Mazda CX-3 Problems: Common Issues and Solutions for Drivers

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you considering purchasing a Mazda CX-3, but want to be aware of any potential issues before you buy?

The CX-3 is generally reliable and well-designed, but like any vehicle, it’s not immune to problems.

By knowing about some common issues experienced by owners of this subcompact crossover SUV, you can make an informed decision and enjoy driving this stylish car to its full potential.

In this article, we’ll explore stalling SkyActive engine issues, fuel pump failure, and air conditioning units not working properly in some model years.

While these problems may not affect every Mazda CX-3 on the road, being aware of them can help you stay vigilant and address any concerns as they arise, maintaining the overall reliability of your Mazda CX3.

So, let’s dive into the world of CX-3 problems and arm you with the knowledge to make the best decision for your automotive needs.

Mazda CX-3 Problems

Common Mazda CX-3 Problems

Engine Issues

The Mazda CX-3 has experienced some stalling problems with its SkyActive engine. You may notice your engine not starting properly or stalling during regular driving conditions.

Besides, fuel pump failure has been reported for some years as well, affecting the performance of your vehicle.

Battery and Electrical System

In your Mazda CX-3, you might face issues related to the battery or the electrical system. Some common problems include malfunctioning interior components such as door locks unlocking without any input from you.

Moreover, check your oil levels and tire pressure monitoring system since the electrical system might not show accurate readings all the time.


While transmission issues are not widespread, some CX-3 owners have reported problems with their vehicles’ transmission systems.

This might involve hesitation during shifting gears or difficulty in shifting gears altogether. Keep an eye on any unusual behavior in your transmission and consult a professional if necessary.

Interior Complaints

Mazda CX-3 owners have reported complaints about faulty interior components. You might experience issues with your windows, lift gate, or even some interior trim pieces.

To ensure the longevity of your car’s interior, it is essential to address these issues promptly.

Steering and Suspension

In some instances, Mazda CX-3 vehicles have had problems with steering and suspension. Issues with the steering knuckle and traction control system can affect your vehicle’s handling and stability.

Make sure to inspect these components regularly and get them repaired if needed to maintain optimal performance.

Remember to stay vigilant and attentive to your Mazda CX-3’s performance and behavior.

Meanwhile, let’s serve you this dessert about difference in dimensions and MPG for CX 3 vs CX-30 Mazda!

Years to Avoid

Specifically, the 2016, 2017, and 2018 models have been reported to have more problems than other years.

The 2016 Mazda CX-3, being the first year of this model, has the highest number of reported complaints with 64 reported issues.

As expected with a new vehicle’s debut, some mechanical issues surfaced, making this year less desirable to purchase.

Notable issues in the 2016, 2017, and 2018 models include:

  • Failed air conditioners
  • Engines failing to start
  • Faulty brake hose retaining clips
  • Malfunctioning electronics

By avoiding these specific model years, you increase your chances of having a more reliable and enjoyable Mazda CX-3 experience.

Keep in mind, though, no car is perfect and even the best years for the CX-3 may still encounter issues down the road.

Please remember to carry out proper and timely maintenance on your vehicle, as this can greatly impact the longevity of your Mazda CX-3. With appropriate care, your CX-3 has the potential to last up to 200,000 miles.

Mazda CX-3 Recalls

Low-Pressure Fuel Pump Recall

In some Mazda CX-3 vehicles, there has been a recall related to the low-pressure fuel pump.

This faulty fuel pump can cause the engine to stall while driving, posing a safety risk. Mazda will notify you if your vehicle is affected and will replace the fuel pump free of charge at a Mazda dealership. You can read more about this recall on Consumer Reports.

It’s important to take this recall seriously and have your vehicle inspected if you receive notification. Don’t wait to address this issue, as it can potentially cause hazardous driving situations.

Other Notable Recalls

  • Mazda issued a recall for CX-3 vehicles produced between 2015 and 2017 due to a fault detected within the capacitor circuit. This issue occurs when the control logic monitoring the charging control program fails to divert electrical power away from the capacitor.
  • Some 2019 CX-3 owners have reported malfunctioning interior electrical components, such as door locks unlocking without any input from the driver. While not a widespread issue, it’s essential to address any problems you might experience with your vehicle’s electrical system.

Stay informed about any recalls issued for your Mazda CX-3 by regularly checking reputable sources like your dealership or automotive websites.

Taking action on recalls will ensure your vehicle remains safe and reliable on the road.

Reliability and Resale Value

When considering a Mazda CX-3, it’s important to understand the vehicle’s reliability and resale value.

Overall, the Mazda CX-3 is a reliable car. However, some model years have had more issues than others.

For example, it’s best to avoid the 2016 and 2017 model years, as they have faced common problems such as stalling SkyActive engines, fuel pump failure, and A/C units not working properly.

In comparison, the 2019 and 2020 models seem to have fewer reliability concerns. This improved reliability is a key factor for bolstering the Mazda CX-3’s resale value.

Additionally, the CX-3 has an impressive reliability rating of 4.5 out of 5.0, placing it 2nd out of 7 in the subcompact SUV category. With an average annual repair cost of only $345, it boasts excellent ownership costs, which further contributes to its resale value.

Mazda backs the CX-3 with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. These warranties offer peace of mind and help to maintain the vehicle’s value over time.

Here are some factors that contribute to the Mazda CX-3’s reliability and resale value:

  • Improved reliability in the 2019 and 2020 models
  • High reliability rating (4.5 out of 5.0)
  • Low average annual repair costs ($345)
  • Solid warranty coverage (3-year/36,000-mile basic and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain)

By choosing a reliable Mazda CX-3 model and properly maintaining your vehicle, you can expect a respectable resale value when it’s time to sell or trade in your car.

