Like any vehicle, Mazda has had its fair share of issues over the years. Even the most well-made model year is going to have one or two vehicles that for one reason or another turn out to have issues. In general, however, we all know that some cars get qualified as lemons. Sometimes an automaker releases a new vehicle that clearly wasn't fully tested, and it hits the road like a bag of bricks. Other times they try to update it for a new generation vehicle and the new system has failed miserably. Mazda is no different, and there have been cases where some of their vehicles have had issues with transmission.
If you are interested in getting a Mazda, you may be in luck when it comes to issues with the transmission. Compared to a lot of other vehicles, Mazda has actually been relatively trouble-free in the world of transmission problems. That's not to say every Mazda is without issues by any means. The Mazda 3 has had a few issues over the years, but generally speaking it's not just the transmission that's the problem.
Let's take a look at some of the most popular Mazda models on the road, and see how they fare when it comes to transmission issues.
The Mazda3 is one of the most popular models that Mazda has ever produced. Dating back to 2004, there haven't been a ton of transmission issues with the Mazda 3 relative to other vehicles, but that doesn't mean it has been with some problems.
2004: The first year of the Mazda 3 had a few complaints relating to the transmission shifting roughly or not being able to hit every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration logged a handful of complaints that were rated as annoying rather than severe. A few drivers had issues when they got up to speed on the highway with not being able to properly hit 4th gear. Others complained that the transmission failed entirely, and it needed to be replaced. These were rare issues over although
2005 to 2010: For these 6 years of the Mazda 3 there were not any significant transmission issues. Minor issues certainly, things like grinding going into gear and clutch feeling, as well as transmission hesitation and even the knobs breaking off on the manual transmission sometimes. Overall, the transmission problems were barely notable during this time.
Mazda issued a recall in 2009 for over 24,000 2010 Mazda3 units due to a short-circuiting issue that could cause problems with transmission shifting.
2012: This was probably the worst year for the Mazda 3 transmission but don't let that make you feel like this was a bad year at all. These were still low numbers; they were just more frequent that other years. Some drivers had problems with the gears grinding or loss of power while driving. It was still fairly infrequent.
2012 was really the last year that had any kind of significant issues reported with the transmission for the Mazda 3 overall. That means eight solid years of vehicles have been produced since that time so it's safe to say that at least in terms of transmission, the Mazda 3 is overall a reliable vehicle that is worth taking a look at if you're interested in buying one. Keep in mind however, that the Mazda 3 has had issues not related to transmission that you should be aware of depending on the year that you're going to buy.
The Mazda 5 was a minivan that was available from 2006 until 2014. It was discontinued in the United States in that year though it continued to be sold in other countries beyond that. It was a generally problem-free vehicle in terms of transmission issues, and in fact, according to CarComplaints.com, there were barely any issues reported with the Mazda 5 transmission over the entire life of the vehicle.
Complaints issues regarding transmission in the Mazda 5 for extremely rare and often very minor as well. Given that no vehicle is perfectly made, it's safe to say that the issues with the Mazda 5 transmission are, on average, insignificant. It was no worse than any other vehicle on the road. If you're looking at a used Mazda 5 as your next vehicle, it's unlikely that the transmission is going to give you any issues and if it does you can consider it a fluke.
The mid-size Mazda 6 has been in production since 2002. It's one of Mazda's more popular models and while it is relatively problem-free in terms of transmission issues there have been a couple years and had more problems than others.
2008: The 2008 model year of the Mazda 6 was overall a fairly exceptional year. It did have a few more issues reported with transmission failure than previous model years, but the problems in general were not remarkable. Car complaints actually gives the 2008 Mazda 6 its seal of Awesomeness despite the slightly higher number or transmission problems detailed for this year.
2014: Several drivers reported a fairly severe transmission issue in their 2014 Mazda 6. The transmission will begin to make a high-pitched whine and sometimes failed completely requiring a transmission replacement. The average cost of this repair was $3,250. It occurred at about 55,000 miles. Again, the numbers were not exceptionally high, but this is something to keep in mind if you're looking at a 2014 Mazda 6
2016: Some drivers reported problems with their transmission hesitating and the 2016 Mazda 6 model. Not a high number by any means, but it didn't pop up for several drivers
The CX-3 is another popular Mazda model that is still in production today. Fortunately, there are a ton of transmission issues with the cx3 overall. The worst year for transmission in the cx-3 has proven to be the 2016 model year. Several drivers reported things like the shifter vibrating or losing speed in the transmission fluid draining due to a leak. This was a fairly limited occurrence though, most likely fluke rather than the standard as few drivers have reported anything like that happening in there cx-3
CX-5 is one of Mazda's best models. It looks great and tends to run great as well, but there have been transmission issues in the past with several years of the CX-5. The average repair cost for a transmission issue with a CX-5 is about $3,800. And it does tend to occur before 50,000 miles, so there's going to be on the lookout for.
