October 21, 2010
A few posts ago somebody commented on how our Speed 3's exhaust tips were looking really dirty. I had actually noticed that, too, and planned to clean them up. I finally got around to doing it yesterday. See, all nice and shiny now.
I tried Eagle One Never Dull for the first time. It was super easy to use and worked great. The bumper's exhaust cutouts are still a bit dirty, but we can probably get that taken care of at the next wash.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
October 18, 2010
Last Friday I took our Mazdaspeed 3 in for its 20,000-mile oil change and tire rotation service. The resulting blog post was pretty routine until the post's comments section where I answered a question about whether we used regular oil or synthetic. I wrote synthetic and "5W20," which was listed on the service invoice. Well, liquoredonlife and ms3fun both caught this as the incorrect recommended oil for a Speed 3.
In fact, the recommended oil is 5W30 (the "30" meaning it has a higher temperature threshold). I looked in the manual to make sure. 5W20 is the recommended oil for regular Mazda 3s, but not the Speed. Then the question was: did the dealer use the right oil in the car and just misprint it on the invoice? After all, "5W30" is printed on the oil filler cap and the Speed 3 has a big, honkin' intercooler on the top of the engine to remind people it's no ordinary 3.
So I called the dealer and talked to the service advisor who wrote me up. He said he didn't know but would find out and call me back. OK, I said. I waited for about 30 minutes. Mentally, I was preparing for the situation where he might say that they did in fact use the right oil. But that was going to be unacceptable in my opinion; given the disparity, it seemed to me that the oil should be changed no matter what. Thankfully, when he did call back he said they did use the wrong oil. He apologized and asked when I could bring the car back. I'll be taking it back tomorrow.
It's annoying and a hassle. But I'm glad some owners caught this. Even if I owned our Speed 3 and knew 5W30 was the right oil, I might not have actually looked at the paperwork. Another reason to change the oil yourself?
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 20,422 miles
October 15, 2010
We cleared 20,000 miles in the Mazdaspeed 3 last week. Today it was time to take care of the 20,000-mile service interval. This required an oil change and tire rotation. I had a scheduled appointment at Lithia Mazda/Suzuki of Fresno, Calif.; service was prompt and courteous, and I was back in the car in about an hour. Total cost: 75.72.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
July 06, 2010
Surprise, everyone, I drove our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 over the holiday weekend. And I put over 300 miles on the happy red hatchback. Alas, we did not make it to the back roads this time around, but driving it to the Angels/Royals game on July 4 was fun nonetheless.
I will admit, though, that driving the Mazdaspeed 3 in holiday weekend traffic is somewhat less relaxing than enjoying a hotdog and a watery beverage while watching Torii Hunter hit a couple a homeruns. The road noise gets tiresome on LA's crumbling freeways. And no question, the won't-be-rushed, award-winning clutch-and-shifter combo results in some less than smooth gearchanges in stop-and-go traffic, particularly when the A/C is blasting and the driver (me) starts to get fidgety.
Also, the previously reported creak from the driver seat has become a near constant issue. The seat now creaks whenever there's any kind of weight transfer during acceleration, braking or turning. A seach of the forums suggests this is a common problem on MS3s. Lubing the seat seems to be the most common dealer remedy, so maybe it's time for a little DIY. Any ideas from the Mazdaspeed 3 owners out there?
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 13,309 miles
June 28, 2010
I hadn't realized how much I'd missed driving sport compacts on Glendora Mountain Road until Saturday afternoon with our 2011 Mazdaspeed 3. What a perfect car for this road. Oh, certainly, the front end gets squirmy as you're turning into corners, because, well there's a lot happening up there. But, between the sharp steering, mongo grip and juicy torque band, there aren't many civilian cars that can go down this road faster -- certainly not for under $26K.
And despite all the flak the MS3 has taken for its goofy grin on this blog, this car gets a lot of respect on GMR and surrounds. People, including the owners of that blue MkI Mazda 3, see the hood scoop coming, and know what the car is and what it can do.
The only thing that bugged me about the Mazdaspeed 3 on this (very fun) drive was the six-speed manual transmission. As we've written in official road tests, you just can't rush shifts in this car, and while I rarely find this a problem in normal driving, it was an issue on GMR. Between the clutch takeup and the slightly gooey shifter, I quickly realized a little extra care and attention was needed on the 2-3 upshift.
