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Mazda MPV: Care & Maintenance



  • toby_laitoby_lai Posts: 22
    Hi all,

    I have a 2001 MPV that has 70k miles on it (mostly highway miles), and there has been no issue/problem with the automatic transmission, and partly because the owner's manual does not mention any scheduled change of ATF and partly of my negligence, I have not had any ATF change on the transmission from day 1.

    I've done some research on the internet on having the ATF change, and there are a lot of theories out there on when to change and what type of change to perform (just fluid change, drop pan and filter, and what not), and some even suggest not to do any ATF change if no maintenance has been done to the transmission because new fluid will cause the tranny to fail, and should just leave the fluid alone (if this theory is true). I just want to ask you all for your opinion on what to do? I took out the dipstick and examine the fluid, it's still mostly red (if that is any kind of indication). And why does owner's manual not mention any scheduled maintenance to the ATF fluid (except to examine it twice a year, that's all I could find), should I just leave everything alone for the time being? I can't imagine leave the fluid in there and not change it at all, but don't want to risk a still working tranny. Thanks for any opinion/suggestion.

  • ag02ag02 Posts: 2
    this page might be helpful.....

    you're right - zip info in owners manual
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    You're right, many opinions on when and how to change ATF. Owners manual implies none is needed unless fluid looks or smells bad (burned). If I were you I'd either do nothing, the 2001 transmissions seem to be more reliable than the later models, or do the drain and fill. I wouldn't do a flush at that age and mileage.
  • toby_laitoby_lai Posts: 22
    Thanks for the replies (jipster and ag02).

    Couple of questions for you jipster. I checked the fluid from the dipstick, and dropped a couple on a piece of paper towel, the fluid shows a light brown color (after spreaded out) and I don't think it smells burned (well I don't exactly know how the "burned" smell is. 1) If I don't do anything, eventually the ATF is going to breakdown and needs to be changed, is that right? Then at that time I will have to replace/change the fluid anyway? 2) Why is it you wouldn't do a flush? Is that because a flush would replace all the fluid rather than the drain and fill method, and that wouldn't be good for the a tranny that age and mileage, and you want to leave some old fluid in the tranny?

    Thanks in advance.
  • toby_laitoby_lai Posts: 22
    BTW, does anyone know if the 2001 MPV has a ATF drain plug underneath? If not, how would one do a drain and fill of ATF by himself?
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    I checked the fluid from the dipstick, and dropped a couple on a piece of paper towel, the fluid shows a light brown color

    hmmm, I have a 2004 MPV LX, which currently has about 44,000 miles. It showed light brown transmission fluid on the dipstick at about 26,000 miles. I went ahead and did a transmission flush and filter change, at 26k miles, to be on the safe side.
    I'm in the better safe than sorry camp when it comes to the MPV transmission. Will probably do another flush at 50k or 60k miles. Currently the fluid color is still reddish pink.

    If I don't do anything, eventually the ATF is going to breakdown and needs to be changed, is that right?

    Right. I'm not an expert, but trans. fluid turning brown is not a good sign to me. It's starting to break down or pick up contaminants.

    Why is it you wouldn't do a flush?

    What I have read as that a flush "may" loosen some of the materials (on older/high mileage vehicles without any prior trans. fluid changes) stuck on gaskets etc, which then in turn may clog up certain parts of the transmission leading to failure. Some mechanics say this is baloney, and a flush will do no harm, others swear to the fact. Changing out all the fluid at the same time should not be a problem.

    I didn't have any problems after a flush when my trans. fluid showed brown. So, if you feel comfortable with a flush go ahead and do it.

    Although I wouldn't necessarily rush to have anything done, I would definitely have the fluid changed under the circumstances you just described (brownish fluid). The only question would be whether to do multiple drain and fills (removes a couple quarts at a time), a pan drop and fill, or the flush. I'm not real familiar with the 2001 MPV, which has the 4 speed transmission.... while the 2002 and up have the 5 speed. So, not sure if all those methods would be available to you.

    If you google mpvclub you should find some more information on how to change out the fluid yourself if you are so inclined. Good luck and keep us posted. :)
  • toby_laitoby_lai Posts: 22
    Today I had a ATF flush at a Mazda dealer, and so far everything's good. The shifting seems to be a tad smoother, and I'm keeping an eye on everything, including if there's any leaking going on (I wiped off some fluid near the area of the what I think is the ATF drain plug near the ATF pan. I'm suspecting the dealer tech did the flush through the plug and the new fluid was splashing all over the place, resulting some "leftover" fluid.

