really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
12,908 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.

2003 Mazda MPV transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Mazda MPV Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #31

Oct 052004

MPV 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,427 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mazda MPV. The contact stated that while driving the engine light illuminated and the engine began to stall intermittently. The dealer replaced the PCV valve on 10/5/2004. The failure occurred again in September 2010. The ignition coils were also replaced. The vehicle was repaired again on 9/28/2010; however, the check engine light came on again. The failure mileage was 25,427. The failure mileage was 106478. The water pump was cracked, and the transmission range sensor failed. The consumer stated the engine light illuminated again and the vehicle began to run rough and there was a burning odor coming from the vehicle. It was determined that the ignition coil that was replaced in Sept 2010 had gone bad and the ignition coil that was replaced in April of 2008 had also gone bad. Updated evoq 03/25/11 upated 04/15/11

- Monrovia , MD, USA

problem #30

Mar 012009


  • 46,000 miles
I have a 2003 Mazda MPV and the transmission down shifts from 4th to 3rd; from 3rd to 2nd; and from 2nd to 1st. It does this every day. It is so bad some times I think we are going to get some kind of neck/back injury. I do not know why Mazda has been sitting on this problem for years and up to now has not done anything about it. I do have to say that I bought this van from Mazda with 11K miles in 2004 but never noticed the date under the engine hood that signified that the computer had been re-flashed. I am guessing that they had once tried to correct the transmission problem that we are now experiencing. Shame on Mazda for not disclosing this problem that could have return and did return. I am hoping that someone with authority, reading these complaints, will make Mazda fix their defective MPV vans. Thank you.

- Freedom, CA, USA

problem #29

Jun 252009


  • 42,395 miles
A few weeks ago I had noticed that my 2003 Mazda MPV was jerking or hesitating. I only have 42,395 miles on it. I took it to one place and was told it sounds like transmission trouble to them. I brought in to aamco and was told it was the torque converter and they showed me where the metal was etched out>my warranty expired in April 2007 I was told I was lucky to address this problem now before the entire engine seized. I have been a Mazda owner since 1993 first I had a protege then the 626 now I own the MPV I am shocked that this would happen so soon with so little mileage/ to replace everything it will cost me $3480 what a shame!!!!

- Nanuet, NY, USA

problem #28

Aug 012008


  • miles


Transmission slips, usually going from 2nd to 3rd, and sometimes 1st to 2nd. Usually happens when I try to accelerate hard. Engine revs up and the transmission slips, then with a big clunk the gear engages. Seems to me like a severe safety issue if you cannot accelerate yourself out of a potential side impact. And this must be hard on the transmission too. I've checked this out with two separate dealers, once right after I got the vehicle in 2003 and once in 2005. Both dealers could not reproduce the problem, but this happens to me quite often, at least a couple of times a month. I know that the service bulletin is out on this, but now my warranty is expired. At any rate, I don't feel like taking it into the dealer and wasting my time only to be told that there is nothing wrong with it.

- Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #27

Mar 262006

MPV 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Transmission slips and then slams into gear.

- Merrick , NY, USA

problem #26

Nov 022005

MPV 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,743 miles
My 2003 Mazda MPV, the transmission shifts hard between 2nd and 3rd gear. You can feel the transmission slipping and then it hits hard into third gear. I have taken this vehicle three times to the dealer for repair. First time they updated computer info, second time they replaced the tcm, and third time they replaced the tranny fluid which I paid for and the problem still hasn't been solved.

- Staten Island , NY, USA

problem #25

Sep 022005


  • miles


2003 Mazda MPV. Transmission shifts very hard from 2nd to 3rd. You can actually feel the transmission slipping and then it will slam into 3rd gear. It feels as if you are being hit from behind. Very dangerous! the problem is intermittent and unpredictable.

- East Templeton, MA, USA

problem #24

Sep 222004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Mazda MPV developing problems with the transmission shifting.** answer required***. the van would shift from first to second gear, then there was a hard jerk/shift and the vehicle would lunge forward. The consumer received a shift shock recall at took the vehicle to a dealer to be serviced. Although the reflash was updated the problem was not allieviated. The technicians were unable to pinpoint and correct the problem.

- Mooresville, NC, USA

problem #23

Apr 262005

MPV 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,400 miles
While driving the car does not shift into gears well. It is an intermittent problem that Mazda claims they can't duplicate or fix. However, all the vans appear to have this problem. I owned mine since July 2003, and only took it in once, since they say they still can't fix it. Vehicle does this even at slow speeds. It feels as if I was hit from behind, and put people at risk of an accident when surging in stop and go traffic! please get this fixed, I"M not alone with this problem.

- Willis, TX, USA

problem #22

Mar 222005

MPV 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,360 miles
Transmission failed. This led to the vehicle being undrivable. Transmission replaced at 65,000 miles at a cost of $3500 at hamilton Mazda in NJ. Mazda North american op refused to cover replace/repair. Service mentioned that this was the third transmission failure for MPV this year. This was the fifth time vehicle had to be repaired due to transmission problems. Transmission computer module failed on Jan 19, 2005.

- Jackson, NJ, USA

problem #21

Mar 082004

MPV 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles


Transmission shifting rough. It seems the transmission is slipping and then slams into gear. It happens every day, some days more than others and some days harder than others. Sometimes I feel like I am going to get whiplash whenever it slams into gear. I have been complaining about this problem since late last year but the dealer cannot seem to fix it. They keep replacing the coils but that does not solve the problem. They mentioned that they seem to be having this problem with a lot of 2003 MPV's. it has been to the shop five times since January and it is still not fixed.

