2004 to 2020 Mazda 3 Forum and Mazdaspeed 3 Forums banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
New poster here.

I just took delivery on a 2017 Mazda3 sport sedan, manual transmission, basic model. I currently still own a 2009 Mazda 3 s Sport hatchback (haven't had a chance to put it up for sale yet), and owned a 2006 of the same hatchback before that. Prior to that I had a 2002 Protege 4 door sedan.

I loved how both the prior Mazda 3's and the Protege held the road, especially at speed. This 2017 Mazda 3 seems to be a bit "squirrely"; in other words there is noticeable wander when driving, especially at higher speeds. It doesn't quite "sit down" on the road the way the previous ones did.

My question is: Is that how all of this model behaves? If so, is there anything I can do about it, in terms of either different tires/wheels or suspension modifications (nothing elaborate, please!). (It has 16" wheels and tires).

Thanks in advance.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,982 Posts
What tires came on the car? The OEM tires are usually crap. My car was equipped with Yokohama Blue Earth S34s, they did just as yours are doing and were even worse in the rain. I took them off before the car reached 500 miles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Bridgestone Ecopias. I was thinking it might be the tires (but it's also got the 16" rims). What did you end up putting on yours? (I will be getting snows in a couple of months anyway, but would really like the summer tires to handle better than this does).
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,982 Posts
I put Dunlop Signature HPs on my OEM 16" rims, but I also have a set of 17" rims with Continental Extreme Contact Sports mounted on them.
 

·
Rubber side down
Joined
·
267 Posts
I have noticed a tracking issue with my 2016 sGT, though usually the road has to have a pretty substantial groove, seldom do standard irrigation grooves on freeways affect the tracking. I have also noticed that the car seems to be very susceptible to being pushed by airflow. When I pass cars on the freeway, I can feel a slight push by vehicles as I pass them. More so than I have ever felt in any other car. I was also in a situation where I was driving behind a charter bus going extremely fast for such a large vehicle on a 2 lane road (70 mph+). The car was being shoved left and right so roughly I thought a wheel was coming loose or something in the steering had come loose. As soon as I tucked in closer behind the bus out of the dirty air, it smoothed out. This on a perfectly straight, very smooth road. No irrigation grooves in the surface, just smooth black tarmac.

I am lowered on Bilstein b14 suspension, currently on factory 18" wheels and tires with 15mm spacers. Alignment is true. Is there anybody in this forum who studied fluid dynamics who might be able to confirm this as a possible cause?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
If the issue for you isn't bad tyres as arathol said.

You could be feeling the effects from the GVC system if you're traveling on curvy roads although its designed to help reduce wandering or steering input, I do also feel they are are a bit susceptible to bump steer or tram-lining (especially now as mine is lowered and has 18x8.5 +38 with 245 tyres) the section of road I travel on is quite poor as well and on average roads its insignificant.

Overall I think it handles great and my 2017 Mazda 3 on straight roads no steering input is needed and feels planted.

For comparison my previous daily was a 2014 Jeep patriot, I actually sold my girlfriends 2010 Mazda 2 I bought her to learn in to buy the Mazda 3 but I liked how it drove so much I gave her the Jeep instead.

Heres a link to a GVC demonstration in case you didn't know about it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Just curious, have you checked your tire pressure? Under inflated would usually produce a "wallow" groggy response, over inflated would product a harsh "dancing" response, never settling down.
 

·
Gearhead
Joined
·
1,841 Posts
Got rid of my OEM tires for Michelin A/S 3+'s the day after I picked up the car. No wandering, no tramlining issues, even though some of the local roads have notoriously bad/even pavement.

Car tracks well IMO.

BTW, after putting 1,000 miles on it, as I do with every new car, I had the alignment checked. He put it on his special Hunter alignment rack, and showed me that it was really good on all parameters. No charge, though when I tried to tip him, he said against company policy and said "cameras in all bays," so I went to the store and bought the entire shop some pastries (food they can accept).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
723 Posts
I have a basic 2015 sedan with the 2.0L engine, automatic transmission, 16-inch alloy wheels and the original factory-issued Yokos.

