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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

Here's a little intro on my car and I.

I have a 2010 Mazda 3 sport GS 2.5L with 6 speed manual transmission. The car is nearly 5 years old and has approximately 75,000km on it. There are no mods on it. I bought the car new in October 2009 and the warranty is about to expire in a month.

When I bought my car, I was living in Ottawa. I lived there for two years and mostly drove on the highway to get to work and to go to Montreal once or twice a month.

The last three years I've been living in Montreal and I've been getting around mainly by public transportation and have a habit of using my car about 1 to 3 times a week on average in the city.

I have always driven a manual ever since I got my license over a decade ago. I've always considered myself having good driving habits. I don't race, I don't let my foot rest on the clutch when I drive, I don't use the clutch friction to stand uphill, I'm usually a pretty regular driver and never do any crazy stuff.

I am having transmission and clutch issues and I would like to share them with you to get some advice and find a solution.

About 2-3 years after buying the car, I started having transmission problems all of a sudden. It just happened one day. I was driving around the city when my transmission shifter wouldn't go into first or second AT ALL. I was stuck at stops and traffic lights because I couldn't move the car. I would shift into higher gears and come back down and it would eventually get into first with a crunch. I initially brought it in to get it checked but the problem went away before I could show it to the mechanic. So they told me they couldn't do anything.

Later I started hearing weird noises from below the dash in the engine compartment when I accelerated at low RPMS in 1st, 2nd and sometimes in 3rd gear. It's pretty intermittent. The only way I can describe is is when the clutch engages or disengges, there is some kind of clunk or crunch sound. It also does that when I drive at low speeds and tap the gas pedal a bit as if something was loose and suddenly shifted. The noise is similar to when an engine hesitates, but there is no loss of power and the car doesn't rattle and bounce.

Now since my warranty is about to expire, I decided to take care of this once and for all. Last week I took it in and the garage said they'd change the synchro mesh on the 1st and 2nd gear under warranty. While working on that, they told me that my clutch should be changed because it had been worn down and had about 30% left. So they charged me for the part, but not for the labour since they were doing it at the same time as the transmission.

First, I am very disappointed that my clutch wore out so god damn fast! Most people I know who drive standard have never changed their clutch in the whole lifetime of their vehicle and some of them have cars with over 200,000km! So either there is a serious mechanical defect that made my clutch wear out, the clutch itself has super thin disks, or the materials they used are super cheap.

Second, after they made the repairs to my transmission, I noticed the clutch pedal was super soft and easy to push. There was barely any resistance. I don't remember my clutch being so easy to push. Second, my first and second gear are even harder than before. The first gear blocks more often and the second goes in with a crunch. Other gears are fine.

Here are my theories:

* The transmission is a piece of crap to begin with and has a manufacturing defect.
* There is insufficient fluid in the clutch hydraulics.
* There is an air bubble in the clutch hydraulics.
* The clutch master and/or slave cylinders are defective.

What I think are solutions to fix the problem:

* Get the clutch hydraulics checked.
* Replace the master/slave cylinders.
* Get the transmission rebuilt.
* Replace the whole transmission for a new one.

What are your opinions on this?
 

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I'm just going to go with what I've read on a post once where a mechanic mentioned that the clutch cylinders are found to be the weak link on these cars. Master or slave, dunno. The topic was actually about premature clutch wear. Just putting that out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm just going to go with what I've read on a post once where a mechanic mentioned that the clutch cylinders are found to be the weak link on these cars. Master or slave, dunno. The topic was actually about premature clutch wear. Just putting that out there.
I believe you. I've read about this too.

Would such a part be covered by the warranty?

Aditionally, I've noticed my car will start to vibrate when I park it and leave it idling in neutral. I'm not sure, but I think it went away when I depressed the clutch and would come back when I let it go. I'll have to check it again to confirm.

I'm started to think I just shouldn't have had them change the synchros. Everything feels all out of joint now. I'm so sad because I took care of my car so damn much to make sure I would not have problems like this over time. I'm really disappointed in Mazda.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I've brought back my car to the garage and had a technician come for a drive with me so I could show him the symptoms. He recognized the noise right away and said that was due to a bad mount.

And as it turns out, a transmission mount was busted.

That would explain the weird vibrations on neutral while stopped. It would probably also explain the difficulty shifting and that damn annoying clunking noise whenever I accelerated.

I'm picking up my car tonight. I sure hope all the symptoms are gone.

