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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So it's been a year since I got my 06 Mazda 3s Touring 4-door. Initially loved the car, and I'd have to say that I would LOVE to still LOVE it, because it's such a nicely designed and performing car in my book. But I must have gotten a stroke of bad luck and all the right conditions for these things to happen to my car...

I'm taking it to the dealer for a massive "fix" for these problems, and I'm typing them all on a piece of paper and bringing that instead of having to stand there and convince them that it has this many problems. Some are well known, and a few seem unique to my car since not a lot of people have talked about them. What I'll do is I'll paste the text into this posting for you all to read. If you have anything to offer about it (if I should change something, if I shouldn't expect something that I ask for in it, if it would be crazy to ask for one of these to be fixed under warranty, etc.) please help me out!

And for everyone else, yeah, think of this as the results of a really good time test for average driving on a Mazda 3. Thanks everyone!

Stuff I typed up to give to them when I drop the car off:
***************************
Rick Bell – cell *** - 2006 Mazda 3s Touring, Grey

Warranty Issues To Be Repaired:

This car is one year old, and it (original tires still installed) has about 15,000 miles so far. The car is never driven hard or raced around. It gets driven to work and back and on errands; 10 miles a day at the most on normal days, mostly consisting of a short trip up the interstate and back. It's been driven by a few independent mechanics to verify these issues.

8 Problems:

Biggest problem: bad steering and bad ride – unsafe feel and handing, and horrible to drive
There is an extreme difference in the way the car originally drove, and the way it has become; this should not happen after so few miles and such easy driving conditions, and the original ride and handling was the determining factor for purchasing this car. It drove spectacularly. It probably shouldn't drive exactly on-the-money as it was when it was brand new, but for it to become this much worse is unacceptable. There is a mechanical problem of some kind. The car drives so much worse now than the base model Corolla I traded in to get it, or any car I've owned/driven for that matter, and it doesn't feel good putting a bigger chunk of money down on a worse car.

Steering has become horrible. Sluggish, heavy, non-responsive, and easily redirected by even the smallest bumps and road seams. Turing radius doesn't feel as tight.

Ride is horrible, too much yaw and lateral movement when trying to drive in a straight line, car cannot be kept in a straight line, always fighting with it to just keep it in the lane. It is literally difficult to “aim” the car down the lane now without continually “bouncing off the sides” of the lane. This is the case on windy and windless days.

Bumps, even the smallest road features, at ANY speed, are amplified so much that you’d swear you hit a deep pothole. The tires sometimes leave the road when hitting even these small bumps.

The cabin rattles excessively from these amplified bumps. Trim panels and gaps are getting loose and large on the dash and throughout the cabin. I understand this is not a German car and a cabin rattle is sometimes going to happen after a year and it's easy to bring it in and have corrected, but the whole cabin now reverberates with plastic and metal rattles from all over.

Proper maintenance has been performed on the car. Tires are properly inflated and checked, and I paid for an alignment as well, thinking it could just be bad alignment. There was no improvement on the ride or steering afterwards, and I suspect the alignment may be off again from the abrupt hits the car feels like it takes from simple bumps. I have the paperwork from the alignment.

The way the car handles literally feels unsafe, and I avoid certain roads because I would have to drive so slow on them to stay in control.

Last Fall I brought the car to your dealer for its oil change and mentioned this problem then. The service man said you tested the ride and found nothing wrong with the suspension, and I left thinking that it was just in my head. Other mechanics now share my concerns about it, and it has gotten worse, and I know that it’s not just my perception. One point: after the man at your service desk told me that, he asked me if I thought maybe it could be the steering, and I wasn’t thinking at the time that it could be a steering problem, so I said no and he let me leave. I am trusting of the dealer service people and I only expect good service and good help, but if they knew the steering had a problem, they should have told me and fixed the problem, and not let me leave with it and let it get worse.

I want to do a ride-along with one of your mechanics in both my car and another similar Mazda 3s, new or with like mileage, before and after the problem is fixed.

Noisy creaky clutch pedal
The pedal now makes a horrible creaking noise and creaking/clicking feel as it is pressed and let go. It lessens as the car is driven, but never goes away and it is distracting.

Problem shifting to reverse
The car will not shift to reverse most of the time. I have to let the car roll either forward or backward from its park position, then it will shift to reverse.

