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fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
19,814 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2012 Mazda MAZDA3 engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Mazda MAZDA3 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Jul 042016


  • 37,000 miles


About a year ago, I had to replace my tires at just under 30,000 mi because the treads wore improperly. Fast forward a few months, my axle wore out and had to be replaced. However, the real problem comes when about 3 weeks ago, I was driving at about 75 miles an hour on a major highway, four lanes of traffic, and the engine starts jumping. The rpms go up and down, but the car won't accelerate. I get the car to the side of the road on pure momentum. The car then turns completely off with the key in the on position, but not lights come on. I remove the key, wait 5 minutes and the car turns back on. It died again a few min later so I have it towed to a mechanic, who can't find anything wrong. 5 min after leaving the mechanic's shop, my car starts jumping again; I barely made it back. The mechanic is at a loss and recommends the dealership since there are no codes. The dealer gets it and works with it for a few days and says that the mass air flow sensor (mafs) was clogged, which was turning off the car, and the bearings were also causing problems because they were worn out (from the axle being improperly installed). They replaced the bearings, cleaned the mafs, and reset the computer, under the warranty, and told me my car was ok. 2 days later, I'm driving on a major highway again and the car starts jumping again. I was able to barely make it out of traffic before the car died again. The car starts up again 5 min later and I take about 10 min to get to safety as this repeats. The dealer has my car for almost 3 wks, Mazda's field engineers get involved, they-checked the fuel components, the computer, filters etc, and then Mazda recommends checking the wiring harness. A clip had broken above the axle on the engine that allowed the wiring to wear out. They had to redo the wiring in a different way so it wouldn't wear--this seems like it has happen to others w/O resolution.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #22

Jun 272016


  • 95,000 miles
When decelerating, I'll push in clutch, apply brake, and shift to a lower gear. As I let out the clutch, car will sometimes lurch forward (as if I'm depressing accelerator even though I'm not). I must immediately depress clutch again and let out slowly to prevent the sudden surge in acceleration. Most often happens when I am coming out of a turn and begin to let out clutch. Also, at 3 1/2 years old, with 95,000 mostly highway miles, manual transmission has started popping out of 4th gear while driving. I'll be driving along and for no reason shifter will pop out of gear. Independent transmission shop said cause is likely bad bearings inside transmission and recommended replacement with manufactured transmission. I never had problems with my 2010 Mazda 5 with 5 speed manual transmission. I've reported problems to Mazda service and of course they can never get problem to repeat itself while they are driving.

- Mebane, NC, USA

problem #21

Mar 012016


  • 40,000 miles
Squeaking noise from engine compartment. Source appears to be engine mount#4. needs to be replaced and greased. Noise occurs in motion, no correlation with turning or speed.

- New Paltz, NY, USA

problem #20

Sep 252015


  • 28,625 miles


I just got off work and got in my car to leave. I turned on the car and everything seemed normal. I pulled out of the parking lot and as soon as I pulled up to the light, which was 1block away, my car shut off. I was just at the red light waiting then my car turned off and would not turn back on. All the power in the car was there but my car would just not turn back on, my vehical was being operated in the automatic position.this was dangerous because it was a Friday afternoon during the 5 O'clock traffic and I had all these vehicals lined up behind me honking and I had to push my vehicals off to the side and call a tow truck. My vehical was luckily on the city street.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #19

Jan 012015

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 16,090 miles
My wife was driving on the freeway - I was on the passenger side. This is the first time it happened. The car lost sort of reset itself - dash warning lights came on (according to my wife). Radio/cd stopped music - ABS light went on (that's all I can see from passenger side). My wife said others too but she was focused on the road because it was a construction zone. She was nervous and said the car was not responding to throttle. Luckily all went back to normal after 2 or maybe 3 seconds. The music came back on also. No check engine light or any sign of trouble. We pulled over and I checked the front to see if we hit something that could have caused it. Restarted the car - all seemed normal and reached our destination. This was our first 200 mile trip or more on this car. 1 day after arrival - I did a once over safety check (fluids, tire pressure, etc) nothing out of the ordinary. Got my obd2 code reader and it had the following U3003 U0140 U0428. So I will take this to our dealer for checkup.

