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Mazda Tribute



  • tribstertribster Posts: 20
    TO: bl28

    I towed a 1400 pound tent trailer with my 03 Tribute last weekend. I travelled about 500 miles round trip. The mileage was around 18-19 miles per gallon. Tribute was able to tow this trailer along with 4 passengers plus our camping gear etc. I also used the A/C pretty much the whole time. It seems to have good pulling power.

    Here are a few things I'ed recommend;(a) Speed up gradually from a stop. (b) Leave more distance between you and the car ahead of you. (c) It takes much longer to stop with a trailer(hard breaking will burn your breaks FAST). (d) If you find that the tribute is shifting out of O/D frequently, turn off the O/D on the shifter. Also, read up on the Owner's manual.

    Lastly, make sure the tow hitch is low/high enough so the trailer is parallel to the ground and take a few lessons in reverse parking the triler before you get to the campground.

    Happy Camping....
  • They did make a mid-year change in '03 on the Tribby. Your's is a first-half '03 Tribute if you don't have the chrome rings. They supposedly made the seats more comfortable also, but not sure if that's the leather, the cloth, or both. They also took away the rear cargo-cover as a standard in the ES (I think) as well as all of the tribute and ES badging on the tail-gate were removed.
  • is there a major difference btw the years, b/c i have an 01 trib, trying to sell it, will be happy when its gone! Sorry al u trib owners but this is overall the worst car ive ever owned, was excited at first but with each dealr visit the exciteemnt wore off. This car is such a piece esp when u compare it to the other cars in my garage. I think this car has scarred our perception of mazda for a while!
  • I guess the main diff is i went from a dx to a ES.I talked to the mechanic at the mazda dealership. 01 tribs had great engines but big tranny problems. In 02 the trannies were a lot better but ford made a running change to the engine with lighter weaker connecting rods & this caused a lot of em to grenade. He said the 03,s so far have been perfect.I love my much nicer & refined then my DX, even tho it was fully loaded.I have 12000 miles on my ES so far with only a minor dash squeek which was fixed immediately.
  • clasleyclasley Posts: 16
    Hello all,
    This may sound stupid but I am going to ask anyway. I just recently purchase a '01 ES Tribute. I am very happy with it but one thing puzzles me. I have the optional perimeter alarm but have yet to figure out what makes it go off. I have tried a couple different things but they haven't worked. Does anyone have any suggestions
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    breaking the glass?

    I think that sets it off.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • clasleyclasley Posts: 16
    Hmm thats a valid suggestion nippononly, however, then I will have to buy another one. Any more suggestions that won't cause damage?
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,172
    I use to have a perimeter alarm on my '97 Wrangler. If the top was down / off, the alarm would put a bubble over the passenger area. if you walked past the vehicle the alarm would chirp, but if you reached in the alarm would go off. Maybe the trib has somewhat of the same thing, try leaving your windows down set the alarm and reach in and grab something.

    hope this helps

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    in my old car you could test the glass breakage sensor, which was actually a specially tuned mic, by tapping your keys against the glass. The alarm would go off, and you would know it was working.

    perhaps the Trib is similar?

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • and would like to know what existing owners think of their vehicles. Pro's & con's, mpg, defects, etc.

    Thanks in advance.
  • redpr5redpr5 Posts: 23
    Over the past few weeks, our 02 Tribute started a small shutter or lurch when going into overdrive. As time went on the shutter became stronger and it did it when it came out of overdrive too. We took a trip last weekend, and the shutter was very pronounced at 70 or above.

    I took it in to our dealer at 8:00 am yesterday and by 11:00 they called me and said it was ready. I was expecting to get the old routine, "we can't duplicate the problem," but instead they said there is a bulletin to correct the problem. They flushed the transmission and flashed the pcm and this worked. We had not noticed how hard the transmission had been shifting in all the gears before the fix. Now it is very smooth with no shutter going in or out of overdrive.

    We've had one experience with the Tribute's motor dying while driving at 35 mph and going downhill about a year ago. We took it in and they said they fixed and we have not had another incidence like that. With 27,000 miles so far, we have been very pleased with our vehicle.

    By the way the tires still look new. Continental Conti tracs.
  • hfdadhfdad Posts: 29
    if doors are locked and windows down and you reach in to open a door, alarm will go off.
  • picked up my 03 ES-AWD tribute yesterday for 21350
    (with rear bumper plate, perimeter alarm,cargo tray and including 2500 rebate).

    the sales guy said no real break-in required.. just for the 1st 500 miles..don't keep going at the same speed for too long. i.e don't use cruise control.
    shouldn't be a problem if i drive at 75/80 in the highways.. no need to keep the speed under 55mph like the older days.

    is his advice true ? i haven't read the manual yet...but atleast didn't find anything like this in the index. any advice/comments ?

    whats the mileage people are getting on their tributes ? I did a search in this forum.. and found people saying 18-20 mpg in city and 23-25 in highways. does selecting the 4 wheel drive reduce this mileage ? if yes, by how much ?

    thanks for ur feedback.
  • zaimonzaimon Posts: 124
    I'm mostly getting 19-20 gallons with highway driving (on my 2001 ES), certainly not the best given I live in Northern California (gas prices are hovering at the $2.15 range up here). Not sure what later models are getting but I hear that they're more refined than the first years...

    As far as break-in is concerned, vary the RPMs the first 500 miles and you should be fine (the dealer is mostly right). The valves in the engine still need to be broken-in by assuring that the gasket heads are rotating smoothly, basically varying the RPM/speed shaves the gaskets/valves of any imperfections that would inhibit good engine performance. Also, consider changing your oil at 3000 miles instead of the recommended 5000 mile first oil change.
  • I just traded from a 01 to a 03 ES. My es somehow gets better fuel mileage then my dx. Anyway I allready have 15,000 k on my 03 so it is broken in. At 70 mph with the A/C off I get 28 mpg. In US gallons that would convert to 22.4 mpg. The A/C will knock off 2 mpg on the highway. Around town sucks..I won,t go there. For break in just vary the rpm,s every 5-10 miles if you drive on the highway. In town driving is great for breaking em in. Get your 1st oil change real early; about 1-2000k to flush all the small bits of metal out of the system that have been worn off the piston, rings & cylinder walls. Enjoy!
  • When you do your break-in oil change at 3000-6000 miles, put a good quality synthetic in like Mobil 1. The heat and wear that we subject these engines to make the extra cost well worth it. I've used a synthetic in all my cars for the last the 25 years and have never had a problem related to engine wear.
  • Did my first o/c at about 1700 miles (just in case, figured it can't hurt also dealer recommended). Used the recommended oil weight (5W-20 I believe, don't have the book in front of me). Anyway, went to Valvoline for first change (no time to get to dealer and wait around) and the Valvoline dude told me that I could use 5W-30 "it's pretty much the same" he said - I said 'no' go w/what my manual says just in case.
    Was the Valvoline guy right? Or was he just trying to avoid having to get the container and fill it and funnel it into the car w/the 5W-20? (usually they have the oil come right out of a hose that's linked to a barrel somewhere but they must not have a high calling for the 20 weight, so he had to do more work to fill it).
    Also, my manual doesn't say anything about synthetic or non-synthetic - what do the dealers use?
    Thanks a million
    -happy '03 ES Trib owner
  • My mazda dealer uses 5w-30 bulk esso in allmost everything.
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    It's always best to do what the mfg. says to do...This way if there ever is a major problem, the mfg can not blame you for not using the correct oil. If you change the oil every 3000 miles or so there is little or no benefit to synthetic oil other than making your wallet lighter.
  • You can use a synthetic oil in virtually any '95 and newer cars today. There may be little benefit if you change your oil every 3000 miles, but, with a synthetic, you can easily stretch that interval to 10000-20000 miles. Note that all the major oil marketers(Castrol, Valvoine, Ford, and Pennzoil) now carry synthetic line. The major benefits of a synthetic, among many, is its resistence to thermal breakdown at high temperature stresses, and it very superior cold weather engine protection.

    Frankly, anyone who owns their car and intends to keep for >50k miles should be using a synthetic.
  • Anyone familiar with a technical service bulletin pertaining to wind noise around the doors of the Tribute?
  • When i purchased my new 03 ES tribute,I bought the extended warranty 7yr/100k for $794. At that time, I asked them specifically about the oil change and if i can use synthetic.. and they said. no.

    go by the book for warranty coverage is their response. so not sure if its worth the risk to convert to synthetic.
  • As far as I know, no manufacturer's warranty is voided by the use of a synthetic. In fact, more and more upscale cars come with it in the crankcase (Corvette, etc.). The dealers want to sell you more oil changes, not fewer. But, frequent changes with a mineral based oil will be ok, as long you don't have temperature extremes or severe use.

    Most service depts will tell their customers that the excess cost is not worth it, but they will agree it is a superior oil.
  • My dealer insisted that 5w30 would work fine and would only give me 5w20 for $10 more. I was finding that I was only getting 20 mpg max out of my car. When I visited another dealer he told me that you should only put the 5w20 in. When he did my gas mileage went up to 23 mpg. That's the only difference that I've seen. The manual says to ONLY use 5w20 and does not even make allowances for other types.
  • How good a deal is this?

    03 Tribute w/ rear spoiler, per. alarm & rear bumb. step plate for 19,416 w/ tax, title dealer fee.

    List was 25,624.
    Traded in a '97 Cheev Cav LS, power everything 45k mi. They gave me 3,500, w/o looking at it, plus the 2,500 rebate, and my bro. works at the dealer, so he got me another 1,627 off.

  • my comp is horrible at work
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    The reposting bug is a feature of our software. Try clicking on Recent Messages instead of refreshing your browser.

    Did you look at TMV for that Tribute? I don't think it's old enough for our Used Customized Appraisal button to work.

    Steve, Host
  • Steve,

    The Tribute was new, the Chev Cav was trade-in. Sorry if my message was a little messy.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Your message was fine, I got a little blurry while deleting the extra ones I guess :-)

    Anyway, you can check the TMV links on the New and Used Car pages if you want to see how far off "average" you were.

    More fun though, just to step away from the computer and go enjoy the new Tribute - congrats!

    Steve, Host
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Hello everyone...I'm happy to say that we can once again have a weekly Mazda chat (for those of you who remember!)

    The chat will be for all Mazda owners. We are talking with the folks at Mazda to see if we can entice a few of the Brand Managers to stop in every once in a while and participate (no promises, but we are working on it!)

    I'm trying to find out from the various Mazda vehicle owners the following:

    1) what night of the week would work best?
    2) what time? (please give the timezone)
    3) what would you like the chat to be called? (e.g. the Subaru chat is the "Subaru Crew" chat)

    We hope to have the Mazda weekly chat going by mid-October.

    I'll check the discussions I post this announcement in - but to not distract you with scheduling details, feel free to email me your choices at

    I'm happy this weekly event will be back.
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