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Hey everyone, After owning my 2000 volvo s70 and it almost hitting 300k miles, its starting to reach the spot where i'm going to start to throw money at it constantly even though it has been great to me. I've been looking at alot of cars and (as a college student) I wanted something reliable yet something...special (not a civic). I really love the mazda 3's looks and so far it seems like its a pretty reliable car? Is there anything i should watch out for? The year range I will be going for is most likely 2005-2007/2008...and it would probably have upwards of 85k miles - 120k miles.

Thanks!
 

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Demon Spawn
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make sure you check motor mounts they are a notorious issue with these cars, the main one that fails is #3 and it sits on the passenger side of the motor right under the coolant tank. this mount is easy to check simply looking at the rubber can usually reveal its condition, if you see big rips or cracks or holes in this rubber it needs to be replaced, the #3 mount is a fluid filled mount and once their is a crack and the fluid (which is hydraulic fluid and looks like motor oil) drains out the mount basically does nothing and stresses mainly the #1 mount which is drivers rear under the car near the firewall, so if mount #3 is bad expect to change #1 at the minimum, mazda calls transmission mounts motor mounts so #1 and #3 are holding the engine and 2 and 4 hold the transmission, #4 rarely has issues but if it does its a PITA to change as its under the battery tray. same with #2 it rarely fails or has issues even when #3 and #1 have failed and #2 is a metal bracket/plate looking mount with a rubber square and bolt hole that mounts between the transmission and subframe to hold the transmission. if you are looking at a manual car easy way to tell while driving igf it needs mounts is how much force is needed to shift, does it glide between gears or do you have to push it rather hard to go from say 1st to 2nd. if your driving an automatic an easy way to test while driving is to feel how it shifts, does it go into gear hard or does it delay shifts? also if you see anything that looks like dried oil under the coolant tank near mount #3 that mount has failed and that's the residue of the fluid. other than that just avoid the ones with HIDs since you are in college as HID bulbs are expensive to replace and not an easy DIY job, and if they have any issues it will cost a lot as well, whereas the standard lights are like all older cars.

motor mount diagram: http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/supermazdatech/2011-11-16_234249_mount.jpg

how to tell if a motor mount is bad:
note in the video how much the motor moves around (it should not be doing that)
 
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