Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
34,810 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.

2003 Mazda Tribute transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Mazda Tribute Owner Comments

problem #10

Sep 282010

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,913 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mazda Tribute. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the transmission was defective and would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted but offered no assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 55,913. Updated 5/9/11 the transmission was replaced. Updated 05/16/11

- Prescott , AZ, USA

problem #9

Apr 172010


  • 77,000 miles
My 2003 Mazda Tribute just recently began losing power. Late last week I noticed it wasn't grabbing as it should shifting (automatic) between third and fourth gear. Took it took recommended repair show and they are indicating transmission rebuild is required. I just checked the fluid level last week and about two or three weeks prior and all was well there. Engine blew on same vehicle at 70K miles despite oil changes every 3000 miles. Repair shop estimate: $3500 for the following: Filter, overdrive band, bushing kit, bearings, drive chain, torque converter, solenoid block, mlp switch, forward planetary gear, and fluid. I cannot believe a vehicle this age with less than 80,000 miles has lost an engine and transmission under normal wear and tear, when proper maintenance has been performed. Carmax did honor the warranty for the engine failure, but the extended warranty coverage only extends to 75K.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #8

Feb 052007

Tribute 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
On feburary 5,2007 the transmission in my Mazda Tribute went. I have only 61,000 miles on the vehicle at the time and have owned the vehicle since 11/2002. The reason for my filing the compliant is the recall shown in data regarding the Tribute transmission. I had to replace the transmission at my own cost. I was never informed about this recall by Mazda.

- Roselle Park, NJ, USA

problem #7

Nov 172006

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles


Automatic transmission failure on 2003 Mazda Tribute ES (AWD & 4WD) with 100,000 miles. Transmission cut out while driving and would not shift into any forward gear. Only reverse was functional and apparently not affected by failure. Had SUV hauled on flat-bed to dealer who initially indicated that it was probably the linkage, but they could not get it to shift into any forward gear either (only reverse). Upon further inspection dealer indicated transmission was blown, requiring a complete replacement, costing almost $4K.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #6

Oct 172005

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle description: 2003 Mazda Tribute LX AWD - purchased brand new from roto Mazda of arlington heights, il. All services like regular oil changes were done within the recommended time. Complaint: The vehicle stalls without any warning. We took the vehicle to the dealer few times while it was in warranty (less than 36000 miles). The dealer assured that the safety recall for Mazda Tribute is already in place. They couldn't find anything wrong with the SUV. The vehicle stalled again yesterday while I was pulling out of the driveway (on reverse) it came to a stop and died.(this is the second time in last six months) I had to restart the car. It starts immediately. It stalled today. I was waiting at a traffic signal and when it turned green, I started to accelerate and it died. (this happened about 4 times in last six months) I am afraid that one of these days I am going to get rear ended. We took it to the dealer two times with the same complaint and they couldn't find any thing wrong with the vehicle. Do I have a lemon" did you receive similar complaints " my car has 36300 miles now and otherwise excellent condition. Thank you.

- Palatine, IL, USA

problem #5

Sep 092004

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 567 miles
The transmission failed with less than 600 miles on the car due to a hose clamp not being secured during manufacture. Ever since then I have had problems with the car hesitating and almost stalling when accelerating from a stop just after starting the car. It also happens more often if the car is not level at the time, either on an incline or decline. If I let the car warm up for a few minutes, I generally do not have this problem. I have also had a problem with the gas pedal feeling like it sticks or is catching on something, I have noticed this problem more often when the outside temperature is below 75 degrees. When the accelerator finally activates, the car general lunges forward or will spin the tires, I have learned to let my foot off of the accelerator to keep the car under control. I have also had problems with the car shifting abruptly between gears, but this has subsided quite a bit. I have also felt a vibration in the car around 45 and 70 mph. I don't feel the vibration in the steering wheel, it feels like it is coming from the middle of the car, more in the transmission/drivetrain area. I have had the tires rotated a balanced 3 times and also had the alignment checked, but the vibration still occurs. I have taken the car back to the dealership numerous times and they always say they can not duplicate the problems. I have researched all of the complaints and recalls for the Tribute and the Ford escape, since they are basically the same vehicle, and there are quite a few similar complaints. I think the hesitating problem is related to the recall for the "stalling" problem, I think the problem is more widespread than they thought or the fix for the recall did not solve the problem entirely.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #4

Feb 122003

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


After sitting for 2 days in feburary of 2003, my 2001 Mazda Tribute has a hard start and extrame hesitation when driving. Later the engine light came on. I had the vehicle towed to Mazda dealership who said it was caused by busted spark plug. I oked a tune up. In March 2003 after sitting two days, the same problem occurred. I called the dealership and was told they found a callapsed hose. I have not allowed the vehicle to sit for 2 days again but did notice a slight hesitation off and on and it is now December 2003 and the problem has gotten worse. And like other complaints, it starts at elevation between 45-50 mph. After 55 it's fine. It does this all the time. As of 1-2-04 I have a scheduled appointment to have it checked out. I also want to mention that about 4 months ago as I was driving to work, the vehicle stalled with no warning however, I was able to coast to the shoulder with no problems. After about 15 minutes the vehicle started with no problem.

- Knightdale, NC, USA

problem #3

Nov 272003

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I recently purchased a new 2003 Mazda Tribute SUV. At times it is difficult to get it out of the park position after I start the engine. At other times it will not start until I force the steering wheel to move. Is this inherent in this model?

- Holmes Beach,, FL, USA

problem #2

May 072003


  • miles
When the consumer applied pressure to the accelerator pedal the vehicle did not move.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #1

Mar 212003

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,617 miles
#1-transmission failure @ 3617 miles. Vehicle 3 months old. Mfg solution/remanufactured transmission vs new..#2-requested repair of smart unlocking feature as stated in owners manual on page 70 of part #9999-95-014C-03..mfg solution/will correct owners manual..something isn't right with these solutions..servicing dealer has done everything in it's power to correct to correct these issues & maintain good relations..Mazda mfg is reluctant to move beyond these solutions......

- Chicago Heights, IL, USA

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