The Truth About Cars » Mazda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 24 Feb 2015 20:51:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Mazda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1984 Mazda B2000 Sundowner Pickup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1984-mazda-b2000-sundowner-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1984-mazda-b2000-sundowner-pickup/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1005386 Plenty of Mazda B-Series pickups were sold in the United States, mostly badged as Ford Couriers, but starting in 1983 (when the Ranger appeared) your only choice for obtaining one of these cheap-and-simple little trucks was your Mazda dealer. I spotted this somewhat rusty ’84 in a Denver wrecking yard on Saturday, and it looked […]

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33 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlenty of Mazda B-Series pickups were sold in the United States, mostly badged as Ford Couriers, but starting in 1983 (when the Ranger appeared) your only choice for obtaining one of these cheap-and-simple little trucks was your Mazda dealer. I spotted this somewhat rusty ’84 in a Denver wrecking yard on Saturday, and it looked like it still had some good miles left in it.
70 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 147k miles in 31 years.
56 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe ignition key is there and the windshield sports auction-company “RUN AND DRIVE” stickers, which means we’re probably looking at a dealer trade-in that nobody wanted to buy.
06 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Sundowner was the long-wheelbase version of the B2000.
12 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is covered with clues that tell us a story about the final owner. “Hang Up and Drive” and Black Flag stickers plus a hand-painted mystical eyeball here.
46 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIs there the requisite “KILL YOUR TELEVISION” sticker? Yes, here it is!
26 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s the 1,970cc F engine, which was good for 90 horses in 1984. Can you imagine Americans buying a pickup with just 90 horsepower today? That would be like asking us to turn down our thermostats in the winter!

This tough little truck is loaded for bear!

When you’ve got something this good, you take care of it.

Here’s the optioned-up SE-5. Sakes alive!

03 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 28 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 29 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 31 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 33 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 36 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 38 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 40 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 42 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 44 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 45 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 46 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 49 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 52 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 53 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 55 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 56 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 59 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 63 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 64 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 66 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 68 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 70 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 71 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Editorial: Zoom, But Where’s The Boom? The Mazda Question http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/editorial-zoom-wheres-boom-mazda-question/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/editorial-zoom-wheres-boom-mazda-question/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 14:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1001058 Last week, fellow contributor Doug DeMuro posed the question, “Has Mazda lost its zoom?” Some weeks before that, he asked readers, “When did BMW lose its edge?” To be brief, the answer to the first is a simple “No,” while the answer to the second is – well, let’s ask BMW. Hey! Bavarians! How do […]

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Last week, fellow contributor Doug DeMuro posed the question, “Has Mazda lost its zoom?” Some weeks before that, he asked readers, “When did BMW lose its edge?”

To be brief, the answer to the first is a simple “No,” while the answer to the second is – well, let’s ask BMW. Hey! Bavarians! How do you sleep at night, selling bizarre cross-coupes and sport activity whats-its and M-badged heffalumps like the 5-series Gran Turismo?

BMW, in a Rainier Wolfcastle accent: “On a huge pile of money, surrounded by many beautiful ladies.”

I see. So here’s my question – if Mazda is, as I posit, selling the strongest lineup of vehicles it’s had in decades, then why isn’t it knocking it out of the park?

First though, some brief defence of the Mazda range may be needed, as there are those who feel that it lacks cohesion. I believe the quote bandied about refers to our resident hot-shoe / well-heeled-Visigoth Jack Baruth declaring the Camry SE a bit sprightlier around a racetrack than a Mazda6. However, I remind you that the same gent said the following, “As it turns out, I did nearly sixty laps of Laguna Seca in the CX-5. The first three were for you, dear readers; the rest were for me.”

And that was back when you still couldn’t get anything other than a relatively overmatched 2.0L in that particular crossover. Now there’s a more-flexible 2.5L engine available that still returns excellent fuel economy but doesn’t feel overtaxed in passing maneuvers. You can get the same engine in the Mazda3, which I have just finished up a week in, now with either a six-speed manual (lovely) or conventional six-speed automatic (frankly, better), and that car is pretty enough that it could easily wear an Alfa-Romeo badge.

The Mazda2, which Doug dismissed for having just 100hp, is just debuting with 115hp now, and shares a design language with the rest of the range. The new CX-3, bound to launch somewhere mid-year, builds on the 2’s chassis with a little more ride-height (as well as a 2.0L, 155-horsepower engine), and having watched a camouflaged mule run along the Angeles Crest highway at speed, that thing’s going to be sharp too.

Much more importantly, they’re also very pretty cars these days. No more of the grinning why-so-serious nonsense that only really worked on the cutesy ‘2, Mazda’s new design language is good enough to have those who don’t care about corners looking twice. Should they glance at the fuel-economy figures, those too should impress. Moreover, most Mazda products I’ve driven actually hit their economy targets without trickery, unlike some turbocharged options I could name. And will: so-called Ecoboost offerings.

So what gives? Is it, as Doug suggests, a lack of power in the range? Toe-to-toe with four-banger Camrys and CR-Vs, Mazda’s products are actually a little ahead; it’s a fair point that handling and feel take a backseat to plain ol’ underhood gumption, and that there are probably a few people driving around in 2.0T Optimas who turned down the ‘6 on the basis of power, but where the bulk volume is, there too is most of the Mazda range.

The problem, I feel, is in not in the product, it’s in the perception. Easiest example of this? The new MX-5.

When the word went out that the new ND-chassis MX-5 would have just 155hp, out came the knives. It wasn’t enough. It certainly wasn’t daring enough. If anything, it was a step backwards. Just one issue: the Venn Diagram between those complaining and those who’d driven the car had zero overlap – and that was with the JDM 1.5L cars.

Moreover, get a few lines down in the comment thread of any first-drive, and you’d start hearing people talk about rust. Either they’d be dismissing all Mazdas as rust-buckets, based on apocryphal experience, or defending the brand, based on apocryphal experience. The consensus seems to be that the modern cars are much better (with the caveat that time has yet to take its full toll), but that the buying public hasn’t forgotten.

More to the point, the buying public doesn’t seem to have forgotten their last poor experience with a Mazda dealer, or perhaps the lack of choice when it comes to finding one. Not that they’re all the same, but if there are five Honda dealerships in your town, eight Toyota dealerships, and one place that sells Mazdas, guess which brand takes a kicking? Someone who had a bad experience at Toyota A but liked their car might try Toyota B before switching brands.

Meanwhile, over at Subaru, equally a niche player, things couldn’t be rosier. This despite a history of headgasket issues and fussy maintenance requirements. Subaru’s overall sales in the US were double Mazda’s results, with just under treble the growth.

It’s not a mystery, no more so than the prevalence of gluten-free food these days. Subaru’s all-wheel-drive is of no real benefit to many shoppers, but it has at least a placebo effect. In addition, overall fuel economy is improved enough now thanks to CVT and direct-injection to be acceptable, and the brand can tout its reputation for all-weather capability and safety loudly enough to drown out the critics.

For Mazda, a philosophy of “fun-to-drive spirit” baked into every car, no matter how true, just isn’t enough. In fact, if Mazda succeeds, it’ll be in spite of the fact that their cars drive well.