I've driven this car over 25,000 miles so far and am very pleased. I continue to be impressed with the steady handling and steering of this car on all sorts of road surfaces. The electric power steering is a bit different than hydraulic power steering that I was used to, and different in a good way. It is very sensitive to steering input, and it seems I can "thread the needle" better with the responsive and accurate steering of this little Mazda.

I have noticed this car is affected more by the wind than other cars I've owned . I attribute this to the relatively low weight of about 3000 pounds, which is the lightest car I've owned since my ole MGB. I would not think the wind sensitivity is due to aerodynamics, as this car has a coefficient of drag of 0.26, which is among the best on the market today and certainly far better than any I've owned previously.

My car is driven 90%+ on the highway at various highway speeds, and I do not experience the squirrely, wandering, floating sensations you report in your 2017. I can't explain the reason. Hopefully you'll get it worked out to your satisfaction.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Arathol Do you know something the Mazda don't because that video demonstration is from official Mazda the last test clearly demonstrates straight line steering input with and without GVC.

Now whether its because of Jinba-Ittai, Skyactiv chassis, Skyactiv body, Skyactiv transmission, Skyactiv engine, Skyactiv vehicle dynamics, G-vectoring control or another marketing name they Mazda say the GVC "System" affects steering/handling while traveling straight and turning.

It could boils down to the electronic interference vs predictability example is why passengers get thrown around more then the driver because the driver predicts the G forces from accelerating or turning and counters them unconsciously (try accelerating with your left foot).

Now I never said GVC was or is the reason, I never said tyres weren't. The OP could be sensitive to G maybe they can feel the electronic interference whatever it may be or maybe something is malfunctioning "squirrely or wander" is rather vague and subjective.

I've read alot of reviews and none mention squirrely or wander in the handling and you're recommending someone swap tyres based those words and on your experience with Yokohamas, Hes got Bridgestones anyway! granted most OEM tyres don't grip very well or are loud but to most people they perform perfectly acceptable.

I would suggest reading into the vehicle dynamics, test drive another car to see if its the same or take it back to the dealer and get them to check if all those pass then possibly try new tyres.

BTW arathol here is the US page for G-vectoring control with the same video demonstration.
https://insidemazda.mazdausa.com/newsroom/g-vectoring-control/
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,982 Posts
Arathol Do you know something the Mazda don't because that video demonstration is from official Mazda the last test clearly demonstrates straight line steering input with and without GVC.

Now whether its because of Jinba-Ittai, Skyactiv chassis, Skyactiv body, Skyactiv transmission, Skyactiv engine, Skyactiv vehicle dynamics, G-vectoring control or another marketing name they Mazda say the GVC "System" affects steering/handling while traveling straight and turning.

It could boils down to the electronic interference vs predictability example is why passengers get thrown around more then the driver because the driver predicts the G forces from accelerating or turning and counters them unconsciously (try accelerating with your left foot).

Now I never said GVC was or is the reason, I never said tyres weren't. The OP could be sensitive to G maybe they can feel the electronic interference whatever it may be or maybe something is malfunctioning "squirrely or wander" is rather vague and subjective.

I've read alot of reviews and none mention squirrely or wander in the handling and you're recommending someone swap tyres based those words and on your experience with Yokohamas, Hes got Bridgestones anyway! granted most OEM tyres don't grip very well or are loud but to most people they perform perfectly acceptable.

I would suggest reading into the vehicle dynamics, test drive another car to see if its the same or take it back to the dealer and get them to check if all those pass then possibly try new tyres.

BTW arathol here is the US page for G-vectoring control with the same video demonstration.
https://insidemazda.mazdausa.com/newsroom/g-vectoring-control/
I know how G Vectoring works and what it does, do you?
Hint, its nothing whatsoever to do with "wandering" .:dunno:
I suggest you read that page, watch the videos and listen to Dave Coleman.
I know how crappy the OEM tires can be, as do many other owners, do you?
I had OEM tires that had similar bad driving characteristics. That went away when I replaced them with good tires. Did you?
The issue here is the something with the tires.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Update:

I brought it in to the dealer and they checked the alignment, and it was quite a bit off. They realigned it, and put the tires at 32PSI (they had been at 30), and told me to try it out.

