Faulty autolock design on 2019 Mazda3

I was able to finally resolve my problems with the auto-locking on my new Mazda3 but I don't like what I found.
Here is what I learned - the new 2019 Mazda3 has a smaller range radio signals for advanced keyless entry and the remote controls go out of range faster than on the previous generation.

This is important, because the car uses 2 step algorithm for the auto-locking.
First it needs to confirm that all doors are closed and the remote control is registered on the outside of the vehicle.
Once that happens the car issues 1 single beep.

After that the car is waiting for the remote to leave the range of the signal and then the car confirms that with another beep and all doors lock and the lights blink shortly.

So imagine a situation that you step out of the car and leave quickly and the car cannot confirm that the remote left the car and that the remote is on the outside.
This will prevent the car from confirming the "doors closed" and there is going to be no initial beep. This will stop the auto-locking from engaging.

Mazda representative told me that I walk too fast.
It seems that my problem with auto-locking was such - that I left the range of the keyless system faster than the system was able to detect the key on the outside.
This however did not explain why my car would not detect the key sometimes and the car would not lock even if I stayed close to doors for several seconds and I even walked around to passenger side and still it did not work.

I believe this system is incorrectly designed. I question the need of the car to know that the key is outside.
In my opinion the car should only care if the key is not detected inside.
In addition - I think that there should be a timeout - so that the car locks out after it fails to auto-lock.

What do you think?
 

sm1ke

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First, I think that you should post this in the original thread you started about this issue, just so that that thread has some closure.

I was able to finally resolve my problems with the auto-locking on my new Mazda3 but I don't like what I found.
Here is what I learned - the new 2019 Mazda3 has a smaller range radio signals for advanced keyless entry and the remote controls go out of range faster than on the previous generation.

This is important, because the car uses 2 step algorithm for the auto-locking.
First it needs to confirm that all doors are closed and the remote control is registered on the outside of the vehicle.
Once that happens the car issues 1 single beep.

After that the car is waiting for the remote to leave the range of the signal and then the car confirms that with another beep and all doors lock and the lights blink shortly.

So imagine a situation that you step out of the car and leave quickly and the car cannot confirm that the remote left the car and that the remote is on the outside.
This will prevent the car from confirming the "doors closed" and there is going to be no initial beep. This will stop the auto-locking from engaging.

Mazda representative told me that I walk too fast.
It seems that my problem with auto-locking was such - that I left the range of the keyless system faster than the system was able to detect the key on the outside.

Isn't that exactly how it was explained to you a bunch of times from a few different people?

This however did not explain why my car would not detect the key sometimes and the car would not lock even if I stayed close to doors for several seconds and I even walked around to passenger side and still it did not work.

I agree, I think the problem is specific to your car, or there is some other factor that is causing the keyless system to fail to recognize the keyfob. Do you carry your keyfob in the same pocket as your cellphone? Do you have any radar detectors, remote start modules, or other aftermarket electronics installed? It's possible that one of these devices is interfering with the signal between the keyfob and the car. If there are no electronics causing interference, I would continue to press the issue with the dealership or escalate to Mazda Corporate. Make it known that you are aware of how the keyless system works now, but that in some instances the car will not recognize that the keyfob is not in the cabin after closing the door, causing the auto-lock to function incorrectly.

I believe this system is incorrectly designed. I question the need of the car to know that the key is outside.
In my opinion the car should only care if the key is not detected inside.
In addition - I think that there should be a timeout - so that the car locks out after it fails to auto-lock.

If the system did not recognize whether the keyfob was outside or inside of the car, it would automatically trigger the initial beep every time the door is closed. This can cause situations where the auto-lock engages when you don't want it to, or it can cause the auto-lock to function incorrectly.

There is a timeout, but it only activates when you close the door and the keyfob is outside of the car (after the initial beep). If you hang around within range for 30 seconds (I think you can change the timeout in the settings), the car will automatically lock.
 