Pros and Cons

Mazda CX-3 is a popular compact crossover with a lot of fans. In this section, we’ll dive into its pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision when considering it as your next vehicle.


  • Stylish Design: The CX-3 boasts sporty looks, making it stand out among its competitors.
  • Fuel Economy: The AWD Mazda CX-3 has a fuel economy rating of 29 mpg combined or 27/32 mpg city/highway, which can save you money at the pump.
  • Responsive Handling: This vehicle is known for its quick, responsive handling, making it enjoyable to drive.
  • Maneuverability: Its compact size makes parking and getting around tight spaces easy.


  • Cramped Rear Seats: One major drawback of the Mazda CX-3 is the limited legroom in the back seat. With only 35 inches of legroom, taller passengers may find it uncomfortable on longer rides.
  • Comparing to Rivals: When you’re in the market for a compact crossover, you might want to compare the Mazda CX-3 to its rivals like Hyundai and Honda. Both brands offer vehicles with similar features, so make sure to weigh your options!

Comparing Mazda CX-3 and CX-30

When considering the Mazda CX-3, it’s hard not to also take a look at its sibling, the Mazda CX-30.

Both vehicles are part of Mazda’s lineup of compact SUVs, and each offers its own set of features and advantages. In this section, we’ll compare the two models to help you better understand their differences and make the right choice for your needs.

Firstly, let’s talk about size. The CX-3 is the smaller of the two, offering a more compact design that’s great for city driving and tight parking spaces.

On the other hand, the CX-30 provides more interior space and cargo capacity. You’ll find 20 cubic feet of cargo space in the CX-30 compared to just over 12 cubic feet in the CX-3. This makes the CX-30 a better option if you need more room for passengers and their belongings.

Under the hood, the CX-3 boasts a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 146 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The CX-30, in contrast, shares its engine with the Mazda3, offering a sportier driving experience. The 0-60 mph time for the CX-30 is around 7.8 seconds, which isn’t class-leading, but certainly isn’t slow either.

When it comes to features, both the CX-3 and CX-30 come well-equipped with modern amenities.

However, the CX-30 offers some additional options, such as available adaptive headlights and a more premium sound system. This gives the CX-30 an edge if you’re looking for a compact SUV with a few more luxury touches.

Finally, the fuel efficiency. The Mazda CX-3 is the more efficient option, providing better fuel economy ratings than the CX-30.

If you’re looking for a compact SUV with excellent gas mileage and a lower environmental impact, the CX-3 may be the better choice for you.

Online Automotive Complaint Resources

This section will guide you through some of the most popular platforms where you can find valuable data on Mazda CX-3 problems.


CarComplaints is a comprehensive online automotive complaint resource that compiles complaint data from numerous car owners.

Their website organizes data on automotive defect patterns, specific problems, and vehicle components. This helps you easily identify the most common Mazda CX-3 problems.

The site also features graphs that visually represent the number of reported problems for each model year, making it easy to compare different years and determine which models are more prone to issues.

Exploring the information available on can help you make informed decisions about your Mazda CX-3, whether you’re looking to buy one or seeking ways to address problems you’re currently experiencing.

Other Platforms

Besides, there are other platforms where you can find information on Mazda CX-3 problems:

  • Kelley Blue Book’s Common Problems features user-generated issues with various models of Mazda CX-3 vehicles, along with remedies suggested by mechanics.
  • Forums and social media communities focused on Mazda vehicles are also useful assets in gathering real-life experiences and solutions to Mazda CX-3 problems. You can find recommendations and advice from fellow Mazda CX-3 owners in these online spaces.

In conclusion, utilizing these online automotive complaint resources can greatly help you identify trends in reported problems, gain insight on which cars to avoid or seek repairs for, and even discover the latest problem trends for Mazda CX-3 vehicles.

Mazda CX-3 Competitors

Buick Encore

The Buick Encore is a luxury subcompact crossover with several advantages:

  • Comfortable and quiet ride
  • Attractive interior design
  • Standard infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration

However, there are a few drawbacks you should be aware of:

Chevrolet Trax

Consider the Chevrolet Trax if you value these attributes:

  • Spacious rear seats
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Nimble handling in tight spaces

On the downside, you might not appreciate the following aspects:

Toyota C-HR

The Toyota C-HR could be a suitable option if you’re interested in:

  • A distinctive exterior design
  • Impressive standard safety features
  • Comfortable ride quality

However, here are some drawbacks of Toyota C-HR:

  • Limited cargo capacity
  • Lack of available all-wheel drive
  • Underpowered engine

Nissan Kicks

Nissan Kicks is an affordable option with several pros:

  • Competitive base price
  • Good fuel efficiency
  • Roomy interior for passengers and cargo

But it’s essential to note its cons and Kicks issues:

  • Limited power and performance
  • Sparse standard technology features
  • Lacks available all-wheel drive

Jeep Renegade

Lastly, consider the Jeep Renegade for its strengths:

  • Off-road capability with Trailhawk trim,
  • Versatile cargo space,
  • A unique and adventurous design,
  • Many reliable used Renegade models to choose from.

However, be mindful of Jeep Renegade shortcomings and issues:

  • Below-average fuel economy
  • Compromised rear passenger space
  • Reliability concerns with certain model years

As you compare the Mazda CX-3 to its competitors, consider these pros and cons to determine which subcompact crossover suits your needs and preferences.


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