Mazda MPV: Care & Maintenance

zzoom1zzoom1 Member Posts: 31
edited March 2014 in Mazda
11,000 miles with no problems other than 2 dealer recalls. I have noticed that my 2.5 tends to use a little oil, a little less than a quart between changes at 3 to 4k intervals. So keep an eye on oil level. I have also heard that Purolator or Motorcraft filters might be best for the 2.5 duratec due ot the presence of an anti-drain back device. No big deal as Purolators are easy to find and generally only about 1 or 2 bucks more than a Fram. Other than that, just a lot of fun driving.


  • camlamarcacamlamarca Member Posts: 40
    I've got 26k miles on my (7/99 mfg) 2000 MPV LX. Toyo Tires 205/65/15, are already shot. I received a recall sticker for the tire specs, and am now confused. Did I get bad tires? What am I supposed put on? I know the size, but am concerned about the P in front of the 205, and the 92H or 94H spec. I don't want to thrash another set so soon because they are under speced.

    Of course, I am also wondering if a wider 215/60/15 would be more appropriate. The edges wore especially bad, even after a warranty alignment.
  • gagpgagp Member Posts: 32
    Don't worry, "P" only stands for "Passenger". You'll get all the information you need just by clicking on the link below:

    Silver (but no passenger) Driver
  • camlamarcacamlamarca Member Posts: 40
    Are you the same Silver Driver I remember from way back in Oct - Dec 1999 when the 2000MPV discussions started? You've been around long enough, how did your tires do? Did you get noticeable wear on the outside edges? Because I've had mine aligned and toe checked, I'm attributing it to the small width on a tall vehicle putting above expected pressue on the sidewall. Hence, I'm considering a wider tire.

    Thanks for the link. What I still don't understand is the Load Index 92 vs 94. The "P" tires commonly stocked and cheaper have 92, but the new spec is 94. Do you know what this means?

    I'm going to understand this before the sales guy sells me something that fits, but wears poorly.
  • cutter44cutter44 Member Posts: 42
    Just curious. I notice that many of the owners here have switched to synthetic oil.Does it really make a difference when you change it every 3-5k miles? Also, are you changing your own oil? If so, how do you deal with the waste oil? I know service stations are supposed to take it, but don't you feel awkward bringing them used oil after doing your own oil change? And if you don't bring it to them, what do you do with it? I remember in my youth (when I didn't know any better), just burying it in the back yard, but nowadays, that could get you a visit from the DEP or worse.
  • dougseydougsey Member Posts: 20
    Our town's transfer station has a container where you can dump your used oil. They in turn give, or sell it to a recycler.

    I am also having the synthetic/plain oil debate in my own mind. I've always used plain oil and changed it every 3k but that was on used cars. I've only got 300 miles on the MPV so I've got a couple weeks to decide :@).
  • javadocjavadoc Member Posts: 1,167
    I think the decision to use dyno oil (from dynosaurs) or synth oil is more important to some than others. Personally, I like using the synth oils because they give much better performance in the cold weather we have up here. If you leave 10-30wt oil outside at, say -10F, and open the can and pour it out, it'll come out like honey or like playdough. With a synthetic oil, it flows to much lower temperatures, giving better protection. Just think how hard it would be to pump playdough up through your engine before the lack of lube destroys the moving parts.

    There are many advantages of synthetic oils, imo, flow characteristics, resistance to heat breakdown, lower friction levels. A drawback to synth oil is that if you have a tiny oil leak, then, synthetic oil will leak better than dyno oil.

    IMHO, using synthetic oil is just cheap insurance for keeping your engine running well.

  • cinka1cinka1 Member Posts: 30
    Since you are using the syth. oil, how long do you go in between changes? The manual recommends 7,500 for my driving conditions (Normal) but everyone - even the Mazda dealer - says 3,000.
  • javadocjavadoc Member Posts: 1,167
    Hi Cinka1!

