Wheel Well Area Completely Rusted Out

2005 Mazda Tribute (Page 1 of 2)


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
123,600 miles
Total Complaints:
25 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (18 reports)
  2. replace wheel well and struts (4 reports)
  3. install auxiliary support/bracket (3 reports)
2005 Mazda Tribute body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2005 Mazda Tribute Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #25

Aug 082017

Tribute S 3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,738 miles


click to see larger images

wheel well area completely rusted out

Was really proud of my investment in this car. Used the car for driving to school, work and socially until I noticed a loud "thumping" in the right rear side of the car. I took a look at it and found that the rear well rusted out and is beginning to do the same on the left side. I did some research and found that the previous models from 2003 and 2004 were recalled due to the same issue, yet Mazda has not released anything on the issue it still holds on the 2005 model.

- Stephen S., Alton, US

problem #24

Nov 042017

Tribute S 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,500 miles

click to see larger images

wheel well area completely rusted out wheel well area completely rusted out wheel well area completely rusted out

It started with a tapping sound coming from the passenger rear. Then while going over a bumpy bridge the tapping became a banging. I stopped and there was a small piece of rusted material missing from the wheel well. I continued on my trip and each bump made a loud bang. When I got on the highway I went over a bridge joint nad there was another bang but I felt a lateral sway in the body. I got off of the highway and made it home via slower roads. When I got home the only thing attaching the shock to the frame was a small piece of metal. So I research issues with the 05 Tribute and find that this was a common thing with the 00-04s which were recalled. Should have recalled the 05s too!!

- Chris H., Townsend, US

problem #23

Aug 302017

Tribute S V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

Rear shock mount rusted, right side just like others. I'm praying for my family to be safe every time I drive this car. Please reply me if anyone knows there is a recall for this or any affordable way to fix this. Mine is 2005 V6 Tribute with 132,000 miles. Appreciate your help!



- Praveen S., Paoli, US

problem #22

Aug 012017

Tribute LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles


When driving the vehicle I hear awful thudding from the back of the vehicle. On further inspection we learned that the rear wheel well had rusted away completely and the shock had detached from the right rear wheel well. The car is unsafe to drive. In addition, we have noticed rusting at the gas tank. The car is in excellent condition otherwise. We had new tires put on about 4 months ago and no mention was made of this. It came out of nowhere. Also, my husband installed new brakes and shocks around the same time.

- wolfinbarger, St. Charles, US

problem #21

Jul 182016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,177 miles

click to see larger images

wheel well area completely rusted out

Rear shock mount rusted, right side only just like others. Definitely a really crazy accident waiting to happen. I'm praying for my family to be safe every time I drive this car.

Body shop will not fix this. Do I need to junk my car?

- Javier T., Delaware, OH, US

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problem #20

May 202016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 178,000 miles

click to see larger images

wheel well area completely rusted out wheel well area completely rusted out wheel well area completely rusted out wheel well area completely rusted out

This is crazy!!! All of my other wheel wells are perfect! (See picture of perfect left rear wheel well)My car was garaged 90% of its life. It still has a value of $3-4000 on KBB.com but my mechanic says it's unsafe and in an accident rear end could shear off and could be catastrophic.

Everything else in our car is running like a top! Before this happened I would've told you I bet we'll get another 100,000 miles in this car. Yes there's a lot of miles on this beauty but that's because we drive a lot (3 boys playing hockey) Now we have 2 in college and need our car!!

I contacted our local Mazda & Corporate Mazda, but they could care less. I have also contacted the NHTSA(1-800-424-9393) to file a complaint and advise anyone with this problem to report it to them because they help start recalls. I can't believe that there are a lot of complaints for this, ALL ON THE RIGHT REAR WHEEL WELL and no one is going to protect the consumers of a product that is this expensive.

I have ordered the auxiliary bracket kit from ebay ($245for kit -no idea yet what labor will cost & possibly 2 weeks wait for kit to arrive) and I am praying that my mechanic will be able to fix it. This has our busy family hopping with only 1 car now.

- Angela R., Springfield, IL, USA

problem #19

May 182016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles


This could have gotten me killed. I heard a rattling... stopped at a mechanic... he told me it was very bad and i was lucky I made it there in one piece and the suv was undrivable safely. I took to body shop... body shop told me they had never seen a vehicle do this in their 60 yrs of business and that it should have never happened. Told me it was a defective piece of steel used at the factory.

My car is immaculate and this is not acceptable. It is not ok for a car co. to sell a defective vehicle to an unsuspecting public. I will file a complaint with the consumer protection agency. I smell class action in the air.

- Teresa B., Conshohocken, PA, USA

problem #18

May 012016

Tribute V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

click to see larger images

wheel well area completely rusted out wheel well area completely rusted out

What drives me nuts and makes me angry is that they KNEW it was like this when they sold it to me!

- Joshua T., Erie, PA, USA

problem #17

Feb 242016

Tribute 6 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 132,000 miles

Rear shock mount rusted, right side only just like others here! I decided to follow recommendations on forums and I installed the repair kit (from ebay, 220$ + shipping and well worth it!) that includes a specially designed frame-mounting bracket for the shock absorber that you simply bolt on the frame just underneath the original shock mount. It comes with all the gear you need to seal the opening in the floor. I have done this by myself with no knowledge in 5-6 hours following the instructions provided. I am quite sure, like other folks I have talked to, that this was the best thing to do to keep this car on the road for a few more years!

Don't think about the option of replacing the wheel well panel $$$...

- Mark S., Canton, USA

problem #16

Aug 152015

Tribute XLT 6 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Shock mount rusted through just like everyone else. I think I might go with the auxiliary shock mount kit that you can bolt on the frame to hold the shock in place. Seems like people are paying 3-4K$ when they decide to replace the thin metal panel for a new one. Just don't want to pay that much for a rust problem...

200$ for the auxiliary shock mounting kit seems more appropriate to me!

- hillid, Twin Falls, ID, USA

problem #15

Dec 012015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles


This is a really annoying situation and I don't know why Mazda hasn't recalled these Tribute. The left wheel is completely rusted. Definitely a really crazy accident waiting to happen. My wife bought this truck brand new and we have been the only owner. It has never being in an accident but yet it has been marked unsafe by the local Mazda dealership. At first, I thought it was a minor fix, till I was quoted $3000.00 and when I research this problem. I discovered so many people are having the same issue - Rear Left wheel. MAZDA SHOULD PLEASE RECALL THESE TRIBUTES!!!!! I will be uploading some pictures soon

- olusola, Havre de Grace, MD, USA

problem #14

Jan 302016

Tribute 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

Can not drive my car and no one will buy it in this condition. Why is there not a recall for this like the 2001 to 2004 models. I will not be replacing with another Mazda!!! And this car should hold up better than this.

- Patricia W., White Heath, IL, USA

problem #13

Jan 112016

Tribute XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,488 miles

$530 +taxes to fix mine! ($300 for parts+$230 for labor) Just like other folks, rear right wheel well completely rusted out... Replacing the wheel well would have been such a pain in the ass and I did not want to pay the $2500 job like some people here. That's why my mechanic has done a few research and he suggested me not to replace it but instead he ordered and installed the auxiliary bracket kit made especially to solve this problem on Ford Escapes and Mazda Tributes. No need for panel de-welding/re-welding...

Looks pretty solid and drives just like before. Will clearly ride a few years on that! Consider the bracket option folks.

- blindley, Westbourne, MB, Canada

problem #12

Apr 272015

Tribute 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

click to see larger images

wheel well area completely rusted out wheel well area completely rusted out wheel well area completely rusted out wheel well area completely rusted out

Inner fender wall shock mount rusted and broke away from frame. Passenger side rear shock is completely broke away from frame with driver side rear shock soon to follow. Cannot have anyone sit in back of car due to too much bouncing of rear end. Car is now dangerous to drive unless a fix is put in place. Cannot in good conscience sell vehicle without fixing. Current state of vehicle...Unsalable. Car could sell for $4 or $5000 if Mazda would own up to this problem. Recalls were put in place for 2000- 2004 then knowingly continued to make and sell 2005 without correcting the problem.

- Tony C., Broadview Heights, OH, USA

problem #11

Sep 222015

Tribute V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles

click to see larger images

wheel well area completely rusted out wheel well area completely rusted out

Seriously, this was the most scary car situation I have or could have been in. What is worse is that this is my 19 year old daughter's car. The car has been babied, garaged, etc. for 9 of the 10 years of age it is. She took it to college this year. It just passed inspection 8/31/15 and today when I took it to fill it up for her, I heard horrible thuds, rattles, etc in the back right rear. When we stopped for gas, I looked in the area and saw how the entire wheel well was rusted out.

I took it to the closest auto repair story literally a few hundred feet away, and they said it was too dangerous to drive. It would cost $3000 to fix it. At that point, I looked online for any information because I could not believe I was dealing with this on a 10 year old car that had been babied!

Then I saw all the forums. My heart is still beating fast as I think about how horrible this could have been for my daughter if she had been driving at a high speed. She honestly thought it was something rolling around in the back of her car...she just is too inexperienced to know better. This put my daughter in total danger.