Enthusiasts buy into handling and feel, but they do so in small numbers, and they currently face a glut of options. No-one would tell you the Miata wasn’t zippy, but the actual sales figures for that car are almost hilariously modest, even by niche-market standards. Everybody else buys safe – not boring: safe. Something that’s a known quantity, recommended by friends and family, with a decent monthly payment and a nice-enough feel.

BMW certainly understands this, and has abandoned their Ultimate Driving Machine image for a scattershot approach that currently fills at least three niches which were probably better left empty. They still make the odd enthusiast-pleasing car, but the average 3-series leaving the lot is more akin to a Mercedes-Benz C-Class than its boxy ancestors. BMW knows that they need not worry about the weight-distribution of the ATS when the Audi Q3 is a far bigger sales volume threat.

Thus, the disheartening feeling that the gleaming alloy air cars are coming for that Soul-Red barchetta with the Mazda badge on the nose. But perhaps that’s not quite the case just yet.

CX-5 sales are steady, and the company’s growth, as-mentioned, is modest but present. The CX-3 will be an important launch, but its the CX-9 that faces down even tougher competition in the three-row segment. At least Mazda’s earlier to the game here than VW.

Personally, I’d like to see the next Mazdaspeed car, the next powerful Mazda, be a version of the CX-3; imagine a GLA AMG competitor for less than half the price. With the conventional hot-hatch segment relatively crowded, the next ‘Speed, and Mazda as a company, needs to hit them not where they are, but where they ain’t.

However, that’s beside the point. If Mazda’s to survive, it’s the twin attributes of consumer-reproducible overall fleet fuel economy and attractive styling that will keep the company afloat. Has Mazda lost its zoom? No, but that’s practically irrelevant. Survival here is not going to be about Jinba Ittai, but how pretty the pony is, and how much it costs to keep it fed.

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Mazda’s Entire Line ‘Up For Discussion’ In Future Salamanca Expansion Plans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mazdas-entire-line-discussion-future-salamanca-expansion-plans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mazdas-entire-line-discussion-future-salamanca-expansion-plans/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002818 Sometime in the future, your next Mazda6 could be assembled and shipped to the showroom from Mazda’s factory in Salamanca, Mexico. According to Automotive News, Mazda North American Operations CEO Jim O’Sullivan says that when it comes time to add more vehicles to the Salamanca production line, the entire collection would be up for discussion: […]

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Sometime in the future, your next Mazda6 could be assembled and shipped to the showroom from Mazda’s factory in Salamanca, Mexico.

According to Automotive News, Mazda North American Operations CEO Jim O’Sullivan says that when it comes time to add more vehicles to the Salamanca production line, the entire collection would be up for discussion:

We’re continuing to look at opportunities for that plant, and asking what else should we consider putting into it. You don’t build an assembly plant for one product. It’s going to be an ongoing investment.

The decision to add more vehicles to the line is linked to Mexico’s own free-trade agreements with a number of countries throughout the world, a greater influence for automakers to consider building its wares there than the nation’s low-cost labor.

The Mazda2 and Mazda3 are currently in production in Salamanca, with a version of the former for Toyota to begin assembly late in 2016.

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Question Of The Day: Has Mazda Lost Its Zoom? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/question-day-mazda-lost-zoom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/question-day-mazda-lost-zoom/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 14:26:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=999250 Ladies and gentlemen, today I must reveal a depressing opinion about Mazda: I believe they no longer zoom. Yes, folks, that’s right: I believe that Mazda, everyone’s favorite “zoom zoom” brand, once home to all the cool “zoom zoom” cars, is no longer in the “zoom zoom” business. In fact, if they were to make […]

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Ladies and gentlemen, today I must reveal a depressing opinion about Mazda: I believe they no longer zoom.

Yes, folks, that’s right: I believe that Mazda, everyone’s favorite “zoom zoom” brand, once home to all the cool “zoom zoom” cars, is no longer in the “zoom zoom” business. In fact, if they were to make those commercials again today, the little boy would say “sip sip,” and the ad would show Mazda’s lineup slowly descending a hill in top gear in order to maximize average fuel economy.

For those of you who have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, allow me to back up a bit. The year was 2005 – or possibly 2002, I have no idea – and Mazda was putting out these “zoom zoom” commercials in order to point out how it was more fun than all the other automakers. What would happen in these ads was:

1. A little boy – inexplicably dressed in funeral attire – would stand by the side of the road and whisper “zoom zoom” while the camera panned uncomfortably close to him.

2. They’d start playing this high-energy song, whose entire lyrics – this is true – were “Zoom
ZOOM zoom! Yeah zoom zoom zoom zoom zoom.”

3. The entire Mazda lineup – including the B-Series, which was an outdated small pickup that moved with the grace of a garage door – would speed recklessly through the desert, uprooting sagebrush and various species of lizards.

Although I’d love to make fun of these commercials, I must admit that I actually enjoyed them immensely. You got the sense, when you were watching them, that Mazda was cool and fun and youthful, and other people must’ve agreed, because how else do you explain them selling all those yellow Protege5s?

More importantly, however, Mazda of ten years ago had the exciting lineup to justify these ads. There was the high-performance MazdaSpeed6, which had more power than the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. There was the sporty MazdaSpeed3, which had more power than the Acura NSX. And there was the RX-8, which consumed more oil than a NASCAR race. And who can forget the turbocharged MazdaSpeed Miata, which soon gave way to the highly enjoyable “NC” MX-5?

But in my opinion, the brand long since has changed.

Now, before I assail Mazda for making un-zoomy products, I should note that they aren’t currently using the “zoom zoom” tagline anywhere in their advertising. In fact, a quick trip to their website reveals they aren’t using any slogan, and instead their press images primarily involve bright red vehicles in dimly lit settings.

And it’s a good thing that Mazda has abandoned its “zoom zoom” slogan, because the brand isn’t really in the zoomy business any longer. I think many of you agree with me here, or at least call me names in the comments.

To help prove my point, consider the Mazda6, which is the single most attractive midsize sedan in human history. Seriously: when we all die, and humanity moves on, there will come a day, deep in the future, when the curator at the Louvre says: “We need to make room for the 2014 Mazda6. Can we move the small, faded painting of that grinning woman? Lisa something?”

But here’s the problem: as beautiful as the new Mazda6 is, it isn’t sporty. Oh, sure, it handles a little better than most competitors, and it has big wheels that make it look like an expensive luxury car; the kind of luxury car that might have illuminated door sills and free baked goods in the dealership waiting area.

But its most powerful engine makes 174 horsepower. One seventy four. This is Honda Civic territory. This is Ford Focus territory. This is 1990s family sedan territory. And to make matters worse, another unfortunate Mazda6 fact: every single competitor offers more power. Even the Toyota Camry – long considered the automotive version of un-lined typing paper –has a V6 version that makes 268 horses and reaches 60 mph in under 6 seconds.

It isn’t just the Mazda6 that’s got me worried. While Ford’s subcompact Fiesta has a high-performance version with 184 horsepower, the tiny Mazda2 is saddled with only 100. While the Volkswagen Golf R is about to debut with 296 horsepower, there still isn’t a MazdaSpeed3 – though some rumors say it’s on the way. The brand of the RX-7 and RX-8 now makes three SUVs and a minivan. And instead of pursuing speed, Mazda has instead earned the EPA’s distinction of most fuel-efficient automaker – an honor, yes, but not a zoomy one.