Excessive break squeak and grab
Regardless of weather conditions, the brakes squeak and grind excessively when first driving, and continue to grind and grab excessively afterwards. This problem has gone on since the car was new, and I thought perhaps it would go away after wearing in the pads.

Noisy creak sound from front suspension
There is a bad creaking and scraping sound from the front suspension when rolling over a bump.

Glove box rattles
You repaired the problem before by replacing the glove box section. The same rattle returned after just a few months. I keep the glove box empty to reduce the rattle slightly, but it still rattles consistently.
The original glove box had a fake brushed metal latch and lock. The replacement glove box has the proper black trim color overall, but it has a black plastic latch. I would like one like the proper original style as the replacement.

Dashboard Clock
The clock never keeps the right time – it loses several minutes at least once a week.

Body Cosmetics
The hood gap between the hood and the front quarter panels is perfect, but the gap between the hood lip and the front fascia and headlight assemblies is really large and uneven from left to right.

Thank you for your attention in getting these issues resolved.
Rick Bell
***************
 

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Hmmmm, the only thing that seems remotely serious is the shifting into reverse. And I don't know what kind of driver you are. Are you abusive? Do you slam on the brakes even if there's 5000 yards between you and the car in front of you? Are you bothered by the littlest of noises? Why should I even entertain your post? Cause you said so? Suspension noise? I never owned a car that didn't have some noise after a while. And if I wanted a car with zero rattles, no creaks, perfectly lined up body panels, etc I wouldn't be looking at an economy car.
 

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Re: Bad news - My 1-year ownership so far - Going to the dealer to get lots fixe

the clock radio is a recall thing, they'll fix it for free
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: Bad news - My 1-year ownership so far - Going to the dealer to get lots fixe

Thanks for reading -

Yeah some of these things like the clock and the suspension scraping sound, I know of the TSB's that show they are known and should be fixed for free - I'll have those with me at the dealer.

I did all my agressive driving in my teens, with a couple good accidents to boot. I'm a pretty safe prudish no-points-on-my-license-driver. I know how to drive a car well and how to drive it agressively, and I don't drive my car agressively; I allow plenty of gentle braking distance, I don't shoot and weave and accelerate hard through traffic to get to places, and I am a good blinker user. I've done nothing to encourage any of those problems any more than to expect "normal" wear and tear, and this far exceeds that; if you drove it I guarantee that you'd agree. The most serious problem to me is the suspension/steering problem, because it seems to be tearing the rest of the car apart. And the car has no more life/feel to it, in fact it has a very negative and "broke" feel to it now, and I bought the car because it felt good to drive. Now the car sometimes feels like the steering wheel is going to flop right off in your hands.

As for rattles and body panels, that's exactly what I said. But I did come from driving a cheaper base model japanese economy car with crank windows that had one or two rattles during the later miles of the 75,000 miles I put on it, and kept wonderful alignment of its panels and fascias and seams. So far there's 15,000 miles on my 3. And the rattles can't really be described as the littlest of noises, which I would indeed accept as part of the economy car aura. But imagine the sound of dropping a cookie sheet full of knives and forks and plastic measuring cups on the kitchen floor, in stereo all around you. That's what a bump sounds like - that is not normal for any newer car - and every component of the cabin is getting massively jarred. Probably from and increased by the overly tough ride the car is now giving me. The ride is that bad now, I sh!t you not. I, along with a mechanic or two, consider the problems to be beyond the realm of it simply being an economy car, and I'm absolutely sure you would too after driving it.

I'm not bad-mouthing Mazda 3's; in fact I'd love to say nothing but good stuff about this car, because I enjoyed the way it used to drive while also costing just $19,000. And I know plenty of people who love it and have had great experiences with theirs.

Hey :) logically if someone doesn't want to entertain my post, they shouldn't entertain my post. For someone that does, I simply asked if it was reasonable to provide the dealer with this typed list/description of problems to aid in getting them all fixed without forgetting one of them while I was dropping it off at the dealer, and to share my unique experience with all of you and see if someone else has had a similar experience. Thanks for reading! :)
 

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Have you ever gotten in the slightest of fender benders with the car? Be honest. Based on your most recent description, I wouldn't want to set foot in it for fear of it literally falling apart leaving me sitting flat on the road with the bare chassis and steering wheel in my hand. Maybe you got a lemon. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: Bad news - My 1-year ownership so far - Going to the dealer to get lots fixe

Yes, two major things have happened to it: Last Spring I was driving in a rain storm and hit a tool box that fell out of someone's truck with my right front tire, which cut the tire and knicked the wheel. The dealer replaced the tire and wheel under the roadhazzard coverage, and per my request they inspected the undercarriage and the suspension and front end and found nothing wrong or needing fixing or replacing (see below). So if the ride/steering issue does stem from that tool box hit early last year, then they are in the wrong, and I've got all their paperwork saying the car was inspected by them and was found to be just fine, which should exonerate that as the cause:

"Customer request estimate on any damage right side estimate on right front and rear struts. No causer found. Found no damage under car, and test drive and unable to feel anything abnormal."

