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Mazda3 Maintenance & Repair

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  • slate1slate1 Posts: 84
    This could not be more non-scientific if it had to be!

    However - I took a digital thermometer and measured the air coming from the center vents under the following conditions:

    Auto-Climate Control: OFF
    A/C: ON
    Recirculate: OFF
    Temperature Setting: Lowest possible, 60°F
    Fan Speed: 1
    Ambient Air Temperature: 69°F

    The air coming from the center vents measured 40.9°F and the compressor cycled on for approximately 10-12 seconds and then off for approximately 15-20 seconds consistently during the 5 minutes I took measurements.

    It's actually been pretty cool and overcast today, so not the best "test" day. We should have some 85°F and sunny days towards the end of the week - I'll post results again on one of those days.

    Hope this helps answer some questions.
  • bellamusicabellamusica Posts: 21
    I have an 06 GT hatch, and I too have noticed that the average MPG reading on the trip computer is low. At first I thought that perhaps I was filling the tank inconsistently causing my manual calculations to be incorrect. I no longer feel that way, as the reading is ALWAYS low.

    BTW, my auto-climate control seems to keep my car plenty cool so far. I have tinted my windows to 30% all around, so that helps too.
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    Based on what (I think) I know about auto climate control -it does not control the cycle time of the compressor - that function would still be controlled by the same sensors as the manual system. They signal the compressor to shut down when the evaperator reaches a set temperature - around 32 degrees. This may seem very basic - but the compressor does not run at 25% or 50 % or 75% - is either on or off.

    If the auto climate control forced the compressor to keep running after the evaperator reached 32 degrees it would freeze over and the cooling would drop to zero.

    The auto climate control simply adjusts the fan blower speed - if you set the system on auto (hot car) the fan will run on high speed - as the car starts to cool the fan speed will slow down.

    slate1 - the test I would run would be to set you system to run on MAX cooling for both auto and manual control - does the vent temp change when you switch between manual and auto? That is the change you are trying to determine - my guess is it will not change much if at all.

    If the auto control switches between recirc and fresh air then try and run the test with the recirc on.
  • slate1slate1 Posts: 84
    No offense Bill, but I don't see the relevance of testing Auto-on.

    Your question was if there was a significant drop in performance in manual mode.

    If it's throwing out ~40°F air at max cooling in manual mode, then, it's an easy conclusion that the answer is "No". The output in Auto-mode would have to be in the low-mid 30°F range in order for that to hold water. There's no way it's going to be that low. On the other hand, if you want me to do it to satisfy your curiosity I'll be happy to do so - only took about 10 minutes.

    As for the auto-climate control only adjusting fan speed, that's simply not true. It adjusts fan speed, where the air is directed (feet, vents, etc.), recirculate or fresh intake (overrideable without going out of auto-mode), and also adjusts what I can only call mixture... that would be how much a/c cooled air is being mixed with warmed or ambient air.

    In actuality, the A/C NEVER goes off in Auto-mode. When it's 30°F outside and the auto-climate control is running, the A/C light is still on and the compressor is indeed cycling. Before you ask - the auto system heats the car up quickly too...
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  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    No offense taken - maybe I have beaten this thing to death - the original question may have been lost.

    It was - does the auto climate control cool better (as in make the car colder on a hot day) than the manual system? OR - Did installing the auto climate control solve the weak AC issue in the Mazda3?

    I do see your point - if the manual mode blows 40 degree air that is pretty good - so that would lead me to think that Mazda has done something else to get more capacity (other than just adding the auto feature).

    The reason I am beating this thing is if I could somehow figure out what was changed I would try and get Mazda to do that to my car. I ask them last year if the sunlight sensor would improve my AC - I would have been willing to pay them to install it - but I was told that it could not be done - and would not make any difference anyway.
  • nifty56nifty56 Posts: 279
    z71bill check out the other Mazda 3 forum. Someone posted a $1 mod that helped his A/C...
  • slate1slate1 Posts: 84
    Does the amount of coolant give any indication as to the potential performance of the system? Under the hood there's a sticker stating that my system holds 1.1 lbs. of coolant - is it the same on yours?
  • ex_tdierex_tdier Posts: 275
    It was - does the auto climate control cool better (as in make the car colder on a hot day) than the manual system? OR - Did installing the auto climate control solve the weak AC issue in the Mazda3?

    You havent been paying attention, have you? :P The auto-climate control was made and installed in the 2004+ overseas models just like the rest of the body parts. In otherwords, you're asking: "which came first, the chicken or the egg"?

