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Mazda Tribute Transmission Problems



  • mfortmfort Posts: 2
    We just picked up a 2005 Tribute S - 6 cyl with 56,000 miles and haven't noticed anything about the trans, just a lot of tire noise we are trying to resolve. Anyone have any idea how wide-spread the transmission problem is? There do seem to be a lot of good reviews on this car but not necessarily on ones with higher miles on them. Just wondering if we should try to sell it before anything goes really wrong. I know that there are lemons in any model line, just wondering if anyone's got any insight into what the likelihood of this happening may be...thanks.
  • I have a 4 cly. Just called the dealer and was told there is a bulletin on them. When the chech engine light comes on and they get a certain code, they are to replace the transmission rather than repair it to avoid further problems.
  • if you have continetal contitrac tires that is your road noise problem. I had them and the car would shake when i would go over 40. Look at the reviews for the tires at
  • mfortmfort Posts: 2
    Thanks...we do have Continental and are aware that they need to be replaced with a better tire. We are also looking into the camber and toe adjustments before we put new ones on, since apparently the Mazda specs tend to cause more wear on the inside edge. Supposedly they are set up that way for handling purposes.
  • I took my car (156K miles) in for an oil change and transmission fluid change and tran filter change after a 800 mile round trip after traveling through the west virgnia/virgnia mountains...due for both services. I told the service dealer not to flush the transmission. Long story short, I got a call asking if I had been having problems with my transmission...I told them no. Well when I picked it up, as they said the car was having a hard time going forward when acclerating but once up to 30mph it was fine, and that it was hard to put into reverse. I thought all of this to be strange being that the mechanic backed my car out of the parking space and drove around the back to bring into the bay. Now my car is at a transmission expert (Aamco) because the car will not move when put into reverse and as they said the car is having a hard time in 1st and 2nd gear but drives fine after I get up to 30 mph. Can someone tell me what when wrong here. I've never had any other problems outside of recalls.
    Single female in Ohio looking for honest answers.
  • smontysmonty Posts: 1
    as i sat here reading these messages, i was thinking - this is as if everyone has read my thoughts, has heard my concerns, or has driven my car. we just paid to have major transmission work done on it, but my car is back at the mechanic's, doing the same thing it was doing before. not only does it not move when it's put in gear, but the O/D continously flashes. if so many people are having the same problems, why has there not been a backlash on mazda from the consumers? from what i've read here today, these problems aren't isolated to any particular year. some attorney general shouldve already been contacted by someone, somewhere in the country. does anyone know if this has been done? :sick:
  • pg08pg08 Posts: 1

