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Mazda 3 Steering & Suspension Questions

sagrarioluque7sagrarioluque7 Member Posts: 3
Guys and gals, I was on my way back from my easter holiday and the steering wheel went really stiff and the power steering light went on. The owner's manual said to shut the car off and the light would go off. It actually did, but it went back on after a while. Do you guys have any idea what's going on? And how may I fix that problem. I live in Central America by the way, and drive a 2.3 Mazda 3.


  • rhelmbrightrhelmbright Member Posts: 8
    Ok, so this is our first year having our Mazda3 in the snow. It sucks. Don't know if it is the tires, or just the way the car handles in the winter. I would love to hear about others and their experiences with their 3 in the snow and ice. Thanks.
  • jcrystaljcrystal Member Posts: 8
    If you are using the stock tires, of course it sucks. You need snow tires. I have them on my Mazdaspeed3 and it goes about as well as my 4x4 Audi.
  • bigfurbigfur Member Posts: 649
    I have stock tires on my M3 in minnesota and so far i havent had too many issues. My 3 is an 07 with the traction control and i think that helps alot. If its THAT bad in snow...get some snow tires and steel rims for it.
  • charlie21charlie21 Member Posts: 4
    I have an '06 Mazda3. I put Nokian Hakkapelita RSIs on it this winter. I'm in Western Canada where the roads this year have been snowy, icy, slushy, just crap. The RSIs are supposed to be among the best winter tires you can get. But I've been sliding a little. Sometimes the car feels like it's floating. I get some scary torque steer too. Maybe the steering just needs a tune-up. The tire guy said his mom has the same car with the same tires and she is chugging along just fine. Sometimes I find the car is just too sensitive to steering input. Or maybe I'm being too cautious and not fully trusting it because I had a bad crash with a rental car last year, totalled it after losing control on black ice. I drove a Subaru Forester a week ago on the same crappy roads and I felt skittish with it too. So not sure if it's me or the car.
  • autonomousautonomous Member Posts: 1,769
    maybe I'm being too cautious and not fully trusting it because I had a bad crash with a rental car last year, totalled it after losing control on black ice. I drove a Subaru Forester a week ago on the same crappy roads and I felt skittish with it too. So not sure if it's me or the car

    Give yourself time. If the tires/car still feel unsafe have someone take a look at it. I still cringe a bit when I go through the intersection where my previous car was struck.
  • sagrarioluque7sagrarioluque7 Member Posts: 3
    Guys and gals, I was on my way back from my easter holiday and the steering wheel went really stiff and the power steering light went on. The owner's manual said to shut the car off and the light would go off. It actually did, but it went back on after a while. Do you guys have any idea what's going on? And how may I fix that problem. I live in Central America by the way, and drive a 2.3 Mazda 3.
  • stallionrestallionre Member Posts: 205
    Sounds like to me either two things, the pump is low on fluid or the pump is not working correctly. Is it still under warranty? I believe the pump is electronic, since this car is mostly electronic and hydraulic pumps. If the pump is belt driven, then maybe the belt is too lose and the pump is not working.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    I'm going to rename this discussion to make it our main Mazda discussion for steering/suspension issues.

    This will be the spot to discuss any Mazda 3 steering/suspension problems or questions.
  • stallionrestallionre Member Posts: 205
    Thanks, that sounds great. I would how Mazda owners have this issue. My issue is about the burning smell from the rear brakes after I drove for 8 miles. The car has 20 miles on it. Is this normal? :cry:
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    What you probably are smelling is the protective coating burning off the new exhaust system. If the burning smell was coming from the rear brakes I would think you would have mentioned the feeling of the car not wanting to accelerate or dragging because the rear brakes are engaged. (Almost like you have the emergency brake on) And if your rear brakes WERE on, you should also feel some heat near the rear wheels because brakes dragging like that would get VERY hot fairly quickly.
  • stallionrestallionre Member Posts: 205
    Thanks pd_flyer. Should I not worry about it then? What I smell was at the rear end of the vehicle. I can not pin point the exact location, however it smelt like the brakes, but maybe that is because it is close to the exhaust system at the rear. It smelt like plastic like you said. The smell was all at the rear end. I felt no drag at all while driving. Everything was normal. I did hear a noise at the rear when I stepped onto the brakes, but maybe because it is too new yet. What do you think? Have your heard of any of this before? Thanks for your help. :)
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Member Posts: 3,159
    Check your battery as well. The Mazda3 uses a hydro-electric motor. If you have a low battery, it does effect your power steering.
  • audia8qaudia8q Member Posts: 3,138
    good idea. I was going to suggest the samething.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    If you felt no drag, I'd say it's the protective coating buring off the exhaust. Should all be gone after a day or two of driving. And not being able to pinpoint the location, but smelling it all at the rear end fits the profile.

