Mazda CX-7 Maintenance

carlitos92carlitos92 Member Posts: 458
General topic for prospective or current owners performing maintenance on their CX-7s...

There is a discussion in the October 2006 "Road & Track" magazine regarding exchanging the CX-7's cartridge-type oil filter for a standard spin-on filter with Mazda3 parts:

Mazda parts needed:
Filter Mount L301-14-311
Filter Mount Gasket LF01-14-342
Oil Filter LF10-14-302

Haven't tried it myself, but it sounds cool!


  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    I've seen a few complaints about availability of cartridge type oil filters in a few of the consumer reviews of various Mazdas (don't recall the models off-hand). Maybe someone has experience with easily finding replacements at outlets other than the dealer?
  • zoom49zoom49 Member Posts: 76
    Purolator has two filters available. P15505 and their premimum (PureONE) PL15505 both available a Pep Boys.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    We don't have Manny, Moe and the other brother out here and Schucks won't let me search by part number. But NAPA has the PureONE in stock for $4.99.

    Now we need a report from someone on how easy it is to change in the CX-7. Thanks Zoom!
  • carlitos92carlitos92 Member Posts: 458
    Someone else shared their lessons learned after changing the oil in their CX-7, but I haven't been able to find the post again. After working on my own car today, here's my thoughts. (The drain plug on my car was 17mm; the 8 bolts holding the splash shield were 10mm. The oil filter wrench (socket type) is 76mm/14 flute - I used a RiteFit A251)

    1. You don't have to remove the mega-splash-shield completely to drain the oil, but you have to do it to get at the oil filter, so removing the whole shield ends up being step #1.

    2. The cartridge oil filter wasn't a big hassle, but it ends up being messier than a can-type filter would be, I think.

    3. The Mazda oil filter comes with the required o-rings, but my dealer didn't give me a new aluminum washer for the drain plug. I've always been told that the aluminum washers need to be replaced every time, so remember to ask for it specifically.

    4. The owner's manual says the oil capacity is 6.0 US quarts of oil with a filter change, but I didn't find that to be the case. The dummy that I am, I trusted the manual and refilled the car with 6 quarts. That put the oil level uncomfortably above "max" on the dipstick, so I had to drain some back out. Overfilling isn't good for the engine or catalytic converter - and draining it back out is un-fun, and was an expensive lesson for me, considering I've moved to Mobil 1. My M.O. from now on will be to start with 5 quarts and work my way up.

    All told, changing oil on the CX-7 is not too bad. I'll continue to do it myself rather than take it somewhere.

  • vbbuiltvbbuilt Member Posts: 498
    Good post! You obviously enjoy tinkering with cars. Me? I can't be bothered. Changing oil is drudgery and messy, plus you have to worry about disposal. You might be able to save a few bucks on labor, but its a HECK OF LOT EASIER just to take it to Mazda and pay the $35 to get it done. No muss, no fuss, plus lots of more free time!

    I hope you enjoy those oil changes!

  • carlitos92carlitos92 Member Posts: 458
    Yeah, I'm a bit of a nut when it comes to working in the garage... :D I've often joked that I would do my own maintenance, even if it was provided free by the manufacturer... Part of the reason I do my own oil is because of the liability factor - if someone is gonna forget to tighten the drain plug, I'd rather it be me. Then again, I know there a lot of people who have the exact opposite approach, and refuse to touch their cars. Good times, either way. :shades:
  • vbbuiltvbbuilt Member Posts: 498
    Don't know if Edmunds has a forum for this topic, so I'll post here for the time being.

    This query concerns vacuum cleaning.

    I live in a condo complex that has no exterior 120 volt outlets, so using any vacuum cleaner using a/c power is out of the question. That leaves me trying to find those coin-operated vacuum cleaners, that require lots of quarters for minimal usage time. To top it off, they frequently either have inadequate nozzels or insufficient suction power.

    My question: are there any really good vacuum cleaners, preferably with a power brush, that can plug into the CX7s 12v power points? I'm not interested in those cheapo units found in Walmart or Costco.

