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Mazda MPV Transmission Problems

At 48,120 miles, my 2002 Madza MPV automatic transmission needs to be replaced. I am upset that this has happened with such low mileage. I have owned an R-100, RX-3 and 323 with virtually only maintenance costs to pay. This $3900 failure seems unreasonable. Did anyone have a simliar problem? Did Mazda USA assist in the repairs?


  • :lemon: I thought I was going CRAZY until I found this forum today! I have a 2002 Mazda MPV and have had numerous problems with the transmission. I've had hard shifting from 2nd to 1st at a stop - Sometimes so strong it feels like we were hit from behind! I've have felt the transmission gets confused sometimes and jerks between gears. I have had it in 5 times from 22,000 - 48,000. Now I have almost 80,000 and I'm so afraid it's warranty will expire and the transmission will break. Since they can't "recreate" the problem they tell me it is operating as designed - I'm sorry but then the DESIGN SUCKS! I have contacted a Lemon Law Attorney and they sound interested in taking the case but I'm wondering what you all think.....Thanks!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,924
    It is NOT operating as designed. I have a 2002 MPV with 47k and have no such problems. No jerkiness, very smooth operation in all gears. Have you taken it "up the chain" at Mazda? Also, have you suggested to the service manager that you go for a ride in another MPV with about the same miles, back to back with yours, to see how the transmissions compare?

    Wasn't there a software upgrade for the transmission awhile back? If so, has that been applied to your MPV?
  • Thanks for responding. Yes, I have taken it up the Mazda chain I wrote to corporate and got a form letter back saying "working as designed". I went into my Mazda dealership yesterday to talk to my mechanic - I always request the same guy and he is GREAT - and he'd LOVE to replace the transmission but his hands are tied because he doesn't have the Mazda blessing. So while I was there I found out that the Mazda Representative was there. So I tracked him down and had a very "heated" discussion with him about what was "normal" and "what was unsafe!". We went for a test drive because he told me he could "recreate it" because it was a characteristic of Mazda's during specific years - but he couldn't and of course I couldn't - so he totally blew me off and said he was the "top" of the chain. And basically GOOD LUCK - SUCKER!!! That's what I feel like after spending $38,000 on this fully loaded van.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,924
    Did you try the transmission re-flash? There are lots of posts about that in this discussion back in early 2004; you can search on "flash" to get in the neighborhood of those posts.
  • :mad: Yes - it is at the current version of the software N. I checked that first after reading all the other complaints but it seemed like even after they had their transmissions reflashed - they still had problems! The attorney is going to file a demand letter this week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed because now that I know this - I'd have to disclose it to a potential buyer or I'd be liable. What do you think that will do to the resale value......Man I've been screwed. :cry:
  • criledocriledo Posts: 27
    Transmission "gear slamming" on MPV's is a very well known flaw. It is by no means new and many, many people have complained about it. I had it happen to us on our '03 LX. According to dealer, the the tranny de-configures it's software and has to be re-programmed. Ours was covered under warranty. Teh rpoblem with mazda is that they don't have a recall on it, they view it as an upgrade, and is therefore, chargeable. I recall seeing an $800 price sticker on it somewhere in this forum. Whatever you do, don't let the warranty run out - I can guarantee you that your dealer will then "find" the problem, once he can charge you for it.
  • criledocriledo Posts: 27
    Lemon laws try to protect users by giving them a chance to return a car to the maker if a problem is repetitive and hasn't been fixed in an "x' number of times, I think it is five or six (I also think it varies from state to state). But for this to happen, the repair always have to have the same name to it. That is why every time you take your camplaint in, the dealer will use a different description. Today it is "check transmission", next time it is "software upgrade", next time "uneven shifting" and so on. Dealers know this, they will protect themselves. So do lawyers, they will of course take a lemon case, even though they know it will not pass. It's only about the fees, isn't it? Finally, our warranty expires in April '07 and in 7K more miles. Our van has been to the repair shop over a half dozen times with transmission problems and all sorts of electrical malfunctions, and a constant 15mpg mileage that the dealer affirms is normal. Our van will be sold before warranty runs out, I would not even think about having another Mazda, leave alone one without factory warranty.
  • :lemon: Luckily - Every time I took it in (10+) times, I gave them the same symptoms and they listed it that way on the invoice. The tech has reprogrammed my transmission many times and it is still doing it! The lawyer is taking this case on contingency - so there are no out of pocket costs to me. This law firm only does Lemon Law cases and they say that 70-75% get settled out of court and of the 25% that don't - only 7% go to trial. Mazda will be responsible to pay most of the lawyer fees - the most we have to pay is $750 if we settle out of court and $1500 if it goes to court. I think it is worth that just to put Mazda through the hassle of dealing with this! If I win they have to pay me back the amount that I paid for it (even with all the gadgets, gps, DVD, etc.) but it will be prorated the 22,000 miles it had on it when I first have record that I took it in for that problem. Hopefully my next big worry will be - What new car will I buy next - we know it won't be a Mazda! :shades:
  • criledocriledo Posts: 27
    Very well, it seems you have all bases covered. Please tell us down the road how things go. As for replacing the Mazda, I agree 100% with you, it will absolutely not be a Mazda. Adding our problem of haveing a 15 MPG MPV, we could switch to a full blown tahoe right now and even save on gas (I have 3 friends who drive those, all are 15 MPG in the city and up to 21 highway). I feel sorry for Mazda, I have been a proud ownwer since 1,988, about ten 323's and 626's, this is the end of line for me. Good luck on your case! :shades:
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,505
    Did Mazda mechanics ever replace the transmission control module? I recall reading this helped in circumstances similar to yours.
  • I am not sure if they ever replaced the transmission control module or not. But they had 10+ times the chance to do it. Now the attorney is dealing with them! Wish me Luck!!! ;)
  • Let us know how it works out. I'm composing a letter with my husband tonight and we're going to send via registered mail to the Mazda customer service in CT. I almost feel like we're wasting our time, but I'm upset by all the problems we've experienced with our 2003 MPV.

