The Mazda3 has been one of our top-scoring small cars for several years, distinguished by agile handling and a well laid out, good-quality passenger compartment. The interior has been further upgraded, but the rear seating area remains a little tight. Road noise is still pronounced. Trim-line designations are bound to confuse.
Alerts
There are 2 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
Most Common Trouble Spots
Common Trouble Spot
Common Trouble Spot
The 2011 Mazda 3 has been recalled 2 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years * Redesign year
Worse Better
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01
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04*
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Overall Reliability Verdict
NA
POTENTIAL TROUBLE SPOTS
Engine Major
NA
Engine Minor
NA
Engine Cooling
NA
Transmission Major
NA
Transmission Minor
NA
Drive System
NA
Fuel System
NA
Electric System
NA
Climate System
NA
Suspension
NA
Brakes
NA
Exhaust
NA
Paint/Trim
NA
Body Integrity
NA
Body Hardware
NA
Power Equipment
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for about 420,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2019 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2011 Mazda 3 owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Shocks or struts

"One strut completely leaked its fluid. Both struts had to be replaced at a cost of One strut totally leaked its fluid. Both struts had to be replaced at a cost of $1156"

Anonymous, NM (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Had to replace right rear shock after only 41000km"

Michael C., ON (2011 Mazda 3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"One rear shock rusted out. The independent garage that I took it to, and which I trust, said this is a characteristic of this car. I now note that CR in the April copy specifies this to be a problem with the 2011 model only. With baited breath, I await the other rear shock to fail."

Greg V., ON (2011 Mazda 3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"rear shocks failed and caused a rough ride and had to be replaced."

Peter D., ON (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Shocks were starting to fail, bouncing and it was recommended they be replaced by the delership."

Michael M., ON (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"The shock mount failed and detached from the car (on one side). It made a very loud clunking noise and had to be towed to the shop. The mechanic said it is a common problem and replaced both sides."

Carrie S., ON (2011 Mazda 3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Back Shocks had to be replaced after 100,000KM, a common issue with these cars. The car drove safely during this time"

Anonymous, QC (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Rear shocks have failed twice since purchasing the car. OE shocks replaced in 2015. Aftermarket shocks replaced in 2017"

Anonymous, MA (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Front Strut was leaking and caused premature and uneven tire wear"

Lynne E., MD (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rear struts needed replaced. This caused uneven tire wear on the rear of the vehicle"

Anonymous, TX (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"It's the first time I have had to replace something like this in 25 years. It seems unusual"

Michael M., ON (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"The right front strut went bad and needed replaced"

Charles H., PA (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Springs or torsion bars

"Some sort of clip/attachment failed in the rear spring on one side. The car had to be towed. My mechanic noted that the other side was also in poor condition and replaced it as well."

Carrie S., ON (2011 Mazda 3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Rear coil spring was broken, and was replaced"

Anonymous, QC (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"contol arm worn . left front axle and bearing seized. control arms (2), left axle and bearing replaced."

Anonymous, ON (2011 Mazda 3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Tire wear is uneven

"Tire wear has been uneven on the vehicle since at least 2014, despite replacing the rear shocks and several alignments."

Anonymous, MA (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Tire wear is uneven due to two sets of failed shocks"

Anonymous, MA (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"The right rear tire wore very unevenly and had to be replaced"

Neal R., UT (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Calipers

"Rear caliper problem caused parking brake failure"

Anonymous, MO (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"left rear brake caliper seized up in parking brakes applied position and would not release. Had to disconnect cable to continue driving"

Anonymous, ON (2011 Mazda 3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"The calipers seized and I had to have the calipers replaced and the brakes serviced. It was n expensive repair."

Carrie S., ON (2011 Mazda 3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Normal routine brake wear

"seems to be excessive for the amount of driving done"

Anonymous, ON (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"rear brakes wore down to metal and required replacement of pads and rotor"

Anonymous, MD (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Front brakes replaced"

Anonymous, MA (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"rear brakes needed replacing however it was a dealer diagnosis when changing from winter to summer tires"

Peter D., ON (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Needed Rear Brake Pads & Rotors."

Joseph G., NJ (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Parking brake

"A rear caliper caused the parking brake to fail. Cost of repair over $700 for caliper, rotors, brake pads and brake line flush"

Anonymous, MO (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Premature brake wear

"did not notice the wear but dealer replaced front brakes"

Anonymous, ON (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Warped rotors caused front brake pads to wear prematurely"

Anonymous, PA (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Regular brake failure

"New brakes all around for $800."

Danny A., KY (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Rotors

"Rotors warped causing vibration through steering column after highway driving"

Anonymous, PA (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Alarm or security system (excluding aftermarket systems)

"There are times when I exit the vehicle, even though the lights are turned off and the key is NOT in the ignition, the warning signal/bell/beeping sound will go off....(not the alarm, but the beeping that says your lights are on/you left your keys in the ignition type beeping. I have to put the key in the ignition, then turn the key on and off for the warning bell to turn off"

Connie P., CA (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Cruise control

"resume over revs the engine and shifts to a lower gear,"

Anonymous, WA (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"The two front exterior lights were out in a short span of time. I tried to change them myself, but was unable to remove the cover part so had to have a mechanic do it. The front left light is out again. This is not a big deal as the car has been super reliable since I bought it in 2011"

Anonymous, VA (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Headlights

"One headlight had moisture intrusion. This is a known issue with Mazda but was not covered at all. Cost to replace was $800 dollars. This should be a recall item. It is KNOWN to be an issue"

Terrence C., CA (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"right headlamp burned out. Moisture evident in headlamp assembly."