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If you walk too fast, slow down when you away and turn around and admire your 3. :)

You need to look at it for it to beep the second time 😉
 
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I always find that it doesn't work if I walk away while swinging the door closed behind me. What happens here is I actually walk out of range of the receiver before the door is closed. As such, no auto-lock.

If you want to make sure auto-lock works you must make sure you are still in range when the door is closed, then leave range.

This is actually beneficial to me once you learn how it works as you can intentionally have it not lock behind you if you don't want it to.

Also.... There's complications with interference, possibly from other keys of similar design and definitely from cell phones. I know I've had the system not work at all when the key is in the same pocket as my cell.

The system is 100% "if this, then that" whether it works or not. If you know and understand the requirements you can control whether it works or not even though it's automatic.

If you're following the correct order of operations in close enough proximity and the system still isn't working then I agree there's an issue with your car or key. If so it's one of those things you will need to sort out how to reproduce for the dealer.
 
I always find that it doesn't work if I walk away while swinging the door closed behind me. What happens here is I actually walk out of range of the receiver before the door is closed. As such, no auto-lock.

EXACTLY.
Thing is - I never noticed that. I did not realize that I walked too fast from the door.
The manual doesn't say that the autolock feature doesn't work for people who are faster than 50% of the population.
I would never dare to say that I am faster than most people, because I am not.
But even - if I were faster than 80% - then still - this fails the design as unreliable.
Not to mention that the manual never defined the method and speed of walking away so that the car can lock itself successfully.
Otherwise it remains unlocked with autolock selected. DUH.
 
"Isn't that exactly how it was explained to you a bunch of times from a few different people?"

I changed my mind.
I was confused because there were other symptoms. I did not believe what you guys told me.
If you remember - the sensors did not work. And then the car did not lock itself - even if I stayed close.
But now Mazda guys got me convinced that the issue is related to connectivity between the key fob and the car.

Now I had plenty of time to think about it and I decided to let the car go.
I will drive it for few more months, but I am starting to look around for something else.
I think the issue with the locking did not affect my decision much, but the auto parking brake AND the autolock AND the unsafe brake assist made my decision.
The suspension is a fourth contributing factor.
 
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sm1ke

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Now I had plenty of time to think about it and I decided to let the car go.
I will drive it for few more months, but I am starting to look around for something else.

I know you just decided this, but are any cars on your short list? Just curious as we may be looking to replace my wife's 06 Civic sometime in the future, and based on my experience with my CX-9, a 3 or a 6 would definitely be on the list of cars to test-drive.
 
I know you just decided this, but are any cars on your short list? Just curious as we may be looking to replace my wife's 06 Civic sometime in the future, and based on my experience with my CX-9, a 3 or a 6 would definitely be on the list of cars to test-drive.

So far I rejected Honda as a brand for minor functionality issues. I am closely looking at 2020 Lexus ES350.
I tried other brands and honestly there is nothing interesting in my opinion, nothing worth mentioning.
I think Toyota and Honda will disappoint you, after you drive a new Mazda3.

I want to be fair - Mazda3 might be the best choice, because some features are better on Mazda3 than on the Lexus.
It is a terribly difficult decision to change a car right now. Most people don't realize how complex and complicated they are.
You test drive something, you drive off the lot and then you start finding issues and the dealers aren't forthcoming.
Things that stop me from making the change right now is the stereo and the Bluetooth quality on Mazda3.
Nothing compares to Mazda in that regard. I spend much time on the phone and that feature is really important to me.
I wasn't able to find a car that would compare to Mazda3 microphones quality. Mazda3 makes the TOP of all brands in that regard.

Another thing is the Hold function. It is brilliant. I don't know what I'd do without that.
Go look up the ES350. Drive it. See if you like that. That car made top of my list before I drove the Mazda3.


