Home Transmission & Drivetrain Mazda Transmission Problems – Is It Really That Unreliable?

Mazda Transmission Problems – Is It Really That Unreliable?

by Kelvin Yates

Are you a Mazda enthusiast? Do you own or are planning to buy any of the latest models of Mazdas? Have you thought of any Mazda transmission problems before, and how they can influence your choice of car? Then read on, because this article reveals every transmission problem associated with Mazda models.

In this guide, we’ll look at all the common problems with Mazda’s transmissions. Moreover, we’ll then dive deep into the most common symptoms that you might experience. On top of that, for each of those symptoms, we’ll discuss what’s causing them to appear. And, how you can diagnose, troubleshoot, and repair the underlying problems.

Besides these, we’ll get into the reliability of Mazda’s transmissions over the years, across numerous models. In addition, we’ll also dive deep into what transmission issues you might notice for each of those Mazda models. This should provide you with more insight into Mazdas and the transmission woes that plague them.

What Is A Car Transmission

A car’s transmission is one of the most complex mechanical systems that control the application of power from the engine to the drive shaft. It is among the hardest-working components in your vehicle.

The transmission experiences more wear and tear over time than most other parts of your car because of the heat and friction produced by its many moving and interacting components.

Transmission repairs or replacements are inconvenient, stressful, and typically quite expensive, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to any behavior that seems unusual. Adhering to the recommended maintenance procedures and schedule intended to prevent problems will help your transmission last longer, perform better and require fewer repairs over its lifespan.

Major issues are bound to arise if your transmission is not well maintained or if symptoms of a problem are not checked by a professional mechanic soon after they develop. Mazda isn’t an exception.

Just like any other car, Mazda has had its own mechanical-related issues over the years. Even the most recent well-manufactured models will not miss one or two cars that will have issues with their transmission for unknown reasons.

Signs Of Transmission Problems

The reason behind this may be attributed to automakers failing to do a complete test on their cars before releasing them into the market. In most instances, automakers try to update older-generation models to retrofit them into new-generation models and this can often fail miserably. This has caused increased Mazda transmission problems.

Although Mazda hasn’t had chronic issues, we cannot negate the fact that such issues will still arise in some models, especially the Mazda 3 which has had its fair share of issues in the recent past.

Identifying your car’s mechanical issues can be an impossible task for those who have no experience at all or a keen eye/ear to detect an unusual signal. Car-related problems exhibit distinct sensations and sounds to show that something isn’t working as intended.

The sooner you realize that something is a little off with your car, it’s time to diagnose the problem and fix it immediately. If you face some Mazda transmission problems, then it is crucial to know some of its symptoms so that you can arrange for them to be diagnosed by a professional mechanic.

Below are 10 symptoms of Mazda transmission problems that are enough to raise a red flag of an issue that shouldn’t be overlooked but given urgent attention. And, for each of these symptoms, we’ll also provide some causes of why they appear. Moreover, helping you to diagnose, troubleshoot, and fix each of these symptoms for good.

Mazda Transmission Problems, Symptoms #1: Check Engine Lights

Mazda Transmission Problems

The check engine light should be the first sign that something isn’t in working order with your car. Although these lights can highlight different mechanical issues, they can also help identify transmission-related complications.

Mazda vehicles have several sensors installed that can signal an onboard computer to tell it of any unusual activity going on with your vehicle. Several such sensors are in the transmission.

The sensors can pick even the tiniest of vibrations or jerks that you might not identify. Never overlook your check engine lights or other warning lights when they come on. Act accordingly. The lights are usually on your car’s dashboard.

Causes of Check Engine Light Activation

When the check engine light illuminates in your Mazda, it’s often due to a transmission issue. The root causes might include:

  • Sensor Malfunctions: Over time, sensors may fail or provide inaccurate readings. These sensors detect irregularities in transmission operations.
  • Low Transmission Fluid: A decrease in fluid levels can cause the transmission to overheat and lead to poor gear shifts.
  • Transmission Slippage: This occurs when gears slip in and out, causing the engine to rev without a corresponding increase in speed.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting Steps

To confirm the cause of the check engine light:

  • Use an OBD-II Scanner: Plug the scanner into your car’s onboard diagnostics port. This tool will provide error codes that indicate specific transmission issues.
  • Check Fluid Levels: Regularly inspect the transmission fluid for its level and color. Dark or burnt-smelling fluid can indicate a problem.
  • Pay Attention to Shift Patterns: Notice if the transmission is slipping or if there’s a delay in gear engagement.

DIY Repairs and Fixes

For those comfortable with auto maintenance:

  • Sensor Replacement: Purchase the right sensor for your Mazda model. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to replace faulty sensors.
  • Refill or Change Transmission Fluid: Buy quality transmission fluid. Locate the transmission dipstick, remove it, and wipe it clean. Reinsert it and pull it out again to check the level. If low, add the recommended fluid.
  • Clean the Transmission: Sometimes, cleaning the transmission can alleviate certain issues. Purchase a transmission cleaner and follow the instructions carefully.

Repair/Replacement Costs

The costs for addressing transmission-related check engine light issues vary:

  • Sensor Replacement: Typically, this will cost between $100 to $200, including parts and labor.
  • Transmission Fluid Change: A fluid change might range from $80 to $250, depending on your location and whether you choose a simple drain-and-fill or a full flush.
  • Transmission Repairs: For more severe issues, like transmission slippage, repairs can range from $1,000 to $3,500, including parts and labor. The costs will be on the higher end if a full transmission replacement is needed.

Remember, while DIY solutions can save money, they’re not always recommended for those unfamiliar with auto repairs. Always consult a professional if you’re unsure.

(Note: This section aims to provide a general overview based on common issues faced by Mazda owners. Specific problems and solutions might vary depending on the model and year of the vehicle.)

Mazda Transmission Problems, Symptoms #2: Clunking, Humming, Or Whining

Having a concrete description of how a car sounds when experiencing transmission issues may not be easy. But with a keen ear, you will identify something unusual that you have never heard before. These sounds may vary widely depending on the exact model of Mazda. The best possible description would be a clunking, humming, or whining sound.

Manual transmissions emit a more mechanical sound that is louder and very abrupt. If you hear a clunking sound when trying to shift gears, the constant velocity joints or differentials may be the source of such sound underneath the car.

Causes of Clunking, Humming, or Whining Sounds

The peculiar sounds coming from your Mazda’s transmission can be distressing. Identifying the cause is essential for effective intervention. The primary culprits include:

  • Worn Out Bearings: These are vital in the operation of the transmission and, when damaged, can lead to humming or whining noises.
  • Damaged Constant Velocity (CV) Joints: CV joints help drive the car by transferring the torque from the transmission to the drive wheels at a constant speed. A clunking sound is often associated with faulty CV joints.
  • Failing Differentials: These are responsible for distributing the engine’s power to the wheels. A malfunction can result in whining or humming sounds.
  • Low Transmission Fluid: This can cause the transmission to emit a whining sound due to insufficient lubrication.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting Steps

To pinpoint the root of these sounds:

  • Listen While Driving: The type of sound and when it happens (e.g., during acceleration or at a constant speed) can provide clues.
  • Check Transmission Fluid: Look for appropriate fluid levels and any signs of contamination.
  • Inspect CV Joints: Look for any obvious damage or excessive wear. A torn boot can be a clear indication of a problem.
  • Examine the Differentials: Listen for abnormal sounds while driving in a circle. If the noise changes or gets louder, the differentials might be the culprit.

DIY Repairs and Fixes

For car enthusiasts willing to get their hands dirty:

  • Replace Transmission Fluid: If the fluid is low or contaminated, changing it might resolve the whining noise.
  • CV Joint Boot Kit: If the CV joint boot is torn, a replacement kit can be a DIY fix. It’s less costly than replacing the entire CV joint.
  • Bearings Replacement: Purchase a bearing kit suitable for your Mazda model. Follow a reliable guide or manual for installation.

Repair/Replacement Costs

Addressing these noises can lead to the following expenses:

  • Transmission Fluid Change: Between $80 and $250.
  • CV Joint Replacement: A full replacement, including labor, might cost between $250 to $600.
  • Bearings Replacement: Generally, this can range from $200 to $1,000, largely depending on the labor involved.
  • Differential Repairs: Depending on the extent of damage, expect to pay between $500 and $2,000.

As always, while DIY approaches can be cost-effective, if you’re not comfortable or familiar with these procedures, seeking professional advice is the best course of action.

(Note: The provided solutions and costs are general estimates. Real-life scenarios may vary based on the exact Mazda model and other factors.)

Mazda Transmission Problems, Symptoms #3: Shaking Or Grinding

A car should have a smooth ride without shaking, jerking, or even producing a strange grinding sound. If this happens, it’s a clear sign of a gear problem.

Manual transmissions in Mazda vehicles normally produce a grinding noise as an indicator when you try to shift the gear. If this grinding mainly occurs after engaging the clutch and shifting, then it shows the clutch may need a replacement or change. This can point to several issues, including a worn-out gear synchronizer.