Today I got to drive it about 70 miles over winding and straight roads. It's a hair better but still awful. It's like the steering has no center to return to.

After doing some experimentation, I noted that on a flat straightaway, about 20% of the time the car would just go straight. 40% of the time it would track to the right, and 40% to the left. Oddly enough, the direction this off-center tracking followed did not seem to follow the road pitch. In other words, there were places where the road was clearly slightly leaning to the right, and the car tracked left, and vice versa. It was pretty weird.

My sister came along for a short ride in it, and as a passenger she asked me what the heck was wrong with the car. Her description of how it felt was pretty close to what I feel, and that is like there is an unbalanced barrel of something that is rolling around in the trunk, causing the car to feel like it's shifting side-to-side when it shouldn't be. To me it feels like that but also like it's zig-zagging wandering forward as I drive it.

I can't take my eyes off the road even for a look at the speedometer, especially on even on a slight curve, or I will end up over the line.

Mind you, I drive the same roads with great frequency with my 2009 Mazda 3 hatchback, and have never once experienced anything like this.....

It's going back to the dealer on Monday. I don't know what's wrong but something sure is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
I have a 2017 and I've noticed none of what you're describing. It handles great and I've done a ton of highway driving already, with no issues. Hopefully you can get yours squared away and be able to actually enjoy it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
When I'm highway driving and going in a straight line, giving very little steering input, I find I occasionally loose contact with the road and the car very momentarily wanders for like a split second and until it senses steering input. Wonder if this is the electric power steering and the system that controls that.
 

·
*The Electrician*
Joined
·
906 Posts
Have they tried rotating the tires since the alignment?

I have felt what the OP is talking about, but only on a freshly graded gravel road with fresh marbles laid on top. It definitely fights to stay centered but is still easy to control and does exactly what I ask it to do. The torque steer in that situation is kinda fun too lol, tap the throttle and the back end becomes very lively as you counter steer the torque. I want to buy some lightly used medium compound gravel tires from a rally team and try them out next summer. I will be very interested to track the OP's progress in solving his problem in case I inadvertently create the same problem with all the hard driving Ive been doing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Mine sort of wanders a little when going straight. I think it's possibly because of the electric power steering. I have another car with electric PS and it does the same thing. I still have the factory Dunlop tires though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Update:

After that 70 mile drive that I noted in my first update, I brought it back in, and told the dealer I wanted the factory service rep to come look at the car, since it was so bad. They couldn't pin down what I was talking about at the dealer, so the factory guy came out and we spent 2 hours driving the thing and then doing a comparison to another Mazda3 (same trim level). The one they put me in to compare to was perfect. No problem, drove a lot like my 2009, held the road, steering wheel returned to center, etc. Finally, they get out back at the dealer, and they try to see if the steering wheels respond the same with the cars parked (but running). The steering wheel on the one they had me compare mine to behaved as you would expect; when turned about a quarter of a turn, it would snap back to center. When they tried to do that to mine, it just kind of sat there and didn't snap anywhere. The steering wheel couldn't seem to find its own center. They tried a third car, and it was also considerably better than mine (although not quite as snappy as the one I drove for comparison).

Well, clearly there's a problem. They wanted to try and do some steering parts replacement, which I said fine to, but I said to them I think you guys need to think about finding a way to getting me out of this car and putting me into one that works properly....This car came out of the factory with a major system problem and is NEVER going to be right. It only has 200 miles on it, and I have driven it for a total of 3 days out of the past 3 weeks because it is simply too unsafe to drive the way it is (and it's been at the dealer since Aug 28th anyway).

It's been at the dealership now for 10 days and 3 visits. I have opened a case with Mazda customer relations, and fully expect this to end up in lemon law land if they don't recognize that this was a truly unacceptable level of QC at the factory, and that I should not have to suffer for their mistakes. It would have been different if this had happened a few months after I bought the car, but straight out of the dealer it was bad, and it's just plain dangerous to drive it the way it is, and it should NEVER have made it to the dealer like this....and I don't want anything to do with it.

Very frustrating....
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top