The Correct Bolt Pattern of a Mazda 3

The Correct Bolt Pattern of a Mazda 3

The Mazda 3, also known as the “Axela” in Japan for its older generations, is a compact car that’s currently offered by Mazda in both sedan and hatchback body styles.

The first Mazda 3, bearing the “BK” designation, was unveiled in 2003 for the 2004 model year, and it was already offered in the two aforementioned body styles right off the bat.

Throughout the years, Mazda has made efforts towards the technological advancement of the model, which means changing a lot of its features and design.

But for the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus specifically on the bolt pattern of the Mazda 3, which is actually one of the few things about it that didn’t change at all.

We have also listed the other bolt specifications and even the numerous factory wheel specifications for each generation of the Mazda 3 right here.

So if you own a Mazda 3 yourself and are planning to change its wheels, then this will be quite a worthwhile read.

What is the bolt pattern of a Mazda 3?

The Mazda 3 is fitted with a bolt pattern that measures 5×4.5 inches (5×114.3mm). This has been the same one used for all its generations from 2003 to the current one (2022).

Despite spanning four different generations and undergoing multiple facelifts, the Mazda 3 has kept the same measurements for its bolt pattern ever since.

While the Mazda 3’s bolt pattern has remained constant, there are still some differences that can be highlighted between each generation’s other specifications.

Each new generation of the Mazda 3 has brought a lot of different trim levels to the table, and we will be presenting the wheel and bolt specifications of each of those trim levels next.

Wheel and Bolt Specifications of the Mazda 3 

We have arranged the wheel and bolt specifications of the Mazda 3 from the newest generation to the first one.

Each generation of the Mazda 3 includes two different wheel specifications, namely the factory tire size and rim size. These will be paired up with each trim level of that generation.

As for the Mazda 3’s bolt specifications, we have included the center bore diameter, wheel fastener, thread size, and torque tightening specification (torque spec) of each generation.

Unlike the wheel specifications, the bolt specifications will generally remain the same for every trim level within a certain Mazda 3 generation.

Also, to avoid overcomplicating things, we will be focusing mostly on the specifications of Mazda 3 models released for the U.S. market (USDM).

4th-Generation Mazda 3 (BP) (2019 to Present/2022)

The 4th and current generation of the Mazda 3 was first introduced in 2019, and for the first time, it did not carry the “Axela” nameplate anymore in the Japanese market.

This discontinuation of the Axela nameplate was Mazda’s way of standardizing the Mazda 3’s name for the global market.

The newest Mazda 3 carries the BP-series designation, and just like the earlier-generation models, it also comes in both hatchback and sedan forms right off the bat.

Along with a design that’s sleeker and sharper than before, it also comes with more updated features of Mazda’s “Skyactiv” technology.

The one used for the current Mazda 3 and even Mazda’s CX-30 SUV is called “Skyactiv-X”, which further improves fuel efficiency and power output compared to the earlier generations.

While the hatchback variant is unsurprisingly shorter in length compared to the sedan, both of them still use the same set of specifications for their bolts below.

Center Bore Diameter: 2.64 inches (67.1mm)

Wheel Fastener: Lug Nut (5)
Thread Size: M12x1.5
Torque Spec: 80 to 108lb-ft (108 to 147Nm)

Their factory wheel specifications, however, vary depending on the trim level that you choose.

The 4th-generation Mazda 3 currently has three engine options for its USDM trim levels, the top variant being the turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-4 (I4) engine.

The base 2.0i trim is equipped with 205mm tires paired with 16-inch rims, while the top-of-the-line 2.5T receives wider 215mm tires and bigger 18-inch rims.

What’s interesting to see is that the mid-tier non-turbocharged 2.5i variant can actually be fitted with both the former two’s wheel specifications.

Trim LevelTire SizeRim Size
2.0i I4205/60R166.5Jx16 ET45
2.5i I4205/60R166.5Jx16 ET45
215/45R187Jx18 ET45
2.5T I4 (2020 to Present)215/45R187Jx18 ET45

3rd-Generation Mazda 3/Axela (BM/BN) (2013 to 2018)

The 3rd generation of the Mazda 3 was the last generation to carry the “Axela” name in Japan but also the first to be equipped with Mazda’s Skyactiv technology.

Its overall design is quite similar to the 4th-generation model, especially when it comes to the grill, headlights, and tail lights.

The design comes from Mazda’s own “Kodo” design philosophy, which roughly translates to “Soul of Motion”. 

The 3rd-generation Mazda 3 is also the third Mazda vehicle to be built on the Kodo philosophy right after the CX-3 and Mazda 6 models during its time.

Then again, when it came to its bolt specifications, they were no different from the ones equipped on the newer 4th-generation Mazda 3 models.

Center Bore Diameter: 2.64 inches (67.1mm)

Wheel Fastener: Lug Nut (5)
Thread Size: M12x1.5
Torque Spec: 80 to 108lb-ft (108 to 147Nm)

The 3rd-generation Mazda 3 was initially introduced in 2013 while carrying the “BM” designation.

