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Mazda 3 Transmission Problems



  • adamqcadamqc Posts: 1
    I figured i'll start posting around Mazda forums and such to make people aware of issues with the 2012 Sky. I will say to begin, it is an amazing car issues aside. It really is much more fuel efficient than previous Mazda 3's (I owned an 05 2.0L). That being said, 2 months ago I started my car up and the traction light came on. Started to drive, car shuttered and would essentially go "limp". Revs would go up but the car wouldn't move. 2 weeks later, same issue except now I had got the car moving around 10km and it went dead. Motor was on, the car just slowed down with whatever momentum it had going. Put in in manual mode, nothing showed. So turned it off and back on it went away. Same light, just traction. Off to the dealer, they explained they're aware of the issue, took the car gave me a loaner and picked it up the next day with a transmission flush and ECU reset done.

    So here I am March 7, aprox. 2 months later roughly I'm driving 55-60km/hr and exact same issue. Except now i'm in traffic and the car is a floating duck. Its like throwing your car into neutral at 60km/hr. Not fun. Traction light, AT light AND check engine light. I shut it off turned it back on all was good. I figured i'll just drive the 5 mins more to work, leave it and call Mazda roadside. I couldn't even do the 5 mins without it occurring once more so that was that. Called my dealer, got a tow truck dropped it off got a loaner again..and this morning I find out a valve body is in need of replacement. A file was opened with Mazda Canada and i'm without my car for at minimum a week. At least I was given another 2012 Mazda 3 Sky which doesn't seem to have an issues although its brand new with 900 kms while mine has 18 500kms. Sorry to make it so long but I really felt I needed to share this with others and I hope the rest of you have good customer service as i've been treated thus far. It's been a hassle but I have never been without a car. Good luck!
  • Typically but not only when travelling at high speed, the automatic transmission of my 2008 Mazda 3 shifts down from the 5th to the 3rd gear. This causes the car to jerk violently and the controls to illuminate including check engine, no traction and AT. My mechanic could not find a cause of this, and he serviced the transmission by changing the filter and transmission fluid but the problem persists. He suggested that the transmission needs to be rebuilt. Has anyone experienced a similar issue and if so, did you figure out what caused it and how to fix it.

    In the meantime, I filed a complaint with the DOT, and I would encourage everyone dealing with this issue to do the same by calling 1.888.327.4236 or going to
  • maytonmayton Posts: 2
    It is an automatic. Im talking about the display. It is a 4 speed.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    edited March 2013
    ... all of a sudden the transmission slips from 4th to 3rd. It will happen at low speeds and unfortunately at high speeds occasionally

    As this is an AT (automatic) how do you know you're in 3rd or 4th? Are you doing the shifting?

    Im talking about the display. It is a 4 speed.

    In drive the display on my 2011 Mazda3 automatic displays D
    except if one switches to manual M and only then is the gear shown.
  • mainframemainframe Posts: 3
    I have a 2008 Mazda 3 automatic with 28k miles on it. I went to my mechanic complaining of a metal-on-metal hissing sound which was finally diagnosed as the transmission needing to be repaired due to gear damage. I do not drive a lot, and I am a very calm, reasonable driver. I don't drive super fast (if only to keep my fuel efficiency under control).

    The mechanic (who is trusworthy) has 30 or so years experience and took a long time to diagnose the problem because he could not believe that the transmission was in such bad shape for this car with 28k miles on it. He even had 3 other people drive the car because he was so shocked by this case. The mechanic told me to go to Mazda because this is not right. The noise is very faint but I caught it because I have incredibly good hearing (almost to the point of being a curse).

    I'm going to present my problem to the local Mazda dealership (where they do oil changes/full circle inspections and have always complimented me on the great condition of my car). Only today have I read about the Mazda transmission problem that causes jolting but it seems pretty common so I'm wondering if the noise is a precursor to the jolting?

    Did you hear noise before the jolting issue started? If anyone did hear the metal-on-metal hiss before their jolting happened, I'd appreciate the input. My car has not yet had a jolting issue but I am leaving on a long road trip in this car soon and am now nervous about this. Thanks!
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    edited May 2013

