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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi there

Joined to get some tips and advice on buying a high mileage Mazda 3.
I've owned Mazda's my whole adult life, first car was a 626LX 8 valve, then got a 323 Coupe, then another 626 12 valve, then a 2004 6 GS and in 2016 bought a 2006 Mazda 6 GT V6 standard to teach my kids how to drive stick. Still have it and my 17YO son loves it has "claimed" ownership of it.

Daughter starts a new internship job soon and needs a car. She will return to school in a year and will no longer need the vehicle so this could just be a one year thing.
Was looking for a Mazda 6 or a Ford Fusion (2013+) for the AWD, and came across a high mileage (220k km/136 k miles), reasonably priced (half of our budget), 2014 Mazda 3 GT sedan.
So looking for any advice as I am unfamiliar with the Skyactive engine. Already found that it has a timing chain and not a belt which is one less thing to worry about. Do these engines wear fast and start consuming oil? Any major maintenance required at this mileage? What do I need to know about the i-eloop?
Thanks in advance !
 

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2012 Mazda 3 GX MT5 non sky
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Hey J MAn
Welcome .
 
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220k isn't terrible provided that it was well cared for. You'll need to do the spark plugs and flush coolant if not done so already. Other items to consider might be flushing the trans fluid if auto or drain/refill gear oil if manual.

You might also want to flush the brake lines. If you're not doing this yourself and cost is an issue, I use a brake fluid moisture tester to help me figure out when to replace it. I'm at 180k kms and quite a ways off....

A word on the brake flush if you want to do it yourself. You have ABS in that car and to properly bleed it you need to have the equipment to do so. Involves a very expensive electronic tool that tell the computer to put the valve body into maintenance mode. I've been looking for a cheap alternative but so far nothing. What this means is that you cannot fully bleed the ABS module. If you get air in it, you will need to see the dealer. Solution is simple. If you don't drain below the reservoir, you know there's no air. Shorter bleeds with refills.

General inspection is a given. Overall these cars do well. If Mexico build (probably) be aware that some of us have experienced some excessive seizing of rear brake pads. Wears them out prematurely. Fix is easy, I made a post in the DIY subforum while back. I had a lot of issues and have managed to solve it.

Being that you're also in Canada, pay close attention to any rust. Especially underside of car. Undercoating is a good idea if you want it to last.

I can't think of much else. These cars are quite reliable overall. They have a very high safety rating
 

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2013 Mazda 3 i Hatchback
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One other thing particular to the skyactive engines: carbon buildup in the throttle body and intake valves. Skyactive engines have two attributes that lead to carbon buildup, high compression and direct injection. High compression engines tend to have a bit more blow-by gasses getting into the crank case, especially as they pile up the miles. These gasses, which also contain oil vapor, are recycled through the PCV system back into the intake to be burned in the engine. In an older engine, the fuel injectors used to inject fuel just before the intake valves, and the gas would clean any oil residue from the valves. In a direct-injected engine, the injectors squirt fuel directly into the combustion chamber, so there is no gas cleaning the intake valves. Over time, the oil carbonizes and builds up a thick layer of carbon on the intake valves. This reduces the air-flow into the engine, reducing power, fuel economy, and drivability complaints. In extreme cases, a chunk of carbon comes loose and jams a valve open, which is then hit by the piston and bent. Some newer direct injected engines have secondary injectors in the intake to periodically squirt gas on the intake valves to clean them.

Most people use an intake cleaner made for direct injection engines every 20-30k miles to clean off the valves, and manually clean the throttle body too. Installing an oil catch can in the PCV system can greatly reduce the amount of oil vapor that is recycled into the intake, reducing the need to clean the intake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your replies.
I do most of the work on my vehicles and yes, changing all fluids is one of the first things to do when you get a used vehicle.
I daily drive a Taurus SHO with 250k km/155k miles and my son still drives my old Mazda 6 GT-V6 with 272k km/170k miles so I am not afraid of high mileage vehicles as long as they are properly maintained.
Wife drives a Pathfinder and the issue described with carbon buildup is also common on the 2017+ which came with direct injection. Good to know that this engine has that.

Most vehicles "suffer" from certain things or have a weak spot, on my SHO is the PTU (Power Transfer Unit), on the Pathfinder is the CVT transmission and the Mazda 6 V6 is misfires/coils... so, what is/are the common issues on the 3, if any?
I remember reading somewhere that the i-eloop system requires the battery to be a special type. Did all 2014's come with this system? How can I tell it is working?
 

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Honestly, not a lot. Not much wide spread anyway. There's a few weak spots for sure (like the brakes I mentioned) but no real show stoppers. Even the valve carbon isn't a common problem. Sure it happens, but not enough to make any impact on the motor. Even if it was, it's suprisingly easy to do a walnut blast cleaning. Cases of it makeing any noticeable impact are rare. Mostly those who drive all city and short trips. These motors like a bit of highway driving.
 

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2012 Mz3 Sky & 2016 Mz6
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A word on the brake flush if you want to do it yourself. You have ABS in that car and to properly bleed it you need to have the equipment to do so. Involves a very expensive electronic tool that tell the computer to put the valve body into maintenance mode. I've been looking for a cheap alternative but so far nothing. What this means is that you cannot fully bleed the ABS module. If you get air in it, you will need to see the dealer. Solution is simple. If you don't drain below the reservoir, you know there's no air. Shorter bleeds with refills.
Isn't there the maintenance mode you put it in then flush like any other brakes (it was a special sequence with the parking brake when turning the car on, I'll look for the how-to I used, but it worked fine for me)
 

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Isn't there the maintenance mode you put it in then flush like any other brakes (it was a special sequence with the parking brake when turning the car on, I'll look for the how-to I used, but it worked fine for me)
No, that maintenance mode is for doing a brake service. There is a tool that bleeds the ABS box by activating the system and pumping fluid through it. Some of the more expensive scan tools have it as part of their diagnostic software.
 

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No, that maintenance mode is for doing a brake service. There is a tool that bleeds the ABS box by activating the system and pumping fluid through it. Some of the more expensive scan tools have it as part of their diagnostic software.
Oh, so just refilling reservoir with new fluid and bleeding the brakes all the way through still won't replace the fluid in the ABS box?

I was planning to bleed them again soon to cycle more fresh fluid in there.
 

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Yes, fresh fluid will cycle through the module eventually but not like it will with the lines and calipers. The OBD tool just makes it a lot faster and easier. If you are careful and keep the reservoir at least partially full when flushing it should be fine, but if you let it get too low there is a good chance of getting air in the system. You can bleed it the traditional way but it takes forever and sometimes you just can't get it all out. Thats when you really need the tool to activate the module.
 
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