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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after seeing the car i bought 3 times, i finally purchased it. It is a 2004 mazda3 hatchback. I got it for $8,300 which i thought was a steal. I was sooo happy. I went to pick up the car and everything seemed great. I brought it home and noticed some more scratches but ah no biggie, i expected that. After further inspection of the car, i noticed that a lot of the drivers side of the car was repainted? Why would the car be repainted? I was told there was no accidents. Maybe they hit a pole opening the door and got it fixed and painted.... Maybe there was some scratches they just wanted to take care of. Well, i've still to question her about this. So okay, the car has been repainted in some areas. It doesn't look BAD, not very noticable either. At this point i'm pretty freaking pissed off. Anyway, the car is running great. There seemed to be no problems at all other than that. Well, last night at 2:00am i was driving to taco bell with two friends when the cars electronics suddenly shut off for a second. Wee were all like what? but it turned back on so we were liek okay. I got to the light to make a U turn and suddenly it just kept turning on and off. I could feel the wheel jerking because the power steering was freaking out. I pretty much yelled out loud "This car is FUCKED!" Instead of making a U turn i went to the gas station right there. I stopped the car and looked under the hood for any problems. I kinda assumed it had to be that the battery was dying. I don't know much about cars though. We tried to turn the car on but it wouldn't turn on. We waited a few till it finally did. We started to drive home and it was pretty hard to turn the wheel when the power steering was off. Suddenly everything turned off. Nothing was on. No lights. Gauges were completely black. Turning signals didn't work. At this point i was flipping the fuck out. I seriously wanted to die or something. We got to a stop light to turn and waited for it to turn green. Once it turned green, i stepped on the gas but the car barely moved, it was really slow and the the engine felt like it was sputtering or jerking. Anyway, we got it to my house and still agreed it had to be the battery was dead.

Today i went to autozone to ask them what they think and they after hearing the story they pretty much said it was the Alternator and the battery. I don't know what that really is other than that it charges the battery when the car is on or something. That's gonna cost me $180. Battery is $90. I have $400 left after buying the car. Looks like all my money is going towards that.

SO really i just wanna get you guys input on what you think the problem may be? Do you think it's the alternator? Do you think it's the battery? What about the electronic system or something? IDK i'm just sooo pissed right now. I'm going to call this lady and rip her head off. The lady seemed sooo nice. She was selling the car for her sun. To tell you the truth, I doubt she knew the car got body work. But w/e, i'm going to give her a call tomorrow and she's going to hear it from me.

I know my first mistake was not buying a carfax report.... I don't know why i didn't buy one. Please don't tell me i'm an idiot for not doing it yet because i know i am ;_;

Bah, so much for this.... I just wanted to buy a great car for the money i saved up for three years... and this is what i get.
 

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well, buying a used car is always a risk - and tbh for less than $9k for a 3 hatch i wouldn't be surprised if there was something wrong with it (on the other hand, with the economy the way it is, used 3 prices have probably tanked since i was looking for one 6 months ago). where i live anyway, M3 hatches are hard to find on the used market (base '07 mazda3i sports, on the other hand, seem to be all over...ex-rentals i guess), and anything under $10k typically had a salvage title. so yeah i would order a carfax report just to make sure.

i got my '05 3 for $12,800 back in august from a dealer - clean title, carfax checked out, and when i first saw it i thought it was perfect bar a scratch here or there. after the "new car" glasses were gone, i noticed the hood didn't fit very well...apparently my car had been in an accident, and the damage wasn't particularly well repaired. my mechanic said the damage was cosmetic and mechanically the car was fine, but since i can't get the hood and fenders to align properly i'm agonizing right now over if there could be any frame damage that's causing the problem...anyway the point is i sympathize with you, and wish you the best of luck (and order a carfax report)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
the seller originally wanted $10,500 for it. I mean yeh with the economy now i wouldn't be surprised if i could've gotten it for cheaper. But either way, it just sucks that this is all happening to me.... the body work was already bad enough for me..... ;_;
 

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at 10.5k i wouldn't be as suspicious. mazda3s are reliable but not perfect, it may have just been a faulty alternator. and if a kid was the previous driver, i wouldn't be particularly surprised if it had bodywork done :wink:

if you want peace of mind just take the car to a mechanic and have him give it a once-over, and maybe take it to a body shop too (i'm thinking of doing that for my car to see if there's any underlying damage from the accident that supposedly occured)
 

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I doubt its your alternator...since its an '04 I bet thats the same battery that the car started life with...I would spend the $90 to replace the battery and go from there...other members have had a similar issue like you have described and it ended up being the battery that died....

haha actually a quick search and here you go... http://www.mazda3forums.com/index.php?topic=134076.0
 

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Get the battery and alternator TESTED. Don't swap out parts because the guy at Autozone thinks you need something. Confirm the problem before you start changing parts.

