really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
59,433 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 Tribute engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Mazda Tribute Owner Comments

problem #17

Jun 012013


  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mazda Tribute. The contact received a recall notice for NHTSA campaign number: 12V357000 (engine and engine cooling, vehicle speed control); however, the part for the repair was unavailable. The manufacturer was notified. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #16

Feb 222005


  • 5,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mazda Tribute. The vehicle was repaired according to NHTSA campaign number: 04V583000 (vehicle speed control), but the failure recurred. The contact experienced no failures with the vehicle prior to the recall repair. After the repair, the contact heard an intermittent squeaking sound coming from the steering wheel. In addition, the steering wheel was extremely difficult to turn. The dealer was notified several times and stated that the coil spring needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired again and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 5,000.

- Bay City, MI, USA

problem #15

Jun 112013

Tribute 6-cyl

  • 261,554 miles
On June 25, 2013 @ 11:00am I called Mazda corporation (reference call number:[xxx]) about recalls associated with my Mazda Tribute 2003 and was told that the recalls were not assigned to the VIN number of my vehicle. The Mazda representative stated that only the seat beat adjustment has been assigned to my vehicle and that I do not qualify for the recall. Mazda will not honor the recall. I bought the Tribute in 2010 from a dealership; thus, was not aware of the recalls. I have been having a lot of problems with the vehicle and have spent a lot of money trying to fix it. I have a 13 and 14 year old girls and am a single parent. According to the recall, the vehicle is not safe. I cannot afford right now to purchase another vehicle. I am only asking Mazda to honor the recalls. Please see the recall notice below from Mazda. 2003 Mazda Tribute recall item affected: Vehicle speed control:cables date announced: 7/27/2012 description of recall: Mazda is recalling certain model year 2001 through 2006, and 2008, Tribute vehicles equipped with 3.0L V6 engines and speed control. Inadequate clearance between the engine cover and the speed control cable connector could result in a stuck throttle when the accelerator pedal is fully or almost-fully depressed. This risk exists regardless of whether or not speed control (cruise control) is used. Action needed to fix it: Mazda will notify owners, and dealers will repair the vehicles by increasing the engine cover clearance, free of charge. Remedy parts are now available. The safety recall began on September 13, 2012. Owners may contact Mazda customer assistance center at 1-800-222-5500, option #6. information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Stockbridge, GA, USA

problem #14

Jan 212013


  • 94,500 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mazda Tribute. The contact stated that the vehicle was serviced in November 2012 under NHTSA campaign id number: 12V357000 (speed control) however, prior to the repair, the contact had no issues with sudden acceleration. The contact was traveling at an unknown speed with the cruise control activated. The brakes were depressed and the cruise control activation light was turned off however, the vehicle did not decelerate. The contact mentioned that with the brakes still depressed, he was able to move into the emergency lane and stop the vehicle. The engine rpms continued to excessively fluctuate as if the contact was still driving and at rapid speeds. The contact powered the vehicle on and off several times before it would perform normally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the contact was told that the dealer could not duplicate the failure. There were no repairs performed on the vehicle. The manufacturer was contacted but confirmed that the vehicle could not be repaired because the failure could not be diagnosed. The contact believed that either the recall repair was ineffective or was performed improperly. The failure mileage was 94,500 and the current mileage was 96,400.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #13

Nov 012012

Tribute 6-cyl

  • 102,703 miles
During the recall repairs, it was noted that the cruise control cable was damaged. When I requested that the dealer replace the cable caused by the holding bracket as covered under Mazda recall dated 7/12 I was told that they are only replacing the holding bracket and not the cable even though the cable was damaged by the defective holding bracket. So, what good is the recall? I was told it would cost me approximately $100 plus to get it replaced.

- St Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #12

Jul 232012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mazda Tribute. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph with the cruise control engaged, she applied the brakes but the vehicle did not decelerate. The contact also stated that the vehicle accelerated when the brake pedal was applied. The contact had to apply repeated pressure to the brake pedal to stop the vehicle. The contact stop and restarted the vehicle, but the failure continued. The vehicle was towed to a dealer for an inspection and the cause of the failure was unknown. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified and stated that there were no recalls addressing the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Celina, OH, USA

problem #11

May 012009

Tribute 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles


While entering parking space in front of building, accelerator raced, causing vehicle to hit concrete pole in front of building. I have had several instances where the accelerator raced like this; once at a red light, where I hit the vehicle in front of me, and once at a stop sign where fortunately there were no other vehicles around.

- Hernando, MS, USA

problem #10

Jul 192011

Tribute 6-cyl

  • 139,640 miles
Driving 65mph on freeway went to switch lanes and accelerator pedal fell completely to floorboard. Immediately put on emergency flashers and pumped brakes into emergency lane. Upon inspection showed throttle cable just snapped clean.

- Mt. Washington, KY, USA

problem #9

Mar 012011


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mazda Tribute. The contact stated that while the vehicle was in neutral, the engine exhibited an abnormal increase in rpms. The vehicle was inspected by an independent mechanic and they advised her that the accelerator cable would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they advised her that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 04V583000(vehicle speed control:cables). The failure mileage was approximately 115,000.

