Mazda Car Problems: 10 Most-Common Issues (Explained)

Mazda is a renowned automaker specializing in manufacturing reliable vehicles. This Japanese auto brand scooped more Safety Pick titles than other automakers in 2020.

However, the Mazda brand is not the perfect vehicle, as drivers have complained about some of its models.

Despite gaining customers’ attention across the globe with its sporty and shiny vehicles, there are criticisms about some of the Mazda models.

This article will discuss the common problems the Mazda brand is known for and the affected models.

Read also: 0-60 MPH times for each Mazda model.

1. Failure of Brake Booster

If there is any critical safety component in a vehicle, it must be the brakes. However, there have been complaints about the Mazda CX-9 having brake issues.

The CX-9 may fail to stop when the driver wants to make a halt, and this could lead to a crash if not addressed on time.

According to the CX-9 drivers in hotter climates, this issue happens when there is a potential loss of power assist, and this causes the brakes to be hard to push.

When this happens, there would be a weird noise from the pedal area and an abrupt loss of stopping power.

All signs pointed to a faulty brake booster, prompting a government investigation in February 2014.

Drivers learned that the problem resulted from a material defect in the brake booster. The brake booster diaphragms show a tear close to the outer seal, which results in noise and slow performance.

The tears enable leakage from the vacuum sides of the diaphragm, and this causes a heckling noise once the tears reach 10-12mm in length.

The mould used while making the diaphragm has been identified as the primary cause. Hot temperatures play a role in making the diaphragm harder and increasing pressure on the affected areas.

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2. Defective Mazda Clutch Systems

The clutch systems of some Mazda models comprise faulty release levers, also known as clutch forks, pins and bearings.

When there is a problem, it leads to the deterioration of flywheels, pressure plates, and clutch disks, which can cause failure of the clutch in the long run.

Most drivers usually experience their first clutch failure at an average of 37,627 miles and another before reaching the 70,000-mile mark.

However, this problem was noticed by Mazda after a series of complaints and warranty claims from the customers. This compelled the automaker to redesign the clutch assembly on numerous occasions around 2014.

Unfortunately, this problem has continued to persist, and this has caused headaches for most drivers of the 2010 Mazda 3 model.

The 2010 model was branded the worst Mazda 3 model by experts because of problems with its internal accessories. This vehicle’s clutch failure is the primary complaint about the 2010 Mazda 3 model.

Moreover, the 2011 model also has complaints about clutch failure, but not as much as the 2010 model. The 2012 Mazda 3 model also has complaints about grinding gears.

For more information, please read our article about Mazda 3 problems.

3. Emission Issues, Electric Window Failure

The Mazda 6 Tourer is one of the models that failed to deliver on its promise from the Japanese car manufacturer.

A significant number of the customers have complaints about their vehicles not moving when needed. The drivers of the new models not older than three years complained that they have to take their vehicles for repair.

The most prevalent problems from drivers of the Mazda 6 Tourer are failures of the electric window, emission problems, and non-engine electric problems.

However, the Mazda6 Tourer received above-average three stars out of the 5-star ratings.

4. Nagging Engine Problems

The manufacturer launched the first model of the CX-5 in 2012, and this stylish compact crossover SUV is presently in its second generation.

Drivers have complained about engine issues on their CX-5 vehicles, particularly the Engine Monitoring Unit. There are also complaints about non-engine electrical issues.

According to a 2020 study, the petrol models have been more trustworthy than their diesel counterparts.

There have been more complaints from the diesel models than the petrol models, but you need to note that none of these newer models has broken down completely.

You can quickly fix any issue with this model; even complicated repairs do not take more than 24 hours.

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5. Defective Variable Valve Timing

Mazda models with the L-series engines are notorious for faulty variable valve timing, causing loose timing chains, disastrous engine failure, and oil leaks.

Drivers said they notice a loud ticking noise each time they start their vehicles.

6. Melting Dashboards

One of the nagging problems of the Mazda 3 and Mazda 6 models is the melting dashboards. This led to the infamous sticky dashboard issue.

Your Mazda’s dashboard can melt and become sticky if you park the car under the sun for extended periods. This might be due to low-quality materials used for that part of the vehicle.

