Mazda 3 Problems

No car is perfect, but we've gathered everything relating to the Mazda 3 reliability here to help you decide if it's a smart buy.

Are we going to see the new Mazda 3 turbo AWD in Australia?

Answered by CarsGuide 21 Sep 2021

Mazda Australia has previously told CarsGuide that it would love to get hold of a batch of the hot-shot Mazda 3 Turbos. And while the local arm of Mazda has asked head office for a batch of the all-wheel-drive hot-hatches, no decision has been confirmed as yet.

Mazda’s problem is justifying the cost of making the car in right-hand-drive form, and the complex mechanical packaging makes that even more difficult than usual. Designed for the North American market, the lack of a right-hand-drive variant will likely be the biggest hurdle to the car making it into showrooms here.

Mazda Australia is obviously keen on the idea as it would give it a competitive product to tackle the success of the VW Golf GTi, the Renault Megane RS and the soon-to-arrive new Subaru WRX. The bottom line? Cross your fingers, but don’t hold your breath.

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Can you advise whether the Mazda 3 has a timing belt or a timing chain?

Answered by CarsGuide 6 Sep 2021

The Mazda 3 timing belt or chain question is a common one, but one with a fairly simple answer. Unless the Mazda 3 in question is the very first turbo-diesel model (sold in Australia between 2007 and 2009) then the engine powering it uses a timing chain rather than a rubber belt.

The exception was the 2.0-lire turbo-diesel which used a rubber, toothed timing belt. The design seems sound, however, and Mazda’s recommended replacement interval for the belt and its tensioner is every 120,000km. Make sure this has been carried out promptly, as a snapped belt will probably destroy the engine. A small sticker somewhere in the engine bay should record the most recent belt change. The complete kit to replace the timing belt on this engine is available for around $200 and you should budget another few hundred dollars to have the job carried out by a workshop. Best practice is to also change the water pump and thermostat at the same time as these live in the same area of the engine.

The task of the timing chain or timing belt is exactly the same: They take drive from the engine’s crankshaft to the camshaft and, in the process, keep all the moving parts in harmony. Many car makers moved away from a timing chain to the rubber, toothed drive belt as a way of simplifying engine design and driving down the cost of each engine. The rubber timing belt is also quieter in its operation and is also less prone to stretching (as a timing chain can) so the camshaft (commonly referred to as the cam) stays in perfect synch with the rest of the engine’s rotating parts. The rubber belt is a simpler design because it doesn’t need to be tensioned via oil pressure from the engine as many timing chain systems are.

The timing chain, meanwhile, is preferred by some manufacturers because it should last the lifetime of the engine and never need replacement. This isn’t always the case, however, and some engines designs from a variety of manufacturers suffer problems in this regard. But, in a properly maintained engine of sound design, the timing chain should never need attention, while the rubber timing belt generally has a replacement interval of between 60,000km and 120,000km, depending on make and model.

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What are the safety issues of the 2011 Mazda 3?

Answered by CarsGuide 3 Sep 2021

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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What should I replace my 2015 Mazda 3 Maxx Hatch with?

Answered by CarsGuide 11 Aug 2021

There are a few things going on with insured values. The first is that insurance companies will – generally – do everything they can to pay out as little as possible against a claim. That means, they will usually take the lower number from a range of values, and that appears to be exactly what has happened here. If you take a look at the classifieds right now, you’ll see 2015 Mazda 3 Maxxes priced anywhere from $12,000 to the low-20s. Clearly, your insurance company has adopted the lower of those values as the one that represents market value for your car. Don’t forget, either, that the asking price in the advert is not always the actual price that will be paid.

There can be other influences, too. What condition was your car in before the crash that wrote it off? If it had existing damage or wear, that could have led your insurer to adjust downwards the pay-out price it was offering. And what about kilometres travelled? Generally speaking, every extra thousand kilometres over the average for that make and model reduces its value in the eyes of insurance companies.

As for a replacement vehicle, I’d be looking at some of the South Korean (Hyundai and Kia) offerings. These brands now have a jump on some of the opposition when it comes to technology and standard safety equipment. They also represent solid engineering and reliability, not to mention terrific factory warranties.

 

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Mazda 4 - A bigger hatchback than the 3?

Answered by CarsGuide 21 Apr 2021

Mazda is unlikely to increase the number of its passenger car models, given the contracting nature of such body styles in favour of crossovers and SUVs.

Also, note that a CX-4 has existed in China for a number of years, slotting tightly between the CX-3 and CX-5 as a sleeker coupe version of the latter, so if you do see a '4' (or, more likely, a '40') on the tailgate of a Mazda in the future, it might be sat on an SUV-shaped rather than hatchback-shaped five-door.