    I disagree that there is no link between auto climate and the compressor. I believe (unless an A/C tech tells me otherwise), the auto-climate control DOES control the compressor cycling time. The interior sensors send a message to the onboard computer and that plays a key role in controlling the cycling time.

    C'mon, think about it and let's get back to what was originally said here, the compressor is on for 10 seconds. It "rests" for 60 seconds and then restarts again. It's during the "resting" phase that there is inadequate cooling because the gas is not being pumped. If the compressor was on longer, a lot longer there would NOT be an A/C issue. The actual vent temps prove this. It's when the compressor is off that there is no cold air. Make sense? :confuse:

    The manual A/C system on it's own is bad but that could be due to the 134A gas and the size of the evaporator. However, Mazda engineers knew of this when the designed the Mazda3 so they offered their Mazda3's equipped with auto climate control to greatly improve the A/C performance (wer're talking many years ago when they were CADing the Mazda3.

    And forget about Mazda doing any mods to your car. The car cannot have ambient temperature monitoring. The wiring harness to do so cannot be installed in our models. Doing so would basically require the car to be torn down and rebuilt. This is why Mazda North America won't acknowledge the problem. They neglected to include it in their North American Mazda3 models. They realize it was a mistake not to offer it in North American models and now are including it (or soon will be) like they did when they first built the Mazad3 years ago for countries other than Canada and USA.
  • vonnyvoncevonnyvonce Posts: 128
    Ex, With all due respect, you are incorrect as to how AC works. The cycling of the compressor is related to the temperature in the AC system itself (evaporator or ?) not in the interior of the car.

    The AC compressor does not care about the temperature in the car interior at all. If you have your auto CCset for 70F on and 80F day the ac will work until interior temp is 70F. If interior temp goes below 70F the ac compressor continues to work, a blend door or some system bleeds in a little warm air until you get back to 70F.

    The only time ac compressor is off is when you default it off, shut off the fan or if the outside temperature is below the low default temp fot the evaporator (if it is already cold enough no need to come on). I'm not an ac tech but the above is my understanding about how ac works. If you watch closely how/when your ac works I trust you'll agree.

    Bottom line as mentioned earlier by others is unless Mazda made other changes to the ac system, making it auto would have little/nothing to do with the ultimate performance or cooling ability.
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    I did not look to see what the $1.00 mod to the AC is - but let me guess - Is it a bag of ice?

    slate1 - mine is 1.1 pounds same as the 2005 & 2006 model. I have also ask the parts department guy at Mazda to check the Mazda part number for the compressor, condensor & evaperator - they are all the same part number (for 2004, 2005& 2006) - which makes me think they are the same part - although it would be possible that they improved a part and kept the old number - although most business I have worked with always change the number if they issue a new part - makes it easier to track.

    I have posted this before - but I had Mazda check my AC system - to determine if the compressor was shutting down before it should. Its been way over a year - so I don't recall all the exact numbers - but what they did was put a set of gauges on refrigerant lines and monitor the PSI readings as the compressor cycles on and off.

    If the high side of the system is 200 PSI that = 33 degrees at the evaperator (just a guess on the PSI VS temp). So by looking at the PSI reading at the point the compressor cycles on and off the tech can tell if it is working correctly. Mine checks out. I also had a friend / former employee - that is a refrigeration department manager for a large industruial company put his gauges on my Mazda he confirmed what Mazda told me - the compressor cycles on and off when it should.

    You can not just run the compressor longer - like I have said before - if you do it will freeze over the evaperator and your air flow coming out of the vents will be blocked - your cooling will be rduced to zero.

    ex_tdier - do you know what ambient means?

    Think of it this way - cooling capacity of the AC system is like the capacity of a pipe to supply water.

    If you have a 1 inch pipe @30 PSI it will supply 10 gallons of water per minute (whatever). It does not matter if you turn the water on with a manual faucet - or if it is computer controlled utilizing satellite technology to monitor the ambient temperature - it will still supply the same 10 gallons per minute. Unless you change the size of the pipe or the PSI it will still have the same capacity.

    I am not saying the auto system does nothing - it soulds like a nice system - but it does nothing to increase the capacity. Unless Mazda figured out a way to put 3 pounds into a 2 pound bag!
  • zurrizurri Posts: 1
    My dealer said that i should get a 15,000 mile service done.
    The charge is $321 dollars and it includes a long list of items. The Mazda 3 manual doesn't mention any thing really about getting serviced from dealerships so i want your advice.

    Did any of you get a 15,000 mile service done? Do you think that paying $321 is too much for service at this point in the car's life (@ 15,000 miles)?