EDIT:
I think the interior quality is another important factor. Look how they made the dash, the instrument cluster, the handle to operate the menu, the volume control positioning, all these things are wonderful.
The way this car is made blows the competition. I like almost everything about Mazda3. Pros of owning a Mazda3 are pretty much overwhelming. If only they had better software options.
I am dreaming that I could turn off the brake assist, the auto parking brake, and that the autolock function worked as it should.
To put a cherry on that dream I would envision a new radio interface with favorites and radio stations in one screen. That would make it a dream car, man.
 
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So far I rejected Honda as a brand for minor functionality issues. I am closely looking at 2020 Lexus ES350.
I tried other brands and honestly there is nothing interesting in my opinion, nothing worth mentioning.
I think Toyota and Honda will disappoint you, after you drive a new Mazda3.

I want to be fair - Mazda3 might be the best choice, because some features are better on Mazda3 than on the Lexus.
It is a terribly difficult decision to change a car right now. Most people don't realize how complex and complicated they are.
You test drive something, you drive off the lot and then you start finding issues and the dealers aren't forthcoming.
Things that stop me from making the change right now is the stereo and the Bluetooth quality on Mazda3.
Nothing compares to Mazda in that regard. I spend much time on the phone and that feature is really important to me.
I wasn't able to find a car that would compare to Mazda3 microphones quality. Mazda3 makes the TOP of all brands in that regard.

Another thing is the Hold function. It is brilliant. I don't know what I'd do without that.
Go look up the ES350. Drive it. See if you like that. That car made top of my list before I drove the Mazda3.


EDIT:
I think the interior quality is another important factor. Look how they made the dash, the instrument cluster, the handle to operate the menu, the volume control positioning, all these things are wonderful.
The way this car is made blows the competition. I like almost everything about Mazda3. Pros of owning a Mazda3 are pretty much overwhelming. If only they had better software options.
I am dreaming that I could turn off the brake assist, the auto parking brake, and that the autolock function worked as it should.
To put a cherry on that dream I would envision a new radio interface with favorites and radio stations in one screen. That would make it a dream car, man.

As I have told you, disabling the auto parking brake is not difficult. There is a set of instructions on how to disable that function and surely the dealer can disable that for you. I am not certain if auto-braking can be disabled as it has only worked as promised for me so far. If you turn off all Activesense does auto braking turn off as well?

Autolock bothered me as well for a while as I also tend to swing the door closed as I walk away leading the car to stay unlocked. One solution is to just hit the lock button on keyfob, not ideal but it's a feature. Other option is to adjust behavior a little to just wait for first beep before walking away. I have considered turning off the function, but one day while holding a watermelon in one hand and 2-3 grocery bags in the other I was thankful that feature worked. Why not just disable the autolock feature and just do it manually? This is the first car I ever had with that function and I can live without it.
 

sm1ke

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Autolock bothered me as well for a while as I also tend to swing the door closed as I walk away leading the car to stay unlocked. One solution is to just hit the lock button on keyfob, not ideal but it's a feature. Other option is to adjust behavior a little to just wait for first beep before walking away. I have considered turning off the function, but one day while holding a watermelon in one hand and 2-3 grocery bags in the other I was thankful that feature worked. Why not just disable the autolock feature and just do it manually? This is the first car I ever had with that function and I can live without it.

That's what I did. Once I figured out the nuances surrounding the autolock feature (keyfob must be in range when the last door is closed, no proximity sensors in the front of the car), I just had to make some very, very minor adjustments to my habits to ensure that I wouldn't mistakenly leave the car unlocked. Instead of walking away from the car as I swing the door closed, I walk towards the back or the front while listening for the beep. Once I hear the beep, I walk away and it always autolocks, without fail (so far).

I took a few mins to create and upload a video to better explain myself:



I do appreciate the autolock feature, but like you, I could live without it if necessary.
 