Dent Y., TN (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Horn

"Horn does not work all the time"

Anonymous, MD (2011 Mazda 3 Sport)

"Included in Air Bag comment."

Craig R., MI (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Keyless entry

"trunk would not open, repaired under warranty"

Anonymous, FL (2011 Mazda 3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"When door lock button is pushed, the locks frequently make a noise. While the car was under warranty, lock parts were replaced. However, the issue remains. Now there are problems with doors remaining locked when unlock button is pushed."

Anonymous, MO (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Poor door seal. Lots of wind noise on driver's side."

Jeff B., OH (2011 Mazda 3 SV 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"It's just air leaks around one door, causing a lot of wind noise when driving on the highway. Probably just a rubber gasket."

Anonymous, MN (2011 Mazda 3)
Squeaks or rattles

"sounds like the exhaust sytem is loosing up and there are parts that rusted underneath and a piece fell off underneath - looks like a support to something"

Melodie M., NY (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"As this vehicle ages, there are occasional rattles and squeaks."

Anonymous, MO (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rattle in rear, can resolve with dealer service"

Anonymous, CA (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Plastic housing of driver-side air vent rattles a little"

Anonymous, ON (2011 Mazda 3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Wind noise

"Poor door seal."

Jeff B., OH (2011 Mazda 3 SV 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"This vehicle is extremely noisy when driving at highway speeds. It is very annoying!"

Anonymous, MO (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

"Bluetooth: suddenly car won't recognize c/f. Have to 'pair' the phone from the beginning"

Anonymous, NY (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Radio

"BOSE Upgraded stereo package would intermittently cease to operate while driving. issue was sometimes resolved by unplugging and re plugging the power wires to the Bose amp below the passenger seat. The issue would start with a loud pop which would cut power to the speakers. the head unit and cd player would operate normally but no power would be supplied to the speakers. Longest sound outtage lasted for 3 days."

Anonymous, CT (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"radio stopped working"

Anonymous, FL (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Speakers

"Left front speaker blown"

Anonymous, NY (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Blew out amp, speakers made a loud horrible noise"

Anonymous, WI (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Voice control commands

"I'm not so sure the speaker is as efficient as it should be. I don't use the blue-tooth speaker very often either because I can not hear the person on the other end, or they can't understand what I am saying over the speaker/aka blue tooth speaker system"

Connie P., CA (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Gear selector or linkage

"occasional no start. simple linkage replacement of small improved part"

Ralph M., MA (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Rough shifting

"When shifting from first to second gear occasionally grinds"

Harry T., CA (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Slipping transmission

"When in Park, the car rolls and does not engage in park. Alaos sometimes difficult to get into any gear."

Anonymous, VT (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission computer

"October 2018 freeway driving. 65 mph. Loud bang and tachometer dropped. Vehicle slowly came back up. A couple of miles later it did the same thing. I drove slowly to the dealership to request a diagnosis. Dealership said it was the transmission module. I had purchased an extended warranty to 100,000 miles and the vehicle had 135,000 miles on it. But... The transmission module was covered to 150,000 miles. The module was replaced with no charge, and they provided me with a free loaner car. No problems since."

John S., CA (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission sensor or solenoid

"TCM failed and car would not shift correctly. It threw several error codes."

Lynne E., MD (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Locks and latches

"1. One of the two remote lock "clickers" has stopped working. 2. Driver's side door latch failed so door could not be opened from inside car"

John C., NY (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Sunroof

"Sunroof close button does not work"

John C., NY (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Sunroof retracts but does not close"

John C., NY (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"The cable that operates the remote trunk release from the interior has failed. It is $400 to fix, so has not been repaired. This happened only a few hundred km's beyond the warranty coverage"

Carrie S., ON (2011 Mazda 3)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"trim on top of car vibrates and makes noise, plastic pieces break easy"

James S., TN (2011 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Loose interior trim or moldings

"The covering/boot at the base of the shifter has developed a hole"

Carrie S., ON (2011 Mazda 3)
Rust

"Pin size dots on side panels"

Anonymous, ON (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"There is rust appearing more and more in the body panels and seams. We have the car treated with RustCheck every year except for last year (we missed almost a full year) but it was RustChecked again early April. There are already signs of major rust in door and body panel seams, and in other places especially on the underside."

David T., ON (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Clutch replacement

"Clutch failed just before 47,000 miles. I am an experienced manual transmission driver with the clutch in my previous car lasting over 100,000 miles. I feel the clutch was faulty"

Anonymous, MD (2011 Mazda 3 Touring)

"Clutch quite suddenly went from slipping somewhat to complete failure (unable to move car up any incline) in about 3 days, at _____ miles"

Harry T., CA (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Severe slippage diagnosed as needed clutch replacement @ $1200!!!!!!!!"