    Ideas? :confuse:

    Thanks, Vince.
  • jbjtkbw00jbjtkbw00 Member Posts: 66
    There are a lot of aftermarket vacuums that plug in for the car. I'm leaving work at the moment, but I'll take a quick look-see online to see if I can provide a link or two for you.

    Most of them are decent, but obviously won't have the power of one of those that 'suck up' all of your quarters.
  • jbjtkbw00jbjtkbw00 Member Posts: 66
    OK, the first link is from Dirt Devil.

    The next is from

    Finally, this last one is a sampling from Nextag.

    I hope this help you in the right direction.
  • astegmanastegman Member Posts: 171
    OK, I need help again. My CX-7 has almost 2300 miles. When should I do the first oil change? Should I have done so already?

    When I picked the car up, the sales rep mentioned a specific type of oil to use, but of course I can't remember. I could call him, but what are you folks out there using?

    Finally, how often should the oil be changed, assuming the car is running fine and there are no performance issues (knock wood).

    Thanks for the input.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    What sounds like a simple question isn't. :shades: You can check your manual or the Edmunds Maintenance Guide
    for what Mazda recommends, but whether you consider your driving "severe" and thus should change the oil more frequently or whether it's worth it to use synthetic oil drives entire discussions around here.
  • vbbuiltvbbuilt Member Posts: 498
    My dealer recommended first change at 3700 miles, but I had my first oil change at 4300 miles. Instead of standard 10w30 oil, I opted for Mobil 1 synthetic. Costs more, but provides more protection and a miniscule improvement in MPG, also you can go longer between oil changes. Instead of the standard 3000 mile interval, he suggested 6 - 7 K. I'll problably shoot for around 5K between changes. I paid about $65 for the oil change and new filter.

  • astegmanastegman Member Posts: 171
    Did you have a new filter put in because the technician told you you needed one, or did you just tell him to do so? I've always wondered about that.
  • vbbuiltvbbuilt Member Posts: 498
    It's always wise to replace the filter and the oil at the same time. Cost of the filter is minimal. The filter does get clogged over time with sediment and gunk - that's how the oil stays clean. But even over time, residue accumulates in the oil and the oil breaks down, due to being subjected to high heat all of the time.

    You can tell the technician NOT to replace the filter, but that wouldn't be wise.

  • astegmanastegman Member Posts: 171
    For the past 4 years, I've been going to a Mobil One oil change place. I think when I first started driving the Lexus (now gone), I had the first couple of oil changes done at the dealer, but at $95 a pop, that just got out of hand. The Mobil place charges about $35 for basic service. I think they do an OK job. I can't use my current Mazda dealer for oil change because the service dept is not open on Saturdays and I can't miss 2 hours of work for an oil change (the dealer is about an hour from my office). So I'm going to stick with the Mobil place, but will keep an eye on what they do...I'll make sure to tell them which oil to use. Now that I think of it, I guess they did put in a new filter each time.
  • carlitos92carlitos92 Member Posts: 458
    There is a logic that says you should change your oil earlier to clear out any of the metal particles/burrs/shavings etc. of out of the engine that may have been left behind during the manufacturing process. There's a thread somewhere else under CX-7 where several people were discussing...

    Personally I changed my oil at 1500 miles for this reason and went to Mobil 1 because it is better at resisting coking under high-heat situations (turbo bearings, etc.). I ran Mobil 1 through my Honda from about the same milestone, and after 106,000 miles that engine was clean enough to eat out of. Spent a lot of money of the gourmet oil, but it convinced me. :D
  • nmknmk Member Posts: 111
    To All:

    I seem to have two situations:

    1- My tootsies keep getting toasted from the firewall. Does anyone else have this problem, and if so, is it a fault and how is it rectified?

    2- When at idle, the engine sounds like it is a diesel. A low key rat-ta-tata-tat. Is this too a problem or is it normal?

    All suggestions and hints are welcome.