- Hilliard, OH, USA

problem #18

Dec 192014

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
Driving at approx 45mph, car lost acceleration, power steering, and multiple engine lights on. Car moved to site of the road and towed to dealer.

- Temple Terrace, FL, USA

problem #17

Jun 202014

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles


Driving at 70mph, lost acceleration and multiple engine lights came on. Had to move over to emergency lane on interstate and driving to nearest exit at approx 40mph. Car towed to dealer for repair.

- Temple Terrace, FL, USA

problem #16

Jul 282014


  • 20,000 miles
We were just returning from a trip of 9 days which contained many high speed highway hours and mountainous terrain. Car has 20000 miles on it. As we pulled off the highway and onto a city street, all three lights ( engine, autotransmission, and slippage icon) went off and there was a bare minimum of power to move car forward. Maybe 5 mph. We drifted into parking lot, restarted car and was able to drive to dealership without incident although the lights remained on. If this had happened while passing a truck on the highway it would have been disastrous. In shop over a week.

- Worthington, OH, USA

problem #15

May 102014

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 16,490 miles
I was driving along a city street on the way to a mall when I noticed the traction control warning light come on. My car then started to decelerate. I pressed on the gas and noticed that the needle on my tachometer was running high indicating high rate of RPM. I could not drive faster than 35 mph for fear of redlining and possibly damaging the engine. I went back home and parked my car. Later when I started my car the traction control warning light had turned off and I was able to drive the car normally again. This is a very serious matter that could result in serious accident if it had happened on a freeway or on a mountain road. I no longer feel safe driving this car, not knowing when this might occur again. I will be having the car inspected at the dealership since it is still under warranty.

- Daly City, CA, USA

problem #14

Feb 132013


  • 1,600 miles
While downshifting from 4th to 3rd and/or 5th to 4th to slow down without having my foot on the gas pedal (only on the clutch) my 2012 Mazda 3 touring 6 speed mt accelerates very rapidly and jerks about. It happens for several seconds and then stops. It's almost every time I downshift. I brought it to the attention of the Mazda dealer on the first service appointment at 5000 miles in April 2013. However, the service advisor informed me that mechanic checked the problem and found no issues with the car that would be causing this problem.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #13

Mar 072014


  • 18,800 miles


Hello, I was driving down a highway going about 30-40 mph in the passing lane. I went to accelerate past a truck when I noticed I wasn't gaining any speed. I looked down and the ABS light was on. Thinking that I might be in a lower gear and my auto transmission wasn't shifting well I changed it over to manual. There were no gear lights indicated on the dash. I could not get any power to the transmission from the engine. I have to pull over on the side of the road, while still kind of on the road considering I had no power. In a desperate attempt I turned the car off and back on and everything seemed to be reset. I called Mazda today and they seemed almost like it was no big deal. Well I consider this a big deal, losing transmission power on a highway is a big deal. Anyways I saw a post a few days ago with the same exact issue. This should not happen!

- New Kensington, PA, USA

problem #12

Aug 082013


  • 24,000 miles
After taking a left hand turn onto a local road, I noticed that my car was decelerating despite the fact I was pressing on the gas. The traction control light on the dash came on and the car appeared to be stuck in 1st or 2nd gear; I could not go faster than 40 mph without the rpms going too high. This car has automatic transmission. I tried turning off the traction control by pressing its button, but this did not work. I also tried switching to manual mode but couldn't get the car to shift or the traction control light to shutoff. I finally had to pull over and restart the car to get the light to turn off and the transmission to act normally. I have seen others post a similar problem, though they were in much more serious environments - on the highway going 70 and all of a sudden having to pull across traffic and restart the car because of this weird transmission-traction control issue. This creates for an incredibly dangerous situation and I am petrified of this happening again in a similar scenario. This is something Mazda needs to address immediately.

