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Mazda MPV: Problems & Solutions



  • criledocriledo Posts: 27
    Thanks for your suggestions, I will follow them all. I do have a follow-up though: The van was taken to service because of the transmission acting up. The software was "updated" and really the car now shifts much better. We are through our first tank of gas and again, we got a mere 190 miles out of a full one........ the service rep though says it'll take a couple more tanks to notice the difference. Anyway, I'll post an update when that happens and I have followed your recomms. (By the way, the van was thoroughly checked and emissions are normal). :sick:
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    criledo - is there any chance you are judging "full one" based on your gas gauge in the instrumentation cluster, rather than the capacity of the tank and how many gallons are actually pumped?
  • My 2001 Mazda MPV LX has close to 90,000 miles and has been very dependable. Last night, with no warning, it wouldn't start. Actually, it started a couple of times but quickly died. Now it just sits there and cranks but won't even attempt to start. Behaves like it's either not getting a spark or not getting any gas. I'm not really anxious to have it towed to a garage if there's something simple that I can check. Any suggestions on how to check the fuel pump or the distributor or thoughts on what else may be wrong?
  • criledocriledo Posts: 27
    Your question is a good one - I have noticed how tricky it is with the gauges. I measure by pumped gallons. Whatever is on the trip odometer gets divided by the gallonage pumped in. It might not be very accurate, but over a few refills one can approximate fuel usage. Here's my baseline: other users and even the Mazda distributor will tell you one should be getting around 300+ miles to a tank. Well, in our case it is not unusual to not even reach 200 miles on a full tank........ if I have pumped say 16 gallons, well, that is not 15 mpg. The frustrating part about this is that Mazda says the van is running "within normal parameters".
  • criledocriledo Posts: 27
    I had this happen to me last week on a Ford truck. What happened was that the fuel pump (inside the gas tank got stuck). The way this Ford works, there is a primary signal that runs the pump for three seconds giving the engine sufficient gas pressure to start. Once the engine is actually running the secondary signal keeps the pump running. But during cranking no fuel is pumped into the system unless you shut down the ignition switch and re start it again. Just like you say, our engine tried to start and then just cranks and cranks. I am not sure about Mazda,s but generally speaking to reach the pump you have to be able to get into the porthole on the tank. Some cars have portholes in the floors for this purpose but most likely the tank will have to come down. Rule of thumb: a lack of fuel cranking will be monotone with no sputters. If the problem is electrical or time-chain related, usually the cranking speed will vary and maybe sputters will be present. Also, the fuel pump not working will not cause the check engine light to come on. Electrical problems and misfires will make it come on. Although I don't have THE answer for you, this info might help some.
  • criledocriledo Posts: 27
    We live in Houston, and both our AC's (front and rear) usually have to be run at full. After a while the rear can be turned down to 2 or 1, but the front will rarely make it to 2, forget 1, it usually will stay on 3. I have also noticed on three previous Mazda's I have owned that they tend to loose blowing power with the years.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    well, you are calculating the MPG the proper way then. you shouldn't trust a gauge for this purpose. if you say you're getting 1/3rd less the mileage you should be, i can't see how that is within expected / normal parameters.

    have you verified your air intake filter is clean and also your tires are not under-inflated? possibly the vehicle is running excessively rich due to a bad sensor, stuck injectors, or the catalytic convertor is messed up.