  • carlitos92carlitos92 Member Posts: 458
    You've bought a direct-injection engine, which means fuel is sprayed directly into the cylinder as opposed to ports or the intake manifold in most other FI engines. The fuel-rail pressure is much higher on direct-injection engines (as it is on diesels, too, incidentally) and they do make a little more clackety racket than a normal setup. Nothing to be worried about.

  • nmknmk Member Posts: 111

    Whew! Glad to know that.

    Now about my par-boiled toes, any suggestions? Please bear in mind that this is a family forum.

  • carlitos92carlitos92 Member Posts: 458
    Dunno. I wear shoes. ;)

    In all seriousness, I think this model has some heat-management issues at the firewall. You can see people complain (me included) about the hot air that blows out of the vents if the A/C is not on. I haven't noticed anything down low at my feet in my car, but I don't doubt you.
  • nmknmk Member Posts: 111
    How can I obtain manuals for the CX-7 other than the owners manual. Just in the event that I am willing peek under the sheet metal and hood.

  • bmenkbmenk Member Posts: 3
    Try putting your hand on the right side of the hood, in the area where the hood becomes the fender.

    After driving a bit, let the vehicle sit for about 5 minutes. Something in that area is red hot and heats up the hood to extremely high temperatures. With no wind to dissipate the heat the hood area becomes hot, hot, hot....

    I'm wondering if this will cause paint failure over time over that part of the sheet metal.

    Can anyone confirm that this is happening on their CX-7 ?

  • vbbuiltvbbuilt Member Posts: 498
    I've noticed the same thing, but I'm not too concerned about it. The hood on my 04 Santa FE feels very hot in certain spots as well.

    I'm not certain where the source of the heat comes from. You may want to pop the hood and try to deduce the source.

  • fonefixerfonefixer Member Posts: 247
    How oftern are you going to change the oil on the Cx-7 and how critical is it to use synthetic concerning the turbo design?
  • carlitos92carlitos92 Member Posts: 458
    My father gave me a horribly anal (and expensive) instinct for overdoing maintenance on every car like I plan on owning the thing until it falls apart. However, I have yet to keep a vehicle for more than ten years.

    That being said, I'm changing the oil every 7500 miles per the Mazda manual, but using synthetic oil because it removes all the fear of turbo problems for me personally. Maybe it's overkill, especially if you are just going to swap your Mazda in 5 years or so.

    I also drive like a maniac and treat the throttle basically as an on/off switch, so I figure treating the hard-working engine to some gourmet oil is not a bad idea.

    There are plenty of good non-synthetic oils out there that will meet the warranty requirements, so unless you are a nut like me or planning to keep the car forever, I'd just follow the book.

  • vx23hokievx23hokie Member Posts: 10
    You saved me some hassle with the oil level. I filled it with 5 quarts, started the engine, then let the oil settle. It was about 1/2 quart low. Put another 1/2 quart in it and it's right on the money.

    For oil/filter change use 5 and 1/2 quarts. 6 is too much.
  • dbake01dbake01 Member Posts: 2
    I have the CX-7 GT with HID xenon headlights and there's a really bad line between dark and light on the low beams that's really annoying. At about 20 feet out it sits about 3 feet from the ground and it's not straight - it has a severe jag in it that appears to be from the hood line. Never having had a car with these kind of headlights, is this normal for HIDs or do they need to be adjusted so the dark/light line is higher or less visible? Anyone else notice this?
  • cxrabbitcxrabbit Member Posts: 134
    Yes, I have noticed it, and while it took getting used to, it doesn't bother me. I don't find it inhibits visibility and apparently, I'm not blinding all the people in front of me on the road.

