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Mazda RX-8 Problems and Solutions



  • civilcivil Posts: 1
    We are considering buying an RX8 and have read the problems listed here.

    We have been told the oil light problem was corrected with a recall and change of the oil pan, therefore the new 2004 car we are considering buying would not have this problem. Is that true?


    In addition, we were told there was a recall in June and the gas-air mixture was changed to solve the failure-to-start problem after cold shutdowns. Is that true? Does it work?


    We were told that the procedure in the Mazda manual to start a flooded car does, in fact, start the car when it seems unable to start -- unless the spark plugs are badly fouled. Is that true?
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    All cars produced in 2004 were the "first year" models. The oil pan was changed on the production line around April 2004. Check the build date on the door jam. Be aware some dealers might be tempted to pass off an early production car as "brand new", as technically, if it was never sold, it is. The new oil pan did fix the problem. Also be aware there are "buy back" cars still out there. There is probably nothing wrong with them that can't be fixed by the dealer performing the oil pan fix and/or the "M" flash as required. Still, caveat emptor.


    The fuel-air mixture change you refer to was one of three, if memory serves. You want to make sure you have the "M" flash. This can be done to any production date car, and any authorized dealer can do it. The "M" flash went a long way to correct the flooding issure, but you can still flood the car. Hot plugs in the winter help as well. The "M" flash added a delay in the cold rev. up on starting, and that made the biggest difference to avoiding flooding, not the mixture change (previous flashes would try to rev. up the engine immediatly, and if it wasn't actually running that would flood it).


    The car can be started once flooded, but it requires patience and perseverence. A good battery is necessary as it takes a few minutes of cranking (in bursts as per the manual). Fouled plugs is a primary cause after too much fuel - and too much fuel is a cause of fouled plugs. Plug heat range is a contributing factor. If you live in the south, you shouldn't need to change plugs, but if you live in the north changing the plugs for winter can greatly reduce fouling and flooding.
  • If I had known then what I know now about the RX8 I would never have bought it, do a search on some of my posts, Mazda has the worst customer service group I ever ran into, I am waiting on a lemon law judgement against them, my car idles very bad, the service mgr. testified it does exist and says it has a miss and cannot be fixed.

    I also complained to mazda that I purchased mine after the H/P by back settlement, the window sticker was not changed to reflect the down-rated H/P Mazda says sorry, you should have been told, and by the way, I never had a short start problem until Mazda had the dealer try to avoid the court apperance by putting a new flash on it, there were two listed on the notification from Mazda, it said if the "M" was present nothing was to be done,it had the m on it but Mazda wanted them to try something else, don't recall at the moment what it was but it did nothing for the idle but caused the short start problem.

    I am only waiting for the judges decission so I can get rid of it and i will never buy another Mazda.

    I would seriously avoid the RX8.
  • Hello, as I read through this site, many people have the same problem. POOR FUEL MPG!!! I would like to Perhaps start a class action law suit. There are so many people that feel lied to. I feel the same way. I've put 27,000 miles on my car sence Aug of 2004. I have spent a retirement on fuel. "ha ha" Let me know what you think..
  • I suggest if your putting on that many miles and are concerned about milage that you consider a Toyota Prius. The whole reason that i bought an 8 is for the pure enjoyment of driving. The fact that i may spend around 5% more for gas over the year compared to, whatever dosnt concern me. Not that i have money to burn.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    I'm not a lawer, but I think you're wasting your time. The published figures are from the US govt. not Mazda. They are the mileage obtained by following the govt. testing procedure, are required to be reported as measured, and were NEVER claimed as what you may get. In fact they state quite clearly "your mileage may vary from the quoted numbers".