    i guess i'd be asking an independant shop what you might try next in terms of a resonably priced diagnostic approach to the problem.
  • argrdiargrdi Posts: 4
    I have an older 6cyl MPV ('96). About 2 weeks ago I had to jump start the battery 3 times because something in the switch was faulty and the headlights would randomly come on while the car was parked (jiggling the switch would fix that issue). Then last week, we had a hard time starting the car after I filled up the tank. I did notice a strong smell (kind of like burning brakes) but that went away after a mile or so (don't even know if it was my car - we were in heavy traffic). That night I did notice that (with headlights and AC on) the "fuel" & "check engine" lights would come on (though very, very dim) at every stop light . Reving the engine seemed to turn these lights out. The following morning the battery was dead (not due to the headlights coming on). After jumping the battery I drove about 10 miles to a store, came back and again nothing (not even the slightest click. About 3 minutes later, I pumped the pedal about 15 times and eventually the car turned over. After another 5 mile drive to get something to eat I stopped and immediately tried starting the car - again, not even a click - as if there was no battery. Half an hour later we went back to the car, pumped the pedal about 5 times and it started right up. The day after the battery was totally dead. I replaced the battery tonight, car starts just fine - no pumping - just turn the key. However, if I turn the headlights and AC on, I can see the faint lights of the "fuel" & check engine" coming on. They do go off at about 1100rpm. Can anyone offer some advise on what might be going on?
  • criledocriledo Posts: 27
    I am not sure about the pumping the gas pedal (don't know if engine is fuel injected or carbureted), but I would strongly suggest you check alternator first. Dimming lights usually point in that direction. Since revving the engine takes care of the problem, I would be almost certain that the rectifier has gone out, but no sense in trying to fix the alternator, just get a new one. Also, if the light switch has problems, change it, a lot of amps flow through the headlight switches and they do wear out. If your alternator is not working 100%, the battery will eventually loose more and more of it's power. Now that you have a new battery you don't notice the problem that much.
  • argrdiargrdi Posts: 4
    Thanks criledo for your thoughts. BTW - Fuel injected. I spoke to my old mechanic today (he lives out-of-state). He first went in the same direction suggesting it might be the alternator. When I told him that the car sometimes does not start then other times it does, he then thought it might be the ignition switch. Anyone have experince or an opinion on this.
  • tagranttagrant Posts: 1
    I have a 1994 MPV and all of a sudden the battery started completely draining, the battery (sears diehard for SUVs) is less than a year old. Each time we jump start we find something on that we know we turned off: left headlight, left blinker. I took it to a dealer, who said to have the electrical system checked. It's been a real mystery for me, because I'm the only owner and unfortunately my model doesn't have an alarm.
  • sosassysosassy Posts: 3
    I just returned from having this checked by dealer and was told I needed an
    "evap kit" and a "reprogramming" of thePCM (?) I think they see me coming :)
    My MPV is 2002 & 3 months off warranty - you sound like you know what you are talking about . I wish knew about the dianostic checks at Autozone - cost me $96 just to have it checked. Does this sound right to you???
  • Thank you for the input. As it turned out, I hadn't the time to fiddle with it myself so I had it towed to the nearest Mazda dealership. When they finally got around to working on it, the darn thing started right up. They TELL me that they checked the fuel pump and the ignition system and everything was fine. What he claims he found was a crack in an airhose that was intermittent. When the crack was open, it leaned out the fuel mixture so much it wouldn't start. (It didn't occur to me that it should have smelled of gas if that was the case.) I had them change the hose and picked up the car that evening. Everything was fine for a few days. This evening, the EXACT same symptoms happened again. I paid a little more attention this time. I fiddled with hoses and looked for anything strange. Nothing. Started at first...died...then cranks and cranks but wouldn't start. No sputtering. I realized that I wasn't smelling any gas, either. I'm becoming more and more convinced that it's probably just a clogged fuel filter. However (and I hate to admit this)...tomorrow I'm going to have to figure out just WHERE the darn thing is. I've never worked on this sort of engine before. If it turns out to be something that simple, I'm going to raise quite a stink at the dealership. Including the tow charge, the diagnostic time, and the labor and cost of the replacement hose, it cost me well over $200 for a "fix" that really didn't do anything. You would think that checking out the fuel system would routinely have included checking the fuel filter.

    Thanks again for your input.
  • sosassysosassy Posts: 3
    I did go to Autozone & they said it was nothing, shut the light off - it didn't come back on. Told me to make sure I shut the car off when getting gas & to close cap tight. What is with the $900 bill the dealership was going to charge me?
  • I'm hoping your collective wisdom can help where the shop can't (surprise!). My 2000 LX (76K mi, all servicing done -- and then some!) has over the past month randomly been unable to start -- can't hold the idle and dies. I'm also noticing now that the gas mileage is down a bit and I need to give more gas while driving to get the car going (esp. with the AC on).

    The first time, the car had been sitting for a week, and we "forced" it by putting in a nut to hold the idle open, and after driving a couple times around the block, there was a groaning noise from under the hood, and the car then idled normally on its own after the nut was removed. It drove normally for a couple of days (including a 5 hour trip), then wouldn't start without coaxing the next morning. It's driven fine for several weeks, then the other day wouldn't start again.

    The best guess at the shop is the ""Idle Air Control" valve. (I did a quick search in this forum, and aside from the one time groaning I mentioned above, I haven't heard unusual noises.) Has anyone dealt successfully with this? How?!? Thanks!
  • cubby66cubby66 Posts: 3
    My 20002 MPV has less than 40k on it, but has been out of warranty for 2 months.
    We noticed that the car began to idle roughly at stops when the air conditioning was on. Took it into the dealer and paid $60 for a diagnostic, which they say came up with nothing wrong. The problem became progressively worse even when the air conditioning was off. Took it back to the dealer and this time they stated that
    the problem was related to the plugs and coils which needed to be replaced, a 900-1000.00 price tag. Had a similar estimate at another dealership. My concern is that the MPV has a Ford engine. So did i buy a Ford with their inherent problems?
    A major tune up at less than 40K !! We may be trading this van in soon.
  • jims2jims2 Posts: 6
    Just in the past day or so, I noticed our 2000 MPV (with 85,000 miles) making a funny noise when you accelerate from a standing start. It sort of sounds like a rattling/vibrating noise coming from somewhere in the front end. Then once you are moving at a steady speed it doesn't seem to be as noticeable (or maybe the road noise overrides it).

