really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
13,786 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Mazda MAZDA3 Owner Comments

problem #18

Dec 192014

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles


Driving at approx 45mph, car lost acceleration, power steering, and multiple engine lights on. Car moved to site of the road and towed to dealer.

- Temple Terrace, FL, USA

problem #17

Jun 202014

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Driving at 70mph, lost acceleration and multiple engine lights came on. Had to move over to emergency lane on interstate and driving to nearest exit at approx 40mph. Car towed to dealer for repair.

- Temple Terrace, FL, USA

problem #16

Sep 152014

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Mazda 3 skyactive 2012, 45,000 mi. Driving down on a dry street, sunny day, going at approx 35mph when suddenly engine started revving high but car wasn't accelerating. This was very dangerous as car was stalling in middle of the road. The at, tcs/dsc, and engine lights came on. Pulled over safely asap to see what was going on. Turned off engine, waited 2 minutes, re-started engine and lights were off, and drove home slowly. Following morning, engine light was on but car seems to be driving normally. Will take to dealership asap.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #15

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

problem #14

May 102014

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 16,490 miles
I was driving along a city street on the way to a mall when I noticed the traction control warning light come on. My car then started to decelerate. I pressed on the gas and noticed that the needle on my tachometer was running high indicating high rate of RPM. I could not drive faster than 35 mph for fear of redlining and possibly damaging the engine. I went back home and parked my car. Later when I started my car the traction control warning light had turned off and I was able to drive the car normally again. This is a very serious matter that could result in serious accident if it had happened on a freeway or on a mountain road. I no longer feel safe driving this car, not knowing when this might occur again. I will be having the car inspected at the dealership since it is still under warranty.

- Daly City, CA, USA

problem #13

May 092014


  • 55 miles
I was driving along fine @55mph then the dsc/tsc light came on & then my car had no speed at all, it wouldn't move even with the gas pedal all the way pressed, I could have been killed on the highway!!! this is the 2nd time it has happened in the last week! I see several other complaints here about the same thing. The Mazda dealership states there is no recall on this car! what now"?? take a chance & continue driving it??" please fix the issue!!! the vehicle needs to be recalled asap! lives are on the line.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #12

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 #11

Aug 082013


  • 24,000 miles
After taking a left hand turn onto a local road, I noticed that my car was decelerating despite the fact I was pressing on the gas. The traction control light on the dash came on and the car appeared to be stuck in 1st or 2nd gear; I could not go faster than 40 mph without the rpms going too high. This car has automatic transmission. I tried turning off the traction control by pressing its button, but this did not work. I also tried switching to manual mode but couldn't get the car to shift or the traction control light to shutoff. I finally had to pull over and restart the car to get the light to turn off and the transmission to act normally. I have seen others post a similar problem, though they were in much more serious environments - on the highway going 70 and all of a sudden having to pull across traffic and restart the car because of this weird transmission-traction control issue. This creates for an incredibly dangerous situation and I am petrified of this happening again in a similar scenario. This is something Mazda needs to address immediately.

- Reminderville, OH, USA

problem #10

Sep 192012

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 8,000 miles
I was driving in city in the evening temp. About 65-70 F, dry and smooth road(my daily route to work) in steady speed of I would say 45 mph, trying to change lane my car traction light went on and engine light and at light below my gear screen, my car locked my transmission, car was in drive mode so I put on manual to try change gear manually but did not change gear, I was stuck on one gear and I could not slow down because I would loose my RPM middle of the road, I drove about 2 mile till I had safe place to stop, pulled over turn off the car and wait for few minutes, then turn engine back on, traction light was off so as the at light but engine light was still on, car was behaving normal and I could drive it home, next day I took it to dealer I turned it off for waiting to check-in my car when the dealer service personal turned it on as she said the engine light was off too, be she said we keep it to make sure its fine, I got a rental car from them, they told me if something is wrong Mazda will pay for rental, they kept the car overnight, mechanic drove it with him home, did not find anything wrong with it, they contact Mazda and remotely checked the skyactiv computer, did not find anything either, they update the computer software as they told me and they were guessing it was a computer glitch but they waved the rental car for day and half!! since then it never happened again, I even tested the traction function in slippery road and works fine.

