whole chassis.
When these mounts go out, we experience those engine vibrations inside the cabin. If a car vibrates too much with the engine revving then it’s time to change the engine mounts. The cost to change the engine mounts is around $300-$400.
Hard Shift And Slipping Gears
This is a common issue in Mazdas where the gears will be shifting hard and it would seem that there is a big issue with the transmission. But most of the time the issue is just low-level transmission fluid. You can first identify your problem whether it’s mechanical or electrical. If your problem is electrical, you will have the check engine light.
When you see that check engine light on the gauge cluster when having these jerky shifts then the problem might be serious but most of the time it’s just a faulty sensor. And after changing the faulty sensor, you will have the smooth shifting that you long for, but if the problem is not solved by replacing the affected sensor, then your transmission is done for.
How can we identify whether the problem is transmission fluid-related? It’s very simple if you have these hard shifts and the gears are slipping but you don’t see a check engine light then it’s just a low fluid level which can easily be fixed by refilling the transmission fluid and after that, you are good to go.
There are some available additives as well that you can mix with the transmission fluid that helps eradicate the slipping of gears, it takes action after about 100 miles and you will have that refined smooth feeling that you didn’t have before. Mostly these fluids are named “Transmission Fix”. A transmission fluid change costs around $100.
Mazda 2 shares a lot of parts with ford fiesta as it was developed under the Ford B2 platform so you can have the Ford’s parts on it as well including suspension components.
A lot of things can go bad regarding suspension components. But in the case of Mazda 2, most of the driving generally would have been inside the city, with most of it on paved roads. So, the suspension components wouldn’t go to heaven that soon. These cars are sturdy no doubt, but if there is something wrong then you must be aware of that.
These cars tend to have clunking noises that are very hard to fix, not that the fix itself is hard, it’s just that finding the source of the problem is the headache. It is advised to have the car up on a forklift and thoroughly check the suspension bits along with other components under the vehicle.
P0610 Error Code
This code can appear due to a number of reasons and is very common in Mazda 2, especially the 2003 models, it indicates that there is a lack of communication of the PCM (Power-train control module) and it can be due to a number of reasons.
In case of a loose connection somewhere in the wiring harness that leads to the PCM, you can have an easy fix that only requires checking the connections in the fuse box located inside the engine bay, near the battery. After checking, if not fixed then we can reprogram. After reprogramming the PCM, the code might go away but it’s not a guarantee.
Most commonly the problem occurs due to a malfunction of the PCM chip that is responsible for storing the configuration data, which is not sufficient for the job and goes haywire after storing up to its limits. Reprogramming this particular area will solve the issue at hand. With a good OBD tool that is able to program as well.
After some programmer’s help, we can fix this problem. Reprogramming the chip might cost around $150-$250.
Radio Doesn’t Work
These radios go to heaven very soon. If you are looking at a 100k miles plus Mazda 2, you are probably going to see nonfunctional radio. This might be due to some blown fuse or short circuit somewhere in the wiring harness.
A fuse can cost less than $5, but a wiring harness can cost a lot. The best way is to check with a voltmeter to see if there are some odd readings along with the wiring harness; if yes, then we can just put some new wires in place of the ones affected.
The Mazda 2, while celebrated for its compact size and nimble handling, does have its share of recurring issues that prospective buyers and current owners alike should be well-versed in.
We can stress enough the importance of proactive and informed ownership. Understanding your vehicle, its common issues, and potential repair costs is paramount.
For those interested in the broader Mazda family, consider examining the potential issues of the Mazda 3 model, a vehicle that shares some similarities with the Mazda 2, but with its own unique set of challenges.
Additionally, you may want to check the common problems of the Mazda 6 model to compare and contrast the reliability and maintenance needs across these different models.
Knowledge is the first step towards a smooth ride, so arm yourself with the facts and steer clear of unexpected roadblocks. Happy driving!
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!