    2008 Mazda 3 automatic with 28k miles
    Could you clarify the following?
    - the engine size (2.3L or 2.5L) of your car
    - whether you are the original owner
    - whether the car was ever involved in an accident
  • So after a long struggle of dealing with a very crappy 2004 VW Jetta, my boyfriend and I have decided to trade it in, and find a different car...A Mazda 3 was recommended as one of the best 2013 cars out my boyfriend wants a manual which is not a problem, as all my vehicles were before the current VW, so i can drive stick, but after reading many of the posts here, I am a bit worried...what are your thoughts and so forth? We blindly went into buying the VW, and apparently there were many known problems with the auto tans, and we would have never bought it, if we had known about them ahead of time, I just don't want to end up in the same situation....anyone have any info about the 2012-2013 mazda 3's?
  • mazdaboy2mazdaboy2 Posts: 12
    Remember that it's almost totally the unhappy folks, probably a tiny percentage, that are writing here. If you read only this, you could get a mis-impression. The large majority of buyers that are perfectly satisfied don't come here. For an unbiased opinion, your best bet is - if you are buying a new car, that is $20 well spent. I am a Mazda-3 fan... I have a 2006 with 96K miles on it, and basically I've done nothing to it beyond oil changes. Fun to drive, great MPG. I haven't driven the new model yet, but it's on my radar as a contender for my next car - I just hope they haven't messed it up.
  • mainframemainframe Posts: 3
    It's a 2.3L, I am the second owner (bought from Mazda dealership w/7k miles in 2008), and the car has not been in an accident.

    But my problem is solved. I took it to the Mazda dealership for a second opinion and it was the new brake job I'd had done. The pads, not being Mazda factory parts, were making the noise against the rotors that my local guy had not resurfaced because apparently he didn't think they needed it. I knew I'd heard the sound before on other cars.

    I think my local guy who diagnosed the transmission problem couldn't even hear it since he and his guys drove the car in a very busy area with a lot of background noise but they have Male Answer Syndrome and weren't capable of telling me they didn't know or couldn't hear it. Even the Mazda guys could barely hear it when they drove with me in a very quiet neighborhood. I happen to have exceptional hearing and it was even faint for my ears but a noise, however faint, is still a noise that shouldn't be there.

    So I had Mazda do the rotors and replace the pads with factory ones just to be sure. And the noise is gone. I am back to loving my Mazda. I hadn't had any problems with it before so I was (hopefully understandably) freaked out when I thought it was the transmission.
  • mainframemainframe Posts: 3
    I have a 2008 Mazda 3 that I bought in 2008 w/7k miles on it. I have not had any trouble with it except a false alarm from my mechanic. It turned out to be nothing (thanks to my favorite Mazda dealership). I still trust my Mazda 3 because I have treated it well, kept it maintained, and it has not failed me once in 5 years.

    Anybody can get a lemon, but as long as you do your research and it's what you want, I recommend the Mazda 3. I did tons of research before buying this car and found that the biggest complaints for the model I bought were road noise (which is no worse than any other car under 20k) and the crappy paint quality (which seems to be prevalent below a certain price point). Maybe things have changed with the paint. Either way, I thought it was a fair trade-off for a super reliable car whose look I really liked. I agree with the guy who posted that the majority of what you'll read on forums is from the dissatisfied people because they are the ones who take to the Internet to voice their complaints. Thanks to different sites getting the same reviews, those complaints echo as if they were many voices when they are more likely a handful. I am one happy Mazda owner who did much research and settled on the most reliable car I could find for my budget. If you are inclined toward the Mazda 3, I suggest you check it out and drive it. Good luck in your search!
  • gogiboygogiboy Posts: 732
    Like mainframe and mazdaboy I have had zero problems with my 2007 Mazda3 hatch with the 2.5 liter engine and a manual transmission. I have only done regular suggested service.

    My 3 has been even more reliable than my 1994 Honda Civic, which had a couple of minor issues in the first 6 years of ownership. As was mentioned any brand and any model can produce the occasional problem unit, but you can go with the a proven track record or take your chances (i.e. VW). I used to own a VW Golf and that cured me of wanting another even though it really had some nice interior touches and was fun to drive. Even though all of the manufacturers produce more reliable cars than they did 20 years ago that doesn't mean that there aren't differences between manufacturers.

    Have you looked at Consumer Reports' recommended used cars and used cars to avoid? That gives you some track record unless the car you want is a new model.

  • nsbio1nsbio1 Posts: 75
    edited June 2013
    My 0.02

    I bought my 2008 iTouring Manual new and now it is right at 58K.
    Since then there have been:

    - the driver's side mirror vibrates at highway speeds since day 1. I never bothered to bring it up and left it alone.

    - a couple of squeaks and rattles developed at about 10K, including the squeaking belt buckle and rattling glove box. Both are known problems, but the dealer, of course, "could not duplicate". Both somehow went away on their own and the car has been rattle free since.

    - the power steering pump quit on me once at about 20K. Fortunately, I was not in motion but stuck in traffic, so I was able to restart the car and the pump worked fine for another year or so until it was replaced under the recall.

    - the driver's power window was rubbing against something when closing - the dealer acknowledged the noise, tried to fix it once and when I complained during the next service he said " they all do that". The window still does this when the weather is cold, but I am now fine with it as long as it actually works.