    Any help and comments is appreciated
  • slate1slate1 Posts: 84
    If all the components are the same - the only indication as to why I'm getting satisfactory results with the Auto-climate control system in my '06 then MAY be the cycle times.

    I keep reading that the system in the '04 models everyone keeps complaining about is cycling on for 10-12 seconds and then off for 50-60 seconds. Essentially only giving you 10 seconds of "on" time per minute. Mine is consistently cycling on for 10-12 seconds and off for only 15-20 seconds - giving you more than double the amount of "on" time per minute.

    This has to be due to a change in the compressor temp sensor or some software issue.

    As I've said over and over again - I don't know why, I don't know how - but, trust me, the Automatic Climate Control in the '06 GT Sedan works and works well.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    I believe in the appendix of the manual there is a listing of the required services to be provided at a given interval. Typically the major services are annual, with others occurring every two or three years (example, coolant replacement, spark plugs).

    You can try calling another Mazda dealership and ask them what servicing they recommend and the costs involved. If you find the service from another Mazda dealership suits you better, you can always switch your business to them.

    Also, you can always decline a specific service item saying that you plan on doing it later. I typically follow all the manufactured recommended service requirements and selectively follow those suggested by the dealer. For example, dealers frequently recommend servicing the disc brakes as Mazdas tend to have an issue with them if the calipers get dirty and lock up; I have chosen to have this service done in addition to those recommended by Mazda.

    All the best!
  • vonnyvoncevonnyvonce Posts: 128
    Slate, Your cycle times MAY be related to your local conditions. If your car is in a hotter climate the ac will probably cycle more frequently. Comparing cycle time to cars in other locales tells us little.

    One more thing that comes to mind and this was a problem in Vibe/Matrix is the blend door was not closing properly thus letting a little warm air bleed in even when the temp control was set full cold. Perhaps this is the problem with the manual Mazda3 system that somehow works (seals) better in the autoCC systems. The blend door 9if in fact that what the 3 uses) in the auto system would be powered by a motor. Perhaps this motor system seals against warm air leakage better, thus colder ac. Just a thought, again without actual temps it is just a guess.
  • ex_tdierex_tdier Posts: 275
    My head is spinning here....so what the heck do the added sensors then do in the auto-climate control models? Users in all locales with climate control report no problems. Those in the same locales with the manual DO report problems: compressor cycles less ie. is not on.

    BTW, $1.00 mod is a resistor and it decreases the overall temp inside the car by 5F.
  • retailroyretailroy Posts: 8
    I had the same problem. After a ton of complaints to mazda they authorized to have the seat covers replaced. They started wrinkling a week later. Part of the problem I believe lies in the stiff foam they use in the cushions that begins to breakdown from use and heat and then the seat covers wrinkle and shift. After twenty thousand miles the seat cushion material is breaking down and sinking in the middle. I weigh about 180 pounds and my wife about 105 pounds and the seat problem is in both seats.

    Coupled with the worst ac I have ever owned in any car and that includes the 9 mazdas we have driven I went in last week and signed a contract to buy a new camry se. I am counting the hours till it gets in to get rid of what in many ways was a very enjoyable car but too many lies by mazda and minor problems with the car. As a long time owner of mazdas I was a little concerned with too much Ford influence and it has come to pass. The hesitation in first gear, the ac, the seats, the brakes, and other small problems were denied by the mazda rep and he tried to tell me that he had not heard of any of these problems. Mazda no handles warranty like their sleazy sister company Ford, too bad, it was a nice ride with them for twenty plus years. I will a long time before I buy another one.
  • retailroyretailroy Posts: 8
    If you keep complaining they will cover them. Funy how they claim they have never heard of the problem. The quality of the interior is very suspect. I only used the floor mats for ten thousand miles and under the pedals they show excessive wear. The carpet is mounted on some type of stiff cardboard or something and does not look like it will hold up long eithr.
  • vonnyvoncevonnyvonce Posts: 128
    The added sensors tell the climate control system to add or not add heat to keep interior temperature where you want it.

    In an auto CC car something has to tell the system what to do, the sensors do this. In a manual CC car you make these changes yourself, you're the "sensor".

    Some cars just work off interior temp. Some add sun sensors, Acura integrates this with GPS. Bottom line without some sort of sensors how is the climate control going to know what to do?
  • richmlrichml Posts: 156
    Mazda no handles warranty like their sleazy sister company Ford, too bad

    We've owned five Mazdas since 1980, and have had a very different Mazda warranty/service experience than you've had. The five vehicles were bought and serviced at four different dealerships. Any warranty work required has been promptly taken care of to our satisfaction. We've never had to contact the national Mazda office with a complaint.