Automatic transmissions behave differently. Instead of producing some grinding sounds, you feel it takes time to wiggle into gear instead of having a usual smooth transition. As this issue worsens, gear transitions become jarring and more shaking is experienced.

Causes of Shaking or Grinding Noises

The sensation of shaking or hearing grinding in your Mazda can indeed raise alarm bells. Pinpointing the cause is essential. Here are the main culprits:

  • Worn Gear Synchronizers: In manual transmissions, synchronizers help gears to align correctly. When worn out, they can lead to grinding sounds during shifts.
  • Failing Clutch: If the grinding occurs after engaging the clutch and shifting, the clutch might be reaching the end of its lifespan.
  • Faulty Torque Converter: In automatic transmissions, a faulty torque converter can lead to shaky gear transitions.
  • Transmission Fluid Issues: Low or dirty fluid can cause poor lubrication, leading to grinding noises or shaking.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting Steps

To accurately determine the source:

  • Shift Through All Gears: For manual transmissions, note when the grinding noise occurs. If it’s during a specific gear shift, the synchronizer for that gear might be the issue.
  • Check the Clutch: For manual cars, pay attention to when the grinding occurs relative to clutch engagement. A grinding sound post-clutch engagement can indicate a clutch issue.
  • Fluid Inspection: For both manual and automatic transmissions, check the transmission fluid levels and quality.
  • Examine Gear Transitions: For automatics, note how the vehicle behaves during shifts. Delays or shakiness can be a sign of a deeper transmission issue.

DIY Repairs and Fixes

For those who are mechanically inclined:

  • Fluid Replacement: Changing the transmission fluid can sometimes alleviate grinding or shaking issues.
  • Clutch Replacement: For manual transmissions, if the clutch is the problem, you might consider a DIY replacement, though this is a more advanced repair.
  • Synchronizer Replacement: For manual vehicles, replacing the worn-out synchronizer can remedy the grinding during shifts. This task, however, is better left to professionals or experienced DIYers.

Repair/Replacement Costs

Typical costs associated with these issues are:

  • Transmission Fluid Change: Between $80 and $250.
  • Clutch Replacement: Depending on the model, a full clutch replacement can range from $500 to $1,500, including parts and labor.
  • Gear Synchronizer Replacement: This repair can be costly, ranging from $500 to $2,000, depending on the complexity.
  • Torque Converter Replacement: For automatic transmissions, replacing a torque converter might set you back between $600 and $1,000.

It’s crucial to note that transmission repairs require precision. If you’re unsure about any step, always opt to consult with a professional.

(Note: The above costs and solutions are general guidelines. Actual experiences may differ based on your Mazda model and the nature of the issue.)

Mazda Transmission Problems, Symptoms #4: Noise When Neutral

This is normally characterized by a bumpy sound when in a neutral position. These come because of low or dirty transmission fluid. If topping up the fluid offers no solution, then it is because of a dirty fluid or worn-out transmission parts. The worn-out parts can include bearings, reverse idler gears, or gear teeth that may need a replacement.

Causes of Noise When in Neutral

The tranquility of neutral should typically be silent. However, when you hear unexpected noises, the following might be to blame:

  • Low Transmission Fluid: Inadequate fluid can fail to provide the necessary cushioning and lubrication, leading to various sounds.
  • Contaminated Fluid: Dirty or degraded fluid can’t lubricate components effectively, which can lead to noises.
  • Worn-out Bearings: Bearings, over time, might wear out and produce noises when they’re not working smoothly.
  • Damaged Reverse Idler Gears: These gears can sometimes get worn or damaged, leading to bumpy or grinding sounds.
  • Worn Gear Teeth: Over time, the gear teeth can wear out and fail to mesh properly, producing noises.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting Steps

To understand the origins of these sounds:

  • Inspect Transmission Fluid: Examine fluid levels and quality. Dark or burnt-smelling fluid is a clear indicator of contamination.
  • Listen to the Noise: The exact character of the sound—whether it’s more of a grind, whine, or bump—can provide clues about its source.
  • Check Bearings: Try to identify if the noise is coming from a specific part of the transmission, suggesting a bearing issue.
  • Inspect Gears: For more advanced DIYers, taking a closer look at the gears might identify visible wear or damage.

DIY Repairs and Fixes

For those familiar with car mechanics:

  • Fluid Change: If the fluid is old or dirty, replacing it might alleviate the noise.
  • Bearing Replacement: If bearings are the culprits, they may be replaced, though this can be an intricate task.
  • Gear Inspection: For those with adequate experience, inspecting and potentially replacing worn gears could be a DIY project, though caution is advised.

Repair/Replacement Costs

Addressing noises when in neutral might incur the following costs:

  • Transmission Fluid Change: Generally ranges from $80 to $250.
  • Bearing Replacement: Depending on the specific bearing and labor, costs can fluctuate between $200 to $1,000.
  • Gear Replacement: Gears, especially if multiple ones are affected, can be pricier to replace, with costs ranging from $500 to $2,500.

Working with transmission components requires precision. If at any point you’re uncertain about a procedure, it’s advised to seek professional assistance.

(Note: The presented solutions and estimated costs are general. Real-life scenarios may vary according to the specific Mazda model and the exact nature of the problem.)

Mazda Transmission Problems, Symptoms #5: Hesitation

Have you ever noticed hesitations or refusal to go into gear? When the driver shifts from park to drive, the car should immediately shift into the proper gear. Automatic transmissions often have a delay before the gear engages. This is normally a transition-related concern.

Manual transmissions can also have that lag but one unique thing is that their engine’s RPMs surge exponentially, but the car won’t move. This is usually caused by a worn-out clutch that should be replaced. Though, this may point to more severe issues.

Causes of Transmission Hesitation

When your Mazda hesitates during gear shifts, the underlying issues could vary:

  • Faulty Transmission Solenoids: These components control the flow of fluid throughout the transmission. If malfunctioning, they can lead to hesitation.
  • Worn-out Clutch: For manual transmissions, a worn-out clutch can prevent the car from transferring engine power to the wheels efficiently.
  • Dirty or Low Transmission Fluid: Inadequate lubrication and cooling can cause hesitations.
  • Damaged Torque Converter: Especially in automatic transmissions, a faulty torque converter can hinder the smooth transition between gears.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting Steps

To understand the nature of the hesitation:

  • Monitor Gear Shifts: Note if hesitations occur during specific gear shifts or if they’re sporadic.
  • Check Transmission Fluid: Look for clarity, level, and any burnt smell to assess its quality.
  • Clutch Test for Manual Transmissions: Try to shift without using the accelerator. If the car stalls immediately, the clutch is in good shape; if not, it’s likely worn out.
  • Test Transmission Solenoids: These can be checked using a multimeter to ensure they’re working correctly.

DIY Repairs and Fixes

For those comfortable around car mechanics:

  • Transmission Fluid Change: If the fluid is dirty or low, refill or replace it with the right type.
  • Replace the Clutch: For manuals, if the clutch is worn, it might need replacement. This task can be intensive and might require specialized tools.
  • Check for External Transmission Leaks: Addressing these can sometimes resolve hesitation issues.

Repair/Replacement Costs

The associated costs for fixing hesitation issues can be:

  • Transmission Fluid Change: Typically, this costs between $80 and $250, depending on the fluid type and labor.
  • Clutch Replacement: For manual transmissions, this can range from $500 to $2,500, depending on parts and labor.
  • Transmission Solenoid Replacement: Replacing faulty solenoids might cost between $150 and $400.
  • Torque Converter Replacement: If this is the issue, be prepared for costs ranging from $600 to $1,000, inclusive of labor.

Maintaining a keen sense of your car’s behavior is crucial. Hesitation can be a sign of minor issues or can hint at more significant concerns. When in doubt, always seek expert advice.

(Note: All presented costs and solutions are general. Actual experiences might differ based on the specific Mazda model and the nature of the problem.)

Mazda Transmission Problems, Symptoms #6: Low Or Leaking Fluid

Leaks are easily recognizable and need fixing ASAP. The fluid is crucial to the transmission because it lubricates, cleans, and conditions the seal. It is also a hydraulic fluid. Without it or if there are low levels of it, the gearbox breaks down completely and can lead to irreparable damage.

Pure fluid is bright red, clear, and smells sweet. It turns dark or smells burned when it’s used up and needs to be flushed out and replaced with a new one.

The fluid is never burned off or consumed by a car. So if levels drop, then there is a leak that needs sealing. Always ensure the fluid is enough for the transmission to perform optimally.

Causes of Low or Leaking Fluid

Transmission fluid is the lifeblood of the gearbox. When its levels are compromised, here’s what could be at fault:

  • Worn Seals or Gaskets: Over time, seals or gaskets can deteriorate, leading to leaks.
  • Damaged Transmission Pan: The pan, being at the lowest part of the transmission, is vulnerable to damage from road debris which can cause leaks.
  • Faulty Transmission Cooler: Overheating can cause the cooler lines to crack, leading to fluid leaks.
  • Bad Torque Converter: This can develop issues over time and might be a source of the leak.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting Steps

To zero in on the leak source:

  • Check for Puddles: Bright red puddles beneath your car are an obvious sign of a transmission fluid leak.
  • Smell and Color Test: As mentioned, if the fluid smells burned or looks dark, it’s a sign of it being used up.
  • Inspect Seals and Gaskets: Look for signs of deterioration or breaks that might be causing the leak.
  • Check Transmission Pan: Look for visible damage or punctures.