Once these dashboards melt, they become glossy and prevent the drivers from seeing the road properly.

Mazda should fix the problem if your car is still under warranty. If not, you will likely pay for the repair out of pocket.

You will also like our article about problems with Mitsubishi cars.

7. Transmission Issues, Defective Warning Lights, Slow Acceleration, and Faulty Windshield Wipers

You need to be vigilant if you are planning to purchase the Mazda CX-5.

There have been reports of battery voltage issues, defective windshield wipers, and failure to deactivate the cruise control in the car.

Drivers of this model also complained about broken warning lights, flawed fuel gauges, and transmission problems.

The most significant issue with this model is the transmission system failure, which can be expensive to fix if the car isn’t under warranty.

8. Exterior Lighting System Failure, Overheating, and Engine Stalling

You have a lot to worry about engine issues when you own a Mazda 6 model. As a Mazda 6 owner, you may experience issues such as weird ticking sounds, engine stalling, and rough idling.

Many drivers have also complained about their exterior lighting system, which causes an abrupt dimming of their headlights. This makes driving at night more complicated.

There are also complaints that these models can potentially lose speed control, which can lead to a crash.

There could be a misalignment of the crankshaft position sensors, causing the vehicle’s sensors to switch off. Once these sensors malfunction, it could lead to abnormal vibrations, failure to start, and deteriorating engine performance.

9. Engine Misfires, Defective Blower Motors, and Stalling

The Mazda Tribute is renowned for having engine problems, just like other Mazda models.

Common problems include failure of the EGR differential pressure sensor, engine misfires, and engine stalling.

This model is also known for defective blower motors, and the PCM wires in the vehicle are prone to damage.

It does not cost much to repair this vehicle; the annual average repair cost is around $500.

10. Water Pump Failure

Once your CX-9 reaches the 90,000-100,000 mile mark, you must be prepared for hefty repair expenses.

The most common issue with the Mazda CX-9 is the failure of the water pump. Fixing the water pump issue entails the substitution of the whole engine, and you are likely to pay up to $4,000 to get it fixed.

In some cases, drivers also complained about the brake power boost unit’s failure, which could lead to a crash if not addressed on time.

Make sure to also read our article on whether Mazda SUVs hold their value.

General Pros and Cons of Mazda Cars

Here are some general pros and cons of Mazda cars:

Pros of Mazda

  • Great Interiors
  • Smooth transmission
  • Capable Engine
  • Affordable
  • Great design coupled with capable handling
  • Hatchback versatility
  • Fuel-efficient

Cons of Mazda

  • Mediocre gas mileage
  • Lack of stability control
  • Not too spacious

What Do the Reviews Say?

Mazda manages to build vehicles that drive extremely well, look really great, and are still priced reasonably. The Japanese automaker boasts a beautiful lineup that encompasses everything from the fun-loving MX-5 Miata sports car to the family packing CX-9 three-row crossover.

While the industry shifts away from sedans, the zoom-zoom brand makes terrific renditions such as the compact Mazda 3, which provides enthusiastic driving characteristics. The company also challenges best-selling compact crossovers from Honda and Toyota with the athletic and upscale CX-5.


Please also read our article about problems with Nissan cars.

Resale Value of Mazda Models

Most Mazda models depreciate around 45% to 48% in the first five years of purchase.

You need to consider factors such as mileage, popular demand, and the current condition of the vehicle before you set a resale price.

Model Approx. Mileage Price ($)
2020 Mazda CX-5 14,500 $17,993
2020 Mazda CX-30 17,500 $20,126
2020 Mazda CX-3 18,500 $10,030
2020 Mazda CX-9 15,000 $22,208
2020 Mazda RX-7 18,500 $34,133

Final Thoughts

Mazdas are known to have a lifetime of 300,000 miles. If they are properly maintained, they can go between 200,000 miles and 300,000 miles without serious issues.

Mazdas have a reputation for being strong and have low maintenance expenses. These are some of the reasons why people buy them.

It has a range of family-friendly models such as the Mazda 3 in body styles, and the CX-5 SUV crossover 4×4.


Mazda | Car and Driver

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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.