But if you aren’t yet convinced that the fun is gone from Mazda, here’s the real kicker: that zoom-zoom kid? The one in the commercials? Who got all excited about the Mazda6 powersliding over an endangered turtle habitat? He’s at Notre Dame Law School, where he’s currently on the dean’s list. The dean’s list!!! In other words: even the zoom-zoom kid has given up on having fun!

Now, I admit that Mazda is just now coming out with the all-new MX-5 Miata, which is the brand’s link to the high-performance world. And I understand that some of you might think that this alone makes Mazda sporty. But here’s my counterargument: Ferrari.

Ferrari, as you know, makes bright red sports cars for people who spend more time tending to their hair than their children. But they also make an oddly proportioned station wagon with a hood so large that it could serve as a landing area for remote-controlled drones. But is Ferrari a station wagon maker? No! They’re a sports car maker that happens to have a station wagon – just as Mazda is a mainstream, gas mileagy brand that happens to have a cool little sports car.

I also admit that Mazda products are generally more fun to drive than their counterparts at Honda, Toyota, Nissan, or other brands. But does this justify Mazda’s image as a “sporty” automaker? Does a slightly better steering feel and improved cornering abilities still make Mazda a “zoom zoom” brand? In my opinion, it just isn’t the same – but what say you? Has Mazda lost its zoom?

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Chicago 2015: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Accessories Design Concept Arrives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-accessories-design-concept-arrives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-accessories-design-concept-arrives/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 17:32:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=998138 Perhaps as way to keep tongues wagging until summer, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata turned up in some new clothes for the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The Accessories Design Concept features components lifted from the MX-5 Global Cup car set to hit the track this season. Said components include: front air-dam; side-sill extensions; and a […]

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Perhaps as way to keep tongues wagging until summer, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata turned up in some new clothes for the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

The Accessories Design Concept features components lifted from the MX-5 Global Cup car set to hit the track this season. Said components include: front air-dam; side-sill extensions; and a backside reworked for improved aero.

Brembo brakes help slow the forged BBS wheels around the hairpin, while a carbon-fiber luggage rack with integrated third-brake light allows the driver and a lucky passenger to pack more than just a day’s worth of clothing; the rack also weighs less than 2 pounds.

The concept is also a homecoming for the Miata, as the first-gen version of the iconic roadster bowed in Chicago back in 1989. The 2016 version, meanwhile, is set to hit showrooms this summer.

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Piston Slap: The Importance of A Craigslist 3-Ring Binder http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/piston-slap-importance-craigslist-3-ring-binder/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/piston-slap-importance-craigslist-3-ring-binder/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 13:57:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991714 TTAC commentator dtremit writes: Hey Sajeev — Inspired by your recent Mazda3 Piston Slap, I thought I’d throw this question your way. Seems like something the B&B might have advice on. I have a 2005 Mazda6 that is a rather desirable used car…on paper. It is in excellent condition mechanically, and has fairly low miles […]

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How do I know you love me? (photo courtesy: zazzle.com)

TTAC commentator dtremit writes:

Hey Sajeev —

Inspired by your recent Mazda3 Piston Slap, I thought I’d throw this question your way. Seems like something the B&B might have advice on.

I have a 2005 Mazda6 that is a rather desirable used car…on paper. It is in excellent condition mechanically, and has fairly low miles for its age (about 78k). Single owner, and I have maintained it well, though I am not sure the mess of receipts in the glovebox counts as excellent documentation. I have a good set of Nokian snow tires for it on steel wheels, which would go along with it. It would make a good car for someone for quite some time to come.

My problem is that it’s cosmetically a lot worse off; ten years in Boston is hard on a car. It has a ~3″ perforation in the front bumper, and both front and rear bumpers are quite well scratched. (Otherwise, the paint is in reasonably good shape, and there aren’t any major flaws that wouldn’t buff out.) There’s also a bit of rust starting in one rear wheel well, though it appears limited and cosmetic.

Inside, like nearly every 6 of its era, the foam on the driver’s seat bolster has failed, though the leather is intact. The leather on the wheel is pretty scraped up, and there’s a tear in the carpet in the driver’s footwell.

I had intended to keep this car for a few more years, until it was more or less worthless anyway. However, my plans may include a new car sooner as a recent injury leaves me struggling to get in and out of the Mazda. So I’m wondering — what is my best strategy for getting value out of this car?

Do I try to repair some of the cosmetic stuff, and hope it increases the sale price? If so, what does it make sense to spend on, and where should I scrimp? Or do I try to cut my losses and negotiate the best trade I can in the current condition?

I will probably be buying a Ford using A-plan, so the price of the new car won’t be up for negotiation. I’ve considered just being blunt about its shortcomings, contacting a bunch of local Ford dealers, and letting them know I’ll be buying an A-plan car from whichever one offers me the best trade. I don’t have a sense of whether they’ll play that game, though.

Anyhow, thought this might be an interesting question, since a lot of readers probably find themselves in this basic situation at some point.

Sajeev answers:

First, grab a 3-ring binder, I betcha there’s one about to get tossed at your/your loved ones/your friends office right now! Use a hole punch on the receipts, pop them in and print out an image of your car (from Google Image search) and slide it into the front’s clear sleeve.

BLAM SON, a fantastic repair/service history that makes you look like you really, truly loved this car!

Rust and body damage is par for the course in your part of the country.  I also assume your suspension is beat to hell on Boston roads. Whatever, that’s life: restoring a 10-year-old sedan won’t generate the value to justify the cost.  So find the most willing buyer for your dollar. My first stop? Carmax.

Carmax sets the floor for your asking price, your Mazda would probably be sold at their auction for a bit more than they have in it. Which implies that you’ll find a willing buyer on Craigslist for more money, maybe what it would go for at the auction. Essentially you offer a decent auction car with none of the hassle and cost. See how you’re adding value by essentially doing nothing? 

Back to the 3-ring binder: that’s your secret Craigslist weapon.  Keeping in mind the Carmax offer, put the Mazda6 on Craigslist in as-is condition (aside from a proper cleaning if you’re messy) with good quality photos and offer it at the private party asking price of Edmunds.com, KBB.com, etc appraisal tool. Write an honest assessment of the car’s positives and negatives in bullet point format, it will build trust and speed up a buyer’s first visit.

And mention that cool 3-ring binder you have for the car, too!

Your final transaction price will likely be between private party and the Carmax offer. It must be higher than the trade-in credit you get from the Ford dealer.

Credit perks aside, the Ford dealer(s) will likely beat Carmax’s offer if you ask.  Maybe because they wanna pretty it up if its good fodder for their used car lot. But one of them will deal: especially if they’re hungry to move another unit that month.  Or that quarter.  Or this year.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Behind The Scenes At The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long Lead Preview http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/behind-scenes-2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-long-lead-preview/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/behind-scenes-2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-long-lead-preview/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 13:30:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991954 To say that the global preview for the new MX-5 was “exclusive” would be like calling the Moon “rarely visited”. Only eight North American journalists had the chance to drive one of just four available cars over the course of two days. The good news is that we each got nearly two hours in the […]

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To say that the global preview for the new MX-5 was “exclusive” would be like calling the Moon “rarely visited”. Only eight North American journalists had the chance to drive one of just four available cars over the course of two days. The good news is that we each got nearly two hours in the “ND”, all on mostly empty roads and without a drive partner.