    I have been reading a lot of stuff on transmission problems with the Tributes for various years, but I havn't found anything for the 2008 Tribute. I noticed that maybe 3 months after I bought mine brand new there was a little bit of jerking of the vehicle when I would stop and then contine driving for about a minute, then it would go back to normal. Of course by the time I made the appointments with the dealership, this jerking would stop and they couldn't detect the problem! Problem is, it has happened 3 more times this past year and I was wondering if anyone else has had the same problem?
  • tork49tork49 Posts: 4
    Had a similar problems with my MPV. After a minor fluid and filter change, trans acted as if it dying. I had been in the auto repair business for over forty years. So hopefully, I can honestly explain what "may" had happened? Either they had used the wrong fluid, there is no such thing as universal fluid! Or used the incorrect bolts while installing the trans filter? The trans filter has different sized bolts, what I means is that one is slightly longer than the other by 1-3 mm (they are different). and they are placed just below the trans body. An incorrect placement of a bolt will touch a sensor and will create the. lack of power or correct shifting. Correct placement or pattern is very, very important! What they did wrong, I had to correct! I had to drain the fluid and correct the bolt pattern to the filter. Did not have to buy or get another transmission. Also, the the idiot, did not notice the bad vac line to the trans mod. Hopefully, this would be of some help to you?
  • bronxsotobronxsoto Posts: 1
    Thanks for the information, i had my trans fluild change at pep boys and having the same signs. I will get this check as soon as possible.
  • momesq33momesq33 Posts: 1
    The transmission on our 2004 Tribute just failed at slightly over 70,000 miles--days after being serviced--$4,000 to replace it, so we elected to get a new vehicle (NOT a Mazda or a Ford). Sadly, we had just been talking about how the car had never needed a major repair. Bottom line: this should NOT happen. We are very upset about it!
  • jules20jules20 Posts: 8
    This is not an isolated issue. This has occurred in many different years of Tributes and I am sure Mazda/Ford are aware of it and obviously are still putting the shotty things into their vehicles. I switched back to Toyota which I had before I purchased my Tribute. My experience with the Toyota is excellent and probably won't buy anything else again. Sorry to hear your news. My cost was about the same which was almost what the vehicle was worth so I decided to get a new car as well.
  • ecc12ecc12 Posts: 1
    We had a really bad experience with a 2005 Mazda Tribute about a month ago...we had to replace the transmission with only 85,000 km's on the vehicle. We had no indciation whatsoever that there was something wrong with the up one morning to go south and heard a few loud noises and then the truck would not go any where. The truck will only be 4 years old the first part of August. First initial estimate was $5000 - 6000 for a Mazda rebuilt transmission and then we purchased a "rebuilt" ford transmission installed for $3900. Mazda Canada will do nothing for us....said if any good will issues would have to come from the dealer. Does anyone know of the track record with these vehicles or even the 2005 Ford Escapes? We are definitely going back to Toyota!! :cry:
  • jules20jules20 Posts: 8
    All you have to do is go through the Edmunds threads on this subject and you will see the pattern. Also - go out on the internet using Tribute transmission.....keywords and you will find the pattern. My tribute was a 2001 and I have seen this issue in every year.
  • motrcyclrmotrcyclr Posts: 12
    " After a minor fluid and filter change, trans acted as if it dying. I had been in the auto repair business for over forty years. So hopefully, I can honestly explain what "may" had happened? Either they had used the wrong fluid, there is no such thing as universal fluid! Or used the incorrect bolts while installing the trans filter? The trans filter has different sized bolts, what I means is that one is slightly longer than the other by 1-3 mm (they are different). and they are placed just below the trans body. An incorrect placement of a bolt will touch a sensor and will create the. lack of pow"er or correct shifting. Correct placement or pattern is very, very important! What they did wrong, I had to correct! I had to drain the fluid and correct the bolt pattern to the filter."

    After reading numberous posts about having trouble shortly having tranny service done, and reading the above post, it seems painfully obvious to me that many "expert transmission" places that employ minimum wage employees and demand fast work are contributing to the demise of Tribute trannys. I'm going to have my newly bought 100K mile Tribute serviced soon, and plan to pass on the above quoted advice to my servicer. Am I overlooking something obvious, or being too dismissive in mazda's treatment of tranny problem?

