definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
20,117 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.

2012 Mazda MAZDA3 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Mazda MAZDA3 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Jun 272016


  • 95,000 miles


When decelerating, I'll push in clutch, apply brake, and shift to a lower gear. As I let out the clutch, car will sometimes lurch forward (as if I'm depressing accelerator even though I'm not). I must immediately depress clutch again and let out slowly to prevent the sudden surge in acceleration. Most often happens when I am coming out of a turn and begin to let out clutch. Also, at 3 1/2 years old, with 95,000 mostly highway miles, manual transmission has started popping out of 4th gear while driving. I'll be driving along and for no reason shifter will pop out of gear. Independent transmission shop said cause is likely bad bearings inside transmission and recommended replacement with manufactured transmission. I never had problems with my 2010 Mazda 5 with 5 speed manual transmission. I've reported problems to Mazda service and of course they can never get problem to repeat itself while they are driving.

- Mebane, NC, USA

problem #23

Feb 232015


  • 35,200 miles
I drove over bumpy rail road tracks, went to give it gas to go and engine revved but no acceleration. Dash light that normally says D was blank. Shifted to manual mode and attempted to up or down shift but dash light still blank and no shifting possible. The car was running in nuetral but the gear selector was in drive or in manual mode. Had to coast to the side of the road. Noted traction control light was on while shift selector indicator was blank. I put the car into park, turned car off and then on again and seemed to drive ok at this point after this. I was lucky that I was driving at a slow speed and had room to get off the road. If I had gotten stuck on the tracks this could have been much worse. And the dealer says they can do nothing unless there is a code stored. No code so nothing I can do. This ranks up there in level of danger yet Mazda can do nothing?

- Elmhurst, IL, USA

problem #22

Mar 152013


  • 20,000 miles
I was driving to work and as I was shifting through the gear I came up to a speed zone so I took my foot off the gas and as soon as I pressed my foot on the gas the shifter popped out of 4th gear and into neutral I had to quickly put it back into 4th gear so I wouldn`T get hit from behind after it happened a few more time I told my husband and he called the dealer where we bought the car the dealer checked it out and said they couldn`T find anything that would cause it so I took it back as a safe car. The car now has about 60000 miles on it and continues to pop out of gear while driving on major highways we have told the dealer on several occasions but when they have the car it doesn`T do it but then again they D...rive it on a twp road not a highway. I purchased the car brand new from weisleider Ford in brick

- Brick, NJ, USA

problem #21

Nov 242014


  • 41,500 miles


The check engine light had been on for a week; the dealer said it was no big deal and to bring it in at any time. However, the vehicle lost power one day and other warning lights came on. I was able to drive home at a very low rate of speed and had it towed to the dealer. The dealer said it was a bad fuel injector and replaced it. However, now, four months later, the car is having the same problem -- the check engine light has come back on. The car has not been getting the maximum mpg (about 10 percent less) and there is a noticeable hesitation when the car shifts gears. I will be bringing it back to the dealer. This is very similar to the same complaint of others regarding the sudden loss of power -- thank goodness I was not on a highway.

- Cohasset, MA, USA

problem #20

Jul 282014


  • 20,000 miles
We were just returning from a trip of 9 days which contained many high speed highway hours and mountainous terrain. Car has 20000 miles on it. As we pulled off the highway and onto a city street, all three lights ( engine, autotransmission, and slippage icon) went off and there was a bare minimum of power to move car forward. Maybe 5 mph. We drifted into parking lot, restarted car and was able to drive to dealership without incident although the lights remained on. If this had happened while passing a truck on the highway it would have been disastrous. In shop over a week.

- Worthington, OH, USA

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problem #19

May 172014


  • 17,030 miles
Vehicle was purchased brand new from classic Mazda or orlando, Florida in December of 2012. All vehicle maintenance has been performed according to dealership recommendations at classic Mazda of orlando, Florida. Vehicle was in for service within the previous two days and had been driving normally with no problems noted after inspection. On Saturday morning, May 17, 2014, vehicle was driven and noted no problems. After being parked for a few hours, vehicle was started, and it rolled down the driveway, only to be stuck and unable to move when in gear and releasing the clutch. I called Mazda roadside assistance who towed it to classic Mazda on 5/18/14. On 5/19/14, Mazda found that the clutch had been totally destroyed, and with only 17000 miles on vehicle. Mazda is only willing to pay for parts and leave the bigger expense of labor to the owner of approximately $600. This clutch should last longer than 17000 miles and I believe it to be defective as there are many other complaints similar to mine everywhere. I believe Mazda has designed a less than acceptable clutch to be in use on these vehicles, and should be 100% liable for repair costs. I request a formal investigation into this concern as it could cause serious injury if at highway speeds when fault occurs.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #18

