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:
60,148 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 engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2008 Mazda CX-7:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2008 Mazda CX-7 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #35

Oct 282016


  • 79,000 miles


I want to implore you to make Mazda recall this make/model, with them knowing they have a faulty vvt/timing chain issue, that has affected hundreds, if not thousands of car owners, putting their safety at risk. I have not myself, had the issues yet, that are well documented, but unfortunately I did purchase this car, and it is unbelievable that Mazda will not fix this problem.

- Santa Clarita, CA, USA

problem #34

Sep 272016


  • 71,800 miles
Vvt and timing chain noise and heavy engine rattle at start up, 72,000 miles on vehicle Mazda refuses any kind of warranty on engine.

- Dresden, OH, USA

problem #33

Jun 242016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2008 Mazda Cx-7. while driving 10 mph, the vehicle began to decelerate and all the warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact stated that the engine stalled. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure could not be determined. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Pyallup, WA, USA

problem #32

Jan 152016


  • miles


Car had severe oil leak found during an oil change with no oil left in the car; however there was never oil on the ground - I park in the garage. I took the car to the dealer for a diagnostic test, they did the dye test and found the leak near the oil cooler from the seal/gasket. This is a very expensive part and it appears to be very common after 80K miles from my searches online. Please investigate as this is very unsafe and needs to be addressed.

- Webster, NY, USA

problem #31

Nov 222015


  • miles
* engine issues when the A/C compressor locked up. This is a known issue in this make and model. This happened around 36K miles while I was driving on a freeway. We had to coast into the next exit. * engine knocking issues. They still persist and started around 50K miles. * engine resistance. Alongside the knocking there seems to be a good amount of resistance when taking your foot off of the pedal for acceleration. * they added a factory extension to the radio for the ipod. Ever since they installed this, the rest of the electrical components have been overloaded. - headlights go out frequently. This concerns me as my wife drives the car and I wouldn't want both to go out at the same time. - the battery won't hold a charge if not driven for a few days. The dealership acknowledged that the radio has a 'parasitic draw' on the battery causing these issues, but refuses to take responsibility for their installation. Their solution is to charge $800+ for a new head unit, which is outrageous since I never did anything to the factory head unit.

- Dover, OH, USA

problem #30

Apr 082015


  • 44,000 miles
My Mazda CX7 - 2008 has only 44,000 miles and the engine light went one and after bringing it to a mechanic and checking the codes with a computer, it came up that the egr valve needs to be replaced. All the mechanics that I talked with were really surprise and asked me if the Mazda CX7 - 2008 has a recall on the egv valve because it is not normal that with that little miles the egr valve need to be replaced. I have checked on the internet and I'm seeing many other owners that are having the same issue. I think there is a factory defect with the egr valve for this model.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #29

Jan 292015

CX-7 4-cyl

  • 61,000 miles


I have white smoke coming out of my tailpipe when it idles. I also have a burning oil smell in my car. I have to roll down the windows when I get into my car. I have a 2 1/2 year old and I cant imagine its safe for her to breath this in. I took it to green Mazda in springfield il to be repaired, this is a known issue with this vehicle. They installed a ventilation kit. That did not solve the problem. I took it back and now they say there is no problem. So they saw a problem and installed a ventilation kit but now that is doing the same thing there is not a problem. The next step is to replace the turbo, which they will not do. This should be a safety recall.

- Virden, IL, USA

problem #28

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 #27

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 #26

Nov 212014


  • 85,415 miles
The oil cooler on my 2008 Mazda Cx-7 began leaking around the rubber O-ring a few weeks ago. My mechanic called ferman Mazda in brandon, fl to get a replacement and was advised by the service department that the old style oil cooler had problems and Mazda re-designed a new one, and now Mazda owners have to spend over $400 to buy a new one because the rubber gasket and oil cooler are not manufactured anymore. Oil has covered my engine and the plastic engine cover underneath the vehicle. The heat from the engine can cause a fire if it sprays up near the plugs/starter. There is an obvious problem with the oil cooler, however ferman Mazda does nothing to fix the problem for their customers.