    You can adjust it. There's a dial on your dashboard to the left of the steering well for adjusting. Default it 0 (so if yours is already set at 0 that's the highest they'll go). 1-5 incrementally make the lights lower (and this is apparently for when you're carrying more people or a big load of cargo).
  • vx23hokievx23hokie Member Posts: 10
    It's normal for the'll get used to it. The high beam on the right is slightly higher than the one on the left, hence the "jag." Only thing I can think is the right side can be a little higher to give you better vision without blinding oncoming cars.
  • erhayeserhayes Member Posts: 10
    Does this 2.3L engine use a timing belt or chain? What service interval if any. Thanks Ed
  • fonefixerfonefixer Member Posts: 247
    The Cx-7 has a chain drive. Not much service is required on that. Mainly, it would be important to change the oil every 3750 miles, change the transmission fluid, air filter every 20 to 30,ooo and keep the tires at the proper psi level.
  • carlitos92carlitos92 Member Posts: 458
    None of your mileage intervals are even close to what Mazda recommends. They are much more conservative. Is this your professional opinion because you are an auto mechanic and want to hold on to your CX-7 for 30 years, or are you making this up?

    No offense intended, just trying to learn why you would change the oil or transmission fluid so often. I've been caring for cars for more than 20 years, and most of them were a lot less reliable than my Mazda - and I've never had any problems related to changing the fluids based on what the manufacturer told me to do.

    If you want to be conservative, I'd switch to synthetic oil because this is a turbo and change it out every 7,500 miles per Mazda. As for the transmission, I'd have to go look at the manual, but I'd be surprised if the interval was less than 60,000 miles. Many manufacturers are up to 100,000 miles these days.

    The manufacturer (dealer, at least) stands to make more money off service if they give you conservative intervals, so there's no reason to not trust the guys who engineered the vehicle when it comes to changing fluids.
  • fonefixerfonefixer Member Posts: 247
    Anyone that goes 60,000+ between transmission fluid changes is asking for trouble down the road. If you are leasing the vehicle, then of course that is another matter, you for the most part don't have to change anything. The vehicle is given back in 2~3 years. However, if the driver plans on keeping the vehicle, regular maintenance is a must. I'm no auto mechanic, but have seen fresh tranny fluid compared to some at 40 ~50,000, and the difference is amazing! I used to drive an Audi A6, and the factory even stated "lifetime" on the tiptronic transmission fluid. The factory is wrong. Every Audi mechanic I conversed with recommends regular (every 30 to 40,000) mile changes. They are seeing trouble with these transmissions at the 60 to 80 mark with unchanged fluid. Why would the Mazda be any different?

    As far as oil, using synthetic is always a good idea, I would agree. Considering the cost ratio, changing the standard oil at a more frequent rate should come out about the same. Any good mechanic will tell you that the oil should be changed BEFORE it gets dirty. Here in Minnesota, with cold and short tripping, changing at about 4,000 miles is just plain good maintenance.Oil changes are the least expensive most effective way to prolong engine life, no matter how frequent.
  • carlitos92carlitos92 Member Posts: 458
    Fair enough. But I still say it's overkill for anyone purchasing a car and keeping it for a reasonable period. My personal experiences following the factory bear that out. I almost bought an A4 back when they looked decent, but otherwise never touched an Audi.

    And sure, in a perfect world, all the fluids in every car would be pristine every time you started it up. But that ain't practical. And just because there is a visible difference between new fluid and old doesn't mean it's destroying engine/tranny components. A lot of times in life, "less than perfect" is good enough for what we need.

    If you can afford to stick by the schedules these "good mechanics" are feeding you, more power to you. Good luck.
  • fonefixerfonefixer Member Posts: 247
    Anyone that can afford a 28,000+ MAzda Cx-7 can afford to spend $35.00 to change the oil every 4,000 mil;es or so and can afford a $100.00 transmission flush every 25 to 30,ooo miles.

    Of course, it is impossible to keep the fluids perfectly clean at all times, relatively inexpensive regular changes will help prolong the life of the vehicle.

    I drove an Audi for 6 years/100,000 miles and it really was a maintenance nightmare. Hoping that my new Cx-7 will need much less the next 6+years. At 2700 miles, no problems to report except the gas cap replacement. Just filled up with fuel yesterday and achieved 18.61 mpg at 100% in town driving.
  • carlitos92carlitos92 Member Posts: 458
    "Anyone that can afford a 28,000+ MAzda Cx-7 can afford to spend $35.00 to change the oil every 4,000 mil;es or so and can afford a $100.00 transmission flush every 25 to 30,ooo miles."