    p.s.- has anyone else noticed how wrong the estimated labor cost is for changing plugs on a V6 Tribute engine? the estimate I looked at on edmunds said $30 labor.
  • lobster4lobster4 Posts: 1
    Last night I went to "wally world" went to back up and there was a thump and later I went to work and couldn't back up. I got it to roll back and reved up the engine and it kicked in. It works fine in drive but is the end near as far as reverse goes. The other thing that is goofy is when in the winter(only winter) it sometimes will buck-bad!!!!. Will take any suggestions HELP!!!!!! :mad:
  • cjadcjad Posts: 6
    Get rid of it now before the transmission goes out. I'm on my third transmission with only 59,635 miles on my Tribute. It's a 2003. My 1st. transmission only had 18,000 miles on it and that's how it started, no reverse. Mazda puts junk for transmissions in their vehicles. Actually the V6 is a Ford engine with a Ford transmission. No more Mazda or Fords for me.
  • cjadcjad Posts: 6
    I have a 2003 Mazda Tribute (bought new in 2004) with 59,635 miles on it. The miles are at least 80% highway miles. I'm 64 years old and I don't abuse this vehicle. I'm on my third transmission. The first failed with 18,742 miles on it. Polar Mazda (White Bear Lake, Minnesota) replaced that transmission with a rebuilt one. The second transmission failed 7-19-09 with 59,635 miles on it. I am now on my third transmission.
    This third transmission (rebuilt) cost me $3,200.00 to have it installed. I shopped around to get the best price. I called Kennedy transmission and they wanted between $2,800.00 and $3,500.00 to have the transmission tore apart and fixed with second party parts. I figured they would've charged me the max, $3,500.00.
    I decided to have Polar do the work, because I had a $300.00 coupon from Mazda. We got the coupon because of the problems we were having with my wife's 2004 Mazda 6 which was about to go off warranty with only 16,000 miles on it. Yes we were stupid enough to buy two Mazda's! I believed the good reviews at the time we bought the vehicles. The total price of their transmission (rebuilt) was $3,500.00 - $300.00 = $3,200.00. They also told me (over the phone) their warranty was 3 years or 100,000 miles, which sold me on having Polar do the work. Kennedy's warranty was two years.
    When I picked up the Tribute I asked the manager about the warranty. He said it was a one year warranty. Another manager agreed with him about the one year warranty. I told them they lied to me and I was going to call Mazda about the situation. When I got home the manager from Polar called me and said the parts dept. got a bulletin and the warranty was a three year warranty. God manager huh! You would think he would get all the bulletins and read them.
    I would never buy another Mazda again. We have had many problems with both our vehicles, too many to mention. One day when we were at the dealership a girl brought her Mazda 6 in and the transmission was going out. I suppose it's the same trany as the Tribute with the V6. It's a Ford engine and transmission.
    My advice to everyone who reads this, stay away from Mazda. The next vehicle I buy will be a Toyota.
  • cjadcjad Posts: 6
    I forgot to note, three days after I brought home my Mazda Tribute (with the 3rd. transmission) there was a big transmission fluid mess on my garage floor. Good job POLAR MAZDA OF WHITE BEAR LAKE, MINNESOTA. Get some mechanics that know what they are doing. The leak (they say) was caused by the speed sensor. It took them FOUR DAYS to figure that out.
  • jules20jules20 Posts: 8
    I hope you only paid for one transmission and even that - did you check the value of your vehicle? I got rid of mine because my value was maybe 5K and the new transmission would have been about $3,500. Not worth it to me. Like I said previously - I am back in a Toyota again. The Prius is awesome and saves me alot of money with using less gas. I am planning on this car lasting a while and if I have no problems I don't see me switching to any other car brand. Good luck with your Mazda!
  • jules20jules20 Posts: 8
    That is exactly how my transmission issues started with my 2001 Tribute (which I no longer have thanks to Toyota!). I took mine in and the dealership didn't find anything wrong the first 2 times. It lasted several more years when the transmission finally started to go. I got rid of it due to the cost to value ration and am happy I don't have to worry about it anymore.
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  • klove3klove3 Posts: 1
    I am now here to add to the 2009 list. I purchased my Tribute a month ago and had not made the first payment and get this my transmission has been replaced. That is ashame I know. I would be greatly interested in having the number to who you contact to let the know my issues. I am going to have this problem resolve since having the new transmission. The car has done better but when i take off initially it gives me a bit of a jolt or what they like to call a shift shock(which I have never heard of). I have about 3700 miles and just made my first payment and I am ready to dump this vehicle already. Help me out! :(
  • I'm very sad to read the reports about the transmission problem with the Tribute. I just bought one less than a month ago. I'm experiencing the a jolt / thump when taken off. I just email the dealer for advise, but I think this is a major problem. I don't even have my permanent plates and trouble is in the horizon. Any legal advise for the consumer. Does the lemon laws applied in this case? Thanks
  • It's terrible that we have this one thing in common. Just a few weeks ago we were saying what a great lil' truck out '06 Tribute had been to us. Absolutely NO problems, untilllll the ABS light came on & the car would make a grinding sound when you accelerated and it wouldn't go anywhere. No problem, so we thought, we got it looked at and the ABS sensor on the front axle was broken and had to be replaced. When the mechanic was dropping my car off he noticed that the grinding noise was louder and oddly still there. Being that he is a BMW specialist he made a few calls and found out that Mazda Tributes had been coming back to the dealer with transmission problems. The dealer we purchased from had gone out of business a few months back, no problem we went to another local dealer. Come to find out our perfect lil' SUV had a major transmission problem that would cost roughly $4000-$5000 to fix. The truck is a '06 bought in 05, with ONLY 33,000 miles on it, and just y luck the warranty had expired ONE month before we figured this all out. We were told that just maybe because the warranty had JUST expired they'd fix it as a customer courtesy. (I also have another Mazda.) HAHAHA It's been TWO weeks of having my SUV parked outside my house because it is completely unsafe to drive. Just today did the "warranty man" let the dealer know that it's going to have to come out of my pocket. The reason is because I couldn't find proof of OIL changes, when I finally did, they accused me of printing them up myself (did not - good idea though), since it didn't have the mechanic phone number on it and no invoice numbers. That mechanic is actually a certified Chrysler mechanic but whatever. So now my PERFECT condition, Tribute is at a local garage to see how much they will charge me. But mark my words Mr. Mazda man, I will not go down quietly. I have all the big wigs addresses and some email addresses. The Mazda customer service says that the "warranty man" is the one that calls it. Kiss my butt Mazda I will NEVER give you another penny! I should've learned my lesson when my NEW Protege came with a body defect. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me! :cry: :mad: :sick: :lemon:
  • I noticed about a month or 2 ago, my 2005 Mazda Tribute (about 105,000 miles) started jerking when I took off in 1st gear (it's got a manual transmission)... then about a week ago, I started sensing some slipping, but thought it was my imagination and it would go away. I was praying that actually, because I cannot afford any major car repairs. I still owe almost $6,000 on this car, I've had a lot of financial problems in the past few years and had to refinance the car. I don't know what I'm going to do if I need a new transmission, and all signs are pointing that way! I would agree that the car isn't worth paying $3000 + for a new transmission, but I can't afford to buy a new car, much as I'd like to! Having filed for bankruptcy 1 1/2 years ago, no one would approve a car loan OR a loan to pay for a new transmission!! I don't know what I'm going to do!!! :sick:
  • I purchased my 2009 Mazda Tribute on August 15, 2009 and it was in the shop August 17,2009 with 3,465 miles on it I had my transmission replaced on August 28,2009. After about a week of driving with the new transmission in it, my SUV started to bump again when it was shifting from 3rd to 4th gear normaly between 30 and 40 mph. It went back in the shop September 21,2009, they told me they ran every test possible and could not get it to duplicate what the problem is. I had to go up there and drive my SUV with the technician in my car to make him feel the problem. He felt it, but could not do anything about it, because it would not duplicate with him driving. Went and picked up my car drove it for a few week and placed it back in the shop October 24,2009. They have still told me nothing is wrong with my vehicle, even though I drove it with the technician in the car with me and he felt it again..... After having my vehicle in their shop for a week and a half, they have now told me that the Tributes have an Adaptive Transmission, and they will miss and bump until they adapt to your driving style.... Well my vehicle has not adapted to my driving style in the 2 months that I have had my new transmission something is wrong with this picture.... If I knew I was going to have this much problem with this vehicle I would not have bought it... I am highly disappointed!!!!!
  • Turned out I needed a new clutch, significantly less money, but still not a good time for me to come up with $1000 plus $200 for the rental... oh well, I'm thankful I haven't had the problems that so many people on this forum have with their Tributes. This is the first real problem I've had, that I didn't cause that is :-) ... I'm up to 108,000 miles now !
  • Bought 2004 Tribute new now with 51k miles on it. Pretty much drama free for the first five years except a starter replacement and real wiper motor (did both under warranty). This year, engine lights on twice ( cylinder misfire). Spend $1200 to replace all six Ignition coil. Airbag light on once, $600 to fix a connection issue (they have to take out the seat). Steering issue, $250. and a few minor ones. Did the repairs in Open Road Mazda in East Brunswick, NJ. Seems really expensive. Read some bad reviews about this dealership online (should have read them before) but there is no nearby Mazda dealer.

    I noticed transmission jerking occasionally since the beginning. Luckily, it has not morphed into a big issue.

    I also tried to do a purchase in this dealership. The salesperson did so many number tricks on me (I am not bad in math) that I walked out without any intention to buy any car from this dealership anytime under any circumstance.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    walked out without any intention to buy any car from this dealership

    Good for you. Please write up your experiences over in Dealer Ratings and Reviews too. Thanks!
  • Bought my 06 Tribute 4cyl in April of 06. For some reason I DID purchase the 100,000 mile warranty. This year the transmission just started to slip and jump at about 78,000 miles. The dealer told me it had 'no redeeming qualities' until I reminded them of the warranty. They replaced it and told me it would have been about $5,000. In about three months, it's leaking tranny fluid all over my garage. They replaced it again at about 85,000 miles. Saved yet another $5,000. Last week at 92,000 miles, the engine made a really bad sound. Nursed it into the dealer. Engine blown. They just called me back saying they will replace the engine and get this... it needs ANOTHER transmission. Counting the one it came with, that's number FOUR! In my case, the $1000 extended warranty saved me $21,000 in repairs on a $20,000 car. Sorry, Mazda.
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