DIY Repairs and Fixes

For those who are comfortable with basic car maintenance:

  • Fluid Top-Up: If levels are low, you can top up the transmission fluid. Ensure you use the type recommended for your Mazda model.
  • Replace Seals or Gaskets: With the right tools, seals or gaskets can be replaced to prevent leaks.
  • Transmission Pan Sealant: In the case of minor leaks, using a transmission sealant can be a temporary fix.

Repair/Replacement Costs

Addressing fluid leaks might involve the following expenses:

  • Transmission Fluid Top-Up: Depending on the fluid type and amount needed, this might cost between $20 to $50.
  • Seal or Gasket Replacement: Parts might range from $20 to $200, and with labor, the total might range from $100 to $500.
  • Transmission Pan Replacement: If damaged, replacing a pan can cost anywhere from $100 to $400, including labor.
  • Transmission Cooler Replacement: If this is the culprit, replacement might set you back between $200 and $600.

Transmission fluid is essential for your car’s performance. If you’re unsure about any repair steps or the leak’s source, consult a professional mechanic for guidance.

(Note: All provided costs and solutions are generalized. The real experience may vary based on the specific Mazda model and the nature of the problem.)

Mazda Transmission Problems, Symptoms #7: Car Never Goes Into Gear

Sometimes the car cannot shift even after engaging the clutch. This is usually associated with low fluid levels or using an incorrect type of fluid. Or, the clutch linkages or shift cables a replacement.

The vehicle’s computer could also be a source of this. If the fluid has been checked but still the problem persists, detach the battery and give it 30 minutes before reattaching and allowing it to reset itself. If this too fails, then you will need to visit a mechanic.

Causes When the Car Fails to Go Into Gear

The inability to shift can be both frustrating and indicative of a serious issue:

  • Fluid-Related Concerns: Low levels of transmission fluid or using the wrong type can be the culprit.
  • Faulty Clutch Linkages or Shift Cables: Over time, these components can wear out or get damaged, leading to shifting difficulties.
  • Electronic Issues: The vehicle’s computer system, which oversees various functions, including transmission, may face glitches or malfunctions.
  • Mechanical Failures: Internal components of the transmission, like synchronizers or gears, might be damaged or worn out.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting Steps

To ascertain the root cause:

  • Inspect Transmission Fluid: Assess its level, clarity, and whether it’s the right type for the vehicle.
  • Inspect Clutch Linkages and Shift Cables: Look for any visible damage or wear that might be hindering the shift.
  • Electronic Reset: Detach and reattach the car battery as a potential reset solution for the vehicle’s computer.
  • Manual Test: Try moving the shifter with the engine off to see if the issue is with the linkage or the internal transmission.

DIY Repairs and Fixes

For those who feel adept with car repairs:

  • Fluid Top-Up or Change: If levels are low or the wrong fluid is in use, correct it with the recommended transmission fluid.
  • Replace Clutch Linkages or Shift Cables: With the necessary tools and parts, one can tackle this fix, though it’s a bit advanced.
  • Battery Reset: As mentioned, detaching the battery for a while and then reattaching might reset the computer system.

Repair/Replacement Costs

Budget considerations for resolving this issue:

  • Transmission Fluid Change: This can cost between $80 and $250.
  • Replacing Clutch Linkages or Shift Cables: Depending on the model, this might range from $200 to $500 for parts and labor.
  • Electronic System Diagnosis: A mechanic’s assessment of the computer system may cost between $50 and $150 for the diagnostic. Repairs would be additional.
  • Internal Mechanical Fixes: Addressing internal components can be costly, ranging from $500 to $3,000 or more, based on the extent of the damage.

Facing a car that won’t shift into gear can be alarming. While some remedies can be managed at home, certain scenarios demand the expertise of a seasoned mechanic. Remember, it’s always better to address such issues sooner rather than later.

(Note: These costs and solutions are general suggestions. Actual costs and procedures can differ based on the specific Mazda model and the nature of the issue.)

Mazda Transmission Problems, Symptoms #8: Burning Smell

Mazda Transmission Problems

Burning smells from the car is a cause for alarm. It’s normally a sign of burning transmission oil. The oil keeps the parts lubricated and prevents them from wearing out. Low fluid levels or an incorrect type of fluid enables the system to run hot and increases friction, corrosive activity, and build-up of sludge and debris.

This can eventually damage the system completely and result in expensive replacements.

Causes Behind the Burning Smell

When your Mazda emits a burning odor, it’s a sign that immediate attention is required:

  • Overheating Transmission Fluid: Old, low, or incorrect fluid will not adequately cool or lubricate, causing overheating.
  • Increased Friction: Lack of proper lubrication leads to increased friction between moving parts.
  • Corrosive Activity: Improper fluid can lead to corrosion within the transmission.
  • The build-up of Sludge and Debris: Stale or incorrect transmission fluid can lead to a gunky build-up, hindering function.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting Steps

To pinpoint the source of the burning smell:

  • Inspect Transmission Fluid: Examine its level, quality, and consistency. Burnt or dirty fluid indicates overheating.
  • Temperature Check: Touch the transmission after a short drive (with caution). If it’s too hot, it’s a sign of malfunction.
  • Visual Check: Look for any visible signs of leaks or smoke that might be causing the smell.

DIY Repairs and Fixes

For hands-on individuals:

  • Change Transmission Fluid: If the fluid appears dirty or burnt, it should be changed immediately with the appropriate type.
  • Check the Transmission Cooler: Ensure it’s in proper working condition, as a malfunctioning cooler can cause overheating.
  • Transmission Fluid Additives: Some additives can help reduce overheating and improve lubrication, but always consult the vehicle’s manual before adding anything.

Repair/Replacement Costs

For those considering professional intervention:

  • Transmission Fluid Change: A fluid change typically ranges between $80 and $250, but this may vary depending on location and model.
  • Transmission Cooler Repair/Replacement: If found faulty, repairs might cost between $100 to $500, including labor.
  • Complete Transmission Replacement: In worst-case scenarios where the transmission is irreparably damaged, costs can start from $1,800 and might exceed $3,500.

Detecting a burning smell is a clear warning sign that your vehicle’s transmission might be at risk. While some interventions can be addressed independently, it’s crucial to engage professionals when unsure of the root cause. Delayed action might escalate repair costs, so timely responses are essential.

(Note: The mentioned costs and solutions are provided as general guidance. The actual experience might differ based on the specific Mazda model and the nature of the problem.)

Mazda Transmission Problems, Symptoms #9: Draggy Clutch

This describes a manual transmission that involves the clutch disc failing to disengage the flywheel when the clutch pedal is pressed. The clutch still spins with the engine, making it difficult to change gear.

This is usually accompanied by a grinding noise each time you try changing the gear. It’s caused by slack in the pedal. Therefore, the linkage between the clutch disk and the pedal cannot pull the clutch disk from the flywheel.

Causes Behind a Draggy Clutch

When you experience a clutch that feels draggy:

  • Faulty Clutch Components: Wear and tear of clutch components, like the clutch disc or pressure plate, can prevent them from disengaging effectively.
  • Stretched or Damaged Linkage/Cable: Over time, the linkage or cable connecting the clutch pedal to the clutch mechanism can stretch or get damaged.
  • Inadequate Clutch Fluid: Low or contaminated clutch fluid in hydraulic clutch systems can hamper proper clutch disengagement.
  • Warped Flywheel: Overheating or excessive wear can warp the flywheel, preventing a smooth disengagement.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting Steps

To identify the precise problem with a draggy clutch:

  • Pedal Play: Check the clutch pedal’s free play; too much or too little can indicate an issue.
  • Visual Inspection: Examine the linkage or cable for wear, damage, or slack.
  • Clutch Fluid Check: In hydraulic systems, inspect the fluid for appropriate levels and cleanliness.
  • Noise Assessment: Pay attention to any grinding or squeaking when pressing the clutch pedal.

DIY Repairs and Fixes

For those comfortable tackling transmission issues:

  • Adjust Clutch Linkage/Cable: Ensuring the linkage or cable has the right amount of tension can resolve the draggy feel.
  • Refill or Replace Clutch Fluid: For hydraulic systems, replenish or change contaminated fluid.
  • Clutch Kit Replacement: If wear and tear are the culprits, consider replacing the clutch disc, pressure plate, and possibly the flywheel.

Repair/Replacement Costs

If you’re contemplating professional repairs:

  • Clutch Adjustment: A simple adjustment might cost between $50 and $120, depending on labor rates.
  • Clutch Fluid Change: Expect to pay around $70 to $150 for a fluid replacement.
  • Full Clutch Kit Replacement: Including labor, this can range from $500 to $1,200, but prices might differ based on the specific Mazda model.

