Notes: The 2008 Mazda CX-7 has numerous reports filed with the NHTSA about engine & A/C problems, continuing these defect trends from the 2007 model year.

Owners report problems with the 2008 CX-7's Variable Valve Timing (VVT) & timing chain failing, causing major damage to the engine — Mazda uses an interference design so typically the valves are bent & the entire engine needs to be replaced. Mazda dealers typically quote $9,000 for an engine replacement.

There is also a trend of the turbo failing at low mileage.

Finally for the 2008 CX-7 there is a clear pattern of A/C compressor failure at relatively low mileage. Owners report smoke & occasionally the serpentine belt catches fire when the A/C compressor clutch seizes while driving. Mazda extended the A/C warranty to 60,000 miles, however many owners report their A/C compressor failed very soon after the 60k mark.

In 2011, Mazda began a "Special Service Program" that extended the warranty to 7 years/70,000 miles covering turbocharger oil leaks & excessive timing chain noise — an early sign of timing chain failure. However coverage under the program requires perfect documentation of all required maintenance with other stipulations. Buyer beware.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
79,518 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.

2008 Mazda CX-7 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Mazda CX-7 Owner Comments

problem #9

Jan 042015

CX-7 4-cyl

  • 87,177 miles


On Sunday, January 4, 2015, I was driving my 2008 Mazda Cx-7 and I stopped at a stoplight. When I tried to take off when the light turned green, my car hesitated and when I pressed on the gas peddle a little more, it still hesitated then finally took off. All of a sudden, I heard an extremely loud popping noise, and then thick, heavy white smoke started to come out of the tailpipe. The white smoke then started flowing out from under the hood, and it started to come into the car through the air vents. When I tried to pull over and put the car in park, it wouldn't shift into gear, so I pushed the parking break, and it finally stopped. I got out of the car and when I went to grab my purse, I saw fire coming through the bottom air vents ( the ones that blow air on your feet) so I grabbed my purse as quickly as I could, and ran away from the car. Then, I saw part of the engine fall out of the bottom of the car, on fire, and burn into the street. About 5 seconds later, the whole entire car burst into flames. All of the doors were closed, but the intensity of the fire blew both of the passenger side doors open, and blew out all of the windows (including the sunroof, which was closed at the time). When the firefighters finally put the fire out, the car was still smoldering and everything inside was melted. The steering wheel, the seats, the door handles, the mirrors, everything. The fire was so strong that it blew the hood back onto the windshield. All that is left of the car, is just the metal frame, and the engine. The car has a 4 cylinder engine with a turbo feature on it. I believe that is what caused the fire and made the loud popping sound initially.

- Stockton, CA, USA

problem #8

Nov 032014

CX-7 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
I write to express my disappointment at the quality of vehicles Mazda is putting out, and the lack of response Mazda's customer service department offers its customers. In 2008 I bought a 2008 Mazda CX7 and this car has given me nothing but problems. From the faulty wiring that always blows out the headlights, to the power windows which sometimes turn off and turn on, to the exhaust fumes that can be smelt inside the car, I've complained about all of it and spent countless resources and time trying to fix it all. The last straw came about a month ago when I was informed that my vvt adjuster and chain were out, the turbo was out and the engine was failing and it would cost me close to $4,000 to repair it. We're talking about a car with only 75,000 miles. According to my mechanic and according to reviews these are all common Cx-7 problems and Mazda just won't own up to them.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #7

Jun 192014


  • 94,000 miles
Vehicle started making a loud whining noise while driving at 55mph. White smoke started pouring out of rear end. We thought the car was on fire. It then wouldn't get over 20mph. Pulled over and called a tow truck.