But by the time it received a facelift model in 2016, the designation was changed to “BN” instead.

The facelift hatchback model got updated front and rear designs, while the sedan model only had its front end revamped. 

Both of them, however, did receive new dashboard layouts, improved safety features, and Mazda’s “G-Vectoring Control” technology.

As far as the wheel specifications for the facelift model went, they were no different from the ones fitted on the pre-facelift model at all.

The engine options also remained constant throughout the 3rd generation’s production run, which meant that its wheel specifications remained the same as well.

The base 2.0i trim were fitted with tires that were 205mm thick and rims that were 16 inches in diameter.

In comparison, the top 2.5i trim had wider 215mm “Z-rated” tires that wrapped around bigger 18-inch rims.

Trim LevelTire SizeRim Size
2.0i I4205/60R166.5Jx16 ET50
2.5i I4215/45ZR187Jx18 ET50

2nd-Generation Mazda 3/Axela (BL) (2009 to 2013)

The development of the 2nd-generation Mazda 3 “BL” took place while the 1st generation was still selling like hotcakes worldwide.

It then eventually debuted in November of 2008 as a 2009 model, and with it came a design that was a lot different from the newer Mazda 3 models of today.

This is because, at that time, the Mazda 3 was still built on the Ford-based “C1” platform, which was first used in the previous generation.

Despite sharing this platform with the 1st generation, the 2nd-generation Mazda 3 was still bigger but lighter by a narrow margin.

Also, despite looking very different from the newer generations, it still used the same set of bolt specifications as they did.

Center Bore Diameter: 2.64 inches (67.1mm)

Wheel Fastener: Lug Nut (5)
Thread Size: M12x1.5
Torque Spec:  80 to 108lb-ft (108 to 147Nm)

The 2nd-generation Mazda 3 was sold in three different trim levels for the U.S. market. These trim levels were equipped with either a 2-liter, 2.5-liter, or 2.3-liter turbocharged I4 engine.

While both the 2.0i and 2.5i trims had 205mm-wide tires, the latter had bigger 17-inch rims to go along with them.

The top-of-the-line turbocharged 2.3-liter trim had its own 225mm Z-rated tires and 18-inch rims that were also a bit thicker than the ones fitted on the lower trim levels.

Trim LevelTire SizeRim Size
2.0i I4

2.5i I4

205/55R166.5Jx16 ET50
205/50R176.5Jx17 ET50
2.3T I4225/40ZR187.5Jx18 ET52.5

1st-Generation Mazda 3/Axela (BK)

Production of the first ever Mazda 3 or “Axela” initially started in June of 2003, but it wasn’t until October of that same year that it was officially launched in Japan.

The 1st-generation Mazda 3 was also the first Mazda 3 to be built on Ford’s C1 platform that included other cars such as the Ford Focus and Volvo S40.

Its overall styling and performance appealed to a lot of enthusiasts in the automotive world, and it also had a ton of engine options that are specifically catered to each individual market.

It was also this Mazda 3 generation that the first performance-oriented “Mazdaspeed3” model was based on, which gained pretty good traction in the North American market.

Almost all of the bolt specifications of the 1st generation are the same as those of the other three generations.

The only difference is that the recommended torque specification range for the 1st generation was just lower by 15 to 22lb-ft.

Center Bore Diameter: 2.64 inches (67.1mm)

Wheel Fastener: Lug Nut (5)
Thread Size: M12x1.5
Torque Spec: 65 to 86lb-ft (88 to 117Nm)

While the U.S. market only received two engine options for the first Mazda 3, namely the 2.0i and 2.3i, the model’s initial release in 2003 showcased other engine options as well.

These other engine options included the 1.4i, 1.6i, 2.0D, and 2.2D. All four of these, together with another 2.0i option, eventually became the trim lineup for the European market (EUDM).

The EUDM 1.4i trim, which had the smallest engine displacement, only received one 195mm tire size and one 15-inch rim size.

The EUDM 2-liter and 2.2-liter Diesel trims along with the USDM 2.3i trim, however, all shared the exact same 205mm tire size paired with a 16-inch rim size.

Finally, both the EUDM 1.6i and USDM/EUDM 2.0i trims actually came with either of those two aforementioned wheel specifications as factory standards.

Trim LevelTire SizeRim Size
1.4i I4 (EUDM)195/65R156Jx15 ET52.5
1.6i I4 (EUDM)

2.0i I4 (USDM/EUDM)

195/65R156Jx15 ET52.5
205/55R166.5Jx16 ET52.5
2.0D I4 (EUDM)

2.2D I4 (EUDM)

2.3i I4 (USDM)

205/55R166.5Jx16 ET52.5

How to Tighten the Bolts on the Mazda 3

Whenever you remove the wheels on your Mazda 3 for whatever reason, you need to make sure that you put back its bolts properly.

Not only does this mean following the torque tightening specifications we’ve mentioned above, but using the correct tightening order for them as well.

