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fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
11,598 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.

2002 Mazda Tribute engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Mazda Tribute Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #33

Jul 042006

Tribute 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles


While driving our 2002 Mazda Tribute on the highway, a fire started under the car - we suddenly noticed engine started to stutter and then saw smoke coming out of the back of the car and then the exhaust pipe fell out of the rear. Within a minute or so as we were trying to pull over, both the steering wheel and the brake failed. We finally brought the car to stop on the shoulder of the exit ramp close by, by decelerating and using the parking brake. When we got out, we saw active fire under the car toward the back. The fire was put out almost immediately by a person who stopped to help us with a fire extinguisher. All of this took less than 5 minutes. The fire men who arrived at the scene within minutes opened up the hood and said there was no engine oil. The police was present at the scene. The car was purchased new 4 years ago and we've had no major problems for the last 55,000 miles. The engine oil was filled 5 days before that and the car ran fine for the 450 mile trip right up to that point. The low engine oil warning light did not come on until after the vehicle came to a stop. Aaa adjuster suspected an engine problem and his theory was that engine shaft broke and punctured the oil pan from inside but no forensic inspection was carried out by the insurance company. The car was towed to a Mazda dealer shop for inspection at our request but the dealership refused to offer a conclusive explanation or carry out a forensic inspection. The car is currently parked there and it has not been fixed (and the old parts are still in the car). Both the insurance company and the Mazda are refusing to pay for the engine repair and we're considering our options. We have filed a claim to Mazda to no avail.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #32

Sep 282005

Tribute 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Egr valve blew out, replaced, replacement valve blew out within 24 hours of repair and within 30 total minutes of vehicle operation from repair.

- Monticello, KY, USA

problem #31

May 312005

Tribute 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Contact states the motor mount needs to be replaced. In addition, , having problems with the sway bar on the driver's side. Also, the front lower control arm bushing needs to be replaced.

- Tobyhanna, PA, USA

problem #30

Feb 282005

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2002 madza Tribute with 68,000 needs a new transmission. Just had a value job done on the engine approx. 4 months ago. Madza warranty- including drive train - up at 50,000 miles.

- Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #29

Mar 032004

Tribute 6-cyl

  • 10,120 miles
The vehicle shutdown suddenly while driving 50 mph. There was no warning and no indicator lights illuminated to indicate a problem. As a result the vehicle had no power steering or no brakes. The driver had to use both feet to apply the brakes so that the vehicle would come to a stop.

- High Point, NC, USA

problem #28

Jan 152004

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle cuts off at low speed (<35) mph, no engine light. Also vehicle hesitates when accelerator pushed.

- Mt. Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #27

Feb 092003

Tribute 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,730 miles


While driving @ 50 mph on interstate @ rush hour traffic my madza Tribute 2002 stalled without warning! caused loss of steering and brakes. Put on emergency flashers and was able to restart engine not before vehicles behind me were hitting brakes and trying to avoid hitting me. One vehicle had to go into median to avoid hitting me. Taken to dealer and he placed what was stated in tech bulletin 01-04-02R, but can't assure me this will resolve problem. Why has not this problem been a recall!!! according to this website this seems to be a major and dangerous problem with the Tributes. I have only 26,000 miles on Tribute but after reading all the complaints my husband has suggested we trade it in. We have enjoyed our previously Mazda's (3) but my next vehicle will not be a Mazda due to the fact Mazda seems to be indifferent to this defect and recalling all vehicles involved. Will take numerous deaths and lawsuits before Mazda fixes this problem?

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #26

Dec 142003

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles
Mazda Tribute 2002, had lower engine replaced after 4000 as it totally died on the highway. 20 months later I am having the engine replaced, this time it is out of warranty. The cams weren't getting an oil for some reason and they are shot, the lifters were also broken and the head is warped. Service rep said the engine is in good shape and can see that there is little wear on the engine.

- Belton, TX, USA

problem #25

Nov 152003

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,000 miles
Vehicle has suddenly stalled in traffic several times. Was travelling at approx 35-45mph. This happened twice. Veh was taken to dealer, who re-programmed the computer. Several months have passed without incident, problem has occurred again. Very concerned that when engine stalls, I lose power steering and may not be able to turn off the road before being struck from the rear. Each time this has occurred I have been able to pull into the median or a side street. But I wonder what will happen if I am in the middle lane"?"