- Daisetta, TX, USA

problem #6

May 072014

CX-7 4-cyl

  • 81,981 miles


As I was driving my Mazda ( with a turbo engine) along the highway it began to decelerate on its own and making a loud knocking/grinding noise. It stopped on the road going up a hill with no turnouts. So it appears that the turbo blew up. It will start, but I cannot go anywhere. I have also had to replace gaskets on my oil filter housing unit, as the stock gaskets were faulty and causing a severe oil leak. Also, my emissions regulation ( egr) valve is bad and therefore will not pass smog. Each of these issues I am seeing more and more complaints about from other owners of the same vehicle. Mazda has made a horribly defective car and refuses to do anything about it except to claim owner negligence. I bought my car with 40K miles on it and it has been falling apart from the start. There is absolutely no excuse and this is not owner negligence, it is Mazda negligence and refusal to make anything right on their completely defective vehicles.

- Aguanga, CA, USA

problem #5

Mar 032014

CX-7 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Whining sound when gas pedal is compressed, form 30 - 65 mph, at times, loss of power.

- South San Francisco, CA, USA

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problem #4

Feb 222013

CX-7 4-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
So this is my complaint and story so we went to Florida like a week and came back to Texas. When we got back home I started to hear an noise on the engine. I took the car to the mechanic and he said that wasn't normal it sounded like a diesel truck. So the next day I had to go to work and I was coming back home the engine light started to flash continuously and car started to shake so I drove it to a auto parts store, so they can check the code and they said it was a piston 3 misfire. I took it to mechanic again and he said the spark plug had oil and he said that was not a good sign he said it might be the engine or a bent valve. First of all this is our only car and don't have money to fix it. A use engine cost 3,000 and up and if its the head it cost like 1900 and I've been reading a lot of bad reviews of this car I really need help I can't afford to fix my car we are a family of 5.

- Edinburg, TX, USA

problem #3

Feb 012012

CX-7 4-cyl

  • 62,501 miles


This Mazda Cx-7 is at a Mazda dealer's service center right now getting the timing chain replaced, vvt issue corrected, a new turbo system to keep it from dumping tons of blue smoke from the exhaust, A/C system fixed, and there is an intermittent electrical issue as well. Not happy obviously, as these are all know issues with the vehicle. Mazda has agreed to pay for the timing chain, but the rest comes out of my pocket.

- Orion, IL, USA

problem #2

Jan 302012


  • 36,000 miles
We bought this car on February 19, 2011 with around 26,000 miles on it. On January 30, 2012 (around 36,000 miles) the engine light came on and the vehicle lost all power. We took it to our mechanic to have it diagnosed and it came back that the mass air flow sensor was bad. We had that replaced, but it made no difference at all. The engine light came back on and that mechanic told us we would have to take it to a Mazda dealer and that if it was anything to do with the powertrain, it should still be under warranty. We were happy to hear that indeed it was still under warranty and that Mazda most likely would cover all costs. A day later the dealership called to tell us that Mazda needed to see proof of maintenance on the oil changes, as there was a "sludge buildup." We had the oil changed as required, but were told that Mazda may not honor the warranty after all...seems it doesn't matter if you did everything right or not, Mazda seems to be denying this is a major problem. We are still waiting to hear if this will be covered, and have been doing lots of research on this issue. We wanted to get a start on this issue if it ends up being the nightmare that other owners are describing. There seems to be a major engineering flaw and we are afraid of losing everything due to the extreme repair costs associated with this problem. Not to mention recurring issues that seem to arise after the repairs are made! Mazda needs to stop the denial and resolve this issue asap! hopefully you can please help some hard working people who cannot afford these costs! thanks for your time...

- Dixon, IL, USA

problem #1

Dec 162010


  • 60,000 miles
2008 Mazda cx 7 grand touring - purchased pre-owned vehicle from a certified Mazda dealer in October 2008, had a loud engine sound and dealer advised this was "normal", just before warranty expiration found that transmission seal was bad and replaced this as well as the recalled compressor. Now at 64K and noise in engine is getting worse and it is in fact the timing chain lapping. Found out that this is a common problem and that some people have been having the chain break leaving them stranded in the middle of the road. Also found that the entire casing and the tensioning belt/mechanism is failing. This is a huge safety concern and I am surprised that no one has recalled this, it is a very common problem in the 07 model as well. Will request old parts be kept. Currently being worked on.

- Allen, TX, USA

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