The better news is that I got an additional two hours to interview key management and engineering personnel from Mazda after my drive. I didn’t get all the answers I wanted, but I got a few that you won’t get anywhere else — at least not yet.

You can see my review of the MX-5 in right-hand-drive, 1.5-liter, JDM (yo) form here. Due to space limitations, however, that article doesn’t include several interview tidbits and additional information. So, without further ado:

  • As part of the efforts to reduce weight and lower the polar moment of inertia, the roll hoops and their supporting structure are now made from aluminum. Since this makes welding a competition rollcage a tricky business, the MX-5s that are being used in the new Global MX-5 Cup will have a steel structure in place of the aluminum one — but what does this mean for future generations of Spec Miata and other road-car-into-race-car series?
  • Part of the new MX-5’s responsiveness comes from a lighter flywheel. This is an old trick to increase the perceived power of a car, but it always comes at the cost of low-speed driveability and NVH. To cut down on the resulting vibration, there are fifty-gram damping weights mounted on the differential. How light is the flywheel? Mazda wouldn’t say. They did show an engineering diagram that appears to suggest that the weight savings comes from machining the outer rim with oval depressions. The flywheel in the NC was 16.2 pounds; street/race flywheels from the aftermarket can be as low as half that. My guess: fourteen pounds.
  • However, Mazda did disclose that the flywheel is single-mass instead of dual-mass/rubber-damped.
  • In conversations with the drivetrain engineer, he specifically declined to state that the much lighter, aluminum case rear differential has the same power handling capacity as the old one. He was only willing to state that it was the same for both engines and that it had been engineered to handle the two-liter, which has slightly more torque (148 lb-ft vs. 141 lb-ft) than before.
  • The suspension is single-rate sprung and very soft, which I think is a good thing. This car rides pretty well for the size and weight.
  • There’s more legroom in this Miata than there was in its predecessor, and I never felt cramped during my two-hour drive. With that said, I have short legs for my height, and usually wear a thirty-two or thirty-three inch inseam. What about headroom? Although the driver sits twenty millimeters lower, the windshield’s lower as well. I had no trouble sitting in such a fashion as to align my eyes with the sunshades. Tall drivers beware. This might be particularly true with the top up; it’s lower profile than it was in the NC.

While the Internet is already foaming at the mouth about the 155-horsepower rating for the SKYACTIV two-liter, I continue to believe this is the best Miata in history and very much worth the money, assuming it costs at least one penny less than a Boxster 2.7. Not that the Boxster is as fun to drive, sad to say. Regardless of the power, if you want to be one of the early adopters, my recommendation would be to get in line now.

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2016 Mazda2 Makes North American Debut In Montreal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/2016-mazda2-makes-north-american-debut-montreal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/2016-mazda2-makes-north-american-debut-montreal/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 18:16:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=984489 Where else would Mazda choose to introduce their newest sub-compact but in Quebec? The newest member of the Mazda family sports a 1.5L Skyactiv 4-cylinder making 113 horsepower, up 13 from the current car. On the other hand, weight is up by 88 lbs, while the car gains nearly 6 inches in length, 1 inch in […]

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Where else would Mazda choose to introduce their newest sub-compact but in Quebec?

The newest member of the Mazda family sports a 1.5L Skyactiv 4-cylinder making 113 horsepower, up 13 from the current car. On the other hand, weight is up by 88 lbs, while the car gains nearly 6 inches in length, 1 inch in height and 3 inches in wheelbase. All told, the car should weigh about 2400 lbs and measure in at 160 inches long – specs that make it identical in power and footprint to a first-generation Miata.

While the leisurely acceleration of the old car should remain, the Skyactiv chassis, powertrain and all-new styling represent a clean break from the old, Fiesta-derived Mazda2. The interior appears to be a scaled down version of what’s offered in larger Mazdas, right down to the tablet-like LCD screen. As with other Mazda products, fuel economy should be at the top of the pack. Pricing and availability weren’t announced, but the new Mexican assembly of the Mazda2 might make for a less expensive sticker price.

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Scion Confirms Sedan For 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/scion-confirms-sedan-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/scion-confirms-sedan-2015/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 20:27:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=973297 Scion has confirmed that their new iM hatchback will be joined by a sedan, debuting at April’s New York Auto Show. As previously reported, the upcoming sedan will likely be based on the all-new Mazda2, which has a sedan variant that will not be sold in North America. Unlike Scion’s current lineup of Japanese built […]

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Scion has confirmed that their new iM hatchback will be joined by a sedan, debuting at April’s New York Auto Show.

As previously reported, the upcoming sedan will likely be based on the all-new Mazda2, which has a sedan variant that will not be sold in North America. Unlike Scion’s current lineup of Japanese built cars, the 2-based sedan will be built in Mexico, which should make for a more profitable vehicle if nothing else. Of course, “profitable small vehicle” is an industry oxymoron.

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TTAC Long Term Update #2: 2015 Mazda 3 Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/ttac-long-term-update-2-2015-mazda-3-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/ttac-long-term-update-2-2015-mazda-3-sport/#comments Fri, 02 Jan 2015 22:11:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=970489 This will be the first winter since 2009 when I will not be driving an open top sports car. I can say with confidence that for a daily driver in the Snowbelt, the answer is not necessarily “Miata”. As much as I adored my Miatas, I had come to the realization that the six months […]

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This will be the first winter since 2009 when I will not be driving an open top sports car. I can say with confidence that for a daily driver in the Snowbelt, the answer is not necessarily “Miata”.

As much as I adored my Miatas, I had come to the realization that the six months of blissful, open-air motoring in the summer was outweighed by the misery of driving one in the winter.

Traction in the snow was the least of my problems. With a good set of winters and a limited slip-differential, I was never once stuck, spun around or slipping excessively in the snow or on ice.

Things that did suck, in no particular order

  1. The utter lack of insulation, which made the car freezing cold. Not even the hardtop could remedy this.
  2. No ABS. Some of the more cantakerous types will probably be rolling their eyes at this assertion. I know how to threshold brake, but I also know the sheer panic of trying to come to a complete stop on a slick road after a child has just ran into the street to get their ball. Never. Again.
  3. The rather limited cabin space is not conducive to wearing a parka and size 11.5 EE Red Wing snow boots.
  4. Jack’s accident made me think twice about driving a car with a less than modern suite of safety features.

For now, I am enjoying the relative warmth of the all-steel bodyshell, the heated seats, the Bluetooth system, the rear seats and proper trunk. I am sure that, come spring, I’ll be missing my Miata.

The big change for this month was the addition of a set of snow tires. Our friends at TireSpot recommended a set of Hankook Winter i-Pike RS W419s in 205/60/16, and I immediately installed them in preparation for another Polar Vortex. Of course, it’s been a warm winter, with only a light dusting of snow, but this weekend’s winter storm should reveal how they perform in the white stuff. Fuel economy is sitting at 26 mpg, largely in town. On our next tank, we’ll see what kind of effect the snow tires have on fuel economy.