The correct tightening order will allow you to distribute the tightening or clamping force evenly across the wheel’s face.

If you were to simply go in clockwise or counterclockwise order, the wheel can slightly flex in a certain direction and leave one or more bolts loosened again.

To find out what the correct tightening order is for your car, you can simply take a look at the number of bolts (or lug nuts) that its wheels use.

In the Mazda 3’s case, it always uses a total of 5 lug nuts, no matter which generation you have. Thus, we can refer to it as having a “5-lug pattern”.

Now that we know the number of lug nuts the wheels of the Mazda 3 use, let’s move on to the actual tightening order applicable to them.

Star-Shaped Tightening Pattern

The diagram shown above demonstrates the correct tightening order used for all 5-lug wheels, which essentially involves tightening the lug nuts while following a star-shaped pattern.

This tightening order is very commonly used for wheels on other passenger cars like the Nissan 350Z, Ford Fusion, Chevy Impala, Cadillac CTS, and many more.

Along with this pattern, make sure you tighten the lug nuts on all 2nd to 4th-generation Mazda 3 models to a torque specification of 80 to 108lb-ft.

1st-generation Mazda 3 models, however, should have their lug nuts tightened with 65 to 86lb-ft of torque only.

Take note that you should only tighten the lug nuts fully with a torque wrench if the car is safely on the ground. 

If it’s currently up on jack stands, then hand-tighten the lugs until they’re just snug enough to put the wheels on the ground safely.

You can test drive the car for about 50 miles (80km) afterward, then recheck the torque values of the lug nuts.

Simply retighten them to their recommended specifications if you notice any changes.

If they keep getting loose even after every short drive, then you may need to recalibrate your torque wrench, clean between the wheel’s mating surfaces, or change the wheels completely.

When to Change the Tires on the Mazda 3

The tires on your Mazda 3 are another important component of its wheels. Now that we’ve previously talked about its tire sizes, let’s now dive into when you should be changing them.

In order to maintain optimum handling and grip on the road, you need to make sure that your tires still have life on them.

This is when a tire’s tread depth comes into play, which we’ll be learning more about shortly.

First, let’s talk about how long you can expect your Mazda 3’s tires to last. On average, one set of tires will last for about 60,000 to 75,000 miles (97,000 – 121,000km) on the clock.

We’ve specified a range for a reason, as the actual number will depend on one’s driving habits, the terrain or season the tires are frequently used, and even the tire manufacturer.

If you’re anywhere within that specified range, then it’s definitely time to consider changing tires. 

But if you’re not sure how much you’ve used up your tires, then we’ve got two ways for you to measure its tread depth.

Tread Depth

The left image shows a tire’s “tread wear indicator bars”, which are manufactured to measure your tread depth by comparing the height of the bars and the treads.

The bars will initially be deep within the grooves, but on worn-out tires, they’ll be at the same height as the treads.

This happens because the treads have already become so thin that they’re already in line with the bars. At that point, it’s definitely time to put on a fresh set of rubber on your wheels.

Alternatively, you can also insert a penny upside down within the grooves, which will work the same way as the bars, but just by using Abraham Lincoln’s head as a guide.

Half of Lincoln’s head would stay hidden on newer tires. On worn-out tires with less than 1/16 of an inch of tread left, however, his entire head will be exposed.

Tires that go past the legal 1/16-inch (or 2/32-inch) tread depth limit should absolutely be changed at once.

How and When to Rotate the Tires on the Mazda 3

Before your Mazda 3 gets its tires changed, it needs to go through several tire rotations first as part of keeping them from wearing unevenly or prematurely.

Tire rotations will obviously be performed a lot sooner than tire changes, and they also come in several different types depending on the type of tires fitted and the vehicle’s drivetrain.

Directional tires, which have treads designed to perform optimally in a single direction, can only be rotated using the “straight rotation” pattern shown below, regardless of the drivetrain.

Directional Tires

On the other hand, if your Mazda 3 comes with non-directional tires, then we’ll be looking at its drivetrain as the determining factor for the proper tire rotation pattern for it.

All previous generations of the Mazda 3 come in FWD (front-wheel drive), while some trim levels of the newest 4th-generation model can be equipped with AWD (all-wheel drive).

With that said, we have included two separate tire rotation patterns for the two different drivetrains of the Mazda 3.

Forward and Rear Cross

The first image demonstrates the “forward cross” pattern, which is applicable to all Mazda 3 models equipped with FWD drivetrains.

The second image is just the complete opposite of the first one and is called the “rearward cross” pattern.

This tire rotation pattern is applicable to all AWD Mazda 3 models, and even other vehicles equipped with AWD or RWD (rear-wheel drive).

FWD Mazda 3 models should have their tires rotated every 5,000 to 7,500 miles (8,000 to 12,000km) driven.

AWD Mazda 3 models will have to get their tires rotated a bit sooner at every 3,000 to 5,000 miles 4,800 to 8,000km) due to all four wheels receiving power, thus more tire wear.