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What are the safety issues of the 2011 Mazda 3?

Asked by Adam

My 2011 Mazda 3 has a serious safety issue; an intermittent problem with power steering failure. Mazda says there is no issue but I understand this is a common problem for the Mazda 3 of this era. Do you have any suggestions?

Answered by CarsGuide

3 Sep 2021 David Morley

Mazda 3s have a pretty terrible record with power-steering faults. Some cars built between 2007 and 2008 were actually part of a nationwide Technical Service Program by Mazda to fix a problem that could leave you suddenly without power assistance for the steering. The program was not a recall as Mazda argued that even if the assistance failed, you’d still be able to steer the car, albeit with much greater input from the driver.

Mazda reckoned that cars outside those build dates weren’t affected, but yours is not the first later-model 3 I’ve heard of that has suffered similar problems. From what I can gather, the power steering assistance in your car uses a conventional hydraulic rack but instead of the assistance pump being driven by the engine (via a belt) it’s driven by an electric motor. So here’s my question: Do you notice any other symptoms when the assistance fails?

Any warning light on the dashboard or the radio cutting in or out are symptoms that other owners have mentioned at the same time as the steering has lost its assistance. Scanning the car electronically might throw up a few answers, but the instinct of many mechanics is that the problem is potentially as simple as a poor earth connection. A bad earth can occur in lots of places on a modern car and can create havoc with the car’s electrical systems (of which the power-steering on your car is one). Sometimes it can be as simple as a loose battery terminal, other times you might have to search for the bad earth. But that’s where I’d start looking.

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