2016: The 2016 model year of the Mazda CX-5 seems to have the most complaints relating to transmission issues. By no means does that mean there were a lot of transmission issues, but several drivers reported that the transmission would not engage, and it occurred even before 10,000 miles. Luckily, that would usually mean it was still under warranty so that repair cost was not an issue here. Others reported that the vehicle started rolling when in park due to transmission issue as well.
2017: In 2017 there were several drivers who pointed out that the Mazda CX-5 would vibrate fairly severely when the weather was cold. To the point that at least one driver likened it to driving a car that didn't even have a floor in it. though it was not a problem that caused the vehicle to stop working, it was extremely annoying, and it would happen on average at under 5,000 miles.
The Mazda CX-9 SUV has been in production for several years and most of them have been free of transmission issues. Between 2007 and 2013 however some issues did crop up that tended to occur somewhere between 65000 and 70000 miles. The worst year for transmission problems in the Mazda CX-9 seem to be 2012. Again, we need to point out that when we say worst year, we don't mean it was bad by any means. There were only a handful of complaints lodged regarding transmission problems in the CX-9. Overall, this is a very reliable vehicle.
The problems that were reported that with a faulty transmission or vibration, these where are fairly minor overall, and actually did not cost that much to fix on average unless a full transmission was needed
Between the years 2000 and 2011, Mazda was producing an SUV called the Mazda Tribute. That was a fairly popular vehicle overall, but it was also one of the most problematic in terms of transmission for Mazda. The 2001 model year has a number of complaints lodged with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration relating to transmission problems. several drivers reported issues like not being able to shift into reverse, or the transmission failing so totally it needed to be entirely rebuilt. It was quite a mixed bag of issues that could affect this vehicle all of them essentially leading to transmission failure.
The same sort of issues affected the 2008 model year of the Mazda Tribute as well, though in fewer numbers overall. Because the Mazda Tribute is such an old vehicle at this point however, transmission is only one of the issues you really need to worry about if you were interested in buying one. The newest tribute you could possibly get is still nine years old after all.
The Bottom Line
Mazda has actually been in business since the year 1920, so this is their 100-year anniversary. When they started, they were just a tool manufacturer, and they began to create vehicles in 1931. After all that time it's no wonder that they refined a pretty decent technique for making quality vehicles. And, as we've seen most of their vehicles do run exceptionally well.
The 2020 lineup of Mazda vehicles includes the Mazda 3, the Mazda 6, the Mazda cx-3, the Mazda CX 30, the Mazda CX-9, and the Mazda CX-5. All of these vehicles have proven to be remarkably problem-free in terms of transmission issues not just for the 2020 year, which is hard to judge because we're only part way through the year and a lot of complaints have yet to be lodged, but for past years. 2019 and 2018 are all nearly clear of complaints for every single one of these models as it relates to transmission.
The complaints that do exist for the current crop of Mazda vehicles are the kind of complaints that you're likely to find for anything from a Ford F-150 to a Volkswagen Passat to a Porsche Cayenne. Which is to say that, as we've mentioned before, every vehicle has the potential to have a few problems. It's not a problem that the model as a whole suffers from, however. That means you don't need to worry about buying a Mazda any more than you'd have to worry about buying literally any other vehicle in terms of how the transmission is going to perform for you
If anything, Mazda is setting a standard in the industry when it comes to their transmission. They seem to stand up far better than other vehicles have in the past. If you are rolling the dice on a car in the hopes that the transmission is going to work, you could do a lot worse than ending up with a Mazda of any model. That's pretty impressive overall for their entire vehicle lineup to have such solid performance all across the board in nearly every model year.
Again, the issues we mentioned while noteworthy, are not the standard for these Mazda models by any means. If you're interested in buying a new Mazda, or a used Mazda, just can't mechanic that you trust to give it a once-over and pay some extra attention to the transmission if that's what you're worried about. The odds are in your favour that if you're buying a Mazda that's been made in the last 10 years or so, the transmission should not be a problem at all.