A draggy clutch isn’t just an inconvenience; it can compromise the safety and performance of your vehicle. By staying vigilant to the signs and responding promptly, you can avoid more significant issues and costs down the road.

(Note: These costs and solutions are intended as general guidance. Your actual experience may vary depending on the exact Mazda model and problem specifics.)

Mazda Transmission Problems, Symptoms #10: Slipping Gear

The transmission should always stay in one gear until a shift is made. If it keeps on slipping in or out of gear with no effort (for manual) or slides into neutral (for automatic) then an immediate assessment is necessary.

This can be a huge safety concern because you need to hit the gas to avoid dangerous situations, but you have no power to your wheels and the result can be catastrophic. Potential causes could be worn out or broken gear linkages. This is the only transmission issue that can get you killed by your car.

Causes Behind Slipping Gear

A gear that unexpectedly slips can be attributed to several factors:

  • Worn-out Bands: In automatic transmissions, bands link the gears together. Over time, these bands can become worn or broken.
  • Insufficient Transmission Fluid: Low or dirty fluid can cause the transmission to slip.
  • Worn-out or Broken Gear Linkages: The linkage assists in shifting gears, and wear or damage can hinder this process.
  • Damaged Transmission Solenoids: Solenoids control fluid flow and can affect gear engagement.
  • Worn Clutch (For Manuals): A clutch that doesn’t engage or disengage correctly can cause the gear to slip.

Diagnosis and Troubleshooting Steps

When faced with a slipping gear:

  • Transmission Fluid Check: Examine fluid levels and clarity. Burnt or dirty fluid can be a sign.
  • Observe RPMs: If the engine’s RPMs surge, but the car doesn’t accelerate, it’s indicative of a slip.
  • Listen for Noises: Unusual noises when the car shifts can hint at a problem.
  • Professional Diagnosis: Due to the severity of this issue, consider a transmission specialist’s opinion.

DIY Repairs and Fixes

While professional inspection is often advised, certain steps can be undertaken:

  • Transmission Fluid: Replace or top up with the recommended fluid.
  • Adjust or Replace Bands: In automatic transmissions, if the bands are accessible and you feel confident.
  • Clutch Adjustment (For Manuals): Correcting the clutch play might solve the slipping.

Repair/Replacement Costs

The costs associated with addressing gear slipping:

  • Transmission Fluid Change: Generally between $80 to $250.
  • Band Adjustment or Replacement: Adjustments can cost $200 to $250, while replacements can be $500 to $1,500.
  • Linkage Replacement: Expect between $300 and $500.
  • Complete Transmission Overhaul: This can be upwards of $2,500 to $3,500, based on the specific issue and model.

Gear slipping isn’t just an inconvenience; it’s a severe safety hazard. Immediate attention is paramount to prevent potential accidents and to safeguard the longevity of your vehicle.

(Note: These costs and solutions are general estimates. Specifics can differ depending on the exact Mazda model and the nature of the issue.)

Mazda Transmission Problems

Aside from the above symptoms, some common transmission problems are unique to Mazda cars. This section outlines these common unique problems, and their causes, and offers probable solutions.

Mazda Transmission Problems #1: Gear Slippage Or Erratic Shifts


Most Mazda vehicles that are fitted with a transverse 4-speed automatic transmission designated as LA4A-EL often experience these problems, ranging from gear slippage to erratic or failed gear shifts.

On most occasions, this will precipitate and it’s usually when the car is warm. This often triggers a check engine light, and the Overdrive indicator on the dashboard might be flashing. Sometimes, the problem will go away after it has cooled down.

Here are some solutions:

  • A failed neutral safety switch, which provides information about the position of the gear selector. As a result, the TCU (transmission control unit) has incorrect information about the selected gears, which upsets shift patterns. There will be a P0708 code stored in the memory. Replacing the switch solves the issues.
  • A loose connector on the neutral safety switch or damaged wiring. Performing a visual check will reveal potential issues.

Mazda Transmission Problems #2: No Reverse Gear

Mazda MPV models that use a 5F31J 5-speed transverse automatic transmission can sometimes fail to engage the reverse gear. In the most common scenario, this happens after the transmission fluid has been changed. This will not affect forward gear changes, and there will be no other apparent issues.

Here are some solutions:

  • This is common if the band anchor stud is removed by mistake when changing the transmission fluid. It is quite a common issue because the fill plug and a band anchor stud are similar and close. This sets the reverse band assembly free and prevents the engagement of the reverse gear.
  • A fractured reverse drum or worn piston that engages it usually happens when driving for a long time with the band anchor stud removed. The free-spinning that happens generates friction and heat, which deteriorates the drum and piston assembly.

Mazda Transmission Problems #3: Missing 4th And 5th Gear Or Harsh Gearshifts

Mazda vehicles that use a 5R55N 5-speed automatic transmission have a fairly common problem with failures to engage 4th and 5th gears. Sometimes, this will be followed by erratic and delayed changes in other gears.

This issue can be intermittent or constant, and initially, the problem will only occur when the car is cold. It will trigger a check engine light, so corresponding codes are stored in the DTC memory.

Here are some solutions:

  • Broken spring that actuates the pre-stroke valve for the 4th gear. As a result, the transmission cannot engage the 4th gear. There will be P0734 and P0735 codes stored in DTC memory. As this is a widespread problem, there are upgraded replacement kits that permanently solve the issue.
  • Excessive wear inside the valve body or sticking solenoid. This causes a loss of transmission fluid pressure and results in erratic and harsh gear changes. This is usually more prominent when cold. However, this problem is not likely to trigger a check engine light.

Mazda Transmission Problems #4: No Overdrive Gear

Mazda that uses a 4-speed 4R44E automatic transmission in a longitudinal arrangement suffers from a fairly common issue with overdrive gear engagement. The problem manifests itself as a failed engagement in overdrive gear, resulting in a shift to neutral.

In the initial phases, this will be an intermittent issue that happens when it’s cold, but might progressively get more frequent. This issue will not affect other gears and will not trigger any warning lights on the dashboard.

Here are some solutions:

  • Worn overdrive servo or excessive clearance within the bore for servo pin. Both issues will cause a loss of transmission fluid pressure that becomes worse with time. Replacing both the sealing ring and pin is the best solution. As this is a common issue, there are upgraded pins available.
  • A broken keeping clip that holds the servo. If this happens, losing overdrive will be sudden and permanent. The easiest way of identifying this problem is to look for metal shavings inside the valve body.
  • A faulty output vehicle speed sensor may also cause this problem.

Mazda Transmission Problems #5: Shift Flare During Acceleration

Mazda Transmission Problems

Newer Mazda vehicles with a TF80 6-speed automatic gearbox in front-wheel or all-wheel drive configuration can suffer from shift flares during mild accelerations. Sometimes, while braking to a stop, downshifts may be noticeably delayed.

In its initial phases, this issue will manifest itself only when the vehicle is cold but becomes more prominent with time. In most cases, there will be no other symptoms.

Here are some solutions:

  • Degraded transmission fluid and clogged filter, caused by a lack of fluid changes. This happens because of the manufacturer’s recommendation, which states that this ‘sealed for life’ transmission does not need any fluid changes. However, this can create issues with high-mileage cars that can be solved by a thorough transmission fluid flush.
  • Excessive wear of bores inside the valve body, which causes intermittent losses of transmission fluid pressure. Being a common and well-documented issue, many transmission specialists offer rebuilt units with upgraded components.

Driving With Transmission Problems

Suddenly, your car does not feel quite the same, and you hear strange noises and smells coming from your vehicle. This might be a sign that your car has a faulty transmission.

Please do not ignore the problem because it could lead to irreparable damage and expensive transmission repair. The following reasons will give you a few good reasons why it is imperative to not ignore transmission problems and get them repaired fast.

1. Transmissions Are Expensive To Replace

The moment you think that there is a problem with the transmission, take it to a certified technician immediately. Ignoring the problem will lead to extensive damage. Transmission replacement is a costly affair, so act fast when you suspect you have a problem.

2. Driving Becomes Impossible

The transmission is a vital part of your vehicle and keeps your car moving. If you do not attend to a transmission problem quickly, you soon cannot drive your car at all. The longer you drive your car, knowing that your vehicle has a faulty transmission, the more costly the repair will be, not to mention the replacement.

3. Risk Of Damaging The Gearbox

The transmission fluid lubricates the gears and prevents grinding. If your vehicle has a transmission fluid leak, it will damage the gearbox, and it will be hard to shift gears smoothly. This can lead to extensive damage. It’s recommended to have the vehicle repaired as soon as a fluid leak is noticed.

4. Vehicle Performs Sluggishly

Your vehicle will not have power and poor acceleration. It will feel as if your vehicle is lazy, sluggish, and does not want to speed up. The engine will also sound lower-pitched than usual.

5. Struggles With Gears

The transmission will not engage or will slip in and out of gear. You will have difficulty changing or putting your vehicle into gear, and this will make it impossible to drive.