I am furious that they recalled up to 2004 models and have not responded to 2005 models. I have an appt. with the Mazda dealer we purchased the car from when it was new. They kept telling me on the phone it was not covered, but gave me the 800 number which then had an operator connect me back to dealer for appt. for review. I will take it to Bommerito Mazda in St. Peters, MO. I literally just leased a new car from Bommerito Infiniti so I am really hoping they make this good. This is an obvious structural defect and if they do not make this right for all of us, I will forever question the ethics of both Mazda and Bommerito. They will lose my business forever and I will not rest until everyone knows, including BBB and attorney general. This is really scary.

Update from Jun 20, 2016: Ended up leaving 2 Mazda Tributes in the parking lot at the dealer and leasing a Mazda 6 at "cost" from them. Upon following the Mazda 2005 to the dealer with our Mazda Tribute 2008, The 2008 literally caught on fire on the way there...was smoking as we drove into the lot. the electrical wiring in the engine caught on fire. We could drive neither car off the lot and was too expensive to repair both.

- cjb61, Wentzville, MO, USA

problem #10

Sep 162015

Tribute S V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,975 miles

Back passenger side wheel well is completely rusted along with the frame on the inside of the back right door. The shock completely broke due to rust and hits against the car wheel well which I am sure is causing more damage.

- Debbie B., Omaha, USA

problem #9

Oct 112015

Tribute Highjest V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

Just finding out about this issue and how there are multiple complaints for exactly the same issue on the same car / same age / same spot: ~ 10 year old Mazda, owned since day one, religiously maintained, perfect shape other than a sudden separation on the right rear wheel well. Rest of the wheels have no issue. Certainly a design flaw. Taking it to Mazda dealer to inspect it and see what solution they can provide. Edmunds resale car value is over ~$4,500 without this issue. Mazda better own up to this issue. Has anyone gotten a solution?

- arochwer, Natick, MA, USA

problem #8

Oct 012015

Tribute V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

I heard a rattling sound in the right rear of my 2005 Mazda Tribute. Took it to the shop and the entire wheel well was rusted out. Took it to the body shop for an estimate for the repair. They did not recommend repairing the vehicle since it appeared the other side of the vehicle was already beginning to rust, along with the bottoms of the doors, etc. I saw that Mazda had recalled all of the 2001 through 2004 model years of the Tribute for the EXACT SAME PROBLEM, so I contacted the dealer from whom I had purchased the vehicle. They were kind enough to get in touch with Mazda, who quickly refused to extend the recall to the 2005 model. The vehicle was unsafe to drive and, although I had just replaced the entire exhaust and had some other engine work done recently, had no choice but to dispose of the vehicle. I will certainly never be purchasing a Mazda again.

- Cristy K., Middle River, MD, US

problem #7

May 052015

Tribute 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I am disgusted. In April of this year $1200 was spent on new spark plugs and pistons. Then in May it started making a noise. I took it to my local garage where I have work done and to get an inspection sticker. He said: "Oh my gosh, there is significant rust underneath your car on the right side and the struts may fall off". He told me to take it to this body shop. They told me maybe $1500 just for the part or maybe more and that did not include labor and he advised not to do it as it is hard to stop rust once it starts.

I am retired 75 and cannot afford another car and have no means of transportation. On browsing the internet and remarks from friends who own Mazda's I know this is an ongoing problem with Mazda's and I understand they have recalled 139,000 of 2001-2004 Mazda's. I was surprised to find out that Ford makes this car. Very annoyed. Mazda should be responsible for this condition as I have new tires, new brakes and new spark plugs and pistons and the car runs well, but it is not safe to drive because of the rusting.

- judith b., Spring HIll, WV, USA

problem #6

Jun 062015

Tribute LX 2.3L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,500 miles

My one owner, garaged, dealer maintained, great looking Tribute started to rattle from the right rear. As I examined the car and looked at the passenger rear wheel well, I almost couldn't believe my eyes. The wheel well was rusted as if the car was 50 years old. The shock was holding on by rusted, crumpling metal. In other words by nothing. The left wheel well was fine.

I took the car back to my dealer service and naturally the manager had never seen let alone heard of this problem even though I brought in the 5 other complaints I read about on this website all of which are my story exactly. He proceeded to tell me that he owned a Mazda Tribute even an 2005 with 250,000 miles on it and his was in perfect condition. I have removed the shock to keep from causing more damage. The shock was pushing its way through the interior of the car.

My biggest complaint is the dealership. I realize these things happen but when inferior parts are used to assemble cars the MAZDA/dealership should fess up. He didn't even offer to report the problem or help in any way with even advise. If my car and others have shown the same issues I'm sure there are many many more. ....good bye Mazda!!

- terrymo, St Charles, MO, USA

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