    I'm a worry wart, so I still change oil every 3mths/3,000 miles even with synthetics. I only do this for 2 reasons: a)Dear-ol-Dad taught me that way, and 2)It's common practice with turbo-charged cars, and that's what I'm used to. This usually comes out to be every 2200 miles with the amount of driving in our household. I'd say it's overkill, but figure it's cheap insurance. There's prolly nothing wrong with going 5k to 7.5k on synthetic oils unless you're either towing or driving the car hard.

    my 2.6cents. ;-)

  • j2kbarlowj2kbarlow Member Posts: 89
    This may be a little old, but I'd thought I'd put a little wisdom in.

    Don't listen to the oil change centers, car dealerships, etc. in determining your oil change intervals, They'll always chant their mantra - 3k miles. The reason? You'll see them more often and therefore give them more money! Each engine is different - some cars require the 3k interval (turbos, 4 cylinder engine, high-rev engines), but most don't (including V-6's and V-8's). It's safe and advisable to follow the manufacturer's recommendation in your owner's manual (according to many studies). It also produces less waste and is a better management of our natural resources. If you're still concerned, follow the "extreme conditions" intervals rather than the "normal conditions". I plan to change mine every 5k after the first so it's easier to remember!
  • pastorgumbypastorgumby Member Posts: 14
  • pastorgumbypastorgumby Member Posts: 14
    I totally agree with you. I used to be very, very anal about over maintaining my car. Now, i've taken a little less stressful approach.
    I read a study done by Consumer Reports- which tested the difference b/w oil changed taxis in NYC (each w/ a newly built engine).
    One car changed their oil every 3K
    Another- every 7K (or something like that)
    The Bottom line, not a very noticable difference... very insignificant difference in engine wear (tiny)

    I always held the same sentiment as j2kbarlow... how the garages/oil change centers always say, "of course you need to change your oil every 2500 or 3000 miles"... we want YOUR MONEY!!!!

    I'm settlin' for about 5K to be somewhere in the middle.


  • cutter44cutter44 Member Posts: 42
    While looking through the dealchat forum this morning, I came upon a thread about oil changes (we've been known to go off topic sometimes) and I thought of the folks here who also seem quite knowledgeable. You may find it interesting. Here's the link:
  • toby_laitoby_lai Member Posts: 22
    Hi there,

    Just picked up my '01 MPV yesterday, and now I have this question...

    I've been reading the discussion "2000+ MPV problems" on the vans forum the past few days, and saw a lot of post were concerned with the oil leaking/filter problem with the MPV. I've always changed the oil myself on my cars, whenever possible. After reading those posts, I'm having second thoughts about doing it myself. For those of you doing the oil change yourself, are you doing anything differently on the MPV compare to other cars? For example I normally just tighten the oil filter by hand, and I heard that for the MPV you need to tighten it with a wrench, and things like that. I don't want to risk doing it myself and having some sort of filter blowout and burn up the engine.

    TIA for any advice, and I apologize if this post is too long.
  • mwrigh1mwrigh1 Member Posts: 3
    I cant seem to find the cabin air filter on out 2000 ES. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  • msgjvhmsgjvh Member Posts: 196

    You have to remove the glove box. This will take a little bit of muscling of the box to the left I believe then pulling. You also have to get it past the stops, but it is double. Once you remove it you will see a small door to the AC unit. You open that door and the air filter actually wraps around the a squirrel cage.

    A new filter will cost you about $35-40 bucks.