6. Faulty Transmission Could Cause Accidents

If the gears are slipping and are not engaging properly due to wear and tear or due to worn-out transmission fluid, it could be dangerous and lead to road accidents. That is why it is so important to take your vehicle for repair when you have a faulty transmission. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

7. Vehicle Starts To Jerk And Shake

Your vehicle will shake and jerk when you put it into gear to move forward. You will also hear grinding when you shift gears. This will damage the transmission even further. The best advice is to get your car to a technician immediately.

8. The Transmission Overheats

Transmission fluid is needed to keep the transmission at the correct operating temperature. If there is not enough transmission fluid, it will cause friction between the moving parts, and it will overheat. You will smell burned transmission fluid, and in some extreme cases, even see smoke.

Never risk further damage and costly repairs and replacements. Act fast and get your car serviced ASAP by an expert technician.

On average, a remanufactured transmission costs $1300 and $3400, depending on the make and the model. Labor costs can be somewhere between $400 and $800. This cost can even rise further if there are significant internal damages to additional components.

Mazda Reliability

Currently, you may now wonder, that’s a lot of problems. So naturally, questions start arising from your mind “Are Mazda transmissions reliable? Are Mazda cars worth the money?”

Well, Mazda vehicles used to be very notorious for automatic transmission problems in the early 2000s, especially the 626, Millenia, and MPV models.

But from 2005 onwards until 2020, automatic transmissions in the Mazda 3, 5, 6, CX-7, and CX-9 have been reliable, with minimal transmission complications. But that does not mean Mazda transmissions never fail. Of course, they do.

When Mazda vehicles aren’t maintained properly or when used for towing, they have a high rate of automatic transmission failures.

Currently, many Mazda vehicles such as Mazda 3, Mazda 6 Mazda 5, CX-5, CX-9, CX-3, CX-30, Miata, and the Mazda SkyActive 6-speed automatic transmission can go over 100,000 or 150,000 miles with no transmission problems.

1. Understanding Mazda’s Transmission Reliability

Mazda, as a brand, has undergone several changes over the years, especially when it comes to its transmission systems. It’s true that some of their models faced transmission challenges, but it’s equally true that Mazda has made significant strides in recent years. Below, we explore this in detail.

2. Evolution Over the Years

While Mazda had a rocky start in the early 2000s with its automatic transmission problems, the company has evolved, introducing more refined and reliable transmission systems in its vehicles. It’s worth noting that, like any mechanical part, transmissions will have a lifespan, and maintenance plays a crucial role in determining their longevity.

3. Top-Performing Transmissions in Recent Models

For those in search of reliability, the Mazda Skyactiv Drive transmission is a commendable option. A groundbreaking piece of technology, the Skyactiv Drive merges the benefits of conventional automatic, CVT, and dual-clutch transmissions. This innovation is just one example of how Mazda has addressed concerns and pushed for excellence.

4. Model-Specific Transmission Reliability

  • Mazda CX-7 and CX-9 (post-2005): Transmission issues have significantly reduced. Proper maintenance, especially timely oil changes, can increase their life span.
  • Mazda 3 and Mazda 6: These models, post-2015, have proven to be reliable choices with fewer transmission-related complaints.
  • Mazda Miata: Not just a driver’s favorite for its performance, but the Miata’s recent models have also showcased impressive transmission reliability.

5. Key Factors Influencing Mazda Transmission Longevity

  • Maintenance: Like any vehicle, the key to a Mazda’s longevity is regular maintenance. Timely oil changes, ensuring the transmission fluid is at the right level, and avoiding aggressive driving can extend a car’s life.
  • Usage: Towing and excessive loading can strain a transmission, leading to premature wear. If you plan to use your Mazda for such tasks, consider models designed to handle heavier loads.
  • Buying Used: If considering a pre-owned Mazda, prioritize models with full-service histories. An inspection by a trusted mechanic focusing on the transmission can provide added assurance.

6. What To Make Of This?

While earlier models might have tainted Mazda’s reputation somewhat, their commitment to innovation and quality, particularly in the transmission department, cannot be overlooked. As with any vehicle purchase, doing one’s research, understanding the car’s history, and ensuring proper maintenance is pivotal.

Mazda’s progress in recent years, combined with its overall drive to ensure customer satisfaction, positions them as a brand to trust. As they continue to push boundaries in automotive engineering, it’s fair to expect even greater reliability from their future models.

Model-Specific Mazda Transmission Problems

To learn more about these Mazda transmission problems, let’s take a look at them, and how they affect each specific model…

Mazda 2 Transmission Problems

Here are the various transmission problems for the Mazda 2:

1. Mazda 2: FN4A-EL Transmission Overview

The Mazda 2 uses the FN4A-EL transmission. While it offers smooth operation for many drivers, certain issues have been reported. Let’s delve deeper into these issues, providing insights into the Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) related to the transmission and common problems that users face.

2. DTCs Associated with Mazda 2 Transmission Issues

  • P0766Failed Shift Solenoid D: This code indicates an issue with a shift solenoid or the valve body.
  • P2703Failed Friction Element D: Triggered by a malfunctioning friction element such as a clutch disc.
  • P0720Speed Sensor Issues: Points to a defective input or output speed sensor on the transmission.
  • P0730Incorrect Gear Ratio: Can arise from various factors like a faulty transmission control module, contaminated transmission fluid, or a malfunctioning transmission solenoid.
  • P0657‘A’ Circuit Voltage Problem: Often attributed to a short circuit or grounding issue in the PCM or its wiring harness.
  • P0700Transmission Control System Malfunction: This code often indicates a problem within the transmission control module, wiring harness, solenoid, or valve body.
  • P0715 & P0717Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Issues: These codes are raised when there’s an issue with the sensor reading the engine RPM or when there’s no signal from the sensor, affecting gear shifts.
  • P0791 & P0793Intermediate Shaft Speed Sensor Troubles: Highlight problems either with the sensor itself or its communication with the computer.

3. Common Problems with the Mazda 2 Transmission

  • Response Issues: A delay or no response when shifting gears.
  • Fluid Problems: This includes leaking fluid, low fluid levels, or the presence of a burning odor.
  • Physical Sensations: Drivers may feel grinding, shaking, or experience noisy transmissions when in neutral.
  • Audible Issues: Whining, clunking, or humming noises.
  • Gear Problems: Difficulties with specific gears, like no 1st or 2nd gear or missing reverse.
  • Clutch Dragging: The clutch doesn’t disengage as it should.
  • Check Engine Light: The appearance of trouble codes or the check engine light can signal transmission problems.

4. Driving with a Transmission Issue

Driving your Mazda 2 with a known transmission problem isn’t always wise. The transmission has intricate, expensive components. Ignoring minor issues could escalate into more severe problems, leading to more costly repairs or replacements.

5. Mazda 2 Transmission Lifespan

The durability of a Mazda 2’s transmission is often tied to maintenance quality. Factory design and driving habits also play a role. Generally, Mazda 2 transmissions last between 130,000-180,000 miles. A top-grade replacement, especially one that’s improved upon factory flaws, can outlast these averages with proper care.

6. Diagnosing Mazda 2 Transmission Issues

To pinpoint the root cause of a transmission issue, specialized tools and expertise are essential. An adept mechanic can link your vehicle to diagnostic tools, fetching stored DTCs. Once these codes are identified, a visual inspection can confirm the exact problem.

In conclusion, while the Mazda 2 offers a reliable drive for many, it’s essential to be aware of potential transmission issues. Regular checks and early intervention can prevent more significant problems and extend the life of the vehicle.

Mazda 3 Transmission Problems

Here are all the issues with the Mazda 3:

1. Mazda 3 Transmission Models

The Mazda 3 offers two types of transmissions: the 4F27E and the FN4A-EL. Like other vehicles, it’s not immune to transmission issues. Let’s dive deep into the most prevalent problems associated with Mazda 3 transmissions.

  • 4F27E Transmission
  • FN4A-EL Transmission

2. DTC Codes and Their Meanings for Mazda 3 Transmission Issues

  • P0766Failed Shift Solenoid D: This signals an issue either with the shift solenoid or the valve body.
  • P2703Failed Friction Element D: Triggered by problems like a failed clutch disc.
  • P0720Speed Sensor Errors: Caused by a faulty speed sensor in the transmission.
  • P0730Incorrect Gear Ratio: Several culprits can cause this, such as a malfunctioning transmission control module, dirty fluid, or a defective solenoid.
  • P0657Voltage Irregularities: Often a result of short circuits or grounding issues in the PCM wiring.
  • P0700Transmission Control System Malfunction: Arises from issues in the TCM, wiring harnesses, solenoids, or the valve body.
  • P0715 & P0717Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Issues: These codes indicate problems reading the engine RPM or a missing signal, affecting gear shifts.
  • P0791 & P0793Intermediate Shaft Speed Sensor Troubles: Generated due to a faulty sensor, wiring issues, or defective shift solenoid.

3. Recalls and Technical Issues

  • 2010 Mazda3 Recall: 25,400 units from 2010 faced a recall due to risks related to engine harness clearance with the starter motor housing. This could lead to short circuits and engine control malfunctions, potentially causing accidents.
  • Technical Service Bulletins:
    • 2004-2008 Mazda3: Some faced an issue where the vehicle wouldn’t recognize the “P” range but could start in “N.” The remedy involved modifying parts to prevent rust caused by saltwater exposure.
    • 2004-2005 Mazda3: Intermittent shift shocks during the 1-2 upshift were noticed. Reprogramming the PCM with updated calibrations addressed the issue.