    I wish people would stop using figures for what they are not intended. The mileage figures were intended to be a govt. figure - for whatever that is worth!
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,084
    Yup, I completely agree. You'd have to sue the government ... and you KNOW how that will end up.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • Hi Joe,
    This is my third RX8. I went with the lease to reduce my monthly payments went from 585 to 335 and got a 24 month term. I usually turn my cars over every two years or less so the length of the lease fit me fine. At the time Mazda was providing a lot of factory money on short term leases. I like the car, not as much as I liked my RX7 (93) but it is nice. Gas mileage stinks IMO. I average 19-20 when I don't push the car. Good luck on your decision. If you can get a short term lease it probably is a good way to go. Otherwise buy. Tony
  • Well .. my RX8 started out at about 18/24 but now I'm down to 15/19 .. and that is driving conservatively. I'm about to throw in the towel and get a Prias.
  • Are you using premium or mid range gas? I use mid range and do not get a difference in mileage. I also turn off the TCS system. It seems to help. Good luck with your choice...A prius from an RX8. I would think you will be frustrated with the performance. Good luck whatever you decide.
    Tony B
  • nojetsnojets Posts: 31
    If you are hot headed enough to trade in an RX8 for a Prius, you are not thinking straight. Proof though, is that ANY Prius buyer can't think straight is that they fail to do do basic Return on Investment (ROI) math before spending thousands more on today's hybrid technology. Simple back-of-the-envelope calculations will show that you have to drive over 70,000 miles in your Prius before you make up the fuel savings over a similarly equipped car with the same performance - say a Civic. So from a rational perspective, you have to be dumb to buy a Prius.

    Let's say though, you are not rational, just an environmental activist who wants to make a statement. Unfortunately, most environmental activists don't really understand the free market system, and again, by buying Prius, they prove they don't get it. If you warp the free market by generating demand for a car that ultimately fails the ROI test, you discourage manufacturers from really, REALLY trying harder to produce a car that beats the ROI equation, since their low ROI performance cars are already selling well. And because in fact, most car buyers CAN do the math, alternative vehicles remain as a limited niche product for wealthy liberals, instead of a massively popular option.

    So stop tying to "send a message" by buying a car that really doesn't compete, and let the free market work it's magic. In the long run, faith in the free market will bring an environmentally friendly car to the masses before "message senders"

    In the meantime, I'm having a blast in my politically incorrect RX8....
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    I checked out the Prius, and found it was way overpriced. For a few thousand $ LESS, you can get a V6 Hybrid Accord, which gets about the same mileage in the real world (forget the EPA figures, they don't work with hybrids). The Accord has more room, more luxury, a lot more power, and lower priced parts. It has less snob appeal currently, but I wouldn't want to have to wait months for a Prius just to be a snob ;-).

    One further thing nojets didn't mention is you have to figure in the cost to the environment of -BUILDING- the vehicle as well. It takes extra energy to make the battery, electronics and electric motor and that energy has emmisions implications - more CO2 etc. from power plants.

    The silly world seen exposed.

    I personally wouldn't mind owning a Hybrid Accord (or even a Hybrid Explorer even though it's a Ford), but my current vehicles are just fine for at least 5-10 more years. THAT's how you can save adding too much environmental costs, fully use up what you have already had made for you.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,094
    ....I thought I was in the "Mazda RX-8 Owners: Problems & Solutions" forum.

    *Scroll to the top of the page*

    Yep, this topic is for RX-8 P&S.

    If you want to do comparisons, please do so in the appropriate discussion. The search function is to your left.

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • Have you been using the mid range for a while and do you see any significant difference in performance or any engine knocking? Has anyone tried "regular" 87 octane? Thanks,
    Dennis D
  • I have been using regular for some 5000 miles now--and I don't see and difference. Same gas milage--same performance.
  • nojetsnojets Posts: 31
    Sorry Karen, but we WERE talking about the RX8's fuel consumption. My post was intended to keep the fuel consumption issue with the RX8 in some perspective!
  • mkollmkoll Posts: 21
    Lately I have been experiencing what seems to be excessive tire noise. I do not see any unusual tread wear, the brake pads appear to be fine.
    It seems to me that the car used to be a bit quieter. Road noise that competes with the stereo is rather annoying. Also, when braking normally the car feels like it is "shimmying" forward and back.It does not pull to one side when braking but it also does not seem like it brakes smoothly. Anyone have similar experience, or ideas as to why this may be happening?
    I've had my RX8 for about 15 months, and am currently at about 11,000 miles.
  • rx8crazerx8craze Posts: 10
    i need to ask you all, how important is break in on rotary dealer said it did not need long as i dont abuse it from the start and dont turn off the engine when it is still cold..
    -i did take the vehicle on a 20-30 mile highway trip for few days..and did ocasionally floord the car, not from stand still, but just punched it while moving to see the power around 7000 rpmrange...then after about 500 miles or so, read the manual on break-in..and was like Oh #$%^
    -will this hurt my car at all...something that will be noticible? such as lower mpg and lower performance?
    *flooding* (i have 2700 miles on the vehicle)
    -for some time..i heard this water gurgling noise from the engine, not anymore, but did few times in the morning..and once i let my friend test drive it..(for about 5 minutes) and turned it off
    what is this? engine partially flooding? will this damage the engine altough it did start and run fine?
    seems that my car vibrates a little when idleing..rough idle..i read that rotary engine does not all yours have somewhat rough idle??
  • rx8crazerx8craze Posts: 10
    another thing that im little concerned about is that..when my rx-8 is all warmed up.and driven for a little while..and when i have it in the garage..i did noticed that this vehicle "burps"
    meaning it misfires (not loud) once a guessing that this happens on all rotoary engines cuz only 3 ignition per cycle..compared to other piston engines with 4-6-8 ignition per cycle..
    ...did any of you noticed this?
    -and i do hear some noise comming from under body...not sure what it is..but when it is cold, i turn onthe engine and i hear these clicking noises...but only when it is cold..
    pleaz...some one help me with these will be greatly appreciated
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    First, if you don't "overheat" engine parts you will not do any damage on break in. It sounds like you didn't overheat anything (I'm talking about the small parts in the engine like the apex seals), so you haven't caused any damage. The parts get over heated because they are doing extra work during break in, fine machining the wear surfaces - if you did close to or at full throttle for 1 min. or more you would overheat the parts, and you didn't (and most probably couldn't because of the speeds that would be involved).

    The gurgling noise you heard is air trapped in the coolant/heating system. It will slowly burp its' way out. When the engine is cold, check the coolant level and top up with distilled water if necessary.
    The coolant level and oil level are the two most important things to keep an eye on with a rotary engine. If either gets too low you can loose an engine. Check them both at least once every two weeks.

    You will not hear flooding, the car will just refuse to start. Read the manual. The solution is to hold the accel. pedal to the floor (do not release until it starts!!) and crank the engine for 10-15 sec at a time (wait between times for the starter motor to cool off but continue to hold the accel. pedal to the floor - this ensures you do not get any more fuel injected into the engine - it shuts off the injectors). This procedure can take as long as 10 min. - be persistent, it will eventually start - unless the battery dies before it does. I think the "M" flash (which your car will most definitely have) fixed the flooding issue for almost everyone. Once you have the "M" flash you have to try really hard to flood the engine. I'm referring to the replaceable program in the PCM - the car's computer - this computer operates most things in the RX-8, unlike previous cars such as the RX-7.

    A slightly rough idle, a little vibration and occational missing while idling is normal. The rotary engine apex seals do not work very well below about 1200 RPM. Mazda sets the idle at 700 RPM to improve mileage figures, and the poor apex sealing shows up due to messed up mixture at idle. If you turned up the idle you would notice it smooth out but you would also notice the fuel gauge go down as you watch ;-).

    If you notice the engine misses a lot, even when cruising, the plugs may be fouled. There are now four heat ranges available - very cold for racing, cold for those who drive fast all the time, medium for normal operation in summer, warm for normal operation in winter, and very hot for problem cars. Don't be afraid to change between heat ranges as required.

    As for ignitions per cycle, the rotary has three combustion chambers per rotor and there are two rotors. They turn at 1/3 the eccentric shaft speed (think crank shaft), so you end up with one firing per RPM for each rotor - exactly the same as a four cylinder four cycle engine. While many think the rotary is like a two stroke engine, it is really a "continuous cycle" engine. It has some characteristics of two stroke piston engines because it is "piston ported" (rotor ported actually), with no valves so you can get sonic wave tuning effects, resulting in some sounds like a two stroke.

    Clicking noises are from many sources, including:The many warmup solonoids and intake tract valving.
    The cat. converter and exhaust warming up and expanding as well as the heat shields that cover them.
    The electric air pump runs for 20 sec. or so when you start up the car when it's cold.
  • donaldsdonalds Posts: 28
    There has been a new service bulletin issued about the "no start" thing, the owners manual is also being updated, if I understand the bulletin correctly there is a new flash to replace the M I get the impression Mazda is making changes on the fly to try and correct what should have been in the R&D phase.
    I suppose you can tell I am not a satisfied RX8 owner and I believe even the die hard supporters will eventually realize they are junk.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,084
    making changes after a car is released is VERY common. mazda is certainly not the only company that follows this practice.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • Hi donalds,
    Sorry to hear you are a dissatisfied RX8 owner.
    I have had three RX8's and none could be classified as junk. The handling of the vehicle is excellent, fit and finish of the body and interior IMO are excellent. The two things that I find upsetting is the gas mileage. I average 18 MPG. Not terrible but certainly less than I had hoped based on EPA numbers. I also resent having to spend $1,000 to be able to drive the vehicle on snow. The car is not drive able at least in New england without a good set of snow tires. With snows I have no problems, other than I have to worry about the height of the snow I drive over. I have used mid range gas and found no difference in performance with the gas mileage.
    Hopefully as with any new car the glitches will get taken care of and you will be pleased with your car. This car appears to hold its value fairly well. Good luck getting your problems resolved. If you don't get your issues with the car resolved I would try another dealership.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,133
    Preface by saying I had owned my RX8 since July of '03. Previous to the RX8 was a couple of BMWs (as well as numerous other cars that my family owned).

    I'm trying to put myself into the shoes of the owners I've seen post here.

    If I compared my RX8 to the BMWs regarding my service or alleged issues, I'd say they are about equal regarding their alleged issues or service. The RX8 and the BMWs were "high performance" cars. They are more "on the edge" regarding what they would do from a driving satisfaction perspective. Matter of fact, the RX8 is probably the closest I'll ever come to tasting "exotic car" type of performance (that's not to say the RX8 will compete with a Lambo, but it will offer a "taste" of what that would be like).

    I travel a lot. I had a 6 year old Honda Civic which I used to run back and forth to the airport. I didn't even think of that car as having any performance credentials. As long as it started and ran safely, I didn't think about it much more than a transportation module.

    The Civic did exactly what I expected it to do. It started and ran, in all types of weather, while giving me good fuel economy.

    While I'm certain the RX8 (or my previous BMWs) would certainly be capable of such duty, I had no expectations that they would. I bought the RX8 for it's tremendous capabilities and versatility, not for its fuel economy, not for its winter weather capabilities, etc.

    I bought the Civic for its start and go capabilities and for its fuel economy. That's it.

    My RX8 (previous to its untimely demise) was subject to the Mazda "buy back" program. I decided to keep it. Glad I did. But, I had the oil pan replaced, the "M" reflash done and "hot" plugs installed, and numerous other TSBs done whenever I had the car in for maintenance.....all under warranty. I'd be hard pressed to get it to flood today. I'd have to try really hard. Since I had the car, I got to know some of the noises it makes (as pathstar has explained). I expect them. I also know that there is nothing "untaward" happening with my car with these "noises". Matter of fact, I likee the "noises" the car made.

    MPG isn't a sports car's strong suits. The RX8 is no different. Yes, the engine is tiny. But, it's still a high performance sports car.

    So, the Civic did exactly what I expected and what I wanted it to do. The RX8 did exactly what I expected (including service routines) and what I wanted it to do. The Civic can't do what the RX8 can do on the road. Further, the RX8 won't do what the Civic can do.

    Both cars met or exceeded expectations.

    You can plug any car in to replace either the RX8 or the Civic. The expectations would be similar.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • donaldsdonalds Posts: 28
    Changes no doubt are somewhat normal, what I am saying is Mazda really has no idea why the "no start" condition exists, my car idles as if it is going to die, Mazda says that is normal, the service manager says it is not normal but there is NO fix and it does missfire.
    I have a suite pending and will get rid of this junk once the I find out if Mazda has to buy it back or fix it?? but the service manager says it cannot be, I have taken it to three other service centers and all say the computer does not give an error code so there is nothing wrong, even though it is shaking as they tell me that.
    Mazda will not give approval to take anything apart on the engine, it must be indicated with an error code!
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,133
    What RPM is your RX8 idling at? Are you getting a bang out of your exhaust like you would during a normal misfire?

    If it's misfiring, the computer will note it.

    When you say it's shaking, in what way? The gear shift will shake a bit. Did your dealer check for a broken motor mount? That will cause it to feel like it's shaking, too. That also won't show up in the computer.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • donaldsdonalds Posts: 28
    At normal temp it runs near 850 but bounces between 800 and 850, not stable, which the Mazda rep. noted, shaking as the entire car not just the gear shift, which the judge also noted.
    I have no idea if the motor mounts were looked at or not, nor do I care,that is what technicians are for, the car ran so smooth for the first 2000 miles you had to look at the tach to make sure it was running.
    This is not my first rotary, I have a 1985 rx7 which I have had since new and it has never acted like the the 8
    The bottom line Mazda would not allow any work to be done without a trouble code.
    That is why we are in a lemon law litigation.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,133
    RPMs sound about right.

    I'd make a bet it's the motor mounts.

    Don't know what stage you're in with the Lemon Law, but if it's already gone to hearing, my guess is the arbitrator will give Mazda one more chance to fix it. If they don't and Mazda service doesn't respond, I would imagine there will be some type of settlement offered.

    This is all a guess. I've only done one Lemon Law claim in my many years of car ownership. And I did it several years ago against Honda. They were vehement about not wanting to do anything about what was a fairly serious engine problem (burned about 1 quart of oil every 300 miles). Dealer didn't want to tear the engine down because Honda wouldn't reimburse them to do it.

    Honda eventually bought the car back. I blamed both the dealer and Honda coporate. Neither seemed to care one way or the other about the issue.

    Good luck and keep us posted on the outcome.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • cheezeboycheezeboy Posts: 218
    just my 2 cents here to thank both Pathstar and GGuy for their info/advice/comments....this message board is a much better place with you two around!!!


    and in no way, shape, or form is my RX8 a piece of 'junk' damn car I've owned.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,133
    cheeze...thanks guy! I loved my RX8 too much to stray very far away. You and pathstar are the true "stars", however. You bring the experience of the "automatic" customer. Pathstar has way more insight than I do as to the inner workings of the car. I learn more from you guys than most others.

    donalds....I was thinking about your dilema last night. If your dealer and other dealer technicians admit there is an issue, why don't they tell you what they think the problem is.

    I'm not saying it's a "motor mount" issue as I suspect, but since your car is shaking so bad, what's their diagnosis? It should be fairly simple for them to do some cursory checks and be reimbursed by Mazda for their efforts. IF the computer isn't giving them any codes, then my guess is it's not engine related. It must be something else (like broken motor mounts).

    I certianly understand that all you want is a car that is working the way it's supposed to work. I also know that the last thing Mazda wants to do is to become embroiled in a "lemon" law suit. It behooves them to fix it for you rather than to fight about it.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
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