  • dougseydougsey Member Posts: 20
    I did my first oil change about 3 weeks ago. Used the filter wrench and cranked the new OEM filter 1 full turn after gasket contact. So far all is well! (knock on wood) :@>
  • toby_laitoby_lai Member Posts: 22
    Thanks for the info. The owner's manual and the engine oil filler cap both specify the type of motor oil to be used is 5W-20, is that the required type of motor oil, or can I also use 5W-30 or 10W-30? Thanks.
  • msgjvhmsgjvh Member Posts: 196
    The 5-20 requirement is mainly so that Mazda can say they pass California emissions. My dealer has assured me that running 5-30 will not void any warranty. Again, it depends on your particular area. 5-30 is a good all around oil to use.
  • drrocketdrrocket Member Posts: 67
    While I can't say I've noticed any difference switching to synthetic motor oil, I CAN say I've noticed an appreciable difference since switching to synthetic ATF. Of course it's subjective, but the shifts do seem to be smoother. Based on my very limited experience (my switch to synthetic ATF took place only this afternoon), I would highly recommend the upgrade, especially if rough shifting perturbs you.
  • toby_laitoby_lai Member Posts: 22
    So did you bring the van to the dealer for the sync ATF change (well do they endorse it in the first place)? And what's the mileage when you did that? Thanks.
  • drrocketdrrocket Member Posts: 67
    I purchased the synthetic [Red Line Oil D4] ATF on my own and brought it with me to the dealership when I went there for my 22500 mi oil change (also synthetic oil). But, although I had a case of D4 ATF (12 qts) with me, to my surprise the mechanic claimed I'd need more like 15 to 16 qts for a thorough flush and replacement of the ATF.

    So I had to go back to my [Red Line Oil] synthetic ATF source (it's hard to find that brand) to purchase four additional qts, and then make another visit to the dealership for the switch. The procedure ended up requiring only 15 quarts, so now I have one qt left over if I ever need to add a little.

    The dealership was fine about doing the conversion to synthetic. I noticed they now even carry Castrol Syntec synthetic motor oil, since some of their customers prefer to use synthetic. I suspect they also carry synthetic ATF, but I wanted to use Red Line Oil because I had read many good things about the quality of their products.

    I don't know whether it was the mechanic's running some cleaner through during the flush stage, or whether the improvement is attributable solely to the synthetic ATF, or whether it's a combination of the two, but the transmission does shift smoother now. Of course it helps to have lived with the previous rough-shifting to appreciate by comparison the relative smoothness now, otherwise the improved shifting could easily have been taken for granted, or even still complained about.
  • jstrauss88jstrauss88 Member Posts: 7
    That 3000 miles thing is bunk. I have two Ford trucks, a '90 F150 and a '91 Bronco, both with 302 engine. I have owned the F150 since new and the Bronco since '93 when it had 44K miles on it. The F150 now has 215K and the Bronco 195K miles. Both still have the original engines in place. I have always changed my own oil on these trucks at 5K miles. I treat the F150 especially rough, towing a lot of stuff like a tractor, boat, assorted old trucks, etc. I think the 3000 mile rule is antiquated as hell and only perpetuated by oil change places who want to make more money. I use Exxon dyno oil on both trucks, by the way.

    Now on my wife's 2000 MPV, I am still changing the oil at 5K miles but using Exxon Synthetic Blend 10-40. I use Motorcraft filters, tighten by hand only, and so far (25K miles) have had no leaks.
  • pjd58pjd58 Member Posts: 366
    the MPV's oil filter. I give mine an extra 1/4 turn with my filter wrench after hand tightening. Mazda recommends using a filter wrench to apply the filter. There have been a few(rare) owners who have had their oil filter come off, maybe they red lined their van.

    For normal driving conditions 5000 miles is fine for oil changes for the MPV, even with dino oil. Just make sure you use 5W, the Durtec's engine has tighter tolerances and the thinner oil is perfect for our engine, especially helpful in cold climates.
  • toby_laitoby_lai Member Posts: 22
    BTW, I was reading my '01 MPV's owner's manual and found that, while it gives out maintenance info on oil changes intervals, etc, it says that "changing the oil filter requires a special too, and it should be done with a Mazda mechanic, blah blah blah..."