Feb 132013


  • 1,600 miles


While downshifting from 4th to 3rd and/or 5th to 4th to slow down without having my foot on the gas pedal (only on the clutch) my 2012 Mazda 3 touring 6 speed mt accelerates very rapidly and jerks about. It happens for several seconds and then stops. It's almost every time I downshift. I brought it to the attention of the Mazda dealer on the first service appointment at 5000 miles in April 2013. However, the service advisor informed me that mechanic checked the problem and found no issues with the car that would be causing this problem.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #17

Mar 232014


  • 14,350 miles
Had exited the highway, and was on the surface streets to go home. Roads were dry, middle of day, tank was 1/4 full, car was in drive (not in triptonic manual). Stopped at light, and when tried to accelerate car, it acted funny. As approached 30 mph, the "traction control" light came on, car's RPM went up to nearly 4000, and lost ability to accelerate. Felt like car was in hydroglide or sliding on ice. Seemed like only in 2nd gear. In response, I put car into manual triptonic mode, but no gears were displayed on the dashboard, and based on RPM meter, and lack of change in car's response, this manual shift could not force shift to higher gear even though I tried twice. Slowed and pulled to side of road with blinkers flashing. Limped car the 1/2 mile home at 20 mph, and let it sit for 90 minutes. Restarted car and no warning lights were on. Took it around block, and again when approached 30 mph, the car lost all acceleration, rpms went high, and now 3 warning lights came on, "engine", "at" and "traction control". parked in front of house and call Mazda assistance for a tow.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #16

Mar 072014


  • 18,800 miles
Hello, I was driving down a highway going about 30-40 mph in the passing lane. I went to accelerate past a truck when I noticed I wasn't gaining any speed. I looked down and the ABS light was on. Thinking that I might be in a lower gear and my auto transmission wasn't shifting well I changed it over to manual. There were no gear lights indicated on the dash. I could not get any power to the transmission from the engine. I have to pull over on the side of the road, while still kind of on the road considering I had no power. In a desperate attempt I turned the car off and back on and everything seemed to be reset. I called Mazda today and they seemed almost like it was no big deal. Well I consider this a big deal, losing transmission power on a highway is a big deal. Anyways I saw a post a few days ago with the same exact issue. This should not happen!

- New Kensington, PA, USA

problem #15

Jan 182014

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 3,602 miles
While driving on four lane highway, car slowed and failed to respond to gas pedal. Could not shift gears in manual transmission. Pulled to side of roadway and called for tow to dealer. Dealer found front surface of clutch disk to be completely worn away, thus allowing clutch to slip. Danger was inability to maintain flow with heavy traffic. Due to low mileage, suspect defect in parts or assembly.

- Los Banos, CA, USA

problem #14

Dec 032013

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 19,100 miles


After slowing to make a U-turn on a boulevard, the powertrain went into limp mode and the traction control light came on when I tried to accelerate with the wheels turned fairly sharply to the left. Car was fully warm; very light acceleration in 2nd gear (manual transmission, skyactive model). Not even close to wheelspin possible. Dry pavement and barely pushed gas pedal. Ran very roughly but had enough power to pull into a parking lot. Tried pushing traction control button to toggle off without result. Turned car off and re-started and car ran fine. Do not have a code reader to check to see if this incident set a code or not. Approx 900 more miles put on without incident.

- Waukesha, WI, USA

problem #13

Dec 152013

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 18,500 miles
I drive a 2012 Mazda I touring skyactive. While driving home about 45 mph when I was came to a street light. As I applied my brakes the transmission shifted down hard, the traction control light came on and the transmission disengaged, which forced me to pull to the side of the road. The transmission type is an electric auto/manual. With the car still running, I put the car in to manual mode and nothing happened (no power). Only after turning the car off and restarting it did the traction control light go off and the car ran as normal. This is nothing I would want to happen while on a thruway. Also, over the past few months I have noticed downshifting hard one in a while, but not enough to take it to a dealer. After to night, I will be taking my car over to the dealer in the morning.

- North Chesterfield, VA, USA

problem #12

Dec 052013


  • 26,900 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Mazda Mazda 3. the contact stated that while driving approximately 65 mph, the traction skid warning light illuminated. The vehicle independently shifted into a low gear and would not accelerate. The failure was recurring. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnosis however, the technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 26,900.

- Granada Hills, CA, USA

problem #11

Nov 222013

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 5,900 miles
Driving at a steady 65 mph, the car suddenly lost power and rapidly began decelerating. Traction control light came on and stayed on. Pressing the accelerator down resulted in only a minor change in RPM. Narrowly avoided a collision and made it to the shoulder. I took the next exit and just made it home as the car was barely able to climb the slightest grade. It felt like I was piloting a large motor boat. At home, I turned the car off and restarted. Tcs light came on and then off as it normally does. The light stayed off and the car then performed normally.

- Darien, CT, USA

problem #10

Nov 082013


  • 22,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Mazda, Mazda3. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph the vehicle downshifted independently, causing the vehicle decelerate without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer however, the technician was unable to duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 22,000. Updated 12-30-13

- Apple Valley, MN, USA

problem #9

Oct 282013


  • 19,155 miles
Vehicle was traveling on highway going 45mph when automatic transmission downshifted suddenly to first gear and would not upshift. Attempted to manually shift gears and gear display that shows the gear number was blank. Traction control light went on, no engine codes were triggered. Car operated normally upon restart.

- Cambridge, MA, USA

problem #8

Oct 252013

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 50,016 miles
I have a '12 Mazda Mazda3 itouring hatchback w/2.0L skyactiv I-4 (bl generation) with skyactiv 6mt. When starting off from a stop in 1st gear and shifting into 2nd gear (clutch pedal completely depressed before shifter was pulled out of 1st, no gas pedal was applied) transmission would grind when shifter is being pulled into 2nd gear. Grind can be heard inside and outside, and can be felt in shifter. Grind would continue for less than a second then would pop fully into 2nd gear. Along with issue, whenever grind does not occur, shifting into 2nd gear requires significantly more force to fully engage compared to reverse, 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th gears. Mazda dealership could not duplicate symptom, therefore declaring an "npf" or "no problem found."

- Rockford, MN, USA

problem #7

Jun 062013

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 14,000 miles
My car is an automatic transmission. I was driving in traffic on the highway (about 20 mph) and noticed that when I pressed the accelerator, the car did not accelerate or shift normally. Instead, the car stayed in low gear, and the RPM reached over 4000. At this point, I noticed. The stability control light on the dashboard was staying on, indicating a problem with the car's stability control. Once I reached a place I could stop, I turned off the car and restarted - the problem appeared to have gone away - no more light on the dashboard and no more weird engine speeds/failure to shift gears. I am concerned about this because it seems to be a common complaint both on the NHTSA site and on Mazda forum websites. I believe an investigation into this problem is warranted, as it represents a definite safety risk, affecting the car's ability to accelerate appropriately.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #6

Feb 152013

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 17,758 miles
While driving down the highway the vehicle all of a sudden lost power and began to slow down. The traction control light turned on at this time. Pushing the accelerator did nothing. When I switched the manual mode for the transmission the gear was not displayed on the dashboard and trying to up or downshift did nothing. After pulling off to the side of the road I was able to place the transmission in park. I lifted the hood and checked for fluid leaks or spills of which there were none. After turning off the car and waiting a couple of minutes I turned it back on and now had the traction control, at, and check engine lights lit. After putting the transmission in drive and pushing the accelerator the vehicle was extremely sluggish in acceleration and would shift through the first four gears but at rpms much higher than normal. I was able to limp the vehicle home as the dealership was already closed. After letting the vehicle sit for 15 minutes or so I turned it back on and now only the check engine light is lit. Will be taking to the dealer in the morning.

- Lockhart, TX, USA

problem #5

Sep 152012

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
My 2012 Mazda 3 skyactiv hatchback with the 6 speed manual transmission is exhibiting unintended acceleration. The symptoms exhibited are consistent with multiple other reports in this system. After downshifting into 2nd or 3rd gear, or after coasting in one of those gears with the clutch disengaged, the engine revs and the car "surges" forward upon re-engagement of the clutch. When this occurs, the accelerator pedal is only being slightly pushed, but the car acts as if it has been pushed almost to the floor. Depending on the position of the clutch pedal when this occurs, the engine will either rev to 3000 to 4000 RPM, or the car will accelerate forward until either the brake or clutch pedal is pressed. This issue has been confirmed by Mazda after multiple trips to the dealership for service. Upon the last visit, a data recorder was installed and recorded 7 specific unintended acceleration events between the dates of 11/13/12 and 11/20/12. According to an email I received from the district service & parts manager for district 2 of Mazda North America operations (mnao) on 12/23/12, "the concern found on the data recordings taken from your vehicle were found to be a PCM calibration issue. Mazda corporation is working on a new calibration for the PCM with an unknown time of completion." When I requested that my vehicle be replaced with another of the same model, this was the response from the same district service & parts manager: "since the calibration of the PCM is the same on a 2013 like model with a manual transmission it would not be advised to trade you into that vehicle as it could potentially exhibit the same concern depending on your driving habits and conditions." I am currently awaiting a response from mnao's mediation department regarding either replacing my car with another model, or buying back the car from me.

- Camarillo, CA, USA

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