- Seffner, FL, USA

problem #25

Oct 062014

CX-7 4-cyl

  • 92,540 miles


While on a freeway off-ramp car started to idle irregularly accompanied by white smoke and a loud whining noise. Identified problem as A/C compressor. Turned off air conditioning; smoke and whining seemed to stop, and I was able to drive it the 15 miles to my mechanic.

- West Bend, WI, USA

problem #24

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 #23

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 #22

Apr 132014


  • 78,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Mazda Cx-7. the contact stated that while driving 20 mph, the vehicle made a popping sound and white smoke emitted from the rear of the vehicle. The contact mentioned that the vehicle stalled immediately after. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that there was hole in the piston caused by the turbo charger. As a result, the engine needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 78,000.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #21

Feb 202014

CX-7 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
The gasket on the oil coolers on these cars are defective. I have an oil leak from this gasket that puts me at risk for an engine blowout. I will have to replace the entire oil cooler at a cost of $500+ because the gasket can't be purchased separately. Mazda needs to take responsibility for this before people get stranded on the road. If you search this oil leak online, you find dozens of posts about this happening to other Cx-7 owners. This is a crossover SUV geared towards families. I drive my kids around in it and now am very concerned about the safety of this car.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #20

Nov 062013

CX-7 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Mazda Cx-7. the contact stated that white smoke emitted from the tail pipe. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the failure was due to poor maintenance and that the turbo needed to be replaced. The contact also mentioned that the failure was previously experienced. The technician also stated that there was a blown head gasket. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 81,000. Updated 12/31/13 the dealer informed the consumer the turbo failed due lack of maintenance and not enough oil changes.

- Livingston, NJ, USA

problem #19

Nov 012013

CX-7 4-cyl

  • 36,400 miles
Sudden loss of power as the turbo stopped working. The Mazda dealership claimed that the turbo broke due to sludge in the engine. There was a lot of sludge in the engine, however, the car was well maintained with regular oil changes. It seems that the median engine temperature is hotter than is appropriate for the specified oil in the owners manual. This results in oil burning and sticking to the inside of the engine. Eventually a piece of "sludge" will come loose and clog the oil tube to the turbo, resulting in the turbo unit overheating and breaking. Mazda seems to be aware of this problem as they were pressured to extend the warranty on this part. However, the problem is very serious and there should be a recall of the turbo unit and clarification in the owner's manual. Mazda has yet to agree to fix the turbo and "sludge" in my engine. They are still insisting that I did not maintain the vehicle well. Fyi- I was a car designer with Honda/Acura for 4 years who designed the 2009 - 2012 MDX. I am stating this because I know SUV's and how to maintain them very well.

- Westwood, MA, USA

problem #18

Oct 182013

CX-7 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2008 Mazda CX7. The contact stated that while the vehicle was parked and unoccupied, oil was leaking from the engine compartment. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnosis. The engine oil cooler and engine cover were both repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The failure mileage was unavailable....updated 04-22-14 the consumer stated the timing chain and vvt actuator was a recall item. The vehicle had not been repaired. Updated 04/28/2014

- Riverview , FL, USA

problem #17

May 142013

CX-7 4-cyl

  • 59,000 miles
Mazda got stuck and had no power the first time second time happened October 9,2013 car kept shutting off and finally could not move. Turbo once again twice in 5 months and I only had this pre-owned vehicle for 7 months.

- Deer Park, NY, USA

problem #16

Oct 292012

CX-7 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
The oil cooler above the filter is leaking very bad, and I need to replace the gasket, but I had no prior leaks before and it was hard to start my vehicle. You can't just buy the gasket for the cooler, unless it's the newer silver oil cooler, the part alone is at least $400, but there seems to a frequent issue of this with many others, on the 2008 Mazda Cx-7.

- Syracuse, NY, USA

Read the next 15 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?