    This sounds very interesting to me that, it seems like Mazda is not encouraging MPV owners to do oil changes themselves, not with swapping the old oil filter with a new one anyway. Is Mazda being concerned about the MPV's problem of the oil filter gets loosened on itself too easily and therefore not recommed owners to do it themselves?
  • maltbmaltb Member Posts: 3,572
    that would require some serious foresight. The manual is writed before the vehicle hits the streets.
  • cutter44cutter44 Member Posts: 42
    Our '01 LX is about to turn over 10k miles and it's been great. My previous oil changes have been done at the dealership, but I bring my other car to my local mechanic who I've used for the last few years. I'm thinking of just bringing the MPV to him for service. So here are my questions:
    What specific things should I "warn" him about regarding oil changes? I'm still confused about the odd tightening of the filter, whether to go with 5W-30, or whatever. He's a Toyota mechanic, but he has also serviced our Sable, and Accord. I don't want to insult his intelligence, but if there are particular things he should know, I'd like to caution him.

    Also, based on some discussions here, I'm thinking of stretching the oil change interval to 5k miles vs 3k. I'm sticking with conventional oil, not synthetic, if that makes a difference in your opinion.

    Thanks in advance.
  • j2kbarlowj2kbarlow Member Posts: 89
    I've got an '01 LX as well and I've performed one oil change on my own. My thoughts - dino oil is fine. Don't change it any more frequently than 5k - that's the "extreme conditions" interval in the owner's manual. Anything more frequent is wasteful for this engine. 5W-30 is fine for temps above 40F per the manual. When I installed the filter, I hand tightened it 1/4 turn past contact with the block like I've done on every car I've owned. One week later, I started getting an oil leak at the filter. I tightened it up one full turn with the aid of wrench and no more leak.
  • cmunizcmuniz Member Posts: 604
    I noticed that the maintenance book doesn't say anything about changing the transmission fluid, but recommends that the brake fluid be changed. I thought it would be just the opposite. Any comments??
  • j2kbarlowj2kbarlow Member Posts: 89
    Brake fluid is the least "stable" of all the cars fluids except for the engine oil. The reason is that it absorbs moisture from the air and thus loses its effectiveness over time. In fact, I'm surprised if 30K miles is the first replacement for the brake fluid. Usually its every 15K or 18 months (or something close to that).

    That said, I'm surprised that the transmission fluid isn't changed as well at 30K. That's pretty standard stuff...
  • javadocjavadoc Member Posts: 1,167
    You're correct... brake fluid is termed as "hydroscopic" meaning it will take on water. Water can corrode and destroy important parts of the braking system so it must be changed regularly.

    I'm surprised that more car manufacturers are not using anti-hydroscopic brake fluids... DOT5 synthetics, which don't eat the paint off your car if you drip it, can give you much longer duty-cycles on your brake fluid, and can potentially reduce maintenance costs. There are drawbacks to DOT5 fluid... esp. because you cannot mix it w/any lower rated fluids; it is partially compressable (softer pedal feel); not as readily available; is expensive.

    It is odd that alot of car makers don't specify shorter duty-cycles on auomatic transmission fluid. Some even say "lifetime" as in do not change the fluid. My Volvo's that way, but no one I know goes by that. I'd hate to rely on that "lifetime" fluid and then have a $2k- $4k bill if the tranny goes south on me. The transmission fluid in an automatic goes thru holy-heck, and can break down quickly. The best thing to do is check it from time to time and see if the fluid is turned black or smells burnt. If it does, then it's definitely time to change the fluid, and your car's shop manual will have instructions on the procedure.

    I'd recommmend changing both Brake and Tranny fluid every other year. Cheap insurance imho.

  • maltbmaltb Member Posts: 3,572
    Don't forget DOT 4 fluid which can be mixed with DOT 3 and has less moisture activity and a higher boiling point.