It's not a big problem once you're attenuated to how the car wants to be driven, but it can hang you up if you're trying to do things fast. Another option would have been just to leave the Mazdaspeed 3 in 3rd gear, which works fine on most roads, but I got greedy going into tight turns and wanted maximum torque for corner exit. In any case, the transmission is the weakest link on the MS3.
I also noticed a creak from the driver seat as cornering forces built up. The creaking persisted into Sunday around cloverleaf ramps. It's just a little reminder that the MS3 is still an economy car, just a really quick one, so there will be compromises (and evidence of cost-cutting) here and there. Perhaps we can find a way to lube the seat.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 12,744 miles
April 20, 2010
Our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 side mirror doesn't look this good quite yet. It's still parked in the garage of our body shop. Our preliminary estimate values the replacement mirror at $145 and its unpainted plastic backing at $25.
That cost doesn't seem to steep until we consider the rest of the damage. When the mirror assembly rocketed from its perch, the components struck the a-pillar and fender. The impact caused paint damage to both areas. To repaint one area means to repaint and blend the neighboring panels. So add those to the bill. In this town that makes for another $1,000.
We'll report back when the keys are back in-hand and the total cost is confirmed.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 9,900 miles
April 19, 2010
Wasn't parked on a narrow street. Wasn't parked on a blind corner.
Wasn't the recipient of a note from the savant that took the liberty of rapidly disassembling the sideview mirror of our long-term 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 for us, either.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
March 12, 2010
As Erin mentioned our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 recently came due for its first service. We anticipated the 7,500-mile interval to set us back about 65 bucks. This visit includes an oil and filter change, tire rotation and various visual inspections.
We called Long Beach Mazda to schedule an appointment and nobody picked up. The operator directed us to the service department twice and the phone just kept ringing. So we just showed up without an appointment. An advisor approached us immediately, wrote us up and told us the car would be ready in about an hour.
He wasn't kidding. In about an hour our phone rang, "Sir, your car is ready for pick up." Before we could finish paying the cashier our car was pulled around to the service drive. It was a very pleasant dealer experience. By the looks of things, business wasn't exactly hopping. But less business meant more customer service in this case. I'll take that every time.
Total Cost: $41.60
Days Out of Service: None
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 8,685 miles
February 25, 2010
Our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 is making a trip to the Mazda Service Center tomorrow. Mazda tells us that some vehicles have a design defect that causes certain power cords (specifically those made for Verizon phones) to get stuck in the 12-volt power sockets.
A formal TSB hasn't been issued at this point but it will be soon. The fix is quick. Each 12-volt socket is swapped out for a redesigned version. That's it. Those who don't own a Verizon phone may never even need to worry.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 7,920 miles
February 23, 2010
I checked the oil in our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 last night in Stockton about 350 miles before the end of a 1,000-mile road trip. It was a long fuel/windshield squeegeeing stop, so the car sat for 15 minutes before I pulled the dipstick. The oil level registered below the "min" mark so I bought a quart 5W30.
I was pleased to find this red brushed metal oil cap. It's as if Mazda anticipated that Mazdaspeed 3 owners would be interested enough in their cars to poke around under the hood, so the company put in a special treat. But like I say, the cap is metal. So if you are at a gas station without a pair of work gloves, that cap is hot, hot, hot.
Mind you, if I owned the Mazdaspeed, I'd probably get on a regular schedule of checking the oil and topping it off at home when the engine is cool... But that isn't always possible, so the cap should probably be boring black plastic.
I poured in half the quart to get the oil level back up where it needed to be. There's a nice cradle of a space to position the bottle for funnel-less pouring. I'm not keen on the dipstick design, though. It's conveniently right in front, but it's kind of buried. A longer tube would be nice.
After my road trip (and you'll be getting a couple more posts about it), we are over the 7,500-mile mark -- at which the Mazdaspeed 3 should receive its first oil change, per the owner's manual. So we'll make an appointment very soon.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 7,916 miles
December 31, 2009
You just bought a 2010 Mazdaspeed 3. Do you follow the break-in precautions noted in the owner's manual, or just go for it?
No special break-in is necessary, but a few precautions in the first 1,000 km (600 miles) may add to the performance, economy, and life of your Mazda.
- Do not race the engine.
- Do not maintain one constant speed, either slow or fast, for a long period of time
- Do not drive constantly at full-throttle or high engine rpm for extended periods of time
- Avoid unnecessary hard stops.
- Avoid full-throttle starts.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager