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2012 Mazda 3 Problems – What You Need To Know!

2012 Mazda 3 Problems

Unfortunately, most reported 2012 Mazda 3 problems were related to the transmission. Other reported problems had to do with the interior, engine, clutch, AC and heating system, body and paint, and others. 

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The best resource for understanding the different mechanical problems with any vehicle is by listening to what current and previous owners say about their cars. Luckily, many online resources and websites allow owners to report information about the mechanical problems they face with their vehicles.

For instance, the 2012 Mazda 3 received a total of 33 reported complaints to carcomplaints.com, 320 reported complaints to vehiclehistory.com, and 113 reported complaints to Edmunds.com.

In this article, we provide a summary of the intensive review of all reported complaints about the 2012 Mazda 3 vehicle. In summary, we provide detailed information about the problem category, suggested repair options or repair costs, and the mileage at which the problem occurred.

2012 Mazda 3 Description


Before summarizing the main reported problems about the 2012 Mazda 3, we would like to provide a quick overview of the main vehicle characteristic.

According to cars.usnews.com, the 2012 Mazda 3 was featured as one of the top 2012 Hatchbacks, 2012 Affordable Small Cars, 2012 Compact Cars, Used Hatchbacks under $10K, and Used Small Cars under $10K. 

The vehicle is featured for the great handling experience and the very good fuel economy. Some of the new add-ons to this model year is the Skyactiv engine option.

The 2012 Mazda 3 seats up to five passengers, get from 18 to 28 miles per gallon on city roads, and 25 to 40 miles per gallon on the highways. The vehicle comes with a front-wheel-drive and gets from 148 to 263 horsepower.

The vehicle comes with either a 2.0 or 2.5 four-cylinder engine that is associated with either a five or six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. The fuel tank capacity of the 2012 Mazda 3 ranges from 14.5 to 15.9 gallons, and the curb weight from 2,866 to 3,104 lbs.

According to Kelly Blue Book, the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2012 Mazda 3 is $16,000, and the price can get up to $18,500 with higher trims. 

2012 Mazda 3 Problems 

In this section, we cover the most reported problems about the 2012 Mazda 3 vehicle, including the transmission, interior, engine, clutch, AC and heating, airbag, and other problems.


  • 2012 Mazda 3 transmission problems



Transmission problems are one of the worst problems that any driver would like to deal with. This is because they usually require high repair costs and might lead to a complete vehicle failure. To fix transmission problems, you must take the vehicle to a repair shop or a dealership because even if you have the required skill set, you will need certain tools to get the problem resolved.

Unfortunately, the most reported problem with the 2012 Mazda 3 is related to the transmission, including transmission grinding, whining, losing power, and clunking.

Gear grinding is a very common problem with the Mazda 3 vehicles around 20,000 miles. Grinding would start mostly in the 3rd to 4th gears. The problem was reported by at least ten owners and was resolved by replacing the gears for about $4,800. This repair price is considered very high when it comes to mechanical repairs.

Transmission whining is another very common problem with 55,000 miles Mazda 3 vehicles. If you ignore the problem, you will deal with complete transmission failure that requires a transmission replacement for about $5,500 to get resolved.

Several owners complained of power lost due to issues with their 34,000 miles 2012 Mazda 3 vehicles. To get the problem resolved, they had to replace a couple of parts in their transmission. The owners did not include information about repair options or repair costs. 

Lastly, transmission clunking is another frequently reported problem about the 201 Mazda 3 vehicles around 28,000 miles. If you’ve experienced such a problem, you might need to replace several parts of your transmission, including the mount. 


  • 2012 Mazda 3 transmission problems



The second most reported problem about the 2012 Mazda 3 is related to central issues like the dashboard, AMP, front seats, and water leaks.

Issues with dashboard separation and failure were very common with the 2012 Mazda 3 vehicles around 92,000 miles. Unfortunately, all owners who reported such a problem were not able to get it resolved as the clips were “poorly made,” per owners’ description. 

Issues with the Bose AMP could occur around 60,000 miles on this vehicle. To get the problem resolved, you need to replace the Bose package for about $1,500. In general, most reported complaints about this problem indicated that even after replacing the part, the problem was not completely resolved.

Other interior problems that you might experience in this 2012 Mazda 3 include broken seats. Broken seats were reported in vehicle s around 63,000 miles, and to get the problem resolved, and they had to replace the seat for about $400.

Lastly, several owners reported water leak in their 18,000 miles vehicles due to AC drainage pipe disconnection allowing water to drain into the driver’s side of the vehicle. To get the problem resolved, the owners had to replace the pipe, and luckily, repairs were covered under warranty. 


  • 2012 Mazda 3 engine problems



Similar to transmission problems, engine problems are very significant and require very high repair costs to get resolved. While engine problems were not reported as frequent as the transmission problems, it is important to highlight the most significant issues with the 2012 Mazda 3 engine.

The biggest issues you might experience could be related to engine surging or engine losing power.

Engine sudden acceleration was frequently reported about the 2012 Mazda 3 vehicle around 1,200 miles. The problem causes the car to surge and accelerate suddenly, especially when releasing the clutch and switching from 3rd to 4th gears. The owners did not report information about repair options or repair costs. However, it is more likely that the repair was covered under warranty since these cars were relatively new.

Lastly, 44,000 miles 2012 Mazda 3 vehicles might undergo sudden power loss, as reported by three owners. The issue with this problem is that it could occur when driving at very high speeds on the highways leading to many safety issues. To get the problem resolved, the owners had to replace multiple parts, including the pressure switches, bolts, plugs, gasket, and others.


  • 2012 Mazda 3 clutch problems



Clutch problems were reported multiple times about the 2012 Mazda 3 vehicle, and all of the reported complaints were related to premature clutch failure. 

The 2012 Mazda 3 might undergo significant issues with the clutch around 22,000 miles. To get the issues resolved, you might need to replace the clutch for about $1,250. Unfortunately, most owners reported that they couldn’t get repairs to be covered under warranty. 


  • 2012 Mazda 3 AC and heating system problems



While it is very rare to have AC problems, the 2012 Mazda 3 was reported to have a nonworking AC system around 30,000 miles. To get AC problems resolved, you might need to pay about $280 on repair costs.

Another reported problem about the 2012 Mazda 3 was related to hearing some ticking sound coming from the blower motor despite the speed of the fan. This problem occurred mostly at vehicles around 19,000 miles. The complaint did not include information about repair options or repair costs.


  • 2012 Mazda 3 body and paint problems



Body and paint problems were also very rare with the 2012 Mazda 3 as only one owner reported a complaint about paint scratches in a 1,000 miles vehicle. Scratches occurred mostly on the vehicle’s pillars.


  • 2012 Mazda 3 lights problems



One owner reported a complaint about headlights not working in a 75,000 miles 2012 Mazda 3 vehicle. To get the problem resolved, he had to replace the light and fix the wiring and leak issues. 


  • 2012 Mazda 3 steering problems



Steering problems were also reported one time about a 1,000 miles 2012 Mazda 3 vehicle. The problem was related to issues with the steering fluid reservoir valve. This issue required the driver to refill the steering fluid once every week. To get the problem resolved completely, the owner had to replace the valve. 


  • 2012 Mazda 3 wheels and hubs problems



One owner reported a complaint about hearing loud tire thumping noise in a 29,000 miles 2012 Mazda 3 vehicle. The owner was not able to resolve the problem as the mechanics were not able to identify a cause for the problem. 


  • 2012 Mazda 3 windows problems



Windows problems were also reported one time about a 60,000 miles 2012 Mazda 3 vehicle. The owner indicated an explosion to the sunroof window without a clear reason and despite the gentle use and regular maintenance of the vehicle. The owner did not include information about repair options or repair costs. 

Is it worth repairing the 2012 Mazda 3?


The decision of whether to repair a mechanical problem of a vehicle goes through the same logic, whether it is a Mazda 3 or any other vehicle. 

It would help if you asked yourself several questions:

  • Is repair cost close or similar to the value of the vehicle?
  • Are there any major problems in the car that also need attention?
  • When repairing the mechanical issue, is it common that it will come back?


If your answer to any of the mentioned problems is yes, then it might not be worth spending a penny trying to resolve the mechanical issue. Thus, the best option for you is to get rid of the vehicle by selling it as junk and taking advantage of the money to start payments for a new vehicle. 

Luckily, Cash Car Buyer can help you. We are one of the top-rated junk car removal companies in the country. We don’t only buy any vehicle you don’t need; we also provide free towing and the top price your vehicle can get around your area.

All that you need to do is to give us a call, get our free instant offer, accept the offer, get your vehicle removed safely within one to three days, and receive your cash payment right on the spot.


2012 Mazda 3 Reviews – What do 2012 Mazda 3 owners say about their car?


In this section, we included information about what current owners think of the 2012 Mazda 3 Problems.  


  • 2012 Mazda 3 owner one



The first owner reported a complaint to carcomplaints.com: “2012 Mazda S six speed manual under original manufacture warranty.


Purchased as Certified pre-owned Mazda with 12k miles in April 2014.


While shifting from 3 to 4th gear, the gear would grind. The transmission would not jump out of gear.


I reported the problem to the Mazda service department. Head technician rode with me and he verified complaint. He told me he did not need to hear anymore and to make an appointment with the service writer and to tell him it was a verifiable concern. Appointment was made the following week.


During the week prior to appointment the grinding stopped. Service department had the vehicle for 24 hours and called me to state they could not verify the concern as the problem was not repeatable. Advised for me to take the car back to them when the problem re-occurred. Even though the head technician had driven with me and heard and saw the shifting problem and it was still under Warranty, they could not do anything unless it was repeatable.”


  • 2012 Mazda 3 owner two



The second owner reported a problem to Edmunds.com: “I bought my Mazda 3 last summer after researching what used model would be best for the best price.  I was initially  impressed with the car for the price and mileage on the car.  The reviews were so strong on the resale and longevity that I was comfortable paying a higher price for a certified used car.  After a week the cabin noise was driving me nuts so I took it to my mechanic for a once over.  He told me that nothing appeared to stand out as the culprit for the noise.  I began looking on other websites to find a solution.  The consensus was that the light body weight that allows for speed also allows for road noise to invade the cabin.  For over a year I have just amped up the radio to cover the noise.  A week ago I received a notice from Mazda about a gap above the temperature and time display that separates during high temperatures.  They called it an “extended warranty program” and not a recall.   I took my Mazda back to the original Mazda service company.  During the repair, they did an inspection of the car and found the #3 motor mount had started to crack and leak.  These motor mounts are oil filled apparently.  Again, I researched before allowing them to fix it. What I found was that the Mazdas have a problem with their motor mounts and this is a common repair.  I thought great, maybe this is why the cabin is so loud.  When I picked up my vehicle from the service company, I could not start the car until the third attempt.  The front end shook like the engine was seizing.  But the car eventually turned over and was running.  The “repaired” dash also had a bigger gap above the time/temperature display. (add a lot of arguing, cursing, and freaking out here and then we will fast forward and save you the drama).  The service manager then told me that the Mazdas (particularly around my year) are known to have difficulty with “cold” starts after a “rich” start.  A “rich” start being the very first start, then if the car is not allowed to warm for ten minutes and is turned off and started again, it fails or delays to start.  He also informed me that the “gap” in the dash board is not actually what the repair was for, and since the dash does not have clips to pull the dash down to the clock, that this is what the repair will look like.  So this is the real truth, the Mazda 3 is known for it's loud cabins, cold start problems, bad motor mounts and gapped dashboard problems.  And all these things can't help you sell it and run like hell.”


  • 2012 Mazda 3 owner three



The third owner reported a problem to vehiclehistory.com: “I love my car. The only problems I've had are with my tires but usually that's from something that was in the road. It drives so smoothly and nicely and it's very comfortable to drive. I feel safe when driving and I notice the blind spots are extremely small and don't interfere with my driving. It has enough room for what I need right now but I'm able to fit quite a lot in it. I get great gas mileage and it drives nicely I'm traffic. It's by far one of my favorite cars I've ever owned.”



2012 marks the second year after the worst model year of the Mazda 3 vehicles. After the significant issues reported about the 2010 Mazda 3 vehicles, Mazda did a great job reducing the number of complaints from 173 to only 33. Most reported complaints to have to do with the transmission, interior, engine, clutch, AC and heating, and others. 

Even after the great improvements, transmission problems still ranked as the most reported about the 2012 model year. Looking at the different reported complaints, it is obvious that the issues did not occur at a specific mileage or age of the vehicle. However, it is fair to say that Mazda made a big improvement in eliminating clutch problems; however, it introduced several transmission issues.

Although very few complaints were reported about the 2012 Mazda 3, these complaints required very high repair costs getting up to $5,800 in some cases. 

With this information in mind, current owners can make well-informed decisions about whether to pay for car repairs or get rid of their 2012 Mazda 3. Similarly, new shoppers now have a clearer picture of the type of problems they will face and at which mileage. This is very important for new people who are shopping for used vehicles. The reported complaints can help them decide what type of issues to check for at which mileage.

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