    If it's still there or getting worse after like 5 days you might want to have your dealer take a look, but I'd bet it will fade away shortly.

    You're still getting used to the car and ANY noises it makes are going to seem strange at first. I just bought a new car in Feb, had the "new exhaust" smell and have learned most of the noises that it makes that are different from my past vehicles.

    Hope you're enjoying your new ride!
  • stallionrestallionre Member Posts: 205
    Thanks. Awesome to know. You're the best!!! I was worried. I don't want a lemon like people who got one before.
  • coosamtncoosamtn Member Posts: 47
    Could be your rear tires are out of alignment.
  • stallionrestallionre Member Posts: 205
    I have a question about tires as you mention that. Did you notice that when you look at the rear tires from the back of the vehicle say about 20 feet away, do you notice that the tires are not really straight. they can of toe in at the top, is this normal? Mine is like this.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Member Posts: 3,159
    Yes, all vehicles do that.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Member Posts: 3,159
    The burning smell is cosmoline. It is a petroleum product that is coating the exhaust system. Takes a few days to burn off. Smells nasty. Your car is working fine. No need to worry.
  • stallionrestallionre Member Posts: 205
    Awesome thanks. I thought that is was the brakes!! No need to worry now. :)
  • sagrarioluque7sagrarioluque7 Member Posts: 3
    My mechanic says the pump was flooded with water. I have a problem. Here, in Honduras the only Mazda 3 2.3 are brought from the states as was mine. The dealership only brings 2.0 so the dealership wont go near it. What can I do? Where can i find Mazda 3 2.3 pumps on the internet? Any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance
  • stallionrestallionre Member Posts: 205
    Sagrarioluque7, That pump is an electric motor type, YIKES. They are hard to find. I was searching online for one for you and found one on ebay. This is for a 2006 Mazda 3. I don't know of anywhere else besides the dealer. Did you call the dealership where you bought the car from? I am out of suggestions sorry.

    How did you pump get flooded with water? :sick:
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Member Posts: 3,159
    The steering pump is the same on both 2.0 and 2.3. A Mazda dealer down there should work on it, however, it will not be covered under warranty because it was purchased in the US.
  • stallionrestallionre Member Posts: 205
    I don't think that they have a Mazda dealer there. Maybe I am wrong. If so, then why did he buy the car in the USA? :confuse:
  • bigfurbigfur Member Posts: 649
    Find a Ford dealer. Im sure they can get all the inside scoop on Mazda parts and things since Ford owns Mazda.
  • stallionrestallionre Member Posts: 205
    I don't think Ford owns Mazda. Ford own's 33% of Mazda in total stock, but that is it. I say this because it was in another forum about this discussion, even this forum talked about it. Many people said that Ford does not own Mazda. Who knows?

    This is the statement that this forum made in March, 2007:

    "Does anyone feel that there is any difference, say an improvement or a degradation in any way with Mazda, whether it's customer service, management style or reliability because Ford owns Mazda?"

    Before we dive too far out on this topic, is everyone aware that Ford does NOT own Mazda?

    Ford owns a controlling stake (about 33%) of Mazda; that is a bit different from actually OWNING Mazda.
  • bigfurbigfur Member Posts: 649
    Just thinking that if anyone could get the part they could.
  • stallionrestallionre Member Posts: 205
    That would be nice and is a great concept. I wonder if the dealers are listening. They could actually learn some thing from us. ;) :P
  • johnnick3johnnick3 Member Posts: 2
    If anyone got the speed 3 suspension upgrades let me know what you think, i.e. handling improvements, rough ride, etc. :confuse:
  • trosetrose Member Posts: 3
    I bought my used 3 in the spring and found that the handling in the rain was awful. I was hydroplaning everywhere. I put 2 new tires on a few weeks ago and it rained - I was still all over the road. Is this something any of you have experienced? I live in Ohio so I'm afraid of the winter snow coming up!
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    What kind of tires do you have on your 3? I ask because the Goodyear Eagle RS-As that came on mine are almost universally regarded as junk (in spite of their very high price tag). I've only had my car for four days now and I've already ordered a new set of tires for it, go figure.