    - OEM brake rotors were horrible and started shaking after about 8K miles and were "resurfaced" by the dealer 3 times at a cost of $100 each time (not covered by warranty). The last time I had to actually yell at the dealer and they relented and replaced the rear rotors under warranty. For the front rotors, I went to an independent shop and those have been trouble free since. That was my last visit to that dealer.

    - at about 40K, the passenger door lock actuator started working intermittently. Replaced by (another) dealer at a cost of $400.

    - at about 50K, the drivers door lock actuator started working intermittently. Replaced by the dealer at a cost of $400.

    -at 58K, radiator leaked. I noticed because the AC stopped blowing cold air all of a sudden and the temp gauge needle shot up 3/4 of the way. Managed to pull over safely and there was a puddle of coolant under the car. Fortunately, a repair shop was only two blocks away and I was able to drive it there after adding a gallon of 50/50 bought at a nearby gas station, so technically I was not stranded. The independent mechanic shop replaced the radiator.

    Otherwise, the car drives great and I enjoy driving it. However, once the time comes to replace it I will be looking at another brand.

    Oh, and this is our third Mazda as we recently bought a 12 CX-9 new. It is now at 7K miles.

    - Driver' side mirror vibrates since day 1. Knowing that my 3 does this, I half-expected that and probably will not bother with it either.

    - at about 3K miles found condensation in the left taillight. Never bothered to bring it up.

    - 5K Manual lift gate handle broke apart. Probably helped by -18F weather outside. Replaced under warranty.

    The car drives great, especially on long trips, and there are no rattles or squeaks.

    And so it goes...
  • 2012 MAZDA 3 SkyActive AUTO iGrandTouring with 21k. I have noticed lately the transmission is slipping at speeds of 30 and 40 mph when slowing down... Also today when "stepping on it" to go around a clown driving 40 in a 55, the whole car went "BANG". I literally thought I was rear ended and the tachometer shot up as if I wasn't in gear... I put the car in neutral and coasted for about 10 seconds. I than put back in gear and the car shuddered briefly and than went back to driving normal. My wife and I both have one of these cars. I have the hatchback and she has the sedan... I have heard rumors that the tranny's in these cars are junk, but today was the first time I saw it first hand... Really scared... We both are under factory warranty now... So need to do something now if possible and they are junk...
  • eoghan1eoghan1 Posts: 58
    My 2013 skyactiv GT 6 spd manual was built in Feb.2013. I seem to have none of the problems in this thread, however, with less than 3K on the car it has popped out of 3rd gear more than 2 dozen times. My dealer said Mazda reports this transmission is practically trouble free and no one has reported this popping out of gear issue. This gets a bit dicey when merging or with a 10 wheeler on you back bumper. My previous 2004 Mazda3 was essentially trouble free. I would much like to hear from anyone with the problem I have. I wish the discussion of the manual and automatic transmissions would be kept separate.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,680
    Bad 3rd gear synchronizer is the most likely the problem. Make them fix it. You may have to leave it with them and have them drive it a while to duplicate the popping out of 3rd gear.
  • eoghan1eoghan1 Posts: 58
    Thanx mcdawg. I'm 74 and I get some puzzled responses when I inquire about sporty hatches with manual boxes. Yesterday, mine popped out of 3rd 3 times successively in a couple of hundred yards. Then again a few miles later. Could you elaborate on your suggestion as I intend to pass it on to the service manager when I drop the car off next week? With some apprehension I plan on leaving it with the dealer for about three weeks while we are in Europe.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,680
    Just that they have to see it pop out of 3rd for themselves, so have them drive it until it happens to them. Typically, popping out of gear could be caused by a bad synchronizer/synchronizer ring.
  • eoghan1eoghan1 Posts: 58
    Thanx for the info. Two suggestions as to cause are a bad 3rd synchronizer and a bent fork. I have tried feeling the shifter and if I push on it with the car in 3rd I do feel an intermittent rubbing. This does not happen in any other gear. How would a fork become bent in such a low mileage car(1500mi) which had not been driven hard? It has occurred more frequently now(3200mi}. I am leaving the car with the dealer for 3+ weeks(with some anxiety) while we are out of town. Do they have to lift the engine to get the transmission out? I'll report when I get the car back.
  • I've read a number of posts in different forums and thought I'd post what I've learned.