- Seminole, FL, USA

problem #24

Nov 232003

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,700 miles
Engine stalls while driving at various speeds. Loss of steering and braking. Very serious and scary situation.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #23

Sep 202003

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,497 miles


While driving approximately 35 mph, the engine stopped without warning causing a suddent loss of power steering. I pulled over to the side of the road and restarted the engine. This is the second time this has happened.

- Indialantic, FL, USA

problem #22

Sep 082003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The vehicle stalled while decelerating. Dealer informed. The dealer reflashed PCM and replaced the following components: Air control valve, throttle body and engine sensor.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #21

Aug 222003

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,500 miles
While driving at any speed and with no warning the vehicle stalled and caused the consumer to pull off the road. The dealer inspected the vehicle and was unable to duplicate the problem.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #20

Aug 062003

Tribute 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
Then engine on my 2002 Mazda Tribute died while I was driving downhill at 35 mph. My steering wheel locked and braking was difficult.

- St. Davids, PA, USA

problem #19

Jul 242003

Tribute 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,700 miles
While driving down the grape vine on I-5 my husband herd an engine noise. We pulled over and my husband checked under the hood. It appeared to be a noise coming from the fan belt. He shut off the engine and checked the oil and it was fine. We tried to make it to our destination of monrovia, ca. The engine noise got louder so we had to stop at the nearest exit and luckily there was a gas station at the corner. My husband checked under the hood again and this time he thought it might be coming from the engine. He rechecked the oil and it was fine. We called Mazda and they towed the vehicle at the nearest Mazda dealership. The following day, a person from Mazda called my husband and said we had engine problems. Mazda wanted oil change receipts from us. We told them that we are not from the area and we were on vacation and have to go back home and look for receipts. The person from Mazda stated that the car was not maintained therefore, Mazda will not cover the warranty. He also said that the engine was a quart low on oil and the oil was black. My husband checked the oil at a gas station before we went up the grape vine. He checked it again twice when we pulled over each time and it was fine and the color of the oil was brown not black. We bought the car new and changed the oil every 5000 miles. The car has about 35,700 miles and the engine should not break down like that. We had no type of warning and the engine oil light should go on if the oil was low and it did not go on because the oil was not low. When we returned home from our vacation, I faxed the receipts to Mazda and Mazda declined the repairs. The car has been to the dealership before and Mazda claims that it was electrical problems. After this repair, the alarm would sound while driving. It has stalled on my husband while going down a hill at about 35 mph but luckily, he was able to put it in neutral and restart the car and stop the vehicle. What can we do because we feel we have a lemon.

- Fairfield, CA, USA

problem #18

Jul 262003

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
Consumer states that while driving at any speed and with no warning, the vehicle shut off, which caused the consumer to pull over. It was hard to hard to get the vehicle started again. Dealer notified. When the engine stalled, the vehicle lost power steering and brakes. The consumer used the hand brake along with both feet on the pedal to stop the vehicle. The second incident occurred during city driving.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #17

Jun 262003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Since I purchased the auto in April 2002, there has been a burning smell coming from the engine. Every time I took the auto in for an oil change (every 3000 miles) I asked them to take a look at the engine because of the smell and every time they said they couldn't find anything except excess oil on the engine. If it is a brand new auto why is there oil on the engine?? no answer from the service dept. Finally after a year of complaining they actually looked at the engine and found a cracked block. The service dept said it must of happened when the engine was factory installed. I was told it was still ok to drive. They would get back to me when the "part" was in. Also they didn't believe me that something was wrong with the brakes. Once again everytime I took it in for an oil change I told them the brakes didn't feel right. I would have to pump the brakes to stop sometimes and other times sitting a light they would depress to the floor. Surprising nothing was found until the service dept actually drive the auto around (for the above problem) did they discover that I needed a new master cylinder!!! this is unbelievable, I have had both problems since the auto was purchased. Luckily it never stalled on me. What the heck it up with this model year"?"

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #16

Jul 142003

(reported on)


  • miles
While driving dash light suddenly illuminated, and vehicle engine died. Consumer almost had an accident.

- Wajkoloa, WI, USA

problem #15

Jul 162002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Wife's vehicle stalled without warning on busy highway. Was taken directly to dealer where another customer had the same problem. Dealer informed us that this is a known problem and that they know how to fix it. This vehicle is a safety hazard and should be recalled.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #14

Apr 012002

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 778 miles
Vehicle stalled intermittently while driving. The vehicle was restarted after it shut down abruptly.

- Lakeview, AR, USA

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