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Piston Slap: American Rust vs. Japanese Rust? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-american-rust-vs-japanese-rust/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-american-rust-vs-japanese-rust/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 12:49:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=963650   Stefan writes: Sajeev, I recently had a conversation with my cousin in Wisconsin. He claimed that cars assembled in North America are more rust prone than cars assembled in Japan or other oriental countries. Apparently his observation was based on several cars in our extended family: An elderly Dodge Durango and a not-so-elderly Honda […]

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Rusty Mazda Protege5 (photo courtesy: old Piston Slap post)

Stefan writes:

Sajeev, I recently had a conversation with my cousin in Wisconsin. He claimed that cars assembled in North America are more rust prone than cars assembled in Japan or other oriental countries. Apparently his observation was based on several cars in our extended family: An elderly Dodge Durango and a not-so-elderly Honda Odyssey with the traditional clapped-out transmission.

I have never seen any statistics to support these ideas and really don’t recall reading suchlike statements in the TTAC in the past. That older American cars rust more than newer Japanese, and vice versa, seems natural and I recall seeing many old Japanese cars with severe corrosion damage, but what is the truth in this matter? Over to you and the B & B!

Stefan (’97 Fat Panther without a speck of rust)

Sajeev answers:

This is pure Internet Troll Bait, but whatever…I’ll bite.

Cars made in Japan used to be inadequate for use in the American Rust Belt, back in the 1970s.  That’s history, as Japan wised up and eventually made the vehicles that would dominate the marketplace in every American market they compete in. (well, except trucks #murica)

The only modern cars that I’ve seen (and I live in Houston) or heard to be chronically rusty are Mazdas from the last decade.  Discussed here, here and here. Oh, and the Toyota Tacoma, witnessed by the massive recall.  One person mentioned a Ford Focus, and that’s about it.

And in this most unscientific sampling, only the Mazda is not made in North America.  So your cousin is wrong.

UNDYING PANTHER LOVE (photo courtesy: syracuse.com)

Dead Wrong: USA, USA, USA!!!

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Alfa Romeo To Build Spider On Own Platform, Mazda MX-5 To Fiat-Abarth http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/alfa-romeo-build-spider-platform-mazda-mx-5-fiat-abarth/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/alfa-romeo-build-spider-platform-mazda-mx-5-fiat-abarth/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=963858 Alfa Romeo will be going its own way for its upcoming Spider, directing Mazda to take its 2016 MX-5 over to Fiat-Abarth instead. Car reports the new roadster will be “a derivative of project Giorgio,” per Alfa and Maserati brand boss Harald Wester. Giorgio is, of course, the RWD platform that will underpin many a […]

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Alfa Romeo will be going its own way for its upcoming Spider, directing Mazda to take its 2016 MX-5 over to Fiat-Abarth instead.

Car reports the new roadster will be “a derivative of project Giorgio,” per Alfa and Maserati brand boss Harald Wester. Giorgio is, of course, the RWD platform that will underpin many a new Alfa, including the expected 159 successor due early this coming summer.

As for the MX-5’s role in the matter, the platform will be heading to Fiat-Abarth, raising the possibility for a new Barchetta or stand-alone Abarth model to emerge from Mazda’s Hiroshima facility in the near future. Alfa’s Spider, however, will be made in Italy, per CEO Sergio Marchionne’s vision for the Alfa brand.

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Piston Slap: Start with Spark Plugs! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-start-spark-plugs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-start-spark-plugs/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:07:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956274   TTAC Commentator Supaman writes: Hi Sajeev, Haven’t visited TTAC in a while but I’m back! My Mazda 6 has now crossed the 101k mileage marker and all your nuggets of wisdom have helped keep this classic functional and beautiful. However, there’s another problem rearing its head that has plagued even the Mazda forums I’ve […]

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Done Duratec’d Out? (photo courtesy: Supaman)

TTAC Commentator Supaman writes:

Hi Sajeev,

Haven’t visited TTAC in a while but I’m back! My Mazda 6 has now crossed the 101k mileage marker and all your nuggets of wisdom have helped keep this classic functional and beautiful. However, there’s another problem rearing its head that has plagued even the Mazda forums I’ve visited for a resolution.

It involves the car’s driveability at anything below 3000 rpm. Doesn’t matter whether the engine is just warming up or at operational temperature, the car will hesitate (sometimes violently) in a stuttering/bucking fashion when accelerating from a stop through the gears until I crest that magic 3000 mark on the tach. Out on the highway, passing in top gear is almost impossible because of the engine’s hesitation if revs fall below that number, requiring a downshift to 4th to keep them up. At first I thought my manual skills were to question but then I never started experiencing this issue until around the 87,000 mile mark. It has since gotten worse. Sometimes the bucking is enough to trigger the CEL but then it always goes away after a while.

Browsing the forums I’ve tried everything from cleaning the MAF sensor, fuel injector cleaner, throttle body cleaning as well as replacing the O2 sensor. I’ve narrowed it down to either spark plugs (some forum members replaced theirs but the problem came back hours later), the coils or possibly a vacuum leak. One post I read indicated a potential cylinder misfire. Even Mazda dealers were confounded.

Sajeev answers:

What codes did you get with a scanner?

Supaman replies:

Haven’t scanned the codes because more often than not the CEL light doesn’t trigger.

Sajeev answers:

There’s a (remote?) chance that an intermittent code isn’t triggering the light. So scan now.

Supaman replies:

Hey Sajeev,

Took matters into my own hands and decided to throw some new parts at the Mazda. I bought new spark plugs and ignition coils and decided to dedicate a Saturday to replacing them. What was supposed to have been a three-hour job turned into eight hours of wrenching, ughing, cursing, awkward body positioning, pulling and beer (yes, beer lol).

Anyway, inspecting the forward bank of spark plugs, I found oil coating the middle plug (see pic). The forward left plug was clean (save for carbon deposits I suppose) while the forward right plug had just a hint of oil on it. This (along with the many forums I looked up) tells me my valve cover gasket is bad. I was able to use a clean cloth and mop up as much oil as I could before placing new plugs and coils into the forward bank. Apparently, the leak was so bad it made it up to the coil itself at some point.

The rear bank of plugs were clean, except for signs of normal wear. After buttoning everything up and taking it for a test drive, the hesitation and stuttering are gone and she drives as great as she did 20,000 miles ago. While at it, I cleaned the throttle body, replaced the intake port gaskets, and cleaned the EGR valve and MAF sensor. Of course I know this is a temporary fix and I’ll have to replace the valve cover gasket, hopefully sooner rather than later. Just wanted to give you a heads up and to anyone that works on their car, believe me, it’s a money saver.

Total cost in parts? $95. Total labor? 8 hours on a Saturday and a six-pack of stout. Thanks again!

Sajeev concludes:

I did a similar job to a Duratec Sable with well over 200,000 miles.  While the plugs were toast and the EGR was coked up to near complete blockage, the motor still ran reasonably well.  A good cleaning and new plugs were all it needed: odds are your coils were fine, just like mine were.

Working on wrong-wheel drive cars with bulky DOHC V6 engines is no fun, but the basics? The basics gotta be done.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Shimizu: Takata Hasn’t Found The Cause Of Airbag Failures http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955722 Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls. Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That […]

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Shimizu, Takata's Senior Vice President for global quality assurance, testifies before a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing in Washington

Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls.

Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That said, Shimizu said his company was of “the strong opinion that (there) is a factor contributing to this defect: which is high humidity, temperature and the life of the product.” He also claimed the ammonium nitrate used in the airbags was safe and stable, though he admitted replacements weren’t coming fast enough.

Meanwhile, competitor Autoliv announced it would supply replacements to Honda for vehicles in the United States. The automaker had mentioned before Congress it was in talks with the supplier and another, Daicel, regarding expanded production to replace modules in a nationwide recall. Autoliv will add capacity in its existing plants, with deliveries to come after six months.

Among the other affected automakers, Chrysler, Toyota and Mazda have stepped up their individual recall efforts. AutoGuide says the subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has called back 149,150 Dodge Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 models from the 2003 model year, covering Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the Virgin Islands. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated the move wasn’t enough, and is looking at what action to take next.

Over in Japan, Bloomberg reports Toyota is recalling 190,000 affected vehicles in its local market and in China. The recall comes on the news of a catastrophic detonation at a junkyard of a Takata airbag inside a 2003 WiLL Cypha; the detonation was part of the procedures outlined by Japan’s Automobile Recycling Law, which also requires dismantlers to report any problem to the automaker to determine if a recall is necessary.

Finally, The Detroit News says Mazda is recalling 40,000 more vehicles — including the 2003-2007 Mazda6, 2004-2008 RX-8, 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed6, 2004-2005 MPV and 2004 B-Series — in Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and Alabama. The automaker previously recalled 44,000 units in the U.S. and 2,600 in Puerto Rico.

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Piston Slap: Take My (Suspension) Abuse And Like It? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-take-suspension-abuse-like/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-take-suspension-abuse-like/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:58:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949833   Sam writes: Hello, I have a 2006 Mazda 3 S with 120,000 miles on it. I live in Oakland Ca, where the pot holes shoot back. I blew out a front strut a last year and had both front struts replaced. After replacement, one of the struts squeaks like a rusty spring at slow […]

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Or not? (photo courtesy: www.mazda3forums.com)

Sam writes:

Hello,

I have a 2006 Mazda 3 S with 120,000 miles on it. I live in Oakland Ca, where the pot holes shoot back. I blew out a front strut a last year and had both front struts replaced. After replacement, one of the struts squeaks like a rusty spring at slow speeds and is annoying. What is actually driving me crazy is a week ago the other front strut started making loud thunking under acceleration at slow speeds.

My mechanic, whom is one of the good ones, replaced both front shock mounts, assuming this would fix the problem. It didn’t, but one of them was all shredded. Now, I feel like I’m going down the rabbit hole, there are engine mounts and sway bar bushings that can be replaced, but this shouldn’t be so complicated.

My car is supposed to take my abuse and like it.

Sajeev answers:

Excuse me Son, but when in the history of Autoblogging did a (non-Ranger based) high mileage Mazda ever take suspension abuse? Have you not listened to my screeds re: Panther Love?

Stupidity aside, engine mounts are kinda easy to check and it’s likely your problem, as discussed before.  And sway bar bushings are cheap and usually easy to swap. This car is an 8-ish year old non-Panther with over 100k on the clock. Aside from big things like engines/transmissions/etc, be cool with any wear item failing at this point. It won’t happen often, but being “cool with it” is the right state of mind at this age.

Your mechanic is probably doing the right thing.  Problem is, cars aren’t built like they used to.

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

Not built like they used to? Damn right!  No more tune ups before 100k, engines are that good.  Suspensions don’t need regular lubrication, though DIY-ers wouldn’t mind a greasable zerk fitting renaissance. Read the owner’s manual?  Only if I can’t get the dash to talk to my smarty-phone or adjust the clock for daylight savings time.

How does this prove my original point?

Cars are now so good that we set ‘em and forget ‘em.  Even with tighter suspensions, higher revving engines, loads of fragile(ish) electronics and idiotically thin tires, a modern car with over 100k will be in better shape than one from 25+ years ago. Especially when applying the same amount of maintenance. Hell, good luck getting that older car to even run past 100k with a modern car’s servicing regiment. 

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 

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Mazda2 Sedan Gives Hints To Next Scion http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda2-sedan-gives-hints-next-scion/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda2-sedan-gives-hints-next-scion/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:40:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949377 The long-rumored Mazda2-based Scion is a step closer to reality, with Mazda unveiling the sedan version of the Mazda2. With the Scion iM serving as the hatchback in Scion’s new lineup, the next Scion will be a traditional sedan. The unnamed Scion will be built at Mazda’s Mexican factory, and is likely to retain the […]

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The long-rumored Mazda2-based Scion is a step closer to reality, with Mazda unveiling the sedan version of the Mazda2.

With the Scion iM serving as the hatchback in Scion’s new lineup, the next Scion will be a traditional sedan. The unnamed Scion will be built at Mazda’s Mexican factory, and is likely to retain the 1.5L Skyactiv engine for superior fuel economy.

 

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NHTSA, USDOT Demand National Recall Action From Takata, Automakers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-usdot-demand-national-recall-action-takata-automakers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-usdot-demand-national-recall-action-takata-automakers/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949217 While we were looking over the latest and greatest from the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Takata band played on. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are both calling for a national recall of all vehicles with Takata’s airbags, citing a catastrophic failure of a module outside the high-humidity […]

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While we were looking over the latest and greatest from the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Takata band played on.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are both calling for a national recall of all vehicles with Takata’s airbags, citing a catastrophic failure of a module outside the high-humidity zone previously established in an earlier recall.

The NHTSA also issued a General Order to the airbag supplier and 10 automakers — BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota — requiring all to submit documents regarding “completed, ongoing or planned testing” of the supplier’s inflators outside of the current recall zone, with the goal of having all involved come correct with the agency and the American public about what they all plan to do about the airbags. Takata alone received a Special Order, regarding the propellent used in its airbags.

Responses to both orders are due by December 5.

Three of the 10 automakers involved with the General Order — Ford, GM and Honda — may likely have the hardest time replacing Takata completely. Per Bloomberg, the trio worked closely with the supplier to develop special features for their vehicles — Ford’s Adaptive Steering system, GM’s front center airbags — features that would take a while to work out with a new supplier if a deeper relationship were to take hold.

Meanwhile, only 6 percent of the 8 million vehicles equipped with Takata’s airbags have been repaired thus far, a rate critics of the supplier and its client base find appalling. The pace isn’t likely to quicken, however; Toyota says it would take a year at minimum to test and replace its units with those from other suppliers, while Nissan said doing the same for itself wasn’t feasible.

Returning to the Beltway, Reuters reports Takata had presented documents to the NHTSA linked to a 2009 accident involving its airbags, only for the agency to decline, as it had closed its investigation on the supplier and Honda, whose vehicle was involved in said accident. The NHTSA informed the news agency that the documents “would not have added to the agency’s understanding of the issues involved in that particular investigation.”