    Since it was a Saturday and I was a bit concerned, I stopped at a local muffler shop just to see if they could put in on their rack and spot anything noticeably wrong. Nothing seemed out of place or loose.

    It doesn't make the noise when you just rev up the engine in Park, Neutral, or even if you go in Reverse. Just Drive, which is what worries me.

    It isn't the common creaking noise that comes out of the steering either. We've had that for years so I know THAT sound quite well. Although, in our case, it only seems to make that creak when the AC is on. The sound I'm hearing now is new and more like a rattle or vibration.

    I'm worried that it could be in the transmisson after reading about so many problems other MPV owners have had with them. We've had a lot of problems, but none so far transmission-wise even though ours does shift rather hard at times. Has anyone else ever heard of something like this? I'm wondering (and hoping) if maybe it's something in the front suspension that makes the noise when the weight shifts and the suspension flexes, but I kinda doubt it. That has me really worried that it could be the start of transmisson problems. I'd sure appreciate hearing what others think. We just spent $900 in June to repair a leaking exhaust manifold on this vehicle. The last thing we need or can afford is another major repair!

  • nlsnls Posts: 65
    I started getting a clunking sound on my 2000 MPV with the same mileage, whenever I accelerated from a stop, or when I braked to a stop. I also thought that it was probably something loose in the front end, but the mechanic couldn't find anything obvious when the van was put up on the rack. He finally went around and retorqued all the chassis bolts, and now the noise has gone away.

    Exhaust manifold is still holding up, but alternator had to be replaced recently, and it looks like I need a new O2 sensor.
  • :cry: Only 63000 miles. Of course the 48month bumper to bumper warranty I paid for expired 12 months ago and apparently Mazda only guaranteed drive trains for 36 months back in 2000. Still, I did maintain the vehicle. Even with the warranty service, the dealership, the service and the repairs were always frustrating and costly. Well, we drive maybe a little more than 10000miles a year----hardly a strain.

    Now at 63000 miles, the engine blows up. Actually a puff of smoke comes out of all sides as the car is on the highway and does a dead stop. Service station mechanics are completely amazed. They say Mazda should pay because my vehicle is in excellent condition.

    Wife and kids on I-5 in rush hour. Car Stops. A real mess. Get towed to service station. Diagnosis: New engine needed. The bill - just under $9000. I get the MPV towed to a second station for a 2nd opinion. Same result. All mechanics agree, there is no reason the engine should give out at 63K. All mechanics agee...Mazda should be ashamed at this. Oil changes and maint performed. Blue Book value of vehicle is $8K. Junk yard offered $1000 for the not working MPV because it is clean! My question, does anyone have suggestions? Does anyone know how Mazda feels about standing behind their product? I screwed? Please help. Does any one have experience working with Mazda? Just my luck, the dealership I bought it from when out of business 1 month ago. Please help with advice.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    I don't understand why a rebuild wouldn't work..unless the engine was just totally destroyed.

    You're probably a bit to much over mileage and warranty for Mazda to help much. Doesn't hurt to try though. Maybe, they would split the cost of a new engine as a goodwill gesture?

    You could try to find a used engine thru junkyard or auctions. Or,find another 2000 MPV(a bare bones model) and use it for replacement parts. Would probably cost as much as a 2000 MPV.

    good luck.
  • edawgedawg Posts: 1
    I have the same problem on my '96.Did you use the monroe 901171 shocks? Are they still working ok? How did you disconnect your air leveling system? Thanks
  • jims2jims2 Posts: 6
    As it turned out, the vibrating noise was only from two loose heat shields. I don't know how the first guy who looked missed it, but the second mechanic put on two hose clamps and the noise quit.

    Apparently, they would only make noise when the car was put in drive or under torque and the chassis would flex enough to bring them into contact with the drivetrain (or something like that).

    So for once we got off easily. Of course, so far we had to have the rear hatch struts replaced, the CD player, alternator, heater blower motor and front wheel bearings. Those were repaired under warranty. In addition, I had to pay for a door handle which snapped off and a new exhaust manifold/catalytic converter. One of the power windows broke too, but I was able to take it apart and solder a broken connection or who knows how much that would have cost?