That's what I did. Once I figured out the nuances surrounding the autolock feature (keyfob must be in range when the last door is closed, no proximity sensors in the front of the car), I just had to make some very, very minor adjustments to my habits to ensure that I wouldn't mistakenly leave the car unlocked. Instead of walking away from the car as I swing the door closed, I walk towards the back or the front while listening for the beep. Once I hear the beep, I walk away and it always autolocks, without fail (so far).

I took a few mins to create and upload a video to better explain myself:



I do appreciate the autolock feature, but like you, I could live without it if necessary.

Yes that is what I did. That being said there still is 1 issue I see with this. While it helps for many situations, the autolock feature really should be more of a backup for the forgetful or those in a hurry. The correct functionality would be for the car to detect key and as soon as driver opens and shuts door taking the key with them it starts a timer. If it detects the key and it leaves the door locks then, and if it can't then the car waits 30 seconds and locks anyway.
 
The correct functionality would be for the car to detect key and as soon as driver opens and shuts door taking the key with them it starts a timer. If it detects the key and it leaves the door locks then, and if it can't then the car waits 30 seconds and locks anyway.

I second that wholeheartedly.

As for the park brake - you can't disable that on new 2019 Mazda3.
It goes back to default upon ignition cycle.
 
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2019 Mazda3 GT 5dr
I was able to finally resolve my problems with the auto-locking on my new Mazda3 but I don't like what I found.
Here is what I learned - the new 2019 Mazda3 has a smaller range radio signals for advanced keyless entry and the remote controls go out of range faster than on the previous generation.
Interesting, my experience is the exact opposite. With my 2014 3, it's easy for me to get out of range before the car's first "I'm ready to consider locking" beep; just walking away at a regular pace while closing the door does the trick.

With my 2019 over the last 4 months, using that same pace the car will ready/lock without issues. I can get out of range before the ready beep, but I've got to hurry.

Overall remote detection range bears this out, too. On my 2014, walking around the front of the car took the key far enough away that the car would auto-lock, although walking around the back wouldn't. On my 2019 I can walk all around the car and even be a meter away from the nose without it auto-locking.

From your description, it sounds like your 2019 has an unusually short detection range... and perhaps my 2014 did as well!
 
I second that wholeheartedly.

As for the park brake - you can't disable that on new 2019 Mazda3.
It goes back to default upon ignition cycle.

Have you tried just hitting the gas when parking brake is on? I just read that it should just disable itself. I'm going to try it today.
 
Have you tried just hitting the gas when parking brake is on? I just read that it should just disable itself. I'm going to try it today.


Yes, I tried that. It worked 1 time and then it did not. I am not willing to continue.

This auto parking brake is impossible. Nothing can be done. I hate it. I can't get used to it. It is terrible. If I could meet the guy from Mazda who made the decision to put it in - I would just hit the guy in the face.
 
Yes, I tried that. It worked 1 time and then it did not. I am not willing to continue.

This auto parking brake is impossible. Nothing can be done. I hate it. I can't get used to it. It is terrible. If I could meet the guy from Mazda who made the decision to put it in - I would just hit the guy in the face.

Were you wearing seatbelt? I only ask as I have been doing it this way all weekend and it hasn't had any issues.
 
I didn't pay attention. But it must be that. I tried it with a seat belt and it works. I mean it turns that thing off somehow if I floor it.
I am used to fastening the seat belt after starting, so now I need to change the habit.

Going back to the faulty autolock - I experienced few failed attempts to open the trunk. I stood there, right next to trunk opening button and it didn't open.
I had to push the key on the fob to open it. Is this thing related to the rear antenna maybe?

This system has 2 antennas, according to manual page 98 (section Keys, 3-8)
So would the problem be caused by one of the antennas malfunction?

Also - if you have a Mazda3 and autolock enabled - I got a question - can you go around the car without it locking itself?
I mean if you open the passenger door and then close it and go around to reach the drivers side, does the car lock on you half way around?
Anyone?
 
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