- Huffman, TX, USA

problem #20

May 132004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,853 miles
On May 13, 2004, my 33-week pregnant wife pulled into my driveway with our daughter sleeping in back of our 2003 Mazda MPV. My wife put the car in park, engaged the emergency brake, and left the car running. Pse&G workers requested that my wife talk with them. While she did so, the car remained stationary for 5-10 minutes. My wife then attempted to open the rear automatic door. It beeped instead. My wife opened the front door and pushed the button there to open the rear door. It beeped again. My wife checked that the gear shift was in park. It was. The car then started to roll backwards. Witnesses say they heard a ratcheting noise when the car started rolling. My wife pulled up the emergency brake to make sure that it was fully engaged. This did not stop the car. My wife was knocked to the ground and the door caught my wifeS abdomen and continued to roll over her, scraping her as she tried to protect our baby. The car rolled into the street with our daughter in it. The car hit the curb and just missed being hit by a car. The rear door then popped open. A pse&G worker turned off the car and stated that the dashboard indicated that the MPV was still in park when he did so. On May 14, our Mazda dealer ran diagnostic tests and advised us that it was unable to replicate the accident. Mazda took the position that nothing was wrong with the car. Mazda suggested that it was possible my wife failed to put the car fully in park. I advised Mazda that this made no sense because the car was stationary in our driveway for 5-10 minutes and it was still in park when it stopped. The notion that the MPV slipped into reverse and then back into park makes no sense. Mazda has given us no adequate explanation for why this accident occurred. There are multiple complaints about 2003 Mazda Mpvs on the NHTSA's website about their transmissions, including down shifting between gears and gear slippage.

- Scotch Plains, NJ, USA

problem #19

Oct 012003

MPV 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
We had an issue with our 2003 Mazda MPV ES van that was reported on this site about 2 months ago. The transmission was shifting harshly between 2nd and 3rd gears. After several attempts to fix the problem, our dealership finally told us the Mazda has identified the problem. They call it shift shock and it requires a reprogramming of the computer.

- Hagerstown, MD, USA

problem #18

Aug 012003

MPV 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
About 50% of time, automatic transmission shifts very abruptly from 2nd to 3rd gear. I have seen many other complaints about this problem on the web, this must be a design or software defect. I worry about long term damage to the drivetrain. Other than this problem, van is very reliable. I have 9200 miles on odo.

- West Seneca, NY, USA

problem #17

Feb 172004

MPV 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,600 miles
Transmission between 2nd and 3rd gear- in the last month or so, we have noticed a hesitation and then hard shift into third gear during regular city driving. We spent 2/16/2004 at the dealership for an oil change, tire rotation, and examination of this problem. They performed a reflash of the tcm/ptm and left the dealership satisfied. About 15 minutes later, it started again. We called back and as of this morning, we have scheduled a drive with the transmission mechanic. I have noticed a number of complaints here and on edmunds.com. I really hope this can be solved for an otherwise great minivan.

- Matthews, NC, USA

problem #16

Feb 132004

MPV 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25 miles
The car has a hesitation when itS accelerating from 20 mph to 30 mph, after the hesitation it has a slight surge in speed and a knocking sound. It happens in an intermittent manner. Dealer knows about the problem from others who had similar complaints but said it's normal. Mechanic knows the conditions of how it occurs but claim in the test drive not to be able to duplicate the problem. The car has only 2,500 miles and was having this problem from 200 miles on.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #15

Feb 062004

MPV 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,945 miles
While driving vehicle down shifted without warning. Consumer stated the part was replaced five times; however, the problem still exists. Vehicle down shifted to neutral.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #14

Jan 222004

MPV 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,500 miles
Transmission lags, then slams into gear on 2-3 shift, particularly under inconsistent acceleration (such as in traffic). Causes noise, uncomfortable jerk, potentially dangerous driving situation when other vehicles are close.

- Topeka, KS, USA

problem #13

Oct 142003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles
Throttle revved, but vehicle failed to accelerate when the gas pedal was depressed. Prior this to incident transmission abruptly shifted into gear. Dealership refused to repair the problem until the manufacturer decided on a remedy.

- Leander, TX, USA

problem #12

Jan 022004

MPV 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My wife and I purchased a 2003 Mazda MPV in August. We are very happy overall with the vehicle. However, about 70% of the time when the van is shifting between 2nd and 3rd gears the tranmission hesitates and shifts hard. The tranmission makes a clunking sound. We brought the vehicle to the crystal auto mall on November 28th and they said that the computer needed to be updated and that it was fixed. After a couple of days we realized that the problem was not fixed. We received a survey from Mazda to measure our satisfaction of the repair and it was indicated that the problem was not fixed. We never heard from Mazda. We brought the van back to the dealer on December 30th and were told that the technician needed to speak with Mazda to fix the transmission. As of today (January 2nd) they still haven't spoken with Mazda about the problem. I mentioned to the service manager that a lot of people seem to be having the same problem and he admitted that the problem exists for some Mpvs. My wife called Mazda to complain about the service taking so long and that this is the 2nd time the van was brought in, but Mazda's response was that the dealer was working on the problem. The van has less than 6,000 miles on it, so hopefully the problem will be fixed or we will be looking into invoking our state's lemon law.

- South River, NJ, USA

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