TIM

That said, it is probably the battery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well i've been told a lot now that it is my alternator, but i'm yet to get someone to actually look at the car. I'll be having a friend of my moms come to my house on monday to check out the car. He told me to go to autozone and charge the battery for when he gets there.

Just in case this help in finding the solution: the car will not start unless the car has been sitting for a while. The car will then start and about a minute later, everything will start going out. My friend came to my house today and we attached cables from his car to my car and let his car run for 10 minutes. The car was able to turn on but quickly after everything would shut off. When we brought the car to my house today we couldn't even get the car into Park. The knob thing was in park but it said it was in Reverse. We were finally able to get it to switch into park once we jumped it or w/e. Also, before i bought the car, the car sat in the their driveway for a while. I'd say a month and a half w/ little to no driving at all.

Last, how do I get the Alternator checked out? I know i can get the battery checked out at autozone, but how about the alternator?

Thanks for the help guys, i'm really hoping it's just the battery. :[
 

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Actually I'm 99% sure it is alternator. This happen to me back in the day when I had the Saturn. The car was very slow and it barely moved when I pressed on the gas. But it kept going until I went home which was less than a mile away. I shut off the car and tried to restart it but with no luck. I jump started my car and charged the car with the other car still plugged in. Then when I unplug it, few minutes later the engine died, which means the alternator is bad and doesn't charge the battery and keep the engine on. And in your previous post it sounds like you have the same situation. It is definitely the alternator now.

IMO I would get the battery changed but you should get it tested first. Maybe the previous owner changed the original battery already. I would definitely swap out the alternator! That is a must and is your problem.
 

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definately keep us updated on what you find out..sucks that this happened so soon after you got the car....but even if you do end up replacing the alternator and battery out of this situation...~$8,600 is still a pretty decent deal imo
 

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Any automotive repair shop should be able to test your alternator, but it's sounding more and more like both the alternator & battery are toast.

I'd still get it tested, hate to spend all that $ and find out its something else. Electrical problems are a pain in the ass!

TIM
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Will let you guys know later today. I picked up my alternator yesterday. It cost $250 after tax and i get $48 back after returning the old alternator. Hopefully everything goes well and it for sure is the alternator.
 

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It sounds to me like it is the alternator. I had the same issue in an old Camry I had where the entire electrical system would crash and then start and then crash again. It would actually cause my engine to turn off here and there and would nto accelerate or anything when it would finally happen. At this point, the battery has probably been drained in full many times and every time you kill a battery you run the risk of getting dead cells in it.

There is a good possibility that this problem started as just the alternator, but after keeping running it, it may cause you to lose the battery itself as well.

Autozone doesn't do too well for testing things, but if you have a shop like Advance Auto around you, they will test the alternator, battery, and starter, all for free.

I'm suprised though that you never mentioned it throwing anything like a CEL. I would think that the OBDII would probably throw some sort of code if the electrical system was failing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So, i don't know whether this is good or bad!

I went to autozone where my mom's friend was going to change my alternator. He jacked up my car and such to get ready. MY mom stopped by just to say hi and ask him a few questions. I originally checked with autozone about the problem and they said it was the alternator so my mom's friend kinda assumed it was the alternator. My mom then asked him to check the alternator and battery to make sure it really was the alternator so he did that real quick. He hooked up two clamps to the battery and used this thing to check the volts or something. After doing that he looked at me and said hey, there's nothing wrong with alternator or battery! The alternator is charging the battery like it should. He did a few tests like something that kinda fakes the battery into thinking the car is doing something or w/e. I also turned on the car and rev'd it a bit. While revving it i looked at my gauges and noticed there was no more lit battery icon! What could've happened? What would've caused the problem in the first place? Do you think something is still wrong or could it have just been that the battery was dead? blah.. atleast the car is driving fine right now. There seems to be nothing wrong ATM.
 

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That's too strange...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
could it have been because like, the car was sitting for a long time that something happened to the battery? like it was kinda drained or something?

I think i'm going to take it to like that sears auto place for them to lift it up and check it out thoroughly. I need to make sure nothing is wrong with the car anymore.

I'm keeping the alternator for now so just in case something happens to it he can look at it again.

What a mess..... ;_;
 

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If it sat for a very long period of time the battery may have been drained, but you would have had a hard time getting it to start, and then after that it would have been fine because the alternator would have charged the battery. There would have been no return of the problem.

Taking it to cheap places like Auto Zone and Sears are probably going to get you nowhere. I am going to say that if you are going to take the time and pay one of those places to do a full check, take it to the dealership. At least there you know that the tech knows the car and what he's talking about. Taking it to some cheap mechanic is never the best solution, just the same way that taking your car to Jiffy Lube for oil changes is always a last-resort option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
is that the two things where the uhhh... otheer things connect to the battery? ( sorry ) if so, then i do not believe so. I guess it would be worth taking to the closest mazda dealership and having them look at it. What do you thin it will cost?
 
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