I really like the Mazda3 I just bought! - Mazda3 Forums : The #1 Mazda 3 Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-25-2019, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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I really like the Mazda3 I just bought!

I bought an '09 Mazda3 hatchback about 2 weeks ago, and am really liking it. Up until 7 years ago, I owned a '97 Miata for 7 years, and I bought my daughter an '03 Protege5 about 10 years ago, which she still has (it got her through 8 years of college, and then some). So, I am quite familiar with Mazdas. Sure, they are kinda cheap-made, but they are designed relatively well, and are pretty reliable. My Miata was the most reliable car I have ever owned in my 37 years of owning vehicles. Yes - far, far more reliable than my '99 Toyota 4Runner has been (but it has almost 200k).


This Mazda3 is a hoot to drive. Fairly quick (2.3L), and the handling could give even a true sports car a run for its money. I will have to restrain myself to keep out of trouble driving this car.



I'm fixing a few little things that are bugging me, have already replaced the spark plugs (as a benchmark, and the previous plugs most definitely needed replacing). Next will be a transmission fluid flush. It has 111k on the clock, and is in really good shape overall, having had only one very minor accident in its history, which wasn't even a fender bender.


Having been looking for one for a few months, with no luck, I couldn't be too choosy, so I had to make a sacrifice on the color. Black. Worse than red, for keeping looking clean. I had a certain budget (paid cash for it), and a fairly small geographical search radius, so I jumped on this when I found it, and I don't regret it.


I do 100% of maintenance and repairs myself. No mechanic ever touches any of my immediate family's vehicles, except me (but I am not a professional mechanic). I would have preferred a manual transmission, but I shudder at the thought of pulling both the engine and transmission for a clutch replacement. Plus, when I find work again (I am semi-retired), a manual sucks in stop & go traffic. However, if it were a rear wheel drive Miata, I definitely would have gotten a manual.



One of the biggest bonuses is that I can even throw my mountain bike in the back (after removing its front wheel), if my 4Runner happens to be temporarily down. I can even take it camping, or haul one of my German Shepherds in it. If I get some spending money, I may put a receiver hitch on it so that I can use my bike rack.


I semi-retired my old 4Runner to just utility usage, and this Mazda3 has become my daily driver. Sometimes I name my cars if they have a personality, so I named this one Black Betty. Some of you old farts probably know that song.

2012 Mazda3 hatchback 2.0 Skyactiv 6-spd auto
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-25-2019, 04:45 PM
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Welcome to the Mazda3 community.

As a suggestion, keep an eye out for a low mileage 2.5 liter Ford Duratec; when your 2.3 engine goes Tango Uniform (this is a matter of when, not if), the 2.5 liter Ford motor is a virtual clone (externally) to the 2.3, however, it has some very important internal upgrades to correct for the failures in the 2.3; that and it is both more powerful and gets about the same fuel economy.

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2019, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Welcome to the Mazda3 community.

As a suggestion, keep an eye out for a low mileage 2.5 liter Ford Duratec; when your 2.3 engine goes Tango Uniform (this is a matter of when, not if), the 2.5 liter Ford motor is a virtual clone (externally) to the 2.3, however, it has some very important internal upgrades to correct for the failures in the 2.3; that and it is both more powerful and gets about the same fuel economy.
Thanks for the heads up. I wasn't aware of that, and would not have bought it if I had been. I have been doing some research since reading your reply, and didn't find too much. What I did find mentioned that the problem was most common in 2004-2005 models, and that was (or is) a class action lawsuit against Mazda for it.

If I don't get some encouraging information soon, then I will sell the car, while it is still running well, and get a Miata, for the same price I get for the Maz3. I am very well acquainted with Miatas, and have strong faith in their engines.

Do you happen to have any links saved that might indicate how common this problem is on 2009 Maz3's?

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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2019, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Outrider6 View Post
Thanks for the heads up. I wasn't aware of that, and would not have bought it if I had been. I have been doing some research since reading your reply, and didn't find too much. What I did find mentioned that the problem was most common in 2004-2005 models, and that was (or is) a class action lawsuit against Mazda for it.

