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LAST UPDATED:  March 16, 2021

A Quick Guide To Mazda6 Reliability

Learn what problems Mazda6 owners encounter. 

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PUBLISHED ON March 16, 2021

Mazda

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Japanese cars have a stout reputation for long-lasting durability and reliability, but at the end of the day, reputations are just broad generalizations based on the past. They are neither 100 percent accurate, nor are they 100 percent incorrect. Mazda, a niche automaker, is partially known for its unreliable rotary engines, but the Mazda3 and Mazda6 have shown a different side to the company throughout the past few decades.

SUVs and crossovers like the CX-5, CX-30, and CX-9 are big sellers today, but the compact Mazda3 compact and midsize Mazda6 were the building blocks that proved sedans could have the fun personality of a Miata sports coupe. Because of their engaging driving experiences, they are popular cars on the used market, but are they good used cars? 

A physical inspection is the most crucial component of buying a used car, but it’s also important to know the car’s legal history. By looking at customer complaints, technical service bulletins, recalls, and investigations, you can learn what things to look for, which years to avoid, and which engines to prioritize. We’ve assembled all of this information in the detailed guide below. Your used car research begins now.

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CarShield pays claims directly to a US or Canadian ASE-Certified® repair facility of your choice. Our contracts have low or no deductibles to prevent stress to your wallet at a critical time. Never worry about being stranded somewhere after a breakdown. All of our vehicle repair contracts include towing services to transport you and your vehicle to a safe repair facility.

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Nationwide coverage for cars new and old

CARCHEX has something for everyone. Have an old car? No problem. Live in California? Not an issue. CARCHEX 's plethora of warranty plans includes options for cars up to twenty years old with up to 250,000 miles, regardless of any existing or expired warranties. Click below or call 1-877-207-3304 for a free quote.

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What Makes a Reliable Brand?

Reliability depends on a host of variables, but the two biggest structural supports are the development and manufacturing of a vehicle. When auto manufacturers spend the time and money developing a car and its manufacturing line, a car tends to last longer. Hastily designed, poorly manufactured, and cheaply constructed materials will all reduce a car’s longevity and reliability.

There’s also a work ethic variable that cannot be ignored. Honda and Toyota’s cultures of reliability-over-all embody that ethic and have thus kept each’s legendary reliability in the minds of consumers for decades. Lexus spent 15 years creating the perfect paint, for goodness’ sake. Add longer-than-normal warranties and good customer service, and it’s easy to see why these Japanese companies have enjoyed their strong standings for so long.

Yet, once a car leaves the dealership lot, outside factors impact a car’s durability.

What Impacts a Car’s Reliability?

Short answer: you. The longer answer is that a car’s reliability and longevity are inextricably tied to how you take care of your vehicle, your maintenance schedule (if you have one), your conservative or brash driving habits, and whether or not you live in climates where extreme weather could affect the car’s construction.

Preemptive maintenance like regular oil changes, fluid flushes, tire rotation, and fuel system cleaners, along with keeping the exterior and underside of your car clean, will all increase the life expectancy of your car. Keeping it out of the harsh desert or tropical sun, as well as away from the rust-inducing salted roadways of winter, will also extend its life.

And lastly, keeping the Mario Andretti driving antics to a minimum will keep your brakes, engine, tires, and chassis under-stressed and happy for far longer compared to hitting every trip to the grocery store like it’s the Indy 500. 

2021 Mazda Mazda6 Specs

Vehicle Type: Midsize sedan

Doors: 4

Engine options: Turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 2.5-liter four-cylinder

Is the Mazda Mazda6 Reliable?

There is no vaccine that prevents car sicknesses. Reliability is a complex beast that depends on the person, the car, and the situation, so it is virtually impossible to make a definitive statement that the Mazda6 is reliable or unreliable. However, The Drive has gathered numerous data points from an assortment of sources to provide you with as much information as possible. 

Let’s start with common problems, as told by comments listed in the Mazda6’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) archives.

The Mazda Mazda6’s NHTSA History

As collected by the NHTSA, these are the Mazda6’s issues throughout the years.

2021

Recalls: 0

Complaints: 0

2020

Recalls: 0 

Complaints: 1

2019

Recall: Software Error May Cause Engine Stall

Complaints: 2

2018

Recall: Software Error May Cause Engine Stall

Complaints: 10

2017

Recall: Turn Signals Do Not Cancel Automatically

Complaints: 16

2016

Recall: Weld Spatter May Cause OCS Fault

Complaints: 52

2015

Recall 1: Parking Brake Actuators May Corrode

Recall 2: Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Recall 3: Charging System Shutdown May Cause Engine Stall

Complaints: 48

2014 [New Generation]

Recall 1: Parking Brake Actuators May Corrode

Recall 2: Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Recall 3: Charging System Shutdown May Cause Engine Stall

Recall 4: Fuel Tank Can Be Overfilled

Complaints: 114

2013 

Recall 1: Road Salt Causing Corrosion of Cross Member

Recall 2: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode

Recall 3: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode (again)