- Reno, NV, USA

problem #8

Nov 182006


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mazda Tribute. The contact was driving at an unknown speed when the vehicle began jerking abnormally. The contact stated that the failure would only occur in cold temperatures and when there was snow on the ground. In addition, the alternator had failed and was replaced three times by the local dealer. The vehicle would also abnormally accelerate and exhibit an unusual increase in engine rpms to 4000. The contact believed the vehicle to be involved in NHTSA campaign id number: 04V583000 (vehicle speed control: Cables) and NHTSA campaign id number: 07V157000 (service brakes, hydraulic: Antilock: Control unit/module) but was informed by the manufacturer that the vehicle was not included in either recall. The vehicle was not. The current mileage was 175,000 and the failure mileage was unknown.

- Reynoldsville, PA, USA

problem #7

Mar 112009


  • miles


Mazda 2003 Tribute the accelerator pedal has been sticking off and on since March 2009. When the car is going on high speeds, it would not slow down. Have to put in neutral and turn off. Took to mechanic, unhooked cruise and new accelerator cable in 2009. No changes. Traded car in for a Honda in January, 2010. Mazda would not do anything.

- Newton, IA, USA

problem #6

Aug 012009


  • 60,000 miles
Sticky accelerator sticks when gas pedal is pressed (from a full stop). Stickiness increases with colder weather. Causes a lurching action even when adding minimal pressure on the accelerator pedal. I'm worried that if the problem persists or gets worse with the colder weather, it may cause whiplash to any children riding in my car. Or worse - lurching into the garage and causing damage to my home. Or lurching in a parking lot and hitting a pedestrian/child. I have researched this in several auto forums and this has been an issue with far more consumers than Mazda is willing to acknowledge. It is a serious issue. If Toyota can address a sticky accelerator problem, why can't Mazda do the same? our lives, as well as innocent bystanders, are in danger!

- Fairfield, CA, USA

problem #5

Feb 092009


  • 78,000 miles
Vehicle is a 2003 Mazda Tribute, which had a recall 04V583000 for vehicle speed control cables. Was told this recall was fixed on 8/11/2005. This vehicle has horrible issues with sudden acceleration while driving down the highway, it will not slow down, the accelerator is stuck wide open and braking will not slow the vehicle down. These incidents happen at least three times a week, and at various speeds (25 mph-55mph), it can suddenly be driving down the road up to 85 and 90 mph. Happens both in rural and city driving. Was told by Mazda dealer recall is closed and will not consider this as anything to do with the recall. There were two recalls on this vehicle for this issue, and I feel this issue is still related to the same problem. The incident is ongoing and has been since February, 2009.

- Irma, WI, USA

problem #4

Nov 142008


  • miles
I have a 2003 Mazda Tribute dx with a 4cylinder engine and a 5 speed transmission. The engine will surge when the accelerator is not pressed additionally the engine surges when the clutch is pressed. After cleaning the throttle body the problem still remained. Further troubleshooting revealed the accelerator cable sticks. While searching for an accelerator cable online I found a recall here but apparently it does not apply to the 4 cylinder.

- Friendsville, TN, USA

problem #3

Jul 012008


  • 46,956 miles
Bought Mazda Tribute 2003 from carmax on 06/26/08. Mother was driving truck w/my daughter (6), when the brakes failed and collided w/van in front of her. Two hrs after the accident, took the truck to the local carmax. Explained to them what happened and asked were there any recalls on the truck. The lady in the service department said she did not know and gave me the toll free number to Mazda. I called from their facility and found out that there was an open recall for the ABS module. I explained that to the service person. The manager came out to speak with me and said that I would have to take it to my insurance company. Because I had geico insurance, the manager said that there was an adjuster across the street from their bldg. By this time it was 17:45. I rented a vehicle to get my family home and called the carmax that I purchased the car from. I spoke with laurie doolittle, the manager of carmax in charlottesville, Virginia, she advised me there was nothing that she could do but she would check with someone higher than her. She called me back around 1805 and said that it is unfortunate what happened, however "the ABS module has nothing to do with the being drivable". I was in shock. Me and my family could have been killed! we only had the truck 5 days! I called that morning before accident to get a 2004 Mazda Tribute with lower miles and lower price transferred in to the carmax in charlottesville! after several calls to carmax's customer svc (headqrtr) repeatedly hearing that I was at fault for the accident because I did not register the vehicle with Mazda. Went to chville carmax to speak w/laurie doolittle in person. I asked her to rebuy the car. Laurie said no. I had an application from Consumer Affairs and started to fill in the blanks and noted the time and date of the request to rebuy the car due to the recalls that were on my VIN. (07/07/08 time 17:05) today 07/08/08, geico still working on it!

- Charlottesville, VA, USA

problem #2

Dec 012004

Tribute 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
Accident involving Mazda Tribute wherein the accelerator became stuck. The attorney request information on behalf of client who was injured when her vehicle accelerated suddenly. The vehicle was totaled.

- Unknown, DC, USA

problem #1

Dec 122004

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles
While driving 40 mph vehicle commenced to accelerate. Consumer was able to drive the vehicle to a service station. While parked and idling the problem recurred. This time the accelerator pedal was down to the floor. Vehicle was towed to the dealer, who informed the consumer accelerator assembly burned out and needed to be replaced.

- Landover, MD, USA

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