    First, these transmissions are garbage. My normal auto service in a vehicle that doesn't tow or get abuse is fluid and filter at 75K. My wife drives the car and is what I'd call a non-abusive driver. Almost never does full throttle pulls, drives within speed limits, a lot of highway driving etc... @ 75K the Trans is apparently shot. It began with her complaining of the trans jerking on up and down shifts. I drove the car and it felt like the converter was locked, even though at slower speeds there and at idle, it was fine. At that time, I checked the fluid and it was fine. I put a fluid change on my list of things to do and told her to baby it. A few weeks later the trans appeared to be failing and the fluid was burnt. 2nd gear slow to engage (dash says it has shifted but the RPM drops very slowly (just like a slipping manual clutch). I flushed using the approved special global ATF and R&R'd the shift solenoids (since I saw several posts on this correcting the jerking and slow shifts and they were cheaper than a trans rebuild) but to no avail. The trans continues to slip in 2nd gear, both going into and when held in manual mode. At this point, a rebuild or salvage yard appear to be the only options. Nice car but no way the trans should go completely belly up at 75K! My Chevy Astro vans have 168K and 225K respectively and I drive the snot out of those, replacing fluid @ ~75K (and not very religious about it). These Mazda FWD transmissions are poorly designed and fragile from my POV. Love the car otherwise but way turned off Mazdas by this. If your Mazda 3 is doing similar things, figure on a big bill in your immediate future. Used transmissions are a grand (you install and this is a complete crap shoot since the used unit will probably have problems sooner than later) and rebuilds appear to be 3 grand or so installed. If you haven't had problems, get a competent trans shop to "flush" the fluid every 30K and hope for the best.
  • scwmcanscwmcan Niagara, CanadaPosts: 399
    And what is Mazda's recommend service interval for the transmission? ( I ask because I don't know). Is it shorter or longer than the 75,000 miles that you generally do? I am pretty sure the manual transmission gets it's fluid changed at 60,000 miles, so I would think the auto should be at least that often as well.
    ( though I know many manufactures are going for the supposed " life time" fluid)
  • beef66beef66 Posts: 2
    edited September 2013
  • I have 78,000 miles on my car and the clutch is fine.
  • While we were overseas, the dealer replaced the transmission. My daughter picked up the car. we have been driving it since 9/15 without problems. Kind of strange that the gas mileage was only 28 on the last fill(although the dash showed 32) when it had been 33 previously.
  • 2012 Mazda 3 Skyactive. 6 speed auto.

    For some reason when I engage reverse it takes about 5 seconds to engage. Other than that trans is fine. I do use manual mode quite a bit.

    Only has 16K on the odometer.

  • beef66beef66 Posts: 2
    We have a 2013 mazda 3 skyactive 6 speed manual. Our car has just over 3000 miles and have had it only 3 months. It will be going in the shop soon for it's third transmission, 2nd replacement. If the dealership tells you there is no problem with them, they are wrong. Our keeps popping out of third gear, It goes into forth with a crunching sound and it locks us out of 1st and 6th gear. We had to video the car popping out of gear before anything would be done. And in case someone is wondering, No we're not youngsters we are in our late 40s-early 50s. Get all the proof you can and demand that Mazda fixes it, if they can. good luck!
  • mega10mega10 Posts: 1
    edited October 2013
    My mazda3 2004 has been riding rough lately it delays when trying to accelerate and also makes weird creaking noises dont know if its the transmission but my at light only comes on when i turn the key but turns off any help would be great
  • eoghan1eoghan1 Posts: 58
    We had the same problem with our transmission popping out of 3rd gear. they replaced the tranny a month ago. so far it is OK. It began around 1000 miles . the car is a 2013 skyactiv grand touring. built in february of this year.
  • Hi. I began experiencing the exact same problem with my 2008 Mazda 3 about a week ago. My mechanic is having difficulty figuring out what is causing the problem. Did you ever get this issue resolved and, if so, how? Also, what was the response, if any, from the DOT?

  • here's the update on my rpm surge problem - finally had the dealer update/ re-flash PCM/ ECU with the latest update (released Apr 2013) as I refused to drive the car until this was done. It drove like a completely different car after that (I told them that but they still look at me like I've got CGS/ crazy girl syndrome) uncool! I'm at 20k now and except for the occasional 'minor' surge in 1st gear if I engage when the engine is cold, the car is fine. As others have reported I do find the gear shift noisy at times. I do have to wonder what the impact/ wear & tear was on the rest of the car (i.e. my brakes feel considerably worn for such low km). That's the beauty of a MT, rarely have to really engage your brakes since you manually slow down with the down shift. Hope this helps others out there.
    btw...I get decent mileage but the adv. 5.9l/100km is a fairy tale...more like 9 or 10k/100km. I got an extra 100km past 'E' hwy driving (which put my tank at 61L to fill up and close to 700km). Still much improved over my '07 Mazda 3/ 2.5L eng (miss that extra power tho':)).
  • bsaabsaa Posts: 1
    I'd bought a mazda3 2010 sedan maxx been 2 month now starts making kind of sound when I'm shifting gear from 2 to 3.i felt like transmission hitting on engine.
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