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Warm Greetings!

We purchased our first Mazda 3 (or any Mazda for that matter as we have been a Toyota/Subaru family up to this point) and after 1K miles, I really do like the vehicle and its driving dynamics. We will probably have many more Mazdas in our future. J

Have a few newbie questions:

1. Maintenance

Are there any maintenance tips that go beyond what Mazda recommends? Things to do ‘extra’ and things to avoid?

For example, with Toyota Prius, the wisdom is that one should make one transmission fluid change well before the factory schedule because the first transmission fluid supply gets dirty very quickly.

Any such tips? We’d like to have this vehicle last a long long time.

2. Driving Characteristics - downshifting on steep hills

One of the key question is whether regular/constant engine braking at high rpm (4000 to 5000) is fine for the vehicle.

We drive a lot in the mountains and in all our other vehicles, we use engine braking extensively to save our brakes. The Mazda 3 is unique in that compared to our other vehicles, the engine is much much more ‘slick’ or ‘slippery’ so we don’t feel much engine braking until we downshift to a point where the engine is revving around 4K rpm and 5K is not unusual.

Question: Is this bad for the engine and gear box? Should we just stay in a lower rpm (say 3K?) and just prepare to pay for brake pads?

I do wish that there was an OD setting like on the Prius where the engine keeps downshifting automatically depending on speed. With the Mazda 3, I have to manually ‘paddle shift’ down the gears depending on the incline. I find this easy but my wife finds it too complex and distracting.

3. ‘Hacks’

Are there hacks that we can do safely without risking the car’s durability? I’m thinking of things like the infotainment system or anything else.

Also, when we purchased the Mazda, it had some kind of electronic chip that ties into a anti-theft system. The dealer said that I can purchase the chip for something like $1800 which seem outrageous. Is that standard factory or after factory part? I wonder if there’s aftermarket suppliers who provide the chip for a lot less.

4. Paint protection.

Currently this car is parked outside in the son. Without wanting to do extensive clay jobs, half or whole day work, what would you guys recommend in terms of relatively quick wax/protectant after washing that goes on fast but offer good UV protection. Time is at a premium for me or I would do one of those all day affairs with the latest and greatest.

5. Happy to receive any other tips.

Thanks in advance for any help from you pro owners….J
UL
 

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1: definitely change the transmission fluid out early to get break-in metals out sooner rather then later.

My 2014 manual requires 15k drain n fill of 1.8 quarts of transmission fluid in order for it to remain 100% smooth as butter and not notchy and grindy... but we run it HARD.

2: Brake pads are cheaper to replace then worn out engines / transmissions from excessive downshift engine braking. I learned this from the Semi Truck industry.

4: clay bar the paint to remove contaminats and apply a wax of your choice. Then proceed to apply a quick spray on wax periodically, say, every 2nd or 3rd wash to constantly have a layer of protection on the paint. Should be shiny and blemish free for YEARS.
 

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While Zaino is an excellent wax, I respectfully disagree that any wax, at any price including the ones that go to $200/can, can provide as much paint protection as either a paint sealant, or for even more protection compared to nano ceramic coatings (which are 8X harder than our paint's clear coat).
 
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