- Reminderville, OH, USA

problem #11

Mar 222013

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 8,500 miles
Date & mileage approximate. I was driving 35mph and sped up to merge 1 lane to my right so I wouldn't miss my turn. I sped up, maybe to 40 and the traction control light went on and there was no acceleration at that point. I am glad I didn't get rear ended but did get flipped off for cutting someone off and slowing down. I made my turn and hit the traction control button but it stayed lit. I have an automatic with the manual option, I tried driving manually, the light didn't go off. I then pulled over tried the traction button again, it stayed lit. The weather condition was warm and nice out. I turned the car off for a few minutes, started it, light was off and it drove fine. If this happened and the driver behind me hadn't paid attention I would have been hit! I don't want to think about having to cross a street where the oncoming car had right of way and my car didn't accelerate. On another note I have had my car unlock itself 3 times, when I know it was locked with the fob. The fob is not damaged in any way. Twice in same location weeks apart. It was locked, beeped the lights keys were set down untouched after that, not in my pocket moving around but on the counter. First time I thought I must have forgotten; my car got ransacked. Second time I knew I locked it, I told myself maybe the cat stepped perfectly on the key fob, on just the unlock button that night. My car got ransacked again but to their surprise nothing was in the car as everything was stolen the first #@#& time! the third time I had a witness watch me lock the car with the fob and I even checked all the handles-locked. We left the restaurant, again unlocked. I cant leave anything in my car because I fear it may happen again.. I wonder if someone's key fob is on the same frequency and strangers are unlocking it? im going to the dealership in a few days. Im afraid to drive and park my car.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #10

Mar 292013

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 12,000 miles
I have an automatic skyactiv 2012 5dr hatchback. I was pulling out on a back road that was 60mph and as soon as I pressed the gas to speed up with traffic it was as if the car lost all power. The traction control light came on and the car slowly accelerated as I had the gas pressed to the floor. It very slowly sped up to 60mph and would not go any faster. I tried pressing the traction control button to turn it off and nothing happened. My wife and I got lunch and afterwards it worked fine. Last time I was at the dealership they told me there was a recall for the stalling issue and that they had fixed it. This was about a month or so before I experienced the stall. Before then I had not had any issues with stalling, just with pulling out onto roads. That leads me to mention that this car does not do well when pulling out onto roads. The car does not respond well. It lags and then when it realizes you have your foot pressed on the gas it throws you back into your seat. It's as if the car is in 3rd gear when you pull out and then throws itself into 1st gear. The car feels very unsafe. I wish I wouldn't have bought Mazda's 2012 Mazda3 since, afterall, it was their first attempt at their new skyactiv engine.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #9

Jan 102013


  • 8,000 miles
My 2012 Mazda 3 skyactiv hatchback with the 6 speed manual transmission is exhibiting unintended acceleration. After downshifting into 2nd or 3rd gear, or after coasting in one of those gears with the clutch disengaged, the engine revs and the car "surges" forward upon re-engagement of the clutch. When this occurs, the accelerator pedal is only being slightly pushed, but the car acts as if it has been pushed almost to the floor. Depending on the position of the clutch pedal when this occurs, the engine will either rev to 3000 to 4000 RPM, or the car will accelerate forward until either the brake or clutch pedal is pressed. This issue was presented to the service department and I told them that you have to drive in those conditions in order to re-create the problem. I also told them that I"ve been driving manuals for the last 28 years and don't think its a driver issue, especially since there are multiple complaints of this same issue on this site and other Mazda forums. This needs to be taken seriously by Mazda!!!!!!!!!!