EDIT: Oh and I guess it could also explain why my clutch got used up so quickly....
 

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I hope that solves it! My co-worker just had the same issue in his 2010... I guess it's just a matter of time before I replace mine.
 

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Man, Feel for ya, but I do have to say that you are having minor issues with your car compared to mine... I am on my 5th clutch and just rolled 57.5k miles. No, this is not my first manual transmission, been driving them for 9 years now and never replaced the clutch on my first car (2002 VW Jetta 1.8T 5-speed).

I had a Spec stage 2 clutch put in my car last fall, and has been working great since.

I will take the whole story back even further than this, when my car had 7964 miles on it, my transmission let go of 3rd gear. The stealer$**t replaced my clutch at that time as well (all under warranty). Ever since this occured, my clutch has been garbage. It vibrates like hell a lot of the time and has ever since. All clutch components have been replaced every time with new clutch install. So now, I am driving this car with this clutch until it blows up or stops on the side of the road.
 

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Hi! Just reading your post, feels like the way i think about this car.

I have de BL 2010 model with 48k put on it. I've allready changed the clutch twice (first was aftermarket replacement but the car didn't go well with it) second was OEM.

I've allready changed all motor mounts and shock absorbers (just put in some Bilsteins).

I'm telling you this car is a manufacturing disaster!

There is no way in driving smooth with this car........it's a total fiasco from Mazda!!!!
 

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My experience with the 2013 Mazda 3 6spd. If not perfectly rev-matched for both up and downshift, I try to let off the throttle a bit to "stabilize" before accelerating. That seems to reduce the chatter like behavior. Other cars (Honda and Kia), I can beat the crap out the clutch and they did not require a new clutch even after 180K miles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok. So the mount has been fixed and I've been driving around for a week and a half.

The new mount certainly made a world of difference. First of all, my car doesn't "bounce" as much as it did. For some time I thought I had acquired some bad habits and was making my car jump when starting in 1st and 2nd like I was a newbie. I think the mount had a lot to do with it as the transmission wasn't properly sitting in place.

Second, the shifting is a lot smoother and the weird clunky mechanical noise when accelerating is gone.

However, I still have the occasional problem of my shifter being blocked out of 1st gear and sometimes having a rough 2nd gear change with a "crunch".

Also, I think it's important that I tell you that the mechanic at the garage that I spoke with told me that some Mazdas are manufactured in Mexico. Especially the ones sold in the U.S. and they are prone to having a lot of problems. Sometimes they are even missing parts! So, many of the problems that other people have identified with their car on this forum that had similar symptoms than my car had different sources than mine as mine was manufactured in Japan. (You can check with the VIN number.)

But, the 2010 Mazda 3 does seem to have a lot of problems. It's a damn shame because I love this car so damn much.
 

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I thought mazda only recently started (2015 models) making cars in mexico. All pre 2014 should be japanese for the NA market. Good to see you problem is mostly fixed. Have you had the rear motor mount checked and fluid replaced?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I finally made another appointment with the dealership and met with the mechanic who worked on my transmission. He explained everything that he did and assured me that everything had been done right.

For the first gear not engaging, he explained to me that for a couple of yeras now, Mazda decided to install some kind of gear brake on the 1st gear. Apparently users complained that the first gear would sometimes grind a bit when shifting into 1st from full stop so they installed this device that prevents the griding with the caveat that it locks you out of 1st when something is not in sync. So basically the only thing to do is just to get to foot off the brake pedal just before shifting so as to make the car and the transmission gears move a bit and then shift into 1st. Or just plain shift in 2nd befire shifting into 1st.

The weirdest thing is that I don't remember ever being locked out of 1st when I originally bought the car up until everything went to shit about a year and a half after I bought it and all the problems started coming out. So I'm a bit skeptical about this being "normal". And as for the 2nd gear grind, it's probably due to the brand new synchros that near to wear out a bit over time.

Anyway, he said that he would still contact Mazda Canada about my issue and ask what they recommend doing next: either change the transmission entirely, or just deal with it the way it is right now.

I want to say also that the dealership where I go is a good place. They've been really curteous and have assisted me the whole way and have worked hard to satisfy me. I'm happy to know that their transmission expert is currently on the case and taking care of my issue with the head office and that he will personally call me back when he has a response.

If anyone in the Montreal area is looking for a good dealership with great maintenance service, check out Metro Mazda on Papineau, just north of highway 40.
 
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