C H., FL (2011 Mazda 3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"clutch went out,and had to be replaced"

Anonymous, FL (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"Car exhaust was so foul as to be very noticeable. After sensing it, I received a recall from Mazda that their was a recall for the exhaust system. An unrelated problem was the dashboard. I looked at it one day and it appeared to be damaged. I couldn't figure out what it was. Subsequently I went online and discovered the dashboard was 'melting'. Subsequently I received a notice from Mazda after seven years of purchasing the new vehicle that I had only a short time to bring it in for 'recall' if I had the problem of dashboard separation. They've got a lot of gall. Ice melts, ice cream melts, but a new car. All the defects in new vehicles today. Years ago, you could buy a house / home for what they charge for a new mid-level vehicle today."

Anonymous, NJ (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"check engine light stays on after engine emission control systems were checked and replaced. May be related to new accessory belt - had this problem in a 2006 Honda civic"

Peter D., ON (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel injection system

"The check engine light came on and the engine was surging and difficult to keep running."

Anonymous, OK (2011 Mazda 3 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"check engine light issues not resolved checked emission systems and fuel cap but still an issue."

Peter D., ON (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"The compressor failed and had to be replaced for about $800 at the dealership"

Anonymous, CA (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Blower (fan) motor

"The blower fan has developed a whistle that increases with fan speed. Unfortunately, a replacement fan is too expensive for me to afford."

Anonymous, MO (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

"On same day in February 2018, took the car to full-service carwash and to Pep Boys for installation of new battery. Front seats both times were jammed into extreme positions and that's when airbag warning lights came on. I suspect it may have been caused by this brutal pounding. Another item: horn has ceased to work. I read this is a common problem on this model."

Craig R., MI (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"In researching these problems on the internet, it appears that BOTH the horn becoming inoperative and the Passenger Side Airbag/Airbag Warning lights coming on are relatively common on the Mazda 3. The horn problem looks to be any easy DIY fix which I've not bothered with as yet, despite the occasional need for this feature driving around Metro Detroit. As for the airbag warning lights, I strongly suspect this is a failure of the Passenger Seat Sensor. The problem appeared after an energetic but mediocre interior cleanup job by three workers overcrowding into the compact vehicle at the local car wash; I'm sure their activity somehow blew out this element. I've not had it repaired because it would have to be taken care of at a dealership and I simply don't trust that any repair at that nearby business would be efficient or durable or reasonably priced."

Craig R., MI (2011 Mazda 3 Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Accessory belts or pulleys

"Mechanic advised serpentine belt was cracked and should be replaced. No affect on operation or driving of the vehicle."

Steven W., CA (2011 Mazda 3 Mazdaspeed 2.3-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Battery (not hybrid or electric)

"Battery failed in very cold winter. Had to replace after just 4 years. Disappointingly short life"

Toby B., ON (2011 Mazda 3 Sport 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

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This score shows whether the model had more or fewer problems overall than the average model of that year, calculated from the total number of problems reported by subscribers in all 17 trouble spots.
Recalls
PROVIDED BY
SEATS
Feb 09 2017
If the driver cannot maintain an appropriate driving position, there is an increased risk of a crash.
Summary:
Mazda North American Operations (Mazda) is recalling certain 2011 Mazda2 and 2010-2011 Mazda3 and Mazdaspeed3 vehicles equipped with a manual seat lifter. In the affected vehicles, the seat height adjustment lifter links may break or detach from the seat frame and the seat angle may incline causing the driver to not be able to maintain an appropriate driving position.
What should you do:
Mazda will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the seat lifter links and install a reinforcement bracket to the lifter links, or replace the entire seat adjuster unit, free of charge. The recall began April 7, 2017. Owners may contact Mazda customer service at 1-800-222-5500. Mazda's number for this recall is 0917B.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 17V082000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 173859
STRUCTURE:BODY:HATCHBACK/LIFTGATE
Sep 06 2016
If the lift gate falls unexpectedly, it may hit the user, increasing their risk of injury.
Summary:
Mazda North American Operations (Mazda) is recalling certain model year 2010-2013 Mazda3 and Mazdaspeed3 vehicles manufactured November 18, 2008, to June 8, 2013, 2012-2015 Mazda5 vehicles manufactured October 26, 2010, to June 22, 2015, 2016 CX-3 vehicles manufactured June 1, 2015, to December 26, 2015, and 2013-2016 CX-5 vehicles manufactured December 15, 2011, to December 26, 2015. On the affected vehicles, the lift gate support struts may corrode, possibly causing the struts to break and/or the lift gate to drop unexpectedly.
What should you do:
Mazda dealers will replace the both lift gate supports, free of charge, however parts are not currently available. The recall began April 2017. Owners may contact Mazda customer service at 1-800-222-5500. Mazda's number for this recall is 9916H.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 16V644000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 580455
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