Mazda 2

Mazda 2: Most Common Problems You Should Know (Explained)

Mazda 2

Over the years, we’ve grown to have a particular liking for driving small subcompact cars such as the Mazda 2 around.

Well, the novelty wears off a bit once you start wrenching on one, as we’ve discovered there are quite a few common problems with the Mazda 2 aside from it being terrifying to drive next to a trailer truck.

So if you’re in the market for one yourself, be sure to have a good thorough read on this guide to find out what issues can hinder the Mazda 2 from tooting its own horn proudly!

What are the most common problems of the Mazda 2?

The most common problems of the Mazda 2 include transmission problems, suspension clunking sounds, a P0610 error code, and a faulty radio.

Other Mazda 2 problems concern its seatbelts, steering wheel, cruise control, windows, cabin air filter, gas pedal placement, rear washers, and rear wiper blades.

Transmission Problems

Transmission Problems

Transmission Slipping and Jerky Shifts

First in this list of common Mazda 2 automatic (or manual) problems is the transmission not being as smooth as it used to be.

From slipping gears to jerky shifts, the Mazda 2’s transmission system is known to become rougher as you rack up the number of miles (or years) on it.

But before we point any fingers at a possible design flaw in the transmission, it’s important to first check if you’ve actually changed your transmission fluid at the recommended intervals.

If your Mazda 2 did not show any check engine light (CEL), then you can check if you’re already running low on transmission fluid (or ATF/automatic transmission fluid for automatic models). Getting your transmission fluid changed will cost about $100.

It just so happens that if your car is already running low on transmission fluid, then you’ll actually start experiencing symptoms such as gear slippage and delayed engagement of gears. That sounds familiar, right?

However, if a check engine light (CEL) is present on your dashboard as these transmission issues persist, then it’s time to check for faults in the electrical system.

More often than not, a faulty sensor is to blame whenever you start experiencing these transmission problems with a check engine light (CEL) illuminated. Now the question is, which sensor can it be?

At this stage, we recommend getting your Mazda 2 diagnosed for any error codes that can point to a specific sensor that has become faulty.

Here’s a list of some common DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes) that relate to a faulty sensor that can cause the Mazda 2’s transmission to slip or become rough.

P0715 – Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Malfunction
P0717 – Input/Turbine Speed Sensor No Signal
P0720 – Failed Input Speed Sensor/Output Speed Sensor
P0791 – Intermediate Shaft Speed Sensor “A” Circuit
P0793 – Intermediate Shaft Speed Sensor (No Signal Detected in Circuit)

Clutch Vibrates in 1st Gear (Worn-Out Engine Mounts)

A vibrating clutch pedal is never a good sign, but in the Mazda 2’s case, it actually has nothing to do with the clutch and, instead, has a whole lot to do with how worn out your engine mounts are.

To explain, the engine mounts that sit in your car’s engine bay are supposed to dampen and reduce the vibrations made by the engine, and this includes while you’re revving it until you get to the clutch’s biting point in 1st gear.

Clutch Vibrates in 1st Gear (Worn-Out Engine Mounts)

But once the engine mounts are damaged or all worn out, you will start to feel the vibrations from the engine much more when balancing the clutch and the gas in 1st gear. This gives you the illusion that the clutch itself is vibrating.

Luckily, swapping your old engine mounts for new ones is not too complicated of a job. Though, they’re still pretty pricey to replace at around $300 to $400 (parts and labor) for the Mazda 2.

Clutch Doesn’t Engage in 1st Gear

Another common transmission problem that the Mazda 2 can develop is that the clutch is not able to engage 1st gear right away, making it seem like the clutch is unresponsive to your shifting input.

It turns out that this has something to do with how the transmission components were designed for the Mazda 2, which is equipped with a dual-mass flywheel and Mazda’s Skyactiv-MT technology.

The manufacturer originally intended the Mazda 2 to have a “sporty” and lightweight transmission feel that’s comparable to its MX-5/Miata sports car.

Sports cars like the Mazda MX-5 tend to have clutches that are more suited for performance driving, which means that you can let go of them more aggressively and shift at higher RPMs.

But when you use such a clutch in the Mazda 2, where most owners would rather take their time releasing the clutch normally instead of almost dumping it at every stoplight, then the clutch is going to feel like it’s slipping.

Moreover, you may feel that the gears are a bit unhappy (unstable) whenever you shift earlier in the revs, and this is because the Mazda 2 has a pretty wide gear ratio for the lower gears.

So really, if you’ve got a Mazda 2 with the Skyactiv-MT (2015 and newer), then you probably need to use the clutch a bit more aggressively than what you’re used to.

Squeaking Sound During Shifts

Apart from vibrating clutches and slipping gears, the Mazda 2 can also exhibit squeaking sounds whenever you shift gears.

Transmission squeaking noises are most common in Mazda 2 models made after the 2014 model year, and the squeaks can be most heard whenever you’re shifting from 1st to 2nd gear.

