Mazda3 Problems: 7 Common Issues (Explained)

The Mazda 3 is a reliable and affordable vehicle but it can have some issues.

Below you’ll find 7 common problems with Mazda 3 vehicles.

1. Issues With Wheels and Hubs

Many users reported that the tires of the vehicle did not wear down evenly and that there was an issue with the valve systems that were factory installed.

Many vehicle owners had the valves replaced with proper tire sensors.

The problem arose after the vehicle was driven at least 50,000-65,000 miles. 

Since the mid-nineties, multiple Mazda 3 vehicle owners have reported tire problems.

The tire valve stem problem was a manufacturing flaw as it was found in the 2008 to 2010 models.

Apart from the valve system, the tire pressure monitoring system was also malfunctioning.

Drivers reported that the valve stem would break when the filling air in the tire, leaving the vehicle entirely immobilized.

There were few reported cases of the vehicle’s rear or passenger side tires exploding when driving at speeds of 65mph or above.

Many users either got their tire valve system replaced by the manufacturer or dealership.

You may also experience this with the Mazda 2, check our post about problems with the Mazda 2 models.

2. Gear Grinding

The gear grinding issue was only found in all 2012 models of Mazda 3.

According to the owners of the 2012 Mazda 3, the gears would start grinding after 20,000 miles on the road.

When shifting gears, the drivers would hear a loud grinding noise, specifically when shifting from third gear to fourth. The 2012 Mazda 3 comes in both; automatic and manual transmissions and the grinding noise was similar in both.

Vehicles under warranty can get this issue fixed by the dealership but otherwise, the gear repair is very costly.

According to, approximately 343 Mazda 3 owners reported a gear grinding issue.

Many drivers reported that the mechanic would only find transmission issues with the vehicle and the car would not get out of gear until the gear linkage was repaired or replaced.

3. Malfunctioning Electric System

Although vehicle fires are very rare for this model, there have been a few cases of the vehicle catching fire due to a faulty electric system.

There are some problems with the electric accessories installed within the Mazda 3, such as the Bluetooth does not function properly and the stereo malfunctioning.

In automatic transmissions, users report that the window motor malfunctions and does not function properly.

Besides that, there have been user reports about the dashboard of the vehicle melting.

Whether it may be the humid environment or overheating, the dashboards of the Mazda 3 vehicles start sticking or melting after approximately 58,000 miles or so. 

In addition, users report the seat bracket of the vehicle braking after some time.

After multiple users reported the issue in 2014, Mazda extended the warranty of its Mazda 3 model as compensation.

Since the problem was commonly found in 2009-2013 models, the extended warranty only covered those models.

4. Engine Problems

There are multiple engine problems reported by users of the Mazda 3 vehicle. For instance, poor idling, vehicle accelerating when the driver presses the brakes, the vehicle not accelerating, engine choking, etc.

The most common reason was the malfunctioning throttle body of the vehicle.

The throttle would clog due to all the carbon buildup or other contaminants.

Many users just clean the throttle body themselves to prevent it from blocking.

There can be multiple reasons behind a throttle body malfunction, such as a problem with electrical connections which prevented the powertrain control module from getting the right data.

In addition, frayed wires or tight seals can also cause multiple issues with the throttle of the vehicle, such as vacuum leaks upsetting the air/fuel mixture ratio inside the engine.

However, the most common engine complaint about the Mazda 3 model is that the engine suddenly loses power when the driver tries to accelerate.

Engine stalling can put the passengers and the driver at risk of accidents.

Mazda 3 vehicle users also report significant jerking during the drive and the engine choking while cranking up.

A few users reported that the vehicle would come to a sudden halt during driving.

5. Clutch Failure

Multiple users complain that the company has installed a defective clutch system in the second and third-generation models of the Mazda 3.

However, the manufacturer responded to those complaints to get the clutch system repaired or replaced.

This issue was mainly found in the manual transmission of the Mazda 3 model. With the clutch system damaged, it was harder to shift gears because the engine would keep transiting for more power.

The clutch failure or malfunction was found in Mazda 3 vehicles that weren’t driven for more than 20,000 miles.

The warrant offered by Mazda covers such issues with the vehicle, so users of the 2010-2015 Mazda 3 didn’t have to make any additional repair expenses for fixing the clutch system.

6. Structural Problems

Many users reported that the rear door of the Mazda 3 vehicle expands due to high temperatures which affect the vehicle’s body.

Moreover, multiple drivers notice that the windshield of the Mazda 3 vehicles starts cracking due to minor external damage such as pebbles hitting the windshield on the road.

Multiple Mazda 3 drivers also report that it doesn’t take harsh driving or external impact to make the side mirrors fall off.

In the worst cases, the side view mirrors fall off during the drive, putting the driver and other road users at risk.

7. Brake Light Problem

Last but not least, another of the most common complaints users have with the Mazda 3 is that brake lights such as the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) or the Dynamic Stability Control lights turn ON or flicker during driving.

Sometimes, the rear brake light bulbs must be replaced when the brake lights on the dashboard keep flashing.

The most common reason is the brake fluid leaking from the caliper.

For a brake fluid leak, the first place you should check is the master cylinder and the emergency brake handle. If the fluid is low, add more brake fluid to temporarily fix the problem.

If the problem is left unattended, it may lead to complete brake failure on the road.

It could be that the brake lines of the Mazda 3 vehicle are punctured. It’s not advised to drive around with a brake fluid leak, rather take the vehicle to a mechanic and get it repaired.

General Pros and Cons for Mazda 3


  • The Mazda 3 2021 can run on three engines that are turbocharged.
  • Excessive storage space within the vehicle.
  • The Mazda 3 has a stylish look.
  • The seating arrangement in the interior is classy and comfortable.
  • The vehicle is equipped with driver-assist technology and has multiple safety features.
  • The infotainment system of the Mazda 3 is exceptional.
  • Advanced keyless entry system.
  • Offers an all-wheel drive setup.


  • Clutch system malfunction.
  • The gear creates a grinding noise.
  • Brake fluid leakage.
  • Faulty tire valve system in some models.

What Do the Reviews Say?

“When driving the Mazda 3, the phrase “handles like a Mazda” comes to mind. It means that it’s engaging, handles well, and is as fun to drive as its stablemates. Place the transmission in Sport mode, leave it there, then go out into a fun, twisty road and you’ll develop an ear-to-ear grin in no time.”


“Mazda has succeeded in delivering a sporty premium experience without sacrificing comfort. Credit goes to the supportive front seats and a quiet cabin at highway speeds.”


For consumers looking for a sporty and elegant automobile, the Mazda 3 is an appealing option.

It is also affordable and should fit the budget of price-conscious buyers.

What Is the Resale Value On the Mazda 3?


Year Mileage Price
2019 29 mpg $21,990
2020 29.12 mpg $22,445
2021 28.92 $21,645

Go Back: Problems for all Mazdas.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.