4. Common Symptoms of Mazda 3 Transmission Problems

  • Hesitation or lack of response
  • Fluid leaks
  • Unusual odors, like a burning smell
  • Grinding, shaking, or noisy transmission in neutral
  • Hums, clunks, or whines
  • Resistance to gear engagement
  • Slipping gears or missing gears
  • Transmission warning lights

5. Should You Drive with Transmission Issues?

Driving your Mazda 3 with ongoing transmission problems isn’t advisable. Even if it seems to operate adequately, potential damages to internal components could escalate repair costs. If you notice any irregularities, it’s best to consult a professional immediately.

6. Mazda 3 Transmission Longevity

A well-maintained Mazda 3 transmission can last between 130,000 to 180,000 miles on average. However, addressing factory design flaws and investing in a high-quality replacement can extend its lifespan even further.

7. Diagnosing Transmission Problems in Mazda 3

Suspecting transmission issues in your Mazda 3? A seasoned mechanic or a transmission specialist can assist. By connecting to a diagnostics computer, they can access stored DTCs and visually inspect for issues, ensuring accurate problem identification and subsequent repairs.

In conclusion, while the Mazda 3 is a robust and popular vehicle, it’s essential to be aware of potential transmission issues and address them promptly to ensure a smooth driving experience.

Mazda 5 Transmission Problems

The Mazda 5, a popular compact MPV, was furnished with two primary types of transmissions: the FNR5 and the FN4A-EL. Like most vehicles, they aren’t entirely free from transmission-related issues. This article delves into the common problems faced by Mazda 5 owners, and the associated costs, and offers guidance on addressing these issues.

1. Mazda 5 Transmission Models

  • FNR5 Transmission
  • FN4A-EL Transmission

2. Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) for Mazda 5 Transmission Problems

  • P0766Issue with Shift Solenoid D: Can indicate a malfunctioning shift solenoid or problems with the valve body.
  • P2703Failed Friction Element D: Triggered by a malfunctioning friction element such as a clutch disc.
  • P0720Problems with Input or Output Speed Sensor: Indicates a faulty speed sensor on the transmission.
  • P0730Incorrect Gear Ratio: Several factors can cause this, like issues with the transmission control module, contaminated transmission fluid, or a defective transmission solenoid.
  • P0657Voltage Discrepancy in the ‘A’ Circuit: This usually stems from a short circuit or a poor ground on the PCM or its wiring harness.
  • P0700Malfunction in Transmission Control System: Triggered by issues with the TCM, solenoids, wiring harness, or the valve body.
  • P0715Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Malfunction: Occurs when the input sensor fails to detect engine RPM, affecting gear shifts.
  • P0717No Signal from Input/Turbine Speed Sensor: The PCM isn’t receiving data from the input speed sensor, affecting shifting decisions.
  • P0791Issues with Intermediate Shaft Speed Sensor ‘A’ Circuit: Generally due to a defective sensor, wiring glitches, or a malfunctioning shift solenoid.
  • P0793No Signal from Intermediate Shaft Speed Sensor Circuit: The PCM cannot communicate with this sensor.

3. Common Problems with the Mazda 5 Transmission

  • Inconsistent Response
  • Fluid Leaks
  • Insufficient Fluid Levels
  • Unpleasant Burnt Odor
  • Unsettling Grinding or Shaking
  • Whining, Clunking, or Humming Noises
  • Resistance When Shifting Gears
  • Torque Converter Malfunctions
  • Valve Body Concerns
  • Transmission Noise in Neutral
  • Gear Slippage
  • Absence of 3rd or 4th Gear
  • Absence of 1st or 2nd Gear
  • No Reverse
  • Dragging Clutch
  • Presence of Trouble Codes or the Activation of the Check Engine Light

4. Can I drive with a transmission problem?

Driving a Mazda 5 with a known transmission problem is a gamble. While it may seem functional, driving with an existing problem might exacerbate the issue, leading to more extensive damage to the transmission’s intricate components.

5. How often does a Mazda 5 transmission need to be replaced?

The longevity of a Mazda 5 transmission is influenced by its maintenance history, inherent design issues, and driving habits. Typically, Mazda 5 transmissions have been noted to last between 130,000 and 180,000 miles. However, a superior quality replacement, coupled with addressing original design flaws and rigorous maintenance, can extend this lifespan considerably.

6. Diagnosing Mazda 5 Transmission Issues

While one might have speculations regarding the Mazda 5’s transmission malfunctions, a precise diagnosis requires specific tools and expertise. Reputable mechanics or transmission specialists can link the vehicle to diagnostic systems to identify stored Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs). Armed with this information, a thorough physical examination can pinpoint the exact issue.

Mazda 6 Transmission Problems

The Mazda 6, a celebrated mid-size car, comes equipped with various transmissions, including the FNR5, the Aisin Warner AWF21, and the FN4A-EL. However, these transmissions aren’t without their challenges. In this guide, we will explore common issues Mazda 6 owners might face with their transmissions, provide a cost overview, and offer solutions.

1. Mazda 6 Transmission Models

  • FNR5 Transmission
  • AWF21 Transmission
  • FN4A-EL Transmission

2. Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) for Mazda 6 Transmission Problems

  • P0766Problem with Shift Solenoid D: Indicates an issue either with the shift solenoid itself or the valve body.
  • P2703Failed Friction Element D: Caused by a non-functioning friction element, such as a clutch disc.
  • P0720Faulty Input or Output Speed Sensor: Points to a defective speed sensor within the transmission.
  • P0730Incorrect Gear Ratio: This can be attributed to several factors, including a malfunctioning transmission control module, contaminated transmission fluid, or a compromised transmission solenoid.
  • P0657Voltage Discrepancy in ‘A’ Circuit: Often resulting from a short circuit or grounding issues in the PCM or its wiring harness.
  • P0700Transmission Control System Malfunction: This DTC arises due to problems with the TCM, the wiring harness, solenoids, or the valve body.
  • P0715Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Malfunction: Stored when the input sensor can’t detect engine RPM, which disrupts appropriate gear shifts.
  • P0717No Signal from Input/Turbine Speed Sensor: Activated when the PCM doesn’t receive data from the input speed sensor, hampering proper shifting.
  • P0791Intermediate Shaft Speed Sensor ‘A’ Circuit Issues: Likely caused by a malfunctioning sensor, wiring irregularities, or a compromised shift solenoid.
  • P0793No Communication with Intermediate Shaft Speed Sensor Circuit: Stored when the PCM can’t connect with this specific sensor.

3. Common Problems with the Mazda 6 Transmission

  • Delayed Response
  • Fluid Leaks
  • Reduced Fluid Levels
  • Overheated Transmission Odor
  • Grinding Sensations or Vibrations
  • Distinctive Whining, Clunking, or Humming Sounds
  • Resistance to Gear Shifts
  • Torque Converter Concerns
  • Issues with Valve Body
  • Noise When in Neutral
  • Slipping Gears
  • Missing 3rd or 4th Gear
  • Absent 1st or 2nd Gear
  • Inoperative Reverse
  • Dragging Clutch
  • Activation of Trouble Codes or Check Engine Light

4. Should I drive with a transmission problem?

While a Mazda 6 with transmission problems might appear to run normally, it’s advised against driving it under such conditions. The transmission is a complex assembly with costly components; continuing to drive with known issues can cause further damage.

5. Lifespan of Mazda 6’s Transmission

A Mazda 6’s transmission life depends on its maintenance, inherent design flaws, and the driving conditions it’s subjected to. On average, transmissions in this model have been reported to last between 130,000 to 180,000 miles.

However, a top-tier replacement transmission, especially one that rectifies original design shortcomings and is paired with regular maintenance, can significantly outlive this estimate.

6. Diagnosing Mazda 6 Transmission Issues

One might have assumptions regarding the root of the Mazda 6’s transmission problems, but an accurate diagnosis demands specialized tools and knowledge. Professional mechanics or transmission repair centers will interface the car with diagnostic systems to retrieve stored Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs).

With this data, a meticulous inspection can then isolate the root of the issue.

Mazda CX-7 Transmission Problems

The Mazda CX-7, a dynamic crossover SUV, was fitted with the FNR5 or the Aisin Warner AWF21 transmissions. However, as with many mechanical components, these transmissions have their own set of issues. In this guide, we’ll delve into the most prevalent Mazda CX-7 transmission problems, provide cost estimates, and discuss potential remedies.