The squeaking noises have been traced back to various metal components within the transmission hitting against each other.

Thus, one of the most common remedies for this is to use “Transmission Fix”, which is a type of fluid that is specifically formulated to prevent rough shifting, hesitations, and slipping in transmissions.

Squeaking Sound During Shifts

Transmission Fix is known to be quite effective in reducing squeaking noises when mixed with your vehicle’s transmission fluid.

Suspension Problems

Suspension Problems

Clunking Sounds from Suspension Components

When your suspension system starts to make clunking noises that can be heard from the cabin, then this is a tell-tale sign that one or several suspension components have been damaged or are already worn out.

Since the suspension system has many integrating parts, it can be hard to trace exactly where the clunking sound is coming from.

Hence, it’s highly recommended to get your suspension system checked by a repair shop, which will most likely have a lift that can raise your vehicle off the ground to check the suspension from underneath more properly.

It’s also worth mentioning that the 1st and 2nd-gen Mazda 2 also has interchangeable suspension parts with the 5th and 6th-gen Ford Fiesta, as both of these cars share the same Ford B-car platform.

Electronic Problems

P0610 Error Code From Powertrain Control Module (PCM)

The P0610 error code is one of the most common diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) that you can get out of a Mazda 2’s PCM, and there can be several reasons why this code appears.

For starters, the P0610 error code itself means that there is a lack of communication or a communication failure in the PCM. This has been observed to be pretty common in 2003 models of the Mazda 2.

If you get a P0610 error code on your Mazda 2, it could be due to a problem with the wiring harness that connects to the PCM. 

If any of these connections become loose or broken, then it can disrupt the flow of current to the PCM and make it become faulty.

In other cases, the PCM chip that stores the configuration data itself can malfunction after it has reached a certain point in storage.

The good news is that simply getting the PCM reprogrammed will remedy this issue, though you’ll be needing an OBD reader tool for this. 

Either that, or you can have it reprogrammed by a professional for about $150 to $250 if you’re not that experienced with reprogramming.

Malfunctioning Radio

Malfunctioning Radio

A radio that doesn’t work properly is quite a common sight in a Mazda 2, and this can vary from random bouts of it cutting out and working again to completely dying out until you get it dealt with.

You’re also more likely to experience issues with your Mazda 2’s radio if you’ve already driven over 100,000 miles on the clock.

Since the radio is an electronic device, the most common culprit would be either a blown fuse or a short-circuit situation in the wiring harness, so it’s worth starting your search from there.

The fuse for the Mazda 2’s radio may be located either at the engine bay fuse box or at the passenger compartment fuse box depending on the model generation. Thus, we recommend checking your owner’s manual for reference.

Typically, the fuse for the radio will be marked as a 7.5-amp fuse, which costs around $5 to replace. 

In other models, there will be different “audio” fuses, with “AUDIO1” fuses being rated at 25 amps and “AUDIO2” fuses being rated at 15 amps.

In the case of a short circuit, you can make use of a voltmeter to measure the flow of current into the wiring harness. Through this, you will be able to tell which wires give off bad readings and need replacing.

Interior Problems

Steering Doesn’t Have Much Feedback

Certain Mazda 2 models have received complaints from their owners that the steering feel just doesn’t seem right, as if they are not getting that much feedback from the road.

While this may sound like a good thing for some people, getting not much feedback means that you’ll not be able to judge how the car will react to bumps or any sudden changes on the road surface.

Since the Mazda 2 utilizes an electric power steering system, the steering feel will be a lot lighter compared to other cars that use a typical hydraulic power steering system.

Furthermore, if your car’s due for a wheel alignment, the light steering feel of an electric power steering system may make it not as obvious that you’ve got bad wheel alignment.

Mazda 2 Base Model Doesn’t Have Cruise Control

If you ever opt for the base variant of the Mazda 2, you will have chosen a variant in the lineup that doesn’t come with cruise control, at least not one that you can activate with its own separate button.

In reality, whether you have the optional $3,000 cruise control feature or not, the Mazda 2’s ECU already has built-in programming to make the cruise control work, and the only thing missing now is the actual button on the steering wheel.

The good news is that you can actually trick the base model’s ECU into thinking that you have cruise control by getting a steering wheel and airbag assembly from a Mazda 2 “Touring” model, which already comes with cruise control buttons.

Mazda 2 Base Model Doesn’t Have Cruise Control

After installing the Touring wheel on your base model, you will have to get the ECU reprogrammed again to ensure that everything works smoothly.

Windows Rattle Due to Bad Quality

Windows Rattle Due to Bad Quality

Mazda 2 windows are known for their rattling nature, and this is especially the case when you leave them just a tad bit open and the wind from outside gushes in as you’re driving at speed.