    I drive a 2005 Mazda3 with manual transmission and leather seats, so I can't comment on your thoughts on cloth seats and first gear hesitation - the only hesitation I've expereienced is when I forget to shift back into first as I'm sitting at a traffic light! I haven't experienced the problems that you've mentioned - hope I don't!
  • There is a Service Buliten that details the fix for this. You have to push the buttons in the right order, follow closely and it works. See link below.

    http://www.finishlineperformance.com/mazda3/docs/0032.pdf
  • ex_tdierex_tdier Posts: 275
    Any warranty work required has been promptly taken care of to our satisfaction. We've never had to contact the national Mazda office with a complaint.

    It depends on how straight forward the problem or repair might be. If it's a defective glove box, that's easily remedied, if the radio stops working, then that too is an easy fix. If it involves any troubleshooting, then you probably won't be so satisfied.
  • I'm trying to install a Sirius Satelite radio in a 2006 Mazda 3. I have 2 questions.

    1) The fuse box is on the passenger side, the radio is a suction cup mounted model and will be on the driver's side. I do not see a whisper of space to pass a wire from left to right side under the dash. What is the best place to tap into power for auxiliary stuff like this on the driver side?

    2) There is a Satelite button integrated into the the Grand Touring Audio system. Is it possible to to hardwire into the existing interface with a stock Siruis radio (without buying the Mazda version of the radio)? Obviously an adapter would be necessary. How difficult is it to access the ports?

    OK several questions. Thanks in advance for the help.
  • richmlrichml Posts: 156
    If it's a defective glove box, that's easily remedied, if the radio stops working, then that too is an easy fix. If it involves any troubleshooting, then you probably won't be so satisfied.

    Defective glove box? What - it stopped cooling the case of beer stored in it? :P

    Let me assure you that our vehicles required much more involved warranty work than that! The warranty work was done promptly, some of it at dealerships other than the one where we bought the vehicle.
  • ex_tdierex_tdier Posts: 275
    My coolant is 1.1 and so it is on Automatic Climate models too.

    Also, from an A/C forum: The ATC may control the compressor, instead of the PCM. Many PCM's incorporate a re-strike delay that prevents the compressor from restarting for several seconds when cycling. "
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    If you do not have a delay between the compressor stopping and when it is allowed to start back up - that would be a very bad thing. Its called "starting up under load" - next to running a compressor with no refrigerant - it is about the worst thing you can do.

    If this is really what Mazda did to improve the AC then plan on replacing the compressor at some point - this could be (one of the reasons) why Mazda is lowering the warranty down to 36 months.

    Also this change could have been done with or without the auto climate control - but either way its still a bad idea.
  • noelle023noelle023 Posts: 1
    I'm seriously considering buying a new 2006 Mazda 3 s Touring. I'm wondering what other Mazda owners' opinions are on the 2006 Mazda 3? I've heard about transmission and check engine light problems, as well as some not so cool a/c problems. Are these common problems for the 2006, and was the dealer able fix them for good?

    Also, how does the 2006 Mazda 3 s Touring handle in the snow and rain?
    Thanks for any advice! I appreciate it!
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    I think the CEL & tranny problems have all been solved - for 2006 (even for 2005) -

    As far as the AC is concerned - I would just test drive the car you plan to buy on a hot day - if the AC works you should not have any problem -

    If the AC is weak then test drive a different Mazda3 until you find one that has a good AC. DON'T ACCEPT A CAR WITH A WEAK AC - Mazda will not fix the cars with defective AC systems -
  • madvey333madvey333 Posts: 4
    After driving for awhile, once I stop and am idle, there is a low key buzz. I think I read that this may be the power steering. Can anyone explain?

    My 3i Touring has never had any problems in the snow or rain as of yet. Only got in 2 months of driving in the snow now that its warmer out. I'm most impressed with driving at night. The red lighting lets me drive in stealth mode and concentrate on the road rather than a bright colored dash. The projector beams and the Hi beams are also pretty decent.

    My A/C is plenty powerful enough for Pittsburgh weather.
  • nifty56nifty56 Posts: 279
    Put winter tires on if you are planning on driving in the snow especially if you have the coated rims they will rust besides the tires appear to be summer performance verity, not good in snow.
    As for the A/C check it in stop and go traffic on a very hot sunny day as it appears to be its weak spot. Let the car sit in the sun, windows up and than turn the A/C on before driving it. Drive the car into the sun so the sun hits the dash. If it is weak do not let the salesman tell you it will be better if the windows are tinted, thats not the solution. I am not impressed with the high speed braking ability for the 4 dic brakes the car has. :(
    Google "Mazda 3 forums" for more info before buying...
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