    Oh and the district manager finally called, but left a message for me at home without a callback number! She also said she would call me at work but never did. The secrecy annoys the crap out of me!
    Anyone else have any ideas or suggestions?
  • I will let everyone know what happens with this :lemon: Lemon Lawsuit. My only suggestions to you is....keep all your documentation & invoices. Make sure you are consistant with your complaint to the service department. If you think you qualify for the Lemon Law (every state is different) it is worth it to contact a lawyer that specializes in Lemon Law cases. See what they say - they told me that LOTS of people would qualify - but VERY FEW follow through. Since I signed a contingency agreement with them - I won't have to pay unless I win and the $750 will be well worth it - if I can get a big chunk of my money back. Good Luck and Stay Tuned... ;)
  • I had a Mazda MPV also had 3 transmissions put in. Went with the Lemon Law. I won my case. It didn't cost me anything.
  • Hi - Thanks for responding....Can I get more information from you regarding your law suit? I just got notification that Mazda denied the initial demand letter so now we are talking about taking it to court. How did you get them to replace the transmission? What was it doing and how bad did it get? My problem is I can recreate it on demand. Did the 2nd and 3rd transmissions do the same thing? Was it a 2002 MPV? What state do you live in and how did you file the suit? Did you go to a lawyer or through the Better Business Bureau? Did they give you your money back or replace the vehicle with a newer model? What did you get to replace it? Sorry for all the questions but I am starting to panic that I was too nice and waited too long to file - now I'm going to be screwed! Thank you so much for helping me! What a BIG EXPENSIVE MISTAKE. :lemon:
  • Hi I just got on the pc under lemon law for the state of Pa. and typed in my problems from the day I bought that van.
    I had a reply in about a half hour that they was sure I had a case. My transmission was slamming from 2nd to 3rd. I was lucky to make it to work a couple of times. The one day coming home it got so bad I called a tow truck and called the company in Calif. they talked to the dealer and told them to get me a rental. All 3 transmissions did the same the last was getting bad but lucky for me the case was settled before it got to bad. I wanted my money back and got it. I didn't have to pay the lawyer they did. My van was a 03 but I checked this site and there are a lot of people having this problem
  • Thank you for the information. That is how I got hooked up with my lemon law attorney. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed but if this doesn't work I don't know what I'll do because I don't think I'll be able to get much for my van if I try to sell it. Thanks again you give me hope. I wish there was a way that I could find out how many lemon law suits have been filed againist Mazda for this SAME issue. Any ideas anyone? Thanks! :shades:
  • I had a similar issues with my 2002 mpv... the controller was replaced multiple time... FINALLY Mazda replaced the transmission... after fighting with them for 4 yrs!!! good luck.. you will need a very supportive Service Mgr...
  • Figure out how YOU can recreate the problem consistently.. then take them for a ride... that was the ONLY way they would listen... I took the district mgr from Mazda for a ride and that was the only way I got any where with them... I finally told the Mazda guy... that we could drive all day and consistently have it buck... it was up to him... he chose to go back to the dealership... one time was enough!
  • Hi:

