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Hello all. First post. I have a couple of questions about my Mazda3.

I purchased it new in 2006. I have been keeping up with regular maintenance. It's been about 12 years now, and oddly enough there is very little rust on the body.

The engine also has very low milage. I broke 80,000km's about 6 months ago. Yes, I don't drive much, but I do drive (almost) every day. Mostly to work and errands, which are both usually very close.

My question is, given that it's this old, what should I expect to start failing? The engine still purrs, and the transmission doesn't appear to have any issues.

Anything I should pay specific attention to, given the age of the vehicle? I don't plan on getting rid of it any time soon, but at the same time I don't plan on putting thousands of dollars into repairs. I've been changing the stuff you would normally expect to change over time (breaks, battery, belts, filters, oil, fluids, etc) and fully expect to do so as time goes on, but if the tranny fails, it's not worth dropping a few thousand to fix.
 

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I don't know what problems are considered common for Mazda 3s, but I'd say as long as you're keeping up with regular maintenance there's really no way of gauging what might be close to failing. Some vehicles go forever with proper maintenance, and these little cars are freaking beasts!! Make sure you regularly change the cabin air filter, don't skimp on oil changes, and don't forget to wash off any salt that accumulates from snow season depending on where you live.

My 07 just hit 173k and I haven't had many problems; my year (don't know about yours) has a timing chain which is freaking awesome, cause belts don't last very long. I've had mine for 4 years and it's my love!!

I've had to replace sway bar links, rotors, brakes, an O2 sensor, tires, oil (duh), and air filters. I'll probably need to do a tune-up soon, and yesterday my AC on the driver's side started blowing hot while the passenger side is ice cold (trying to diagnose now).

It is extremely important to keep up with the oil changes; I use synthetic in mine as natural oil can cause sludge issues. I wish I could remember where I found the resource, but I read an amazing article about why a manufacturer's projected oil life should not affect the frequency of changes. I'll try to summarize; hopefully it makes sense!

Basically, no engine is 100% efficient, so any unburned fuel has to go somewhere. A lot of it ends up in the oil, and since fuel is a solvent, it eats away at your seals. Infrequent oil changes can result to higher fuel residue levels in your oil, which, in turn, can significantly shorten the life of your seals and gaskets. So yeah, sticking to your oil change schedule is super important!!

I've been doing some research on when to do a 40% transmission fluid change; my owner's manual doesn't provide a schedule, but I know it's something that needs to be done. I'm gonna be doing mine this month. From what I've read, a 40% change (which is what you get by just draining as much fluid as you can, measuring what was drained, and replacing the exact volume) every 25-50k miles is more than sufficient to keep your transmission healthy. A lot of places say not to mess with it unless you're having tranny issues, but bad/dirty fluid can actually CAUSE issues, so for me, I'd rather take a little time to do maintenance than wait till it's too late!!!

I know this wasn't as specific as you were probably looking for, but I thought I'd throw it out there anyway. Hopefully someone else can weigh in with some specifics for you!!
 

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Forgot to mention, keep a close eye on your belts, hoses, etc!! I killed one of my old vehicles by not noticing worn out rubber!!!
 

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Motor mounts. Nothing you can really do except don't drive like an idiot, and avoid bad roads when posssible. I drove my 2006 hard and it had tires with stiff sidewalls. MMs were replaced ~70K miles. I believe this is a common premature replacement.

Around 80k, my ABS (control module?) failed. I believe the mechanic said something had dried out, perhaps from lack of usage (plus I live in the desert, literally). The problem seem to have been brought on and/or exacerbated by braking while hitting a bump at speed (something I usually try to avoid, but not always possible).

My biggest problem was the fuel pump. It failed around 85k. My private mechanic sourced a used one, then another, then another. I lost count! Parts and labor were covered under warranty, so it didn't drain me, but it did leave me stranded at least twice, and really undermined my confidence in the car for awhile. I must have finally gotten a good one installed b/c it was fine for a 2+ years until I traded the car in last month.

My 02 sensor also failed, early on. Cheap part, but expensive labor.

Serpentine found to have a hole in it at 110k miles. Mechanic (an old timer) was surprised to see such a thing. Due to labor, A/C belt was replaced at the same time.
 
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