    All my vehicles get Castrol GT-LMA brake fluid.
  • mainsail2mainsail2 Member Posts: 77
    I also noticed the Mazda owner's manual does not call for the fuel filter to be replaced at all. It is not mentioned for the 30k or the 60k inspection. I've had partially clogged filters with other cars at 40k and am wondering what the story is with the MPV service specs when it comes to fuel filters. Any information out there? By the way, I use Mobil I 10w30 here in Florida every 5k, and switched to Mobil I synthetic tranny fluid at 18k. I also run a K&N air filter in my 2000. The first two definitely are worth the money for smoother overall performance, especially in our heat. I'm not sure about the K&N, though. Real pleased with the MPV for the first 30k.
  • ngkiyanngkiyan Member Posts: 19
    does anyone know how to change the rear brake light. I can't seem to be able to take the light assembly out after taking out the 2 screws?
  • javadocjavadoc Member Posts: 1,167
    If you're referring to the high-mounted brake light: You'll need to remove the trim piece at the top of the lift gate. After that, you will *maybe* be able to see the clips/hooks that hold the lens in place. There's four of them. After you release (w/o breaking them... pun) the lens should be easy to remove.

    If you're talking about the rear brake/combo lights: I believe you need to remove the rear trim panel. First, slide the second row seats forward, and stow the third row seat. Next, pull the cup holder (if applicable) out (forward and out I think) and unclip the clips holding that in. Now, you find the bolt(s) holding the panel in place (along with a number of clips), undo the bolt(s) and clips and carefully remove the panel. You should have access to the tail lights and it should be fairly obvious from there.

    Hope that helps!
  • alexv1nalexv1n Member Posts: 248
    Java, to remove rear combo lights, you just need to remove two screws on the light itself and then pull it outwards. I don't remember why I needed to remove them once (I guess, it was when I was installing ROSS and trying to find out where to tap into the backup light wires), I didn't have much difficulty to do this. Left light was very easy to remove, while the right one required some force applied to it to come out. The manual shows the procedures of removing the combo lights in the section of replacing bulbs...
  • javadocjavadoc Member Posts: 1,167
    Yeah, I did wonder why it would be so difficult to change the light bulbs back there. What was I thinking?
  • ngkiyanngkiyan Member Posts: 19
    You are right on the rear combo lights, I did that already. Just remove the 2 screws and gently pry the len out. there are two clips that catches itand you are ready to go. The high mount is where I have trouble,I was able to remove the trim piece, but cannot go any further . From the handbook it looks as if there is a clip at the end that you slide back, but I just can't find it.
  • alex86alex86 Member Posts: 3
    A basic question for you... When you're stopped at a traffic signal or for any length of time, is it better for an automatic transmission to be put in neutral, rather than leaving it in drive?

    Also, the owner's manual states that the fuel level should never go below 1/4, but I would like to know why. Thanks!
  • subearusubearu Member Posts: 3,613
    I've heard that if you're at a stop for longer than a couple of minutes that it's ok to shift to neutral in an automatic. You just don't want to be shifting neutral to drive and back repeadetly (and often) as that can cause non-necessary wear on the various transmission parts. I've also heard of applying the parking brake instead of the 'regular' brakes at long stops. And really, these both can apply to a manual transmission too. But, if you have a '00 or later MPV, you don't have to worry about that! ;-)

    As far as having 1/4 tank or more of fuel, it's recommended primarily due to the fact that the fuel acts as a lubricant (and coolant) to the fuel pump. Keeping the level high enough ensures this. Others might note about 'crud' that can accumulate in the bottom of a gas tank that might get picked up by the fuel pump if the level is lower. And finally, in colder months, moisture (condensation) can accumulate in the empty portion of the tank, which doesn't mix well with fuel and can cause hesitation, etc.