- Springfield, VA, USA

problem #8

Feb 152013

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 17,758 miles
While driving down the highway the vehicle all of a sudden lost power and began to slow down. The traction control light turned on at this time. Pushing the accelerator did nothing. When I switched the manual mode for the transmission the gear was not displayed on the dashboard and trying to up or downshift did nothing. After pulling off to the side of the road I was able to place the transmission in park. I lifted the hood and checked for fluid leaks or spills of which there were none. After turning off the car and waiting a couple of minutes I turned it back on and now had the traction control, at, and check engine lights lit. After putting the transmission in drive and pushing the accelerator the vehicle was extremely sluggish in acceleration and would shift through the first four gears but at rpms much higher than normal. I was able to limp the vehicle home as the dealership was already closed. After letting the vehicle sit for 15 minutes or so I turned it back on and now only the check engine light is lit. Will be taking to the dealer in the morning.

- Lockhart, TX, USA

problem #7

Sep 152012

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
My 2012 Mazda 3 skyactiv hatchback with the 6 speed manual transmission is exhibiting unintended acceleration. The symptoms exhibited are consistent with multiple other reports in this system. After downshifting into 2nd or 3rd gear, or after coasting in one of those gears with the clutch disengaged, the engine revs and the car "surges" forward upon re-engagement of the clutch. When this occurs, the accelerator pedal is only being slightly pushed, but the car acts as if it has been pushed almost to the floor. Depending on the position of the clutch pedal when this occurs, the engine will either rev to 3000 to 4000 RPM, or the car will accelerate forward until either the brake or clutch pedal is pressed. This issue has been confirmed by Mazda after multiple trips to the dealership for service. Upon the last visit, a data recorder was installed and recorded 7 specific unintended acceleration events between the dates of 11/13/12 and 11/20/12. According to an email I received from the district service & parts manager for district 2 of Mazda North America operations (mnao) on 12/23/12, "the concern found on the data recordings taken from your vehicle were found to be a PCM calibration issue. Mazda corporation is working on a new calibration for the PCM with an unknown time of completion." When I requested that my vehicle be replaced with another of the same model, this was the response from the same district service & parts manager: "since the calibration of the PCM is the same on a 2013 like model with a manual transmission it would not be advised to trade you into that vehicle as it could potentially exhibit the same concern depending on your driving habits and conditions." I am currently awaiting a response from mnao's mediation department regarding either replacing my car with another model, or buying back the car from me.

- Camarillo, CA, USA

problem #6

Aug 072012

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
Approximately two or three times a week when downshifting out of a right or left hand curve or turn, my 2012 manual transmission Mazda 3 hatchback will accelerate on its own. This is characterized by a varying increase of rpms: 2100 rpms to 4500 rpms, depending on the incident, and a sudden lurching or surging forward of the vehicle itself. When approaching curves or turns, at 30 or 40 mph, that do not have to be taken at a complete stop, I engage the clutch, apply the brakes, and slow the vehicle to 15-20 mph. Upon coming out of the turn I shift the vehicle into second gear. When I slowly release the clutch, without depressing the gas pedal at all, the car's engine will rev, rpms will surge to as high as 4000 - 4500, and the car will lurch forward until the clutch is once again depressed. These incidents are random and are not dependent on speed, weather conditions, or location. These incidents have only been duplicated with a minimal increase of rpms and no lurching forward when a mechanic is present. These incidents can not be duplicated for the dealership at their fullest and most dangerous.

- Winter Garden, FL, USA

problem #5

Dec 082012


  • 10,200 miles
When downshifting (manual transmission) from 3rd to 2nd as I was slowing down because of a red light, the engine RPM went way up, maybe around 4,000 RPM. I pressed the clutch to avoid the car jerking forward and hitting the car in front of me. This was the third time this actually happened. I bought the car new and have only owned it 5 months.

- Richmond Hill, GA, USA

problem #4

Sep 292012


  • 6,000 miles
Cruise control: Pedal does not stay where it is set - it returns to a 0 mph position. This makes it uncomfortable to keep your foot resting on the proper pedal while in cruise, leading to losing of 'place'. it could be a safety issue. Acceleration anomalies. When stepping on it (going straight) engine will hesitate, seem to wind up and then go, not giving you the power you need when you need it, but seconds after the fact. Other times engine will accelerate unexpectedly with more power than anticipated most frequently when accelerating into a turn. Seems unsafe.

- Cherry Hill, NJ, USA

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