1. Mazda CX-7 Transmission Models

  • FNR5 Transmission
  • AWF21 Transmission

2. Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) for Mazda CX-7 Transmission Problems

  • P0766Shift Solenoid D Failure: Indicates a malfunction with the shift solenoid or the valve body.
  • P2703Failed Friction Element D: Triggered by a faulty friction element, such as a clutch disc.
  • P0720Input or Output Speed Sensor Malfunction: Points to a defective speed sensor in the transmission.
  • P0730Incorrect Gear Ratio: Several culprits might be responsible, including issues with the transmission control module, contaminated transmission fluid, or a malfunctioning transmission solenoid.
  • P0657Voltage Discrepancy in ‘A’ Circuit: Often a result of a short circuit or grounding problem in the PCM or its wiring harness.
  • P0700Transmission Control System Malfunction: Typically stored when problems arise with the TCM, the wiring harness, solenoids, or the valve body.
  • P0715Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Malfunction: Activated when the input sensor cannot determine engine RPM, affecting gear shifts.
  • P0717Absence of Signal from Input/Turbine Speed Sensor: Stored when the PCM does not receive data from the input speed sensor, hampering the transmission’s ability to shift.
  • P0791Issues in Intermediate Shaft Speed Sensor ‘A’ Circuit: Likely due to a compromised sensor, wiring irregularities, or a malfunctioning shift solenoid.
  • P0793No Communication with Intermediate Shaft Speed Sensor Circuit: Generated when the computer can’t establish a connection with this sensor.

3. Common Issues with the Mazda CX-7 Transmission

  • Delayed Response
  • Fluid Leakage
  • Insufficient Fluid
  • Overheated Transmission Odor
  • Grinding or Vibrations
  • Unusual Whining, Clunking, or Humming Sounds
  • Reluctance to Shift
  • Torque Converter Malfunctions
  • Valve Body Concerns
  • Audible Noises When in Neutral
  • Gears Slipping Out of Place
  • Absence of 3rd or 4th Gear
  • Missing 1st or 2nd Gear
  • Non-operational Reverse
  • Clutch Dragging
  • Trouble Codes or Activation of Check Engine Light

4. Should I continue driving with a transmission issue?

Although your Mazda CX-7 might seem operable, it’s advised against driving if you’re aware of transmission problems. The transmission houses numerous intricate and costly components. Persisting to drive with known issues can compound the damage.

5. Expected Lifespan of Mazda CX-7’s Transmission

A Mazda CX-7’s transmission longevity hinges on its maintenance history. Inherent design imperfections also play a part, as do the driving style and conditions. On average, the Mazda CX-7’s transmission has been observed to last between 130,000 to 180,000 miles.

Nevertheless, a premium-grade replacement transmission, especially one rectifying original design flaws and paired with consistent maintenance, can outperform this average.

6. How to Diagnose Mazda CX-7 Transmission Concerns

While one might have presumptions about the underlying cause of the Mazda CX-7’s transmission troubles, a definitive diagnosis demands specialized equipment and know-how. Professional mechanics or dedicated transmission repair centers can link your SUV to diagnostic machines to retrieve stored Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs).

Armed with this information, a detailed visual examination can pinpoint the root of the problem.

Mazda CX-9 Transmission Problems

The Mazda CX-9, known for its spacious interiors and dynamic drive, comes equipped with the Aisin Warner AWF21 transmission. Although it’s generally reliable, it’s not devoid of issues. In this guide, we’ll tackle the most common Mazda CX-9 transmission problems, their estimated repair costs, and possible solutions.

1. Mazda CX-9 Transmission Model

  • AWF21 Transmission

2. Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) Pertaining to Mazda CX-9 Transmission

  • P0766Shift Solenoid D Failure: Indicates an issue with the shift solenoid or the valve body.
  • P2703Failed Friction Element D: Points to a defective friction element like a clutch disc.
  • P0720Malfunctioning Input or Output Speed Sensor: Caused by a defective speed sensor in the transmission.
  • P0730Incorrect Gear Ratio: Might result from various sources, including a malfunctioning transmission control module, contaminated transmission fluid, or a defective transmission solenoid.
  • P0657Voltage Issue in ‘A’ Circuit: Usually results from a short circuit or a poor ground in the PCM or its wiring harness.
  • P0700Transmission Control System Anomaly: Triggered typically by issues with the TCM, wiring harness, solenoids, or valve body.
  • P0715Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Malfunction: Arises when the input sensor cannot gauge engine RPM, affecting the transmission’s gear shifting.
  • P0717No Signal from Input/Turbine Speed Sensor: Occurs when the PCM fails to receive data from the input speed sensor, affecting shift timings.
  • P0791Intermediate Shaft Speed Sensor ‘A’ Circuit Issue: Often a consequence of a defective sensor, wiring issues, or a malfunctioning shift solenoid.
  • P0793Communication Failure with Intermediate Shaft Speed Sensor Circuit: The system stores this code when it can’t establish a connection with this specific sensor.

3. Common Issues with the Mazda CX-9 Transmission

  • Delayed Response
  • Fluid Leaks
  • Low Transmission Fluid
  • Overheated Transmission Odor
  • Abrasive Vibrations or Grinding
  • Distinctive Whining, Clunking, or Humming Sounds
  • Resistance to Engage in Gear
  • Torque Converter Problems
  • Valve Body Complications
  • Noticeable Noises When in Neutral
  • Involuntary Gear Slippage
  • Absence of 3rd or 4th Gear
  • Missing 1st or 2nd Gear
  • Reverse Not Engaging
  • Dragging Clutch
  • Activation of Trouble Codes or Check Engine Indicator

4. Is driving with a transmission problem advisable?

While your Mazda CX-9 might appear operational, continuing to drive with known transmission problems is ill-advised. The transmission contains numerous intricate components, and driving with a known issue might lead to further, more expensive damage.

5. Mazda CX-9 Transmission’s Expected Lifespan

The durability of a Mazda CX-9 transmission largely rests on its maintenance regimen. In-built design deficiencies and driving habits also weigh in. Typically, the Mazda CX-9 transmission endures between 130,000 to 180,000 miles.

However, a top-grade replacement transmission, especially one rectifying original design errors and subject to regular maintenance, can outlive this average.

6. Diagnosing Mazda CX-9 Transmission Problems

Though initial signs might suggest certain problems with the Mazda CX-9 transmission, a conclusive diagnosis requires specialized tools and expertise. Proficient mechanics or dedicated transmission repair shops can interface your vehicle with diagnostic equipment to access stored Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs).

Armed with this insight, a comprehensive visual assessment can confirm the root of the malfunction.

Mazda CX-5 Problems: Facts You Need to Know

The Mazda CX-5 is a sought-after small SUV known for its build quality and reliability. However, it’s not without its issues.

Daytime running lights, particularly in the 2016 model, tend to flicker and fail early. The windshield can easily crack across various model years. Transmission problems pose a significant concern. Specifically, the 2014 model can clunk into gear, while the 2016 model might face a complete transmission breakdown.

Engine-wise, the 2013 and 2018 models have challenges. The 2013 version can lose power during drives. Meanwhile, the 2018 model occasionally has faulty engine heads, causing loud engine noises, likely from valve issues.

Reliability is a highlight for the CX-5. With proper care, it can run between 200,000 to 250,000 miles. Newer models are especially reliable, but overall, the CX-5 stands strong regardless of its year. For safety, later models fare better in crash tests. The 2013 and 2014 models, however, have concerning crash test outcomes.

Compared to competitors like the Buick Encore and Honda HR-V, the CX-5 shines. It has fewer issues than the Encore, while the HR-V’s problems are moderate. Based on this, it’s wise to steer clear of the 2014-2016 CX-5 models. Specifically, avoid the 2013 and 2014 versions due to their subpar crash test scores.

Recalls have touched several CX-5 versions, but the 2020 to 2022 models stand out with zero recalls, reinforcing its position as a trustworthy small SUV.

Mazda Transmission Problems: In Conclusion…

It is important to ensure that you keep to your regular maintenance schedule for your car. Many times, expensive repairs can be avoided if the vehicle is properly maintained. This is especially true if you notice something unusual. The car should be taken immediately for service.

Having the basic knowledge of transmission inspection is highly recommended, as it can help you save money by avoiding costly inspections and doing simple procedures such as changing transmission fluid yourself as well as making you knowledgeable enough to avoid being over-repaired, overcharged or simply ripped off.

FAQs On Mazda Transmission Problems

If you’re still curious to learn more about Mazda transmission problems, our FAQs here might help…

What Causes Automatic Transmission To Fail

Given that it’s one of the most consequential components of a car, the transmission is often designed to last a long time. However, certain factors may lead it to fail rather early on. Most of the time, transmission failure is caused by the condition of the transmission fluid. Specifically, if the transmission is leaking (and thus, there aren’t any sufficient fluid levels in the transmission), if it’s burnt and worn out, or if the transmission fluid is contaminated. In either case, this transmission fluid can’t properly cool or lubricate the transmission, given its condition. This puts a lot of strain on the gearbox, often causing it to fail pretty early on.

How Long Do Transmissions Last

On average, an automatic transmission should last at least 150,000 to 200,000 miles or greater. With good maintenance and regular servicing, you could increase its lifespan to over 300,000 miles in the most extreme cases. Once that milestone is reached, it’s most likely that the transmission will need to be disassembled and rebuilt, thoroughly. But, the exact lifespan of the transmission might also differ based on its design and engineering. For example, there are some bad gearboxes out there that would fail far before they could reach the 100,000-mile threshold. With Mazdas, the average tends to be a bit higher, somewhere around 150,000 miles or so.