Recall 4: Door Latch Mounting Screws May Loosen

Complaints: 15

2012

Recall 1: Road Salt Causing Corrosion of Cross Member

Recall 2: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode

Recall 3: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode (again)

Recall 4: Door Latch Mounting Screws May Loosen

Recall 5: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Rupture

Recall 6: Spiders May Block Fuel Tank Vent Line

Complaints:84

2011

Recall 1: Road Salt Causing Corrosion of Cross Member

Recall 2: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode

Recall 3: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode (again)

Recall 4: Door Latch Mounting Screws May Loosen

Recall 5: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Rupture

Recall 6: Spiders May Block Fuel Tank Vent Line

Complaints: 89

2010

Recall 1: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode

Recall 2: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode (again)

Recall 3: Road Salt Causing Corrosion of Cross Member

Recall 4: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode (again)

Recall 5: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Rupture

Recall 6: Air Bag Control Unit May Fail Due To Moisture

Recall 7: Spiders May Block Fuel Tank Vent Line

Recall 8: Door Latch Mounting Screws May Loosen

Recall 9: Fuel Tank Pressure Due To Spiders

Investigations: 1

Complaints: 193

2009

Recall 1: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode

Recall 2: Road Salt Causing Corrosion of Cross Member

Recall 3: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode (again)

Recall 4: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Rupture

Recall 5: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Rupture (again)

Recall 6: Air Bag Control Unit May Fail Due To Moisture

Recall 7: Door Latch Mounting Screws May Loosen

Recall 8: Fuel Tank Pressure Due To Spiders

Recall 9: Aftermarket Roof Mounted Load Carriers

Recall 10: Door Handle Stuck

Investigations: 2

Complaints: 328

2008

Recall 1: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode

Recall 2: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode (again)

Recall 3: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Rupture

Recall 4: Aftermarket Roof Mounted Load Carriers

Recall 5: Fuel Tank Outside Coating

Investigations: 2

Complaints: 108

2007

Recall 1: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode

Recall 2: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode (again)

Recall 3: Driver’s Frontal Air Bag May Rupture

Recall 4: Aftermarket Combination Lamps

Recall 5: Aftermarket Roof Mounted Load Carriers

Investigations: 2

Complaints: 161

2006

Recall 1: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode

Recall 2: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode (again)

Recall 3: Driver’s Frontal Air Bag May Rupture

Recall 4: Replacement Headlamps/Amber Reflector

Recall 5: Aftermarket Combination Lamps

Recall 6: Aftermarket Roof Mounted Load Carriers

Investigations: 2

Complaints: 187

2005

Recall 1: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode

Recall 2: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode (again)

Recall 3: Driver’s Frontal Air Bag May Rupture

Recall 4: Replacement Headlamps/Amber Reflector

Recall 5: Aftermarket Combination Lamps

Recall 6: Aftermarket Roof Mounted Load Carriers

Investigations: 2

Complaints: 153

2004

Recall 1: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode

Recall 2: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode (again)

Recall 3: Driver’s Frontal Air Bag May Rupture

Recall 4: Replacement Headlamps/Amber Reflector

Recall 5: Aftermarket Combination Lamps

Recall 6: Aftermarket Roof Mounted Load Carriers

Recall 7: Rear Seatbelt Retractor Locking Pins

Investigations: 2

Complaints: 181

2003

Recall 1: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode

Recall 2: Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode (again)

Recall 3: Driver’s Frontal Air Bag May Rupture

Recall 4: Replacement Headlamps/Amber Reflector

Recall 5: Aftermarket Combination Lamps

Recall 6: Aftermarket Roof Mounted Load Carriers

Recall 7: Fuel Sender Unit

Recall 8: Brake Reservoir

Recall 9: Fog Light

Investigations: 2

Complaints: 173

Major Mazda Mazda6 Recalls

Software Error May Cause Engine Stall, June 27, 2019

NHTSA number: 19V497000

Model year: 2018-2019, plus 2018-2019 Mazda CX-5 and 2019 Mazda3

Vehicles affected: 262,220

Parking Brake Actuators May Corrode, June 22, 2017

NHTSA number: 17V393000

Model year: 2014-2015 Mazda6 and 2014-2016 Mazda3 

Vehicles affected: 227,814

Tire Pressure Monitoring System, October 27, 2014

NHTSA number: 14V675000

Model year: 2014-2015 Mazda6

Vehicles affected: 99,711

Road Salt Causing Corrosion of Cross Member, April 25, 2019

NHTSA number: 19V323000

Model year: 2011-2013 Mazda6

Vehicles affected: 51,118

Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode (Twice)

NHTSA number: 18V717000, 18V018000

Model year: 2011-2013 Mazda6, plus other Mazda vehicles

Vehicles affected: 155,436, then 70,227

Spiders May Block Fuel Tank Vent Line

NHTSA number: 14V114000

Model year: 2010-2012 Mazda6

Vehicles affected: 42,000

Passenger Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode

NHTSA number: 18V402000

Model year: 2003-2008 Mazda6

Vehicles affected: 308,591

Driver’s Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Explode

NHTSA number: 17V474000

Model year: 2003-2008 Mazda6

Vehicles affected: 308,992

JD Power Consumer Quality and Reliability Score

According to JD Power, this score, “Measures the level of defects, malfunctions and design flaws experienced by vehicle owners. Covers the entire vehicle from engine to infotainment system. A higher rating means fewer problems.” 