    That's a kind of judgmental generalization, and I disagree. But we're not gonna convince each other. So... I'll volunteer to be your control group. (and I'm sure you can find others as well) I'll follow the manufacturer's recommendations religiously (although I've already admitted that I'm using Mobil 1) and let's compare notes in 5 years, and then again at 10. If my CX-7 transmission goes south or my engine bombs, I'll send you a gift card for a dinner.

    May the best person win... ;)
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    I bet your odds of winning would be just as good running regular oil too. :D
  • fonefixerfonefixer Member Posts: 247
    I don't have any doubt that synthetic is an excellent way to go, especially with the turbo.But INMHO, changing more frequently with standard dino oil, changing the oil/filter BEFORE they get too dirty, is also an effective maintenance tool. Remember, even with synthetic , the filter can become ineffective and need changing before the 7500 mile mark.

    Would be interesting if Mazda or others would install a sort of "filter gauge" to test how clogged it really is at a specific mileage point.

    I agree with your test report idea about 5 and 10 years out. That J.D. Power stuff about the "first 90 days" of ownership is mostly fluff. Let J.D. poll owners who have driven for 3 years, 5 years and 10 years, (does anyone keep a vehicle for 5 years, much less 10 years, anymore?) and see what the driving impressions are at that time.

    I'll be keeping my Cx-7 for atleast 6 years, it will take that long to pay for it!

    I did more than follow manufacturer guidelines on my Audi A6, and it still fell apart. 2800 trouble-free miles on the Cx-7 so far (purchased 10.24.06), only the gas cap replacement issue, just 97,000 miles to go.
  • astegmanastegman Member Posts: 171
    Yesterday in the mail I received a reminder from Mazda that my CX-7 is due for its 7500 mile servicing (they were pretty close; I've got 7380 miles as of this morning!).

    Has anyone done this service? What does it entail? The service department of my dealership isn't open on Saturdays (grr!! :mad:), and they're an hour from my place of work. I want to take the best care I can of the car and will likely "sacrifice" an hour of work to have the car serviced, but I'm just curious if anyone's done this yet. I had the first oil change done back in October at 4200 miles, so should I have them change it again as long as I'm there? Any input, thoughts are appreciated!
  • wjbushsrwjbushsr Member Posts: 135
    I seem to recall them doing a full inspection of the entire car, including checking the computer. The print out was extensive, and mostly under the hood stuff.

    On a side note, waiting til 4200 to have the oil changed the first time was risky at best. {lots of metal particles that needed to be flushed out} Mazda and the other builders use your oil change intervals as a way of shooting down warranty claims.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    You may want to check what the dealer recommends vs what Mazda recommends for the service - the Edmunds Maintenance Guide will tell you what the manufacturer recommends at various service intervals.

    Some dealers like to pad the service with stuff that you may not think is needed right now, especially if the service reminder came from the dealer and not MazdaUSA.
  • cxrabbitcxrabbit Member Posts: 134
    The book says every 5000 miles if you do a lot of around town or rough driving, and every 7500 miles if you do a mix of highway and city and aren't too hard on the car. I'll be doing mine every 5000.

    And you should have had your first one at 1000 miles to get rid of the "break-in oil". My dealer scheduled me for my first oil change (at 1000 miles) the day I picked up the car.
  • astegmanastegman Member Posts: 171
    Thanks for the input. I'll have the servicing done. When I picked up the car, no mention was made of having anything done at the 1000 mile mark. Car's been running beautifully (other than the 4 CEL's and that I'm on my 3rd gas cap). The reminder notice came directly from my dealer and not from Mazda USA. When I take the car in, I'll ask them beforehand what they'll be doing to the car and if it seems excessive, I can handle it then. Thanks again for the feedback!
  • fonefixerfonefixer Member Posts: 247
    It is called Mazda "full cicle" service.
    Whenever you bring the Cx-7 in to the Mazda dealer, they check:
    1. windshield washer fluid
    2. auto matic transmission fluid level/condition
    3. brake fluid level/condition
    4. power steering fluid level/condition
    5. coolant level/condition
    6. transaxle, transfer case fluid/condition
    7. windshield for cracks/pitting
    8. operation of horn, interior/exterior lights
    9. washer spray/wiper operation
    10. cooling system leaks
    11. oil leaks
    12. cv drive rubber boot condition
    13. exhaust system
    14. drive belts
    15. steering linkage/wheel end play
    16. suspension
    17. brake lines/hoses
    18. battery terminals
    19. tire pressures
    20. tire tread life
    21. brake linings
    22. battery performance

    .....and charge accordingly!
  • astegmanastegman Member Posts: 171
    Yes, the 4 times my CEL went on, and I brought the car in for it, they performed the "full circle" check (or so said the printed report). Wasn't charged anything, though.

    Edited to add: I just called the dealer to ask exactly what they do for the 7500 mile service - the oil is changed, the tires rotated, and then there's a laundry list of all the other stuff they do. Their charge is $119.95. I guess I'll do it - I do want an oil change, and tire rotation is a good thing.
  • vbbuiltvbbuilt Member Posts: 498
    You might consider using places such as Jiffy Lube for your normal, routine oil and filter changes, air filter changes and tire rotation. Those minor maintenance items. I find them very reliable, very quick, inexpensive, and convenient.

    I'll defer to Mazda service for those important service intervals such as 15K, 30K, 45K, and 60K miles and of course, for those all too frequent CEL occurences. :)

  • wjbushsrwjbushsr Member Posts: 135
    Last time I checked, the local Jiffy Lube didn't have the filters for the CX-7, have they released them to the masses yet?
    Also, I'm leary about the way you have to take all of the underarmor off just to change the oil and filter, otherwise I'd do it myself.
    I'll just throw another 10 bucks at the dealership for that extra piece of mind. ;)
    Besides, if you're not careful, they may stick a generic oil filter on it that doesn't do the job as well as a Fram or other top name. {had that experience with my Millenia}
    As for tire rotaion and balancing goes, Discount Tire here I come! :P
  • fonefixerfonefixer Member Posts: 247
    Unfortuneately, I would NEVER bring my Mazda to a "fast-oil change" type place, because for the most part, the employees working there know nothing about cars! I have had my car nearly ruined by those franchised type of so-called quick service establishments.

    The Mazda dealer probably has the most up to date information on servicing the Cx-7. $120.00+ tax/shop supplies/environmental fee to change the oil and rotate the tires sounds a little high , but maybe they perform some other services that make it worthwhile.

    You don't want an amateur working on your car! If you are comfortable with the Mazda dealer,nothing wrong with that. I use a local independent shop that charges less than the Mazda dealer, but is a real pro and gives the same or maybe better service. For example, I'll be charged about $65.00 for the oil/tire rotation. As far as the rest of the "full circle" stuff,most drivers could check many of the items themselves.
  • astegmanastegman Member Posts: 171
    Regarding tire rotation, has anyone had it done yet at someplace other than the dealer? In the past, I've had such trouble finding a place to rotate the tires. My last car was a Lexus RX300, and I went to 4 different oil change places - none of whom were able to rotate the tires, because they claimed my car did not fit properly on the hoist and would result in damage underneath! So, I had to have the dealer do it, which needless to say, was more expensive. Now I'm leery of having a non-dealer handle the tire rotation, especially since the CX-7 is a new car and as yet, sort of unknown.

    For run of the mill oil changes not tied to a milestone servicing, I would be willing to try a non-dealer. So far I've only had one oil change and it was through the dealer, but I'm game - I think!
  • fonefixerfonefixer Member Posts: 247
    You bring up a good point about oil filters. The "fast lube" places use the cheapest available. I always use a factory type filter and purchase ahead of time. Simply bring the filter to the independent shop and I know the job is done right. You can't compare the work of long-time employees of a reputable local shop compared to the fast lube people. I can't repeat enough times how bad those places really are and how you are playing roulette every time a vehicle is brought there for something as routine as an oil change.
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