Rattling windows on the Mazda 2 have been blamed on poor manufacturing, and though a little bit of rattling is considered fine, too much rattling may indicate that there are loose screws on the windows’ metal strips.

If you’re experiencing this issue with all of the windows, then you’ll have to remove the door panels to tighten the screws on the strips. Otherwise, you can just tighten the screws on the holder that clamps to the glass itself.

Rattling Sound from 3rd Brake Light

Another thing that annoyingly rattles on the inside of the Mazda 2 is the 3rd brake light, which sits on top of the trunk lid at the rear of the vehicle.

The 3rd brake light has its own plastic covering that tends to vibrate and shake around when driving, which causes a pretty distracting rattling noise from the rear.

An effective way to eliminate the rattle is to insert a few pieces of rubber between the edges of the 3rd brake light. Sure, it’s not the most aesthetic look, but it does hush it down!

Awkward Gas Pedal Placement (US Models)

The pedal placement on the US-spec Mazda 2 isn’t the best, especially since the gas and brake pedals are spaced too far apart as if they were planning to put another pedal in there but forgot to.

As you can imagine, this can make it tricky and uncomfortable for some people to switch from one pedal to another, especially in emergency situations.

The reason for this weird pedal placement is that left-hand-drive US models use the same center console placement as those of right-hand-drive models from Europe and Japan, which don’t really have this issue.

Luckily, you can actually adjust the positions of the pedals to suit your preference. We recommend having it adjusted by a dealership or a professional shop if you’re unfamiliar with this process.

Cabin Air Filter Can Get Clogged

If you’re buying a used Mazda 2, then chances are that its cabin air filter hasn’t been changed in a while and may already be clogged with all sorts of debris and nasty stuff from the outside.

You can locate the Mazda 2’s cabin air filter by looking underneath the passenger footwell. It will be hidden behind a lid with four Phillips screws for you to unloosen.

Cabin Air Filter Can Get Clogged

A new cabin air filter for the Mazda 2 costs about $20 on average, and installing one will bring back a breath of fresh air into your cabin in no time.

Rear Seatbelt Doesn’t Retract 

One more common interior problem of the Mazda 2 is that the rear seatbelts don’t really retract back into place after you’ve pulled them out, and it’s pretty obvious why this is easily a safety hazard in the event of a crash.

If your car still happens to be under warranty, then this non-retracting seatbelt issue can actually be covered. If not, then that’s easily a $600 job covered by your own wallet.

While it can be tempting to just go for a cheaper aftermarket alternative, these are seatbelts that we’re talking about, and no amount of skimping out is ever worth it when it comes to safety.

Exterior Problems

Exterior Problems

Rear Window Washer Can’t Aim Properly

The first of only two common exterior problems that the Mazda 2 is known to have is that the rear window washer is placed in a way that actually fails to spray the entirety of the rear window properly.

This makes the rear window washer pretty ineffective at the only job it’s supposed to do, and you’re better off manually washing the rear window yourself instead of wasting a lot of washer fluid on anything but the window. 

Rear Wiper Blade Issues

Closely related to the previous entry, the Mazda 2’s rear wiper blade can also develop its own issue when already worn out.

A worn-out wiper blade can potentially scratch your window instead of wiping it clean. Thankfully, wiper blades are pretty cheap and straightforward to replace, which will be the only real solution to this issue.

Tips to Maintain Your Mazda 2

Tips to Maintain Your Mazda 2

Some tips to maintain your Mazda 2 include getting it serviced regularly, inspecting for any leaks from its components, and checking the condition and pressure of its tires every now and then.

Get it serviced regularly.

It’s to nobody’s surprise that one of the most important things you should do to maintain a Mazda 2 (or any vehicle really) is to have it serviced at the recommended intervals.

This means that you should be having its oil changed, its tires rotated, and its air filters swapped out for fresh new ones at the mileage or amount of time (e.g. months) recommended by the dealer.

To have a more detailed guide to what the recommended intervals are for each maintenance procedure, we recommend checking the Mazda 2’s owner’s manual.

Inspect for any leaking components.

As parts wear out on your Mazda 2, those that contain fluids may start to leak and leave puddles underneath your car. Take note of these puddles and start tracing back where the leak may be coming from.

Sometimes, if not remedied right away, these leaks can even drip into other components and cause further damage, like in the case of electronic components.

Be sure to check for any damaged pipes, hoses, or gaskets and replace them right away. Of course, you should check your fluid levels (e.g. oil, coolant) and top up if necessary. 

Check your tire condition and pressure.

The tires on your Mazda 2 are another set of components that you should be checking regularly, as wear and tear from driving can affect the way they grip the road.

While you can always visually inspect your tires every time you go out for a drive, it’s recommended to check your tire pressure at least once a month.

Your tires naturally lose about 1 psi of pressure every month, but this can be more if they already have cracks or any considerable damage on them.

In that case, you should replace the tires completely and have the new ones reinflated to the recommended psi by the manufacturer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)