  • mwright1949mwright1949 Member Posts: 3
    Its just about time to change spark plugs on my 2000 MPV. I can see the
    tops of the wires, but it looks like the intake manifold will have to come
    off to get the wires off and plugs in and out. Any advice will be greatly
    Also has anyone found a good shop manual for the 2000 MPV?
  • otishotish Member Posts: 59
    Well I can tell you from experience that if the fuel tank reaches the level where the light comes on (and I mean it had just come on) and you park it on a slight incline (like my driveway) your van may not start after sitting for a little while. Ummm that was not my favorite day! I had to park in the driveway because the garage was still full of boxes from moving and then the van wouldn't start and it really was probably at 1/8 tank. I don't like to push it at all (I usually fill up well before the light comes on).
  • mcadrechamcadrecha Member Posts: 46
    I would like to know what the difference is between having 15" wheels on the MPV versus having 16" or 17". The larger diameters look better but what do they do for the car from a technical standpoint? Compared to the 15" alloys and tires...

    Is handling better in the larger diameters?

    Do you get more road noise in the larger diameters?

    Is the ride bumpier, smoother, or about the same with the larger tires?

    I have the 15" alloys on my 02 MPV and think the larger ones will look better. If I make that change once I need to replace my original dunlops, what would I be getting besides a better-looking MPV?
  • demoncyclistdemoncyclist Member Posts: 2
    If you go to a larger wheel/tire combo, you will get a few things:

    1. Better handling from the shorter sidewalls of the tires (even though you are increasing the diameter of the wheel, the outside diameter will stay the same, within a couple of percent, so that your speedo and odmeter, and your gearing remain accurate)

    2. A slightly harder ride- shorter sidewalls = less sidewall flex

    3. Higher replacement cost for tires

    As for road noise, that is based on tread pattern, not tire size. My 01 has the touring package with 16" rims. I wouldn't go any bigger here in Boston, cause the road conditions tend to suck, and the narower the sidewall is, the more likely a pothole could take out a wheel.
  • wtullwtull Member Posts: 1
    I just purchased the MPV with 17" aluminum wheels. What is the best product to use to clean aluminum wheels?
  • rbalestrbalest Member Posts: 3
    The 17" wheels are painted with a metallic silver paint and maybe clearcoated. I use regular car wash and wax on them.
  • gagpgagp Member Posts: 32
    Hi !

    Yesterday, someone "broke" my '00 MPV right electric mirror. Hopefully, the mirror part itself is in one piece but I have to put it back on.

    It's OK for the two electric wires but there are two (well, make them four) other parts which I have a hard time to figure out : There are two plastic coated metal "claws", one pivoting up and down, the other one well, you guessed it, from left to right. They are located on the back of the mirror.

    The two other parts are blue rubber coated holes (I have no ideas what's inside those holes). They are facing the two other "claws" (into the mirror receptacle).

    I know this is a quite technical question but hey, what do I have to loose asking ?

    Many thanks in advance !!

    Silver (CLOSER THAN I APPEAR) Driver
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    If any of you have changed your own tranny fluid and filter on your '02 or newer MPV, please post the procedure for doing so in here. Thanks.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Member Posts: 2,918
    I would replace the entire unit. I had to replace the one on my Explorer about 6 months ago when my father-in-law backed into my Explorer with his Pick-up truck. The electric mirror and moulding was one unit that attached to the Explorer. I would guess the MPV is the same way.

    The unit cost about $150 and about one hour of labor brought the total to $220. Not enough to send to the insurance company. Also cheap enough to have someone else do it.

    Good luck.
  • oldmedicoldmedic Member Posts: 78
    I starting to get a little worried about replacing my 215/60 17 inch tires, when that time comes, on my 03 ES. Only three tires available at all over $100 each (Dunlop and Michlein). Any tire savy folks; will a 225/55 fit? The specs show about an equal diameter about 2 tenths of an inch smaller. But what about the width? This would open us up to about 8 different brands and about 20 different tires several under a $100.
  • subearusubearu Member Posts: 3,613
    Yes, 225/55/17 should be fine. You'll be reading a bit faster at 100mph (speedo will be saying 101.5mph), which to me is negligble. It's also a likely option for us when our '02 ES needs new shoes in a couple of years.

This discussion has been closed.