Speaking of Honda, senior executive Rick Schostek admitted before Congress that his company failed to notify the NHTSA or its customer base about the issues with Takata’s airbags, promising to offer consumers a loaner if their affected vehicles are repaired quickly due to supply shortages. As for Takata’s Hiroshi Shimizu, Automotive News says he went on the defensive, going so far as to claim that it was “hard” for him to “answer yes or no” to several questions asked by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, much to the dismay and bemusement of the committee members.

Prior to the call for a nationwide recall, the regional-specific actions, as well as the NHTSA’s order to consumers to have their airbags replaced immediately, contributed to public anxiety over whether or not the airbag before them would disfigure or kill in an accident. According to Bloomberg, Takata itself believes a national recall would only further exacerbate those fears, potentially diverting resources “from where they’re needed, putting lives at risk.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reports the Monclova, Mexico facility where the defective units were assembled had issues from the moment it opened its doors in 2000. Aside from the units made in 2001, 2002 and 2012, an explosion in 2006 — one some workers claim was fueled by the same ammonium nitrate used in Takata’s airbags as a propellent — jump-started a production run where quality slipped against hourly quotas. Whether the top brass knew of the problems, however, is a different story, as it never sent permanent staff to Mexico from its headquarters in Japan.

Over in Germany, BMW is working with the supplier to have its airbags made closer to home in Freiberg, transferring production from Mexico. The move only applies to BMW, who expects additional production to come online by mid-December. Alternative arrangements would take two years and “divert attention from current recall efforts,” per the automaker.

Finally, U.S. Air Force First Lieutenant Stephanie Erdman gave her testimony before Congress, detailing what had happened to her when a vehicle turned in front of her 2002 Honda Civic in September 2013. According to The Detroit News, the resulting injuries and ongoing surgeries led to a lawsuit against Honda, whose certified dealership in Destin, Fla. failed to notify Erdman of the February 2010 driver’s side airbag recall or what would happen if the airbag deployed in the wrong conditions, nor did the dealership replace the unit in question. She also feared that once the spotlight subsides on Takata et al, the problems would still be there, and urged Congress to continue to hold all accountable for their actions.

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Los Angeles 2014: 2016 Mazda CX-5 Unmasked http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda-cx-5-unmasked/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda-cx-5-unmasked/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:05:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948169 Completing the Mazda trifecta of the all-new CX-3 and refreshed Mazda6 comes the revised CX-5. The 2016 update gives the crossover a face updated for the times, LED accents, 19-inch wheels, and nine colors from which to paint your world. As for the interior, higher-quality materials, improved NVH and seating, and more places to store […]

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Completing the Mazda trifecta of the all-new CX-3 and refreshed Mazda6 comes the revised CX-5.

The 2016 update gives the crossover a face updated for the times, LED accents, 19-inch wheels, and nine colors from which to paint your world. As for the interior, higher-quality materials, improved NVH and seating, and more places to store all the things are now available, as well as an electronic parking brake to keep things in place.

Under the hood, two engines deliver the power to the front or all four wheels: a 2-liter four-pot, and a 2.5-liter variant that is expected to save the driver from spending more at the pump than necessary.

Finally, the cyborgs in your life can enjoy the automaker’s Mazda Connect infotainment system, as well as the i-Activsense safety suite, which makes driving a little easier with features like radar-based cruise control and smart braking.

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Los Angeles 2014: 2016 Mazda6 Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda6-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda6-revealed/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:50:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948121 Meet the new boss, almost the same as the old boss. Refreshed for the 2016 model year, the Mazda6 has a revised smile, LED headlamps, and nine colors from which to choose. Meanwhile, the inside provides the driver with a first-ever-for-the-brand electric parking brake, minimized gaps between interior panels, and a 10 percent reduction in […]

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Meet the new boss, almost the same as the old boss.

Refreshed for the 2016 model year, the Mazda6 has a revised smile, LED headlamps, and nine colors from which to choose. Meanwhile, the inside provides the driver with a first-ever-for-the-brand electric parking brake, minimized gaps between interior panels, and a 10 percent reduction in NVH levels on rougher roads, 25 percent on properly paved highways.

Motivation is reduced to one engine: the 2.5-liter four-pot capable of moving 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque to the front. Six-speed auto and manual transmissions make the connection possible.

Tech goodies include the Mazda Connect infotainment system and the automaker’s i-Activsense safety suite, which has features such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and smart braking.

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Los Angeles 2014: Mazda CX-3 Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-mazda-cx-3-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-mazda-cx-3-revealed/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:24:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947393 Mazda’s sub-compact crossover will go head to head with the Nissan Juke, Chevrolet Trax and Honda HR-V when it debuts next year. It might be the best expression of Mazda’s design language so far. Powered by a 2.0L Skyactiv engine making 155 horsepower, the CX-3 is slated to have an optional AWD system, and a […]

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Mazda’s sub-compact crossover will go head to head with the Nissan Juke, Chevrolet Trax and Honda HR-V when it debuts next year. It might be the best expression of Mazda’s design language so far.

Powered by a 2.0L Skyactiv engine making 155 horsepower, the CX-3 is slated to have an optional AWD system, and a 6-speed automatic online. On the other hand, the automatic is the same excellent unit in other Mazda products, and blends the best attributes of the dual-clutch and traditional automatic gearboxes. Inside, the same excellent HMI Commander from the Mazda3 is used, as well as the instrument cluster and tablet-like LCD screen.

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TTAC Long Term Update: 2015 Mazda3 Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-long-term-update-2015-mazda3-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-long-term-update-2015-mazda3-sport/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 19:21:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944873 What was supposed to be a milestone in my life – taking delivery of my first new car - ended up being thrown off by a slight mishap during PDI. And one that raises questions about Mazda’s Mexican operations. Before I took delivery of my new Mazda3, myself and my Dad gave the car a […]

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What was supposed to be a milestone in my life – taking delivery of my first new car - ended up being thrown off by a slight mishap during PDI. And one that raises questions about Mazda’s Mexican operations.

Before I took delivery of my new Mazda3, myself and my Dad gave the car a thorough once over on the dealer lot. There, we noticed the faint gouge just above the rear badge, as well as some white marks in and around the badge (less visible in the photo). I decided not to take delivery of the car and let Yorkdale Dufferin Mazda’s PDI guy work out the problem.

The next day, I got a call from the dealer, saying the Mazda would replace the hatch with an entirely new unit. It turned out that the original hatch wasn’t sprayed correctly, and Mazda would send a new, pre-painted unit to replace it. The 2.0L versions are built at Mazda’s all-new Salamanca, Mexico facility. Perhaps there are some teething problems with the plant. One OEM quality engineer I spoke to suggested that there may have been pre-delivery damage. But according to the legal disclosure given to me at delivery, there is none. Should it emerge, I have legal recourse.

Almost immediately, I ordered snow tires – and the timing was perfect, given that we have our first snowfall today. On the advice of my tire vendor, I went with the Hankook W419 RS, which are apparently performance oriented winter tires. We’ll see how they fare.

Thanks to Jason Donio and Yorkdale Dufferin Mazda for their assistance. They can be reached at 416-789-4521.

Thanks to Jason and Mitch at Tirespot. While they tires were purchased at retail with no discounts, I cannot recommend them enough. 416-283-1300.