    Any wonder why I'm disillusioned with our MPV and in fear of what will go next?
  • coplincoplin Posts: 2
    :( The side mirrors on my new ES were covered with bad hard water spots as were the moon roof and windows. I used CLR and one of those "Scotchbright" pads to clean them. I did the windows first - no problem. Next I did the driver side "heated" mirror - scratched terribly :cry: . I searched through the owners manual for a warning about the mirrors and found none. I used the same thing on my Camry & Explorer - No problem.
    From your experience do you think the mirrors would be covered under warranty? I would appreciate any suggestions on care of these mirrors. They seem to be first surface mirrors.


  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    Yikes...with water that hard you must come away from a shower black and blue from the beating. Sounds like you need one of those Mr. Clean carwash gizmos that will clean your car without needing to towel dry it off.(filter takes out all of the chemicals that cause the water spots)

    I doubt under the circumstances the mirrors would be covered under warranty. Never hurts to try though.
  • coplincoplin Posts: 2
    Yeah ! I feel like a dunce. Actually the car came from the dealer that way. We drove our new MPV off the lot at 10 pm. They were closed and seemed pretty irritated with me. The salesman did a quick wash and apologized for not detailing it. Inside was great. Outside still had some residue from the shipping film. I wish there would have some warning in the manual about first surface mirrors or something. I've clean the mirrors on our other cars the same way with no problems. We're not black & blue after a shower but water softeners are very popular here. We love the van. It's the perfect size with a good firm ride. We hate floaty / cushy rides & overly soft seats. We just took a road trip along the Payette River from Boise to Tamarack & back. Very winding roads and a climb from 2800' to 7,500' w/4 7% grades. Most of the trip @ 50 mph or less (that's as fast as you could go - posted 35 & 45 MPH curves)- very scenic. 6 hrs. 234.9 mi. 8.34 Gal. = 28.16 mpg Not Bad for a van w/only 743 mi. on it. We filled up when we started and again when we finished at the same pump.

  • bcmanbcman Posts: 2
    I have a 1995 MPV that has a very strange brake problem! This MPV has 4 wheel abs brakes & a factory tow package, it has 4 wheel disc brakes. What is happening is this....all 4 brakes are locking up the wheels....whether I drive the vehicle or not....but at night when the outside temperature cools down....all 4 brakes unlock & the wheels all spin freely!. I've had the MPV up on jack stands the last week or so...all 4 wheels are off the ground...& everyday the wheels all lock up...then at night they unlock....without me even getting near the vehicle! This seems to be a heat related issue....but I've had the MPV in my garage...not outside in direct sunlight......the temperature has been averaging 100 degrees in my the heat really isn't that much to be causing this I would think.
  • cafc328cafc328 Posts: 1
    In early spring, I had a problem with by 2004 MPV having a "kick" when it shifted gears. The dealer fixed the "transcontrol". Last month, the gas peddle was sticking when the car was "cold" and the dealer cleaned the throttle and replaced a gasket. He told me I should stick with one kind of gas and not put in the "cheaper(LOL)" brands. I did this and now six weeks and 4K later, the peddle appears to be sticking again and this time it is not only with "cold starts." I am planning on calling the dealer today, but I want to know, is this normal? Isn't something else wrong with the car, if the throttle is getting that dirty? My MPV is only 14 months old and 24 K miles (mostly highway travel miles).
  • I am having the exact same problem w/my 2000 ES. Just seems to be sluggish at times, and tries to start, but chokes down. Have you had any luck finding out what is causing this?


  • africanafrican Posts: 2
    Yes, I have the same problem with my 2000 MPV, and I took it in for state inspection, and I was told everything is tight, Then I took it to another mechanic, and he said I'll need to change the Bushings on both lower front control arm, which I did at the Mazda dealer at the cost of $295, and guess what, it's still vibrating. I also changed the Stabilizer links, and four brand new tires, and the car still vibrates at 70 mph. Now I have a second appointment with the Mazda dealer. And I'll post whatever they say is wrong with it. I really like this van, but I can't go on along distance with the vibration.
  • criledocriledo Posts: 27
    I have been posting messages about horrible gas mileage (15 mpg) with our 2003 LX. Last week the van broke down and was taken to Mazda for warranty repair, here's what happened: The engine started to accelerate all on it's own, backwards from your problem. Check engine light did NOT come on. They found a faulty temperature sensor, not engine temperature, ambient temperature. It was telling the engine it was 10 degrees when it really was 95. That of course confused the heck out of everything, including mileage. We are now passed our first tank of gas, and mileage seems to be up by 50%. I reply to your query because that sensor does not trigger the check engine light if it is sending erroneous data, but it will mess up the way your engine is working. Also, I have been hearing more and more about the comment that Mazda's greatest downside are the electrical components. Of course this is not the only direction possible, faulty fuel pump, clogged fuel filter, other sensors, etc.,e tc could be a possible cause. Good luck!!
This discussion has been closed.