The second thing was that someone pushed their bumper into the left rear door, backing up into it while the car was parked. It was repaired and repainted and made like new.
 

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I don't think any dealer could foresee the longterm issues might arise from a hit in the front like that. If it's the kind of tool box I think you're talking about, then it could've caused more damage than was observed. And depending on how hard they backed into the car, the shock could've twisted things ever so slightly out of place. Now that I've gotten the whole picture (hopefully ;)) I'm less inclined to blame the major issues on the car itself. Just my opinion. I hope it's a lot simpler and they're able to fix it though.
 

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I'd be willing to bet that that toolbox you hit is the cause of your handling issues. Sounds like the stealership you've been working with is clueless. Have you tried taking it to another one - or better yet - a trustworthy independent garage for a diagnosis and repair?
 

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I have the same problem with the shifting into reverse. The dealership actually did it last week because I never had a problem with my car, ever. I went for an oil change and now my brake lights do not work and I can not get out of park. My husband works for GM and is not 100% familiar with the car but said it is most likely the brake neutral switch or something like that in our car. So make sure your brake lights work too.

Sorry about everything else with your car..... :(

I think its great that you were going to provide the service department with a list. My husband likes when customers do that for him (a GM dealer, pontiac) because he has so much going on with keeping up on the technicians and all his other customers/warranty phone calls he has to make. Next time I go into service I am doing that because my dealership for my car sucks and I have to check up on them to make sure they are fixing what they are supposed to.
 

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This is off-topic, but all you need to know about the state of GM is that the wife of a GM employee is driving a Mazda in spite of the employee pricing she is entitled to on a GM vehicle.

For those who really have a keen interest in the auto industry, I encourage you to visit www.thetruthaboutcars.com. Fascinating editorials and car reviews there. Far more objective - and honest - than you will ever read in ad supported auto magazines and sites like Edmunds.
 

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haha

he has a mazda too.......

but he worked at a buick dealer when i was purchasing my car and didn't want one of those...but could possibly get one in the future where he works now.

his buick dealership went out of buisness due to GM consolidation.
 

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Holy mega post Batman! :shock:
Could I just get the cliff notes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Re: Bad news - My 1-year ownership so far - Going to the dealer to get lots fixe

hehehe :) it's turning into a monster.... :klavergreg:

Two things I forgot to mention - my 3 has the 5 speed manual. And the toolbox I hit was a small metal one with a handle on the top, like for a hammer and a few screwdrivers.

My brother in law looked at it at his garage and also found nothing visibly wrong with the suspension. When driving it, he commented that the steering seems to have more play in one direction than the other, but couldn't comment on the looseness and sluggishness of the steering. I could attribute that to him working with all sorts of cars and not exclusively ones sold by him like a dealer would. That's why I'm real interested in doing a ride/drive along with one of the dealer mechanics in both my 3 and another one.

I'm trying to post a couple pics of the wheel that got hit and the door that got dented, but it says the upload folder is full... they're 26kb each.... administrator help! :)
 

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How fast were you going when you hit the toolbox? I would agree that this is prolly the source of your suspension/steering/handling/vibration/rattling issues.

A buddy of mine ran over a wooden box spring mattress with his Z28 a few years ago, and just the thin wooden frame (which disintegrated into splinters on impact) wreaked havoc on his suspension. He wound up getting all new front struts, control arms, tie rod ends, etc. Just being bent a tiny bit can make alot of difference.

My advice would be to take the car to a dedicated suspension shop - they'll put it on a laser rack and make sure everything is set to spec. If they find anything it prolly wont be covered under warranty anyway - but you'll have the peace of mind in getting the job done right.

Good Luck and keep us posted!!!!
 

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My friend hit a toolbox in a mitsubishi eclipse. Dealer fixed his car, but things kept going wrong ever since then so he ended up trading his car in and got a Scion TC.

I think the accidents are biggest piece of this puzzle... perhaps maybe add a little exaggeration, and a little frustration to that too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Re: Bad news - My 1-year ownership so far - Going to the dealer to get lots fixe

It was a highway leading out of town, not really lit up, and it was after dark 11 PM or so and raining pretty heavy. I was accelerating from a stoplight, crossed the intersection, my lights hit the object and I didn't even have enough time to think and my wheel hit the thing and made a big crunch sound - I put my spare on in the rain since it was a Sunday night and there were no 24hr towing services out in that area. I was going maybe 40mph by the time I hit the toolbox.
 

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Re: Bad news - My 1-year ownership so far - Going to the dealer to get lots fixe

[quote author=HouRman link=topic=65866.msg1133237#msg1133237 date=1167945592]
I think the accidents are biggest piece of this puzzle... perhaps maybe add a little exaggeration, and a little frustration to that too.
[/quote]

I agree completely. The steering on a 1-year-old car simply doesn't go bad like yours has. Though there may not have been any visible damage, hitting that toolbox undoubtedly knocked some things out of alignment. The wheels may be aligned, but there are many more steering/suspension pieces that are likely not as they should be. Your scraping-sound-over-bumps problem is related to this too.

As others have said, the clock is a known issue, and they will be able to fix it no problem.

I also had a glovebox door that rattled; the latch on the left didn't grab very tightly. The dealer replaced the door for me, and made sure the latches were tight. Make sure that there's no play up and down in the door when they replace it; that's what causes the rattles/squeaks in our gloveboxes.

If you live in the Minneapolis area, I'd offer to go for a ride with you to see how our cars compare. Either way, if I were you I'd go to the dealer (maybe not even the one you were planning to take the car to) and drive another 3 to compare. Good thing you got an 06 instead of an 07, though, because you at least have an extra year of warranty to take care of these types of problems.
 

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Re: Bad news - My 1-year ownership so far - Going to the dealer to get lots fixe

Having experienced some of the same handling issues myself, I suspect bad tires (Read POS Goodyears) as well as the control arm TSB. Both of these will have a major impact on the car's handling characteristics. Get the control arms checked ASAP!

See my complete post under the High Mileage thread.

Good luck & let us know the outcome.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Re: Bad news - My 1-year ownership so far - Going to the dealer to get lots fixe

Thanks - after some more reading I noticed the numerous threads on the Goodyear RSA's.... mine are at 15,500 so it's right in the "bad" range for someone who drives on them not like a granny but also not like a drag racer. Time gets the best of me - Will update soon!
 

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I have had my 06 s hatch for over a year. 30k miles. I modified it out of the gate. I too had noticed a bit of difficulty getting reverse at times recently. Typically when this occurs and I put it in second gear first, it would slip into neutral after.

When I replaced the OEM struts and shocks I noticed that the right rear was seeping already at 5k miles. It really does sound like you have a combination tire and damper problem to me. I have none of the issues you speak of BUT noticed a definite tendency towards similar issues to the ones you describe prior to installing better suspension.

I just had a damaged driver side motor mount replaced under warranty. The reverse issue seems to have disappeared since. No idea if it is related but looking at how the mount is located I could sort of see this as a possible cause.

I noticed that in looking at the Mazdaspeed 3 design changes that many of the modifications I deemed necessary to make my car acceptable to me personally, were apparently made in the 07 version. To be sure, it is sort of like comparing apples to oranges. The 3 and Speed 3 are different beasts, however the platform is identical more or less.

I am curious to see how Mazda deals with the issues regarding your car. When I pulled all the OEM stuff off my car that I felt was at issue (clutch, heavy flywheel etc) I noticed some quality issues. My guess is that lifespan would be at issue, as well as basic performance.

I really appreciate my car. Once the bugs were out. It is actually one of the better driving cars I have owned. The fact that my gas mileage improved in addition to a noticeable power increase, has made it a difficult vehicle to ever want to part with. Till the Speed 3 of course. Even with the mods I would still appreciate some more HP. Just another 10 percent would suit me. As it sat parked next to a brand new Speed 3 of the same color the other day, mine looked better, sat better and did not emit the puff of black smoke that the Speed 3 did on start up. (WTF?)

Hope some of this helps. Good luck. Oh I know others say the clock is a known issue but I have had zero luck getting the dealer to fix mine. That is the car's single issue for me. Of course a better sound system would be nice. But hey it was under 17k new!
 
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