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Mazda Offers Unlimited Mileage Warranty In Canada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda-offers-unlimited-mileage-warranty-canada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda-offers-unlimited-mileage-warranty-canada/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 17:50:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944825 Starting in the model year 2015, Mazda Canada is extending its new vehicle warranty program to include unlimited mileage, while retaining the time limits on its coverage. While the changes to the 3 year bumper to bumper and 5 year powertrain warranty will be welcome news, the important one for Canadians is the 7 year […]

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Starting in the model year 2015, Mazda Canada is extending its new vehicle warranty program to include unlimited mileage, while retaining the time limits on its coverage.

While the changes to the 3 year bumper to bumper and 5 year powertrain warranty will be welcome news, the important one for Canadians is the 7 year anti-perforation coverage, which no longer has a mileage limit. Scarred by the legacy of the first-generation Mazda3 and its notorious corrosion problems, the new coverage should bolster the brand in the eyes of Canadians, who are in a constant battle against rust, thanks to winter weather and liberal use of road salt.

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Mazda6 Facelift Leaks Prior To Los Angeles Auto Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda6-facelift-leaks-prior-los-angeles-auto-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda6-facelift-leaks-prior-los-angeles-auto-show/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 17:17:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944641 While the styling upgrades for the facelifted Mazda6 are modest, the changes to the interior are the more significant news. The 6 will ditch the antiquated infotainment system currently employed, in favor of the HMI Commander system used in the new Mazda3, featuring an iDrive-like knob and a large LCD screen. The Mazada6 only debuted […]

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While the styling upgrades for the facelifted Mazda6 are modest, the changes to the interior are the more significant news.

The 6 will ditch the antiquated infotainment system currently employed, in favor of the HMI Commander system used in the new Mazda3, featuring an iDrive-like knob and a large LCD screen. The Mazada6 only debuted 18 months ago, which should give you an indication of how competitive the mid-size market is right now – and how intent Mazda is on staying on top of product changes.

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TTAC Long-Term Review: 2015 Mazda3 Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-long-term-review-2015-mazda3-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-long-term-review-2015-mazda3-sport/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943689 First it was Jack. Then my Grandma. Now it’s my turn to buy a new car. The idea of owning a pure, elemental sports car is romantic and enticing. But the reality of living with one as your daily driver in a climate that alternates between stiflingly humid and frigid enough to freeze your bone […]

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First it was Jack. Then my Grandma. Now it’s my turn to buy a new car.

The idea of owning a pure, elemental sports car is romantic and enticing. But the reality of living with one as your daily driver in a climate that alternates between stiflingly humid and frigid enough to freeze your bone marrow is another matter. Half the time is spent stuck in traffic with the sun delivering enough UV rays to turn your scalp the same shade as a lobster. The other half is spent shivering in the barely insulated cabin, dodging distracted drivers and all-season shod cars while trying not to panic your passenger with consecutive attempts at threshold braking (hooray, no ABS). It was time for something different. For now. I will revisit things once the ND MX-5 is released.

The Miata went up for sale, and like any clean, rust-free Miata in Toronto, it went for a pretty penny. I promptly took the money, did not pass go or put $2000 down on a nice car. Instead, I socked it away in my retirement account. In line with my new, adult priorities, my criteria for a new car was such:

1) Cheap

2) Reasonably fun to drive

3) Cheap

4) Fuel efficient

5) Cheap

I briefly considered a Volkswagen GTI, but at the time, premium gas was over $6 a gallon, and the only 5-door version in Canada cost a hair under $35,000. I resolved to move on to a Ford Fiesta ST, but by the time I was ready to buy, interest rates went from 1.49 percent to 5.59% for financing and 7.19% for leasing. I had no intention of paying $500 CAD a month over 60 months to own that particular car. Previously, Ford Employee Pricing and favorable rates would have made the car sit in the high end of the “affordable” range for me, but now it sat well outside that bracket.

Earlier in the year, I’d driven a Mazda3 with the 2.0L and 6-speed manual, and came away just as impressed as I was at the launch event. It wasn’t particularly quick, but it felt gutsier than my NB Miata. The handling was as brilliant as I remembered, and the steering reminded me of my beloved 1997 NA, with a custom alignment, minus the darty sneeze-and-you-change-lanes feel that came with having 5 degrees of caster dialed in. More importantly, it was fairly comfortable, had a real trunk and got 35 mpg in mixed driving on regular gas – far better than the premium-swilling NB ever returned.

Somehow, my local dealer, Yorkdale Dufferin Mazda, had a number of manual transmission Mazda3s (and Mazda 6s, and Mazda5s for that matter) on the lot. I was all set on a Crystal Blue Mica sedan when I had a change of heart at the last minute, and took the hatchback model, seen here, in the same deep navy blue. This one was spec’d exactly how I wanted: 6-speed manual, the Convenience Package (with automatic headlamps and the all-important heated seats, among other things). No sunroof. The big, tablet-like screen with the HMI Commander interface. With the various incentives, I paid just a hair above invoice.

Confession time: I actually leased it. With a 60 percent residual, the ability to write part of the car off and no desire to own it out of the 3 year warranty, I opted for the (substantially) lower monthly payments. Many of you will counter that leasing is akin to a long-term rental, and you are correct. But it also ended up being cheaper than getting a Zipcar for two days out of every month.

I’m sure I could have also paid cash for a used car, but I wanted to free myself from trips to the mechanic, repair bills and the hassles associated with all of those factors. And with a interest rate of 0.29% from Mazda, it’s effectively free, meaning there’s better places to park my money.

I plan on detailing my experiences with the car for as long as I am driving it. I’m proud that myself, Jack and other contributors can and do bring you real world impressions of cars that we have paid our own money for. I’m also happen to be driving something akin to a wagon, even if most of you don’t regard it as such.

 

 

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Mazda RX Successor Gone To The Big Junkyard In The Sky(activ) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda-rx-successor-gone-big-junkyard-skyactiv/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda-rx-successor-gone-big-junkyard-skyactiv/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 16:06:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943577 What you’re seeing above isn’t the rendered visage of the next Mazda rotary sports car, but the leaked fascia of the new CX-5 crossover. Better get used to it. In an interview with Automotive News, Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai shot down the idea of a revived RX-7, RX-8 or RX-anything, stating “We don’t have that kind […]

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What you’re seeing above isn’t the rendered visage of the next Mazda rotary sports car, but the leaked fascia of the new CX-5 crossover. Better get used to it.

In an interview with Automotive News, Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai shot down the idea of a revived RX-7, RX-8 or RX-anything, stating

“We don’t have that kind of vehicle in our future product plan…If you increase the number of segments, then the resources we can allocate to each will decline and that will prevent us from developing truly good products.The company is still in the process of improving its financial structure. We want to focus our limited resources on the Skyactiv products that we have today.”

For a small, independent auto maker with limited resources, this is a sound decision. At any given auto maker, there are finite funds that must be allocated across the company for different aspects of new model development (design, engineering, marketing, manufacturing, regulatory concerns, parts, service, retail etc). For an outfit like Mazda, these are best spent on volume models like the CX-5, Mazda 3 and the upcoming CX-3 crossover. All of the “fun” money was likely poured into the next MX-5, which uses a bespoke architecture that cannot be amortized via other models in the Mazda lineup.

 

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