What Causes A Transmission To Not Shift

With an automatic transmission, a failure to shift and change gears is often blamed on the transmission fluid. After all, an automatic transmission relies on the transmission fluid to provide hydraulic pressure in the system. Thus, using that pressure to actuate a gear change. If there’s not enough transmission fluid in the gearbox (likely because leaks had sprung), or if the transmission fluid is contaminated and burnt out, it won’t be able to create enough pressure to change gears. Beyond that, other faults that could cause a transmission to not shift include the shift solenoids, valve bodies, clutch packs, or the transmission control module.

How Do You Know Transmission Is Going Out

There are numerous symptoms that might be exhibited to show that your transmission is bound to fail and needs urgent repairs. Usually, most modern cars might light up a check engine light to warn you, the driver, that something’s likely amiss. Otherwise, even worse symptoms might include hearing clunking, humming, grinding, and whining sounds when you’re driving and changing gears. When the transmission is on the verge of failure, your car’s performance and driveability are also impacted. This includes hesitation anytime you’re shifting gears, the transmission’s refusal to shift into certain gears, as well as burning smells.

How Long Do Mazda 3 Last

The Mazda 3 is one of the brand’s most popular and best-selling cars. It’s good to hear then, that the Mazda 3 is also a long-lasting and fairly robust vehicle. On average, a Mazda 3 would last upwards of 200,000 to 250,000 miles with diligent maintenance and servicing. Given that the average American drives around 15,000 miles each year, it would equate to between 13 to 17 or so years of ownership. Once that threshold is reached, your Mazda 3 will require a thorough rebuild and minor restoration to keep it going a lot further. However, a select few Mazda 3s have also driven past the 300,000-mile barrier without many issues, too.

How Long Do Mazdas Last

Mazda vehicles are known for their durability and longevity when well-maintained. Typically, a Mazda can last up to 200,000 miles or even more. Regular servicing, prompt repairs, and proper driving habits can extend its lifespan further.

What Are the Signs Your Transmission Is Going Out

If your Mazda’s transmission is failing, you might notice erratic shifting, slipping between gears, grinding or whining noises, and a delay in acceleration. A burning smell or leaks under the vehicle are also indicative of transmission problems.

What Are the Top 5 Signs of Transmission Problems

The top 5 signs include: 1) Slipping gears or difficulty staying in gear. 2) Delayed or harsh shifting. 3) Unusual noises like whining, grinding, or clunking. 4) Fluid leaks under the car. 5) Warning lights on the dashboard, especially transmission or check engine lights.

What Year Mazda 3 to Avoid

Historically, the 2010 Mazda 3 had some transmission concerns and it’s often flagged by owners and experts as a year to be cautious about. Always consult with recent consumer reports or reviews before purchasing any vehicle.

How Does a Car Act When the Transmission Is Going Out

When a transmission is on its way out, a car might exhibit issues like slipping gears, unresponsive acceleration, or even getting stuck in a particular gear. There might also be jerky movements when shifting or sudden changes in engine RPM.

Will Low Transmission Fluid Cause Check Engine Light

Yes, low transmission fluid can cause the check engine light to illuminate. Low fluid levels can lead to overheating, poor shifting, and even transmission failure, triggering the light as a warning sign.

How Do You Know If You Have Transmission Problems

You’ll often notice unusual behaviors in your vehicle. These can include slipping between gears, delayed acceleration, strange noises during gear shifts, fluid leaks, or warning lights on the dashboard.

How to Tell If a Transmission Is Slipping

A slipping transmission is often evident when the engine revs climb but the vehicle doesn’t accelerate as it should. The car may also struggle to stay in gear, or there might be a noticeable delay when shifting.

Does Mazda Have CVT Transmission

As of writing, Mazda does not use CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) in its main lineup. Instead, they’ve prioritized traditional automatic transmissions and their own SKYACTIV-Drive technology, which offers smooth shifts and efficient performance.

What Does It Sound Like When Your Transmission Is Going Out

When a transmission is failing, you might hear sounds like grinding, whining, or clunking, especially during gear shifts. These noises are warning signs that internal components might be wearing down or malfunctioning.

What Causes Transmission to Go Bad

Several factors can lead to a bad transmission. Lack of maintenance, such as not changing the transmission fluid, can cause issues. Overheating, aggressive driving, towing heavy loads without the right equipment, and manufacturing defects can also compromise transmission health.

Why Do Transmissions Go Out

Transmissions go out due to various reasons including wear and tear over time, lack of regular maintenance, overheating, aggressive driving habits, and manufacturing defects. Using the wrong type of transmission fluid or allowing it to run low can also cause issues.

How to Tell If You Have a Bad Transmission

Signs of a bad transmission include slipping gears, delayed acceleration, unusual noises during shifting, fluid leaks, and warning lights on the dashboard. If the vehicle doesn’t respond well to gear changes, it’s also a red flag.

Who Makes Mazda Transmissions

Mazda produces its own transmissions. For their SKYACTIV line of vehicles, Mazda developed the SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission, which aims to combine the best characteristics of various types of transmissions for better efficiency and performance.

What Is the Most Common Cause of Automatic Transmission Failure

The most common cause is lack of maintenance, specifically not changing the transmission fluid at recommended intervals. Over time, the fluid can break down and fail to lubricate and cool the transmission components properly.

How Long Does a Bad Transmission Last

Once a transmission starts showing signs of failure, its lifespan can be unpredictable. It might last for several more months or fail within days. Addressing issues early and seeking professional advice is crucial.

Can a Bad Wiring Harness Cause Transmission Problems

Yes, a faulty wiring harness can cause transmission issues. Modern transmissions rely on electronic controls, and any wiring or connection issues can disrupt the signals, leading to erratic or improper shifting.

How Do I Know If My CVT Transmission Is Going Bad

For vehicles with CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), warning signs include jerky movements, delays in acceleration, a rubber-band-like feel when accelerating, strange noises, and overheating.

Can Not Changing Oil Cause Transmission Problems

While not directly related, engine oil and transmission fluid serves similar protective roles for different parts of the car. Neglecting engine oil changes can cause engine issues. However, neglecting transmission fluid changes specifically leads to transmission problems.

How to Fix Gearbox Problems

Fixing gearbox problems usually requires professional expertise. Common solutions include changing the transmission fluid, replacing worn-out components, reprogramming electronic controls, or, in severe cases, rebuilding or replacing the entire transmission.

Can an Automatic Transmission Slip

Yes, an automatic transmission can slip. Slipping occurs when the transmission changes gear without the driver’s input or when it fails to stay in gear. It’s a clear sign of transmission issues and should be addressed immediately.

Does Mazda Have Transmission Problems

While Mazda is generally known for producing reliable vehicles, like any manufacturer, there have been instances and specific models where transmission problems have been reported. It’s always essential to check reviews and owner feedback for specific models and years.

Why Does My Car Jerk When I Switch Gears

If your car jerks when switching gears, it’s often a sign of transmission issues. This can be due to worn transmission components, low transmission fluid, or electronic control problems. It indicates that the transmission isn’t shifting smoothly.

Are Mazda Transmissions Reliable

Overall, Mazda transmissions have a reputation for being reliable. The company’s focus on engineering and its SKYACTIV technology contributes to the durability and efficiency of its transmissions. However, as with any car brand, individual models and years may have specific issues.

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Adekunle Ayodeji May 14, 2022 - 9:09 pm

When my Mazda 5 minivan reach gear 4 which is the last gear then the gear give a sound as if gear can’t speed beyond 80km and below. What to be done

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Zack Norman September 29, 2022 - 2:22 pm

Thanks for the comment, Adekunle Ayodeji!

Now that’s a very peculiar issue. From what I can tell, it’s most likely either a faulty shift solenoid, broken spring packs, or a faulty valve body. You might want to take a closer look at those 3 first, and then maybe consider looking at the condition of the transmission fluid, too. Best of luck!

Gabriel Banda August 10, 2023 - 6:12 am

I have Mazda premacy now it’s has the problem of over drive light it’s blinking itself

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Rae Castillon August 10, 2023 - 2:39 pm

Hi Gabriel, thank you for sharing your experience with your Mazda Premacy and the issue you’re facing with the overdrive light blinking. It’s unfortunate to hear that you’re dealing with this problem. While I cannot provide a specific solution without more information, a blinking overdrive light typically indicates a fault in the transmission system or a low transmission fluid.

If you haven’t done so already, I would recommend taking your car to a certified Mazda dealership or a reputable mechanic who specializes in transmissions. They will be able to diagnose the problem more accurately through a thorough inspection and possibly a diagnostic scan. By identifying the specific issue, they can provide you with the necessary steps to resolve it.

It’s worth noting that every vehicle, regardless of make or model, can experience mechanical issues from time to time. While Mazda vehicles generally have a good reputation for reliability, it’s important to address any problems promptly to prevent further damage. Regular maintenance and servicing can also help prevent or detect issues early on.

I hope this helps, and I wish you the best of luck in resolving the overdrive light issue. If you have any further questions or concerns, feel free to ask.


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