    After 70k miles, I think the condition of the old fluid wasn't that bad (it showed very light brown but the smell was more or less the same as the supposedly new fluid right now, showing clear pinkish color).
  • toby_laitoby_lai Posts: 22
    Hi all again,

    Recently I've started to notice some coolant outside of the overflow plastic reservoir, the area below the overflow tank and the power steering tank. Initially I wiped off the traces of the coolant and I thought it could come from the little hose out of the plastic overflow tank when the engine was running hot, but then again I started seeing traces of coolant again. And then I used a piece of small paper towel to wipe the area clean again and I discovered there was more coolant traces on the *bottom* of the plastic tank (I managed to get my hand underneath some connecting hose through to the bottom of the coolant reservoir). I'm suspecting there might be some leakage at the bottom of the plastic container (is it possible and how a crack could come up there?). I'm paying close attention to the level of the coolant now and see if it gets dropped (which doesn't seem to be the case though).

    In case the plastic container really is leaking, is it a big job to replace it? I'm no mechanic, have only done the oil changes myself and tire rotation, in addition to the front disc pads job on the MPV, and I'm wondering if I can replace it myself. The tank itself only seems to be held by a couple of screws and connected to some hoses. Thanks for any suggestion/opinion.

  • Below -5C, doors freeze on my Mazda 2003 MPV. Even the key hole is plugged and have to wriggle the key in and rock it back and forth to open the door latch. The back doors stay frozen and do not thaw until after three or four hours of driving. My kids use the front door to go through.

    This seems to be a common problem for MPV. Any suggestions on improving this situation?

    Thanks, Sri.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    I live in MN and did not notice this problem driving a 2002 MPV through a couple of winters, including one real cold one. What I do with all my cars is, each fall, apply a silicone lubricant (Armor All or the like) liberally to all gaskets with a cloth, and spray something like WD-40 into all locks. Of course, if you have something like an ice storm, even that won't help you much. :cry:
  • Thank you for your suggestions. I will try with silicone lubricant and WD 40 and see how it goes.

  • eurizareurizar Posts: 2
    Hi, my name is elizardo, im from guatemala, i just need to know how i place my 5 tire under my van, cuz i bought it and it didnt have one, so i just bought a new 5 tire for emergency and i know where to put it but my question is how.

    Thanks anywayz
  • eurizareurizar Posts: 2
    hi, my name is elizardo and i have an MPV van 2001 and i just like to know where to put the 5 tire under the van. I know where tu put it, my question is how. I dont have manual either so i just need some adivise because im looking how to place this tire

    Thanks for ur help...
  • tobeyltobeyl Posts: 1
    I'm facing this problem now. I have the grill cover loose, trying to go in from the front, and the battery out but the plastic pipe is still in the way. Did you get any reply to your questions?
  • tcc21tcc21 Posts: 69
    I have the 2003 LX version with rear heat and AC. I heard there was a recall on the lines rusting out on the rear of these units years ago. Well, mine finally has that problem after 120K miles! I noticed droppings on the garage floor from just ahead of the tail pipe and behind the rear wheel. :mad: I took it to a local mechanic and he took the inner liner off the rear pass. side wheel well and there they were - two metal tubes totally rusted off!! Has anyone else had this issue and has Mazda stood behind replacing them?? I KNOW this was an issue brought up here back in 2004-05 I believe. What a dumb design! All that dirt, salt, water sprays up in there and those metal tube soak it all up and rust away! Ugh! Another stupid design on these things! Price for fixing this at a local shop is $235! I'm sure Mazda will want much more....but darn! This is a known problem too! I will be calling them in the AM.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    The rear heat/ac liness are under recall, that means Mazda will fix for free. You should have gotten a notification about the recall in the mail. Take it to your Mazda dealership and they should handle it at no charge.The MPV Club has a lot of info on that particular recall.
  • The driver side buttons for the rear windows are not working? Any ideas what it could be? I was thinking maybe fuse. If so, where are the fuses located?

This discussion has been closed.