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Radiator Leak/Replacement at 103,000 Miles?

New user here. I just wanted to know if any of you guys have encountered this problem.

My family owns a 2013 Mazda2 Touring automatic with 103,000 miles and I recently noticed coolant on our driveway. Our mechanic diagnosed it and said that the radiator inlet/upper tank was leaking from the main seal where the tank and the radiator core meet (not the reservoir). We haven't had any hard impacts, collisions, or accidents that could have caused this so it seems unusual to happen outta the blue like this. It's only been a few days since we caught it and its progressed quickly (it barely holds coolant when topping off, maybe two thirds stays in). What's really unfortunate is how radiators are installed/built-into the front of cars today because it's gonna cost us a pretty penny on labor alone just to get it replaced - It's too bad this isn't a simple DIY thing like it would've been with an older car but I digress. I should mention that we're not using our 2 until it gets fixed, we don't want any overheating. This seems very unusual for a car of this age and mileage but maybe someone else has been in a similar situation with their Mazda.

I'd love to hear any stories or advice anybody has to offer. Thank you!
 
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