    FWIW, while I was shopping for new rubber, I noticed that TireRack is having a closeout sale on the very well regarded Michelin Pilot Sport A/S tires (they used to be $165 for the 205/50 R17s that my car needs, and while supplies last, they're $120), and so I ordered a set of four. As things stand right now, I'll have the new rubber mounted on my car next Tuesday, and that means that I'll have a spare set of Goodyear Eagle RS-As in the above size with less than 500 miles on them. Hello? Craig's list? :)

    Best regards,
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    OEM tires on a lot of cars aren't exactly something most of us would have made as our first choice! :P
  • trosetrose Member Posts: 3
    So I'm hearing it is more the tires and not the car itself?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    It's probably been over 20 years since I've been satisfied with the performance of tires that came on a new car in non-dry conditions. And maybe it's a bit of a sliding scale. There are so many good choices for tires right now that the tires on new cars may very well be just as good as they used to be, but I've been spoiled by putting on better tires.

    Tires are going to be the major factor in wet weather handling and I'd look there almost exclusively rather than assuming some kind of design problem with the car.
  • trosetrose Member Posts: 3
    thank you! ;)
  • ahightowerahightower TXMember Posts: 539
    I agree. I don't believe I've ever replaced the OEM tires with the same things. Always upgraded. Not necessarily to a higher price tire, but I've always found something more highly regarded for approximately the same money. Having said that, I've never had OEM tires so awful that I felt compelled to upgrade before they were worn out. I don't get a ton of rain or ice here in north Texas, but I've yet to notice any sort of poor handling of the OEM tires on my 2008 Mazda3i Touring. Perhaps with these 16" wheels, the OEM tires are less performance-oriented and better in the rain than the 17's that come on the S? Or maybe it's just because I drive like my dad in poor weather ever since I had kids of my own...
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    I'm thinking that it's advances in tire technology. Prior to the mid-80's I pretty much always replaced original tires with the same brand as I wasn't disappointed in their performance.

    First time I went away from that was in the early 90's and I was amazed how much more tread life I got with a different brand. So my attention turned to "saving money" by getting better wearing and performing tires and not having to change them as often.

    I've been running Kelly tires on my cars for years now, and just got 59,000+ out of a set of Navigator Golds on my one vehicle. The Continentals that came on my newest vehicle were horrible in the rain right from the outset (again, compared to what I had become accustomed to with the Kellys) and the day they were completely shot at just under 30,000 miles was a day I looked forward to. On the recommendation of a buddy who owns a tire shop and garage I'm trying Cooper CS4's this time around. About 10,000 miles into the set and I'm very happy with them.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    I don't know about the 2008 models, but my 2009 Mazda3 i Touring came with Goodyear Eagle RS-A 205/50 R17 tires, and no matter where you look, TireRack.com, other Mazda3 forums, DiscountTire.com, you name it, most folks think they're junk, especially on wet and snowy road surfaces. No thanks.

    Like many other folks, I usually run through the OEM tires before upgrading to newer/better rubber, however, with winter looming, the RS-As will be history by Tuesday. ;)

    Best regards,
  • orca3orca3 Member Posts: 11
    trose - The 07 Touring Htchbk that I just traded for my new 09 Mazdaspeed3, had
    those same Goodyears on it and I upgraded to Kuhmos Ecsta Asx's after
    2000 miles - great price(Tirerack.com),great handling,no hydroplaning
    not for deep snow, as the 3 sits low and uses a 50 series tire. If you're
    really worried about snow and ice you might have to go to a 2nd set of
    dedicated snow tires as I'm doing with the 'speed3(Michelin x ice).
    I can't say enough for the Kumho's though, have had them on 2 different
    cars and although they're not a name brand icon - they're a real bargain
    and about half the price of the Goodyears and were very good in rain and
    light snow.
  • ahightowerahightower TXMember Posts: 539
    2008 i Touring (value) built after Jan 2008 came with 17's. I'm actually glad I got mine before then with the 16's. Comparing OEM 16" to OEM 17", they have longer tread life, and are cheaper to replace as well. I like the leather steering wheel and shift knob and fog lights on the value package (and that new copper red color is hot) but I'm very happy with mine and the deal I got.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Yeah, one of my "issues" with my new car is the 17" wheels, I mean, really, is this a $35,000 BMW we're talking about here? No, it's an economy car that is sportier than most others in this class, and for that, 16" wheels would have been quite appropriate, especially as I live in New Hamster and have lots of snow and frost heaves to deal with every winter.

    With that said, I was not all that shot with the aftermarket 16" wheels I looked at, and even if I had found a set I liked; the available tire sizes that won't cause speedometer error in the 16" world are precious few and far between. The other option is to stay in the 17" world by going to a 17x7.5 wheel and then moving to a 225/45 R17, however, with TPMS sensors we're taking $1,800 for the set. Said another way, more than 10% of the value of the car just for the wheels and tires.

    As you already know, I opted for "Plan-B" instead, and bought a set of Michelin Pilot Sport A/S tires in the factory size. That should last me a year or two before I'm faced with this decision. ;-)

    Best regards,
  • stash3stash3 Member Posts: 3
    does your pause/play button work on CD's? Mine does not. I called my dealer bc mine is still under warrenty and they said its only for sat. radio? but im still not sure if i trust them based on the reviews ive heard about the dealerships.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    The place to discuss your pause/play button would be the Mazda3 Audio and Entertainment System Questions discussion
  • MazdaMoscowMazdaMoscow Member Posts: 1
    I agree, Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires are crap. I wonder if someone at Goodyear has photos of the Mazda CEO doing something weird with a goat. These tires have been one of the major complaints from Mazda3 purchasers.

    I replaced the Goodyears with Michelin Pilot Exalta A/S tires after only about 10K miles, and the Goodyears had so little tread left that I didn't even get anything for them on trade-in. The Michelin's are amazing, especially on wet roads. Since we have four distinct seasons where I live, in winter I drive on Bridgestone Blizzak WS60's, and haven't had even one "scary" moment.
  • crowheartcrowheart Member Posts: 36
    How does the Mazda 3 handle on gravel and dirt roads? I am leaving for a trip where we will be driving quite a lot on back roads that are gravel and dirt. I am a bit worried about how the car will handle.

    If anyone has any experience with the Mazda 3 on roads like these please share your experiences.

    Thanks again...
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    Discretion is the better part of valor. I would be very cautious taking any vehicle that's not really designed to go "off road" into a situation and expect to be able to drive it like I'm on a paved surface.

    "Back roads that are gravel and dirt" describes quite a wide range of conditions. I've been on some well travelled gravel and dirt roads that lead back to houses off of the beaten path that I'd feel uneasy about in anything but a 4x4.

    I'd be more worried about how the car will handle the road conditions than how it will handle. The ground clearance on a Mazda3 s Touring hatch is only 4.8". How rough are the roads you're talking about?
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Member Posts: 3,855
    I drove a rental mazda3 on a pretty well maintained gravel road in CA redwoods area. It was fine, but we were going slow both because we were there for the scenery and just because it was gravel. I did not go on the gravel roads that had very steep grades or that sounded like ground clearance would be an issue.
  • crowheartcrowheart Member Posts: 36
    I will not be driving the car like it is on pavement that is for sure. I have been bringing my Subaru's on those roads with no problems for years(Impreza and Legacy Wagon). You mention a 4.8 clearance on the hatch I bet my Impreza doesn't have much more than that. My Subies are old now and i don't want to bring them on the long road trip. The Impreza has 5.7 clearance so there is almost an inch difference there. Not sure what to think...
  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 16,157
    I have a 2500 foot twisting gravel driveway. My MS3 is a blast to drive on it. A little left-foot braking or strategic application of the handbrake gets the car to rotate really well.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica
    Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i
    Son's: 2009 328i; 2018 330i xDrive

  • tj6968tj6968 Member Posts: 23
    I have only hydroplaned a few times... it wasn't fun. But it was in very hard rain in roads that are mostly untraveled.
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