2021: 80 /100

2020: 80/100

2019: NA

2018: NA

2017: 84/100

2016: 81/100

2015: 80/100

2014: 71/100

2013: 80/100

2012: 77/100

2011: NA

2010: 80/100

2009-2003: NA

Takata Airbag Recall

Now known as one of the largest recalls of all time, the Takata airbag recallincluded several Mazda vehicles, including the Mazda6 from the 2003-2013 model years. Hundreds of thousands of Mazda6 vehicles were recalled for exploding airbags, so check your VIN to see if your vehicle is included, and then check to find out if the vehicle was taken in for repairs.

Common Mazda Mazda6 Problems and Repair Costs

As with other car brands, not all of Mazda’s models are built to the same exacting standards. Here’s a quick rundown of problematic Mazda6 offerings, including the issues, customer complaints, and repair costs that will help you make the best decision when purchasing your next car.

2014 Model Year: Transmission High Pitch Noise

Average Estimated Repair Costs: $3,200, according to CarComplaints.com

Customer Complaints

“Early 2014 Mazda 6's were equipped with defective transmissions. To the best of my understanding a bearing of the wrong diameter was installed leading to an initial symptom of a high-pitched whine at highway speeds. Mazda's solution is to replace the transmission, but if it's out of warranty this comes at the customer's own cost (~$5,000). there has been a tsb about this for years now #05-005-15-3027a. The issues are that there is no telling when the symptoms will occur and when I asked Mazda what would happen to the transmission if I wasn't replaced, they declined to give me an answer. It is of concern to the safety of drivers that Mazda deal with this problem.”

2004 Model Year: Engine Failure

Average Estimated Repair Costs: $3,800, according to CarComplaints.com

Customer Complaints

“The contact owns a 2004 Mazda 6. While driving 30 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic and the battery was replaced, but the failure recurred. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the oil needed to be changed and the starter needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. 

“After the vehicle was serviced and while driving at an unknown speed, an abnormal sound emitted from under the hood and the check oil warning light illuminated and the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where it was diagnosed that there were metal fragments in the oil and the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 115,000.”

2008 Model Year: Transmission Failure

Average Estimated Repair Costs: $3,200, according to CarComplaints.com

Customer Complaints

I took my car to the Mazda dealership after having experienced the AT light come on and a jolting in shifting gears and a real drag when trying to accelerate. I was told that the following fault codes "torque converter clutch pressure control solenoid intermittent and transmission fluid pressure sensor/switch indicates that I need a new transmission. 

“I called the manufacturer because I was shocked that I would need a new transmission for a 5-year-old car. I only average 12,500 miles per year, have had regular maintenance, have never heard of a transmission breaking down on such a young car. I believe they built the car with a poor quality product and now they will not take responsibility for it.”

FAQs About Mazda6 Reliability

You have the questions, The Drive has the answers.

Q: Do Mazda6 Cars Have Transmission Problems?

A: Yes, as detailed above, one of the most common issues with the Mazda6 is transmission whine, jerking, or failure.

Q: Does the Mazda Mazda6 Last Long?

A: It’s possible! As with most cars, there are examples that have lasted more than 300,000 miles with some maintenance and repairs along the way. We can’t tell you the exact car you have will repeat this achievement, but we do know the better you take care of it, the better your chance will be.

Q: What Problems Does the Mazda Mazda6 have?

A: Some of the most common Mazda6 issues include transmission failure, stalling engines, spiders in fuel hoses, and dangerous airbag inflators.

Q: What Is the Best Year for the Mazda Mazda6? 

A: Based purely on the number of recalls and complaints on the NHTSA website, you might want to start with the 2008 or 2011 for the old-gen Mazda6. It’s too early to tell for the newest generation.

More Information

Here are a few more resources you can use:

EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

Endurance

Save $350 on an Endurance warranty plan with coupon code: DRIVE350

Going with a factory extended warranty is a good option for basic protection, but you can get more and save more with Endurance, ranked the top extended warranty provider by Consumer Advocates, Consumer Affairs, and Retirement Living.

Get a Free Quote

Save $350 with coupon code: DRIVE350

EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

CarShield

CarShield — USA’s #1 Auto Protection Provider

CarShield pays claims directly to a US or Canadian ASE-Certified® repair facility of your choice. Our contracts have low or no deductibles to prevent stress to your wallet at a critical time. Never worry about being stranded somewhere after a breakdown. All of our vehicle repair contracts include towing services to transport you and your vehicle to a safe repair facility.

Get a Free Quote

EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

Carchex

Nationwide coverage for cars new and old

CARCHEX has something for everyone. Have an old car? No problem. Live in California? Not an issue. CARCHEX 's plethora of warranty plans includes options for cars up to twenty years old with up to 250,000 miles, regardless of any existing or expired warranties. Click below or call 1-877-207-3304 for a free quote.

Get a Free Quote