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Mazda MX3 - What ever happened to the Eunos 30X?

Answered by CarsGuide 21 Apr 2021

The failure of the MX-3/Eunos 30X in the 1990s contributed to Mazda's slide to near-bankruptcy and into a waiting Ford's arms, so it is unlikely that that either the small coupe model or nameplates will ever be resurrected.

That said, it is worth noting that the existing (BP-series) Mazda3/Axela is very much a coupe-esque hatchback in the spirit of the sporty MX-3/30X.

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Mazda 9 - Will we ever see a successor to the 929?

Answered by CarsGuide 21 Apr 2021

Mazda is unlikely to introduce a sedan larger than the Mazda6, due to the declining sales of larger sedans globally in favour of SUVs.

However, with Mazda marching upmarket and its ties with Toyota strengthening, a joint-venture project with Toyota or even Lexus, using Mazda's new rear-drive platform and inline six-cylinder engine range, may make a model-sharing luxury flagship – a modern-day 929 in other words – a possibility.

But there are currently no plans that we know of pertaining to such a model, sadly.

We hope this helps.

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Which is better: 2014 Mazda 3 Astina or 2016 Mazda 3 SP25?

Answered by CarsGuide 10 Sep 2020

As the BM-series flagship back in 2014, the Astina offers more luxury and safety features than the SP25, so we'd settle for that, especially as it's a bit cheaper and has fewer kilometres on the odometer.

But if the newer car is the Series II facelift from August 2016 onwards, then this model - known as the BN - might be a better buy since it brings significant improvements.

These include Autonomous Emergency Braking Reverse (AEB when driving backwards), Blind-Spot Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, as well as revised steering, shock absorber, anti-roll bar, and rear suspension components to improve handling and ride qualities, more sound deadening to eliminate known noise paths (a criticism of the earlier Mazda 3s), larger door pockets, an electronic parking brake instead of a levered handbrake, cleaner instrumentation dial markings, a redesigned and more user-friendly steering wheel and repositioned USB charger. 

Plus, the BN Series II Mazda 3 scores Mazda's G-force Vectoring Control system, which uses the engine to enhance chassis performance by adjusting torque delivery in response to steering inputs, for more stable and relaxed driving. If your SP25's an auto, it scores a Sport mode that adapts the change-up points according to the operator’s style and inputs, its steering and ride qualities are better and the handling is smoother.

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What is the best small car for under $30000?

Answered by CarsGuide 10 Sep 2020

You don't need to spend $30,000 to get a great small car to run around town in. A Suzuki Swift GL Navigator from $17,690 plus on-road costs ($1000 more for the auto) makes for an excellent choice, with a surprisingly roomy interior, a refined, frugal and lively engine, great handling and superb reliability. Great value for money, in other words.

Moving on from there, to the next size up and in our order of preference, are the Mazda 3, Ford Focus Active, Volkswagen Golf, Toyota Corolla Hatch, Honda Civic (turbo only) and Subaru Impreza. All are quality small cars that should fit the bill perfectly.

There's also merit in considering a small SUV, chiefly because their higher roofline and loftier seating positions make them easier to get in and out as well as see out of. Our value pick is the Kia Seltos S with Safety Pack. The Mazda CX-30 and Toyota C-HR are also high-quality and refined choices, though they're right at the cusp of your budget so you may have to search for a discounted demo model. Going small SUV does  mean extra outlay, but they do generally offer better resale value, as their popularity seems endless.

As you can see, there's lots of choice, so take your time, drive the ones you like the look of, and see which feels best. Out of scores of alternatives, these 10 are our top recommendations at under $30K.

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Why does the tyre pressure light keep coming on in my 2019 Mazda 3?

Answered by CarsGuide 1 Aug 2020

The symptoms you’re experiencing all sound like they have something to do with the body computer(s) on the car. So it’s conceivable that a bad batch of computers on Mazda’s production line could affect more than one car. And if that’s the case, you’ve just been unlucky. That said, Mazda is not exactly a stranger to body computer glitches, and Mazda 3 built between 2015 and 2017 were, in fact, recalled to fix just such a problem that was affecting the operation of the windscreen wipers.

If you’re unhappy with Mazda’s approach, you can contact the ACCC to try to organise a resolution. But if the second car is only throwing up bogus tyre-pressure alerts and hasn’t started having other problems yet, then you should give Mazda the chance to put it right. The other problems may never develop, but if they do, I reckon you’d have a decent moral case for getting your money back. That said, Australia doesn’t have the `lemon laws’ that, say, the USA, has so getting a refund is not a simple matter.

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