2012 Mazda Mazda3 Long Term Road Test

2012 Mazda Mazda3: Second Oil Change, First Attempt at Fixing Loose Driver Seat

August 10, 2012

2012 Mazda Mazda3

The maintenance indicator was on in our long-term 2012 Mazda 3, and as I'm planning a road trip to Monterey next week, I wanted to get it addressed this week. So on Thursday, I called Long Beach Mazda and made an appointment for yesterday (Friday) at 9 a.m.

I pulled into the service drive 10 minutes late yesterday morning, but it wasn't that busy, and no one cared. Within 2 minutes, a service advisor was helping me. I told him I wanted an oil change and tire rotation, and he quoted me $69.95. Way cheaper than the prices I'm used to in Santa Monica, and I remembered that this was in the ballpark with what Josh paid for the Mazda's first service, so I OK'd it.

I also asked the advisor if someone could take a look at the driver seat, which rocks back and forth under acceleration and braking. He said a tech would do the oil service and tire rotation first, and then, they'd road-test the car and he'd report back with their findings.

"OK if we wash the car today?"

"Definitely," I said.

Well, he followed through, as about two hours later, I got a call from him that the maintenance was complete and they were headed out on a drive.

After lunch, he called again and said, yep, the tech detected a "slight movement in the driver seat" but hadn't found any problem with how the seat attaches to the track. So they had a call into Mazda's tech line to see how they should proceed.

Later, he called and paraphrased the following (which is also printed on the final service receipt):

"Customer states that the driver seat rocks and forth during acceleration and braking."

"Technician verified that there is a very slight movement in the driver seat on acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle. Checked seat track; OK at this time. Contacted Mazda; Mazda stated there are a few reports of vehicles with the same concern. Mazda is currently working on a solution to rectify this concern. Once they determine a solution, they will contact the dealer who will then contact the customer."

Then, he said I could come pick up our Mazda 3. I arrived about 10 minutes before closing, and the car was waiting in the driveway, in the shade, and the interior was pleasantly cool -- nice on a warm summer day.

The final bill, with tax, was $73.58. Parts amounted to $41.50; labor was $28.45.

Upon scrutinizing the service receipt later, though, I noticed that the dealer put "5W20 synthetic" in the car... Technically OK, per the owner's manual, but not the 3's preferred 0W20 synthetic drink. :grumble:

And I guess I can't be too surprised... this dealer also services Lincolns and Mercurys under the same roof, and Motorcraft 5W20 is the preferred drink of latter-day Lincoln-Mercury models, so it appears management has decided to economize by also putting it in all the newer Mazdas that come through. If we come back here, I guess we'll have to bring our own oil. I supposed that's what I'd do if this was my car. Another option, of course, would be run down to the dealer today and demand that they swap out the Motorcraft oil for the correct stuff, but based on my reading, 5W20 should be close enough that having it in there for the next 6,000-7,000 miles won't lunch the engine. A casual search online suggests it worked just fine in the older MZR engines.


While I was poking around under the hood, I noticed that the dealer put a sticker there apparently to indicate that our car would be part of whatever TSB is released for the seat concern. -- Instead, the sticker evidently refers to a recall campaign that isn't yet in the NHTSA database. Logically, given the location of the sticker, it lets future techs know that our tech performed a PCM reflash on the car. It's emissions related, apparently, as docs posted on a Canadian Mazda 3 forums site suggest (http://www.torontomazda3.ca/forum/showthread.php?63187-2012-Variable-Valve-Timing-System-Emission-Recall-Campaign), and on affected cars, the factory calibration can reportedly trip up the Skyactiv engine's variable valve timing. 

Also, when I got up this morning, I gave the dealer a call to inquire about the apparent use of 5W20 instead of 0W20. I left a detailed voicemail for our service advisor. Didn't hear back but the service department closes at 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Perhaps I'll get a call back from him on Monday.


2012 Mazda Mazda3

2012 Mazda Mazda3

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 13,106 miles

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