If I don't get some encouraging information soon, then I will sell the car, while it is still running well, and get a Miata, for the same price I get for the Maz3. I am very well acquainted with Miatas, and have strong faith in their engines.

Do you happen to have any links saved that might indicate how common this problem is on 2009 Maz3's?
I do not believe there are any 2.3 liter motors which are salvageable, to the best of my knowledge, there were no internal upgrades to the 2.3 throughout its production life; it is the 2.5 where are of the new engineering upgrades were applied.

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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2019, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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I am now seeing that, in addition to possible valve problems or piston ring problems, the PCV valve could be a possible cause of massive oil consumption problems. It looks like a full or multi-day job just to replace the PCV valve, which, while needing to be done anyway on a car this old, but might not even prevent the oil problem from occurring.

Lesson learned: I should have done sufficient research before buying this car. I made a huge mistake. Despite really liking this car, I am now going to sell it and buy a Miata instead.

Thanks for making me aware of this problem before I really lost my butt on this POS car. POS, only because of this particular problem, and the related design stupidity (the PCV valve location). Shame, because it is so practical and such a fun car to drive.

Color me a fool.

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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 05:45 PM
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All engines can go Tango Uniform. I have a high mileage 2.3 with no issues at all. Only thing that has worn out is the AC compressor. 200K and going up. 2008 3
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 07:18 PM
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All engines can go Tango Uniform. I have a high mileage 2.3 with no issues at all. Only thing that has worn out is the AC compressor. 200K and going up. 2008 3
True, but some engines have a much higher incidence of failure than others, the 2.3 is well known for premature failures. Does that mean a few last a long time here and there? No. Like it or don't, anybody who owns a 2.3 should plan on an engine failure.

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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 05:36 PM
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True, but some engines have a much higher incidence of failure than others, the 2.3 is well known for premature failures. Does that mean a few last a long time here and there? No. Like it or don't, anybody who owns a 2.3 should plan on an engine failure.
I think they had more problems up until 2006. Lots of 2.3 engines out there with a lot of miles. What is the common failing point? 2005 and later models had oil burning problems that Mazda couldn't figure out. That's really I can recall.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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OP here again. It is now back up for sale. I can't chance really, really losing my butt on this car, when the risk is so high. If the engine craps out, my $5k car is worth less than $1k. I am not willing to spend up to $2k on a 2.5L just to up my odds. Well, that cost and the very, very huge PITA of swapping an engine, even if just bolts right up to everything.

I am not at all fond of the thought of anything from Ford (or Chevy, or Pontiac, etc.) in anything that I drive. I want a real Mazda engine. I really wish I had done sufficient research prior to buying this thing, which I happen to love driving.

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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outrider6 View Post
I am now seeing that, in addition to possible valve problems or piston ring problems, the PCV valve could be a possible cause of massive oil consumption problems. It looks like a full or multi-day job just to replace the PCV valve, which, while needing to be done anyway on a car this old, but might not even prevent the oil problem from occurring.

Lesson learned: I should have done sufficient research before buying this car. I made a huge mistake. Despite really liking this car, I am now going to sell it and buy a Miata instead.

Thanks for making me aware of this problem before I really lost my butt on this POS car. POS, only because of this particular problem, and the related design stupidity (the PCV valve location). Shame, because it is so practical and such a fun car to drive.

Color me a fool.
Check around my posts. One issue with oil consumption on these engines is the valve cover gasket was redesigned. I caught oil on the threads of two spark plugs, plus loose fasteners on the valve cover, around 16xK miles. The PVC is a PITA, and I posted pics for that as well as NO ONE who changed the damned thing posted pictures or instructions worth a damn on the entire InterWebs.

FWIW - My car is closing on 179K miles and its only issue right now is a bad gasket for the thermostat. I've had to play hell bleeding the air pockets from the cooling system on the drive to/from work this entire week. Guess what's on the maintenance agenda this weekend?

Welcome. These cars are a blast, and I'm partial to the 1st Gen so much that I'm seriously considering a second.

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