Notes: Except for a minor issue with cracked motor mounts, the 2008 MAZDA3 is a fantastic vehicle with a great reputation.

If you need to replace the motor mounts, first ask your dealer if they'll cover it -- the motor mounts were dealt with in a TSB & were recalled for some model years. Otherwise buy aftermarket motor mounts -- owners report this solves the problem. If you use the same OEM parts, they may just crack again.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
74,371 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 MAZDA3 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Mazda MAZDA3 Owner Comments

problem #7

Feb 102016


  • 95,000 miles


The car will not go above third gear and shakes violently while on highway and secondary roads.

- West Grove, PA, USA

problem #6

Jan 312016


  • 85,000 miles
Car was vibrating a lot when in gear and holding brakes replaced motor mounts and throttle body to fix issue. Also when slowing down and speeding back up the transmission grinds when down shifting. Feels like it is slipping and is not safe if you are driving on the highway or in the city and want to switch lanes and speed up I'm afraid one day I'm going to switch lanes hit the gas and the transmission will fail. The carmax I got the car from insists it is just a transmission "shutter" and it happens with certain cars. I will be getting a second opinion from an ase certified transmission shop. Dealership made me think it was brake pads at first I paid $300 to have perfectly good pads replaced with new ones to have the problem not fixed. I am extremely irritated with dealership trying to get around fixing the car. Other than those 2 problems the car is great.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #5

Apr 012015

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 82,360 miles
On 04/01/2015 while driving in the city at about 25 mph the transmission went from 4 to 1, and the car jerked really hard. At light and check engine light came on. After pulling over and turning the car off and waiting a couple of minutes, at light went away, check engine light was still on. The same happened in two days, then in 5 days while driving on a freeway with speed 65 mph - the car jerked and bucked at full speed, at light and check engine light on, transmission went from 5 to 1 to 3, tachometer went from 2500 RPM to over 4000 RPM - thankfully I did not hit anyone and I wasn't hit by other cars when that happened (I was very scared!). I got the car towed to the dealership, and after two days of diagnostics the answer - transmission control module (tcm) is bad. I did research online - very common problem with cars of this make, model and year. Dealer can not fix it because tcm is on nationwide back order! I have no car for a week now and it could be a month when the part will be available. This kind of problem worth of a recall due to the safety concerns and the cost of the replacement - over $1000 including diagnostics.

- Willowick, OH, USA

problem #4

Nov 012013

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles


I parked my car on numerous occasions in the last few months where the transmission failed to engage in park. It required multiple tries to get the park indicator light on the dash to reflect that the car was safely engaged in park. Before I realized what was happening with the transmission. On at least 3 occasions I was unable to start my car at all when I returned from a brief stop. The problem with failing to start happened when the car was on a slight incline and I had engaged the parking brake. After jiggling the automatic transmission lever repeatedly, moving the steering wheel and applying the brake vigorously, I was eventually able to get the car to start. I'm not sure whether it was rocking of the vehicle from frustration or jiggling the gear selector that finally worked. The car has a new battery and has had all scheduled maintenance performed by my local Mazda dealer. When this happens, other electrical equipment functions but there is absolutely no response from the ignition system.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #3

Mar 292013


  • 85,234 miles
I was driving at normal speed when with no warning, the car jerks suddenly. I was extremely startled as it felt like I had broken an axle or ran over something big in the road. For unaware drivers it can cause an accident if they swerve in reaction. It happened about 5 more times in a 1 hr drive and just kept on happening whenever I drove it for the next 2 days at higher speeds or lower speeds, I then noticed that my display showed the gear to drop from 5th suddenly into 3rd or 4th to 3rd. If this is happening to a lot of Mazda 3S, the manufacturer should do a recall as it is not safe especially at highway speeds.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

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problem #2

Mar 012013


  • 87,000 miles
TL- the contact owns a 2008 Mazda Mazda3. The contact stated while driving 50 mph the vehicle shifted into third degree independently from the fifth gear. The automatic transmission, not traction, and check engine lights all illuminated. The vehicle was stopped and once it was restarted the vehicle operated as designed. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis and the contact was informed the transmission fluid needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The vehicle was returned to the mechanic who then informed him the transmission would need to be rebuilt. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileage 87,000.

- Kew Gardens, NY, USA

problem #1

Oct 012010


  • 31,000 miles
Premature clutch problems at 31K miles. My clutch chatters and engages poorly due to a poorly made clutch, which Mazda will not replace under warranty, even though the vehicle is within the warranty period.

- Portland, OR, USA

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