    I filed a lemon law request in New Jersey for my 2003 MPV which had 60,000+ miles at the time when the transmission failed in 2005. I believe the cause was shock-shift even though I took it New Jersey denied my claim, Madza, Mazda's District Mgr and Ford were useless and it cost me $3,500. I will never buy a Mazda again. Ford is wondering what how to get people to buy their products? They need to back their products. The transmission issue should have been a recall issue and not service adjustments. Based on my experience with the MPV, Ford/Mazda should go out of business. The "Way Forward" is to make a well-backed quality product.
  • Yes, I had the same problem, my 2002 MPV transmission failed at 79000 miles. I took it to the dealer when the problems were first evident and they said it was operating as designed. Cost me 4000 dollars in repairs when it failed completely on the highway. Your transmission is going break, it may be very dangerous to drive your car. Mine literally lost all power on the highway thank Goodness I was able to roll off to the side of the road, or I could have been toast.
  • Hi - How did you recreate it? I can't figure out what the common link is.....Is it after it has been driven awhile in stop and go traffic? When I am going up and down hills? Sometimes it happens at the first stop light of the morning. HELP!!! The lemon law lawyers WILL NOT take my case any further because they said since I had 80,000 miles on it - I must be getting my moneys worth - even though these problems started at the BEGINNING. I don't know what to do now - they referred me to another lawyer to possibly file a class action suit - we could do it just based on all the people from this site who have had the same problems but how the heck do you pull that all together? Or do I just sell it and never look back? :sick:
  • I contacted Mazda USA and they are replacing the transmission at no expense to me! I am impressed!
  • you need to be going between 20-25 mph, before the tranny shifts into (3rd--I think)... let off the gas...for a few.. then try to accelerate... think about the speed in which you would make a turn... where you would have to slow down...then accelerate. that is what worked for me...
  • Update - I just traded my Mazda MPV in on a 2006 Toyota Sienna! I just didn't have the time or energy to fight Mazda anymore. I KNOW in my heart & head that if I would have stuck it out I could have won but I have a FAMILY & A JOB! I was spending so many hours doing research, etc.. So - took the easy way out. They only gave my $7,500 for my van that I paid $39,000 for four years ago. The good thing is my new van was $41,000 and there is NO COMPARISON of features. This van does EVERYTHING!!! I had to have all aftermarket Navigation/Stereo/DVD installed on my Mazda for $6,900 and it always looked "added on" and was so complicated my husband couldn't even turn on the radio! So....I'm not looking back! I wish you all luck with your individual fights! My advice - DOCUMENT EVERYTHING, EVERYONE YOU TALKED TO, ETC.... If anyone files a Class Action Lawsuit - I'd love to hear about it! Take Care and Thanks for all your help & especially for listening to me!!! :shades:
  • lyntonlynton Posts: 2
    How did you go about this? Did they replace it because of your low mileage?
  • dblchindblchin Posts: 12
    I contacted Mazda USA and they contacted the Mazda service dept that I always use. I believe because the low mileage and that I always used Madza to service my car, that they replaced the transmission at no cost to me.
  • My 2002 MPV with 68,000 miles started having problems with the transmission slipping into neutral. I took it to the local dealer who and service manager indicated there was an "internal failure" in the transmission and repair cost would be $3,500. They would order a rebuilt transmission from Mazda and install it. A transmission failure at this low mileage is not acceptable. My first and last Mazda! I'd strongly advise any MPV owners out there to get rid of their vans before it is too late.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,505
    You're right, it is unacceptable. I would try to get Mazda to cover a portion of the rebuild cost.
  • I called Mazda today. They were useless. They said because I was out of warranty based on mileage and time of ownership ( 45 months and 68,000 miles) they could not do anything. It is annoying that the tranny would go at such low mileage and equally annoying that the repair is so expensive. Anyone reading this that owns a MPV, dump it now!
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