- Campbell, CA, USA

problem #9

Mar 292013

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 12,000 miles
I have an automatic skyactiv 2012 5dr hatchback. I was pulling out on a back road that was 60mph and as soon as I pressed the gas to speed up with traffic it was as if the car lost all power. The traction control light came on and the car slowly accelerated as I had the gas pressed to the floor. It very slowly sped up to 60mph and would not go any faster. I tried pressing the traction control button to turn it off and nothing happened. My wife and I got lunch and afterwards it worked fine. Last time I was at the dealership they told me there was a recall for the stalling issue and that they had fixed it. This was about a month or so before I experienced the stall. Before then I had not had any issues with stalling, just with pulling out onto roads. That leads me to mention that this car does not do well when pulling out onto roads. The car does not respond well. It lags and then when it realizes you have your foot pressed on the gas it throws you back into your seat. It's as if the car is in 3rd gear when you pull out and then throws itself into 1st gear. The car feels very unsafe. I wish I wouldn't have bought Mazda's 2012 Mazda3 since, afterall, it was their first attempt at their new skyactiv engine.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #8

Jan 102013


  • 8,000 miles


My 2012 Mazda 3 skyactiv hatchback with the 6 speed manual transmission is exhibiting unintended acceleration. 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 was presented to the service department and I told them that you have to drive in those conditions in order to re-create the problem. I also told them that I"ve been driving manuals for the last 28 years and don't think its a driver issue, especially since there are multiple complaints of this same issue on this site and other Mazda forums. This needs to be taken seriously by Mazda!!!!!!!!!!

- Springfield, VA, USA

problem #7

Jul 152012


  • 16,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Mazda3. The contact stated that it was difficult to start the vehicle. After the vehicle was started and while driving 15 mph, the power steering, traction control, and anti-lock brakes failed. Moments later, the accelerator pedal became unresponsive. The contact stated that the failures recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis on multiple occasions and the battery was replaced several times but the failure could not be located. The failures recurred. The vehicle was awaiting additional diagnostics. The manufacturer had not been notified. The failure mileage was 16,000 and current mileage was 20,000.

- Edgewater, FL, USA

problem #6

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

problem #5

Aug 072012

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
Approximately two or three times a week when downshifting out of a right or left hand curve or turn, my 2012 manual transmission Mazda 3 hatchback will accelerate on its own. This is characterized by a varying increase of rpms: 2100 rpms to 4500 rpms, depending on the incident, and a sudden lurching or surging forward of the vehicle itself. When approaching curves or turns, at 30 or 40 mph, that do not have to be taken at a complete stop, I engage the clutch, apply the brakes, and slow the vehicle to 15-20 mph. Upon coming out of the turn I shift the vehicle into second gear. When I slowly release the clutch, without depressing the gas pedal at all, the car's engine will rev, rpms will surge to as high as 4000 - 4500, and the car will lurch forward until the clutch is once again depressed. These incidents are random and are not dependent on speed, weather conditions, or location. These incidents have only been duplicated with a minimal increase of rpms and no lurching forward when a mechanic is present. These incidents can not be duplicated for the dealership at their fullest and most dangerous.

- Winter Garden, FL, USA

problem #4

Sep 292012


  • 6,000 miles
Cruise control: Pedal does not stay where it is set - it returns to a 0 mph position. This makes it uncomfortable to keep your foot resting on the proper pedal while in cruise, leading to losing of 'place'. it could be a safety issue. Acceleration anomalies. When stepping on it (going straight) engine will hesitate, seem to wind up and then go, not giving you the power you need when you need it, but seconds after the fact. Other times engine will accelerate unexpectedly with more power than anticipated most frequently when accelerating into a turn. Seems unsafe.

- Cherry Hill, NJ, USA

problem #3

Oct 232012


  • 700 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Mazda Mazda3. The contact stated that when driving approximately 5 mph and pulling into her driveway the accelerator pedal got jammed and as a result the contact crashed into her garage. The driver sustained injuries to her upper back and neck. The police were not contacted. The dealer was later contacted and they offered no assistance. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who they advised her that they would look into the issue. The vehicle was not removed from the contacts garage. The failure and current mileage was approximately 700.

- Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

problem #2

Jun 222012

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • 1,200 miles
The vehicle will randomly and sporadically speed up and the rpms increase unexpectedly when the clutch is released after downshifting from 3rd to 2nd or 4th to 3rd. Mostly from 3rd to 2nd. The vehicle really pulls forward and does not slow down when this is happening. Instinct is to jump the brake, which slows the car, decreases the rpms and appears to stop the incident. This is a definite safety concern, especially with snowy, icy roads just around the corner. I have been unable to replicate this as it is sporadic. This has happened numerous times since first driving this vehicle June, 02, 2012. Mileage, speed and date of occurrence entered are approximates as several incidents occurred prior to the start of documenting each one. The state and zip code entered in the address information is the closet one to me. I live in Canada and have not been able to find a national site to formally lodge a complaint.

- Dartmouth, ME, USA

problem #1

Sep 152012

MAZDA3 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Mazda Mazda3. The contact stated that while parking, the vehicle suddenly accelerated and crashed against a cement pole. A police report was not filed and no injuries were reported. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who stated that they would like to further inspect the vehicle. The vehicle was in the process of being repaired. The failure and current mileage was unknown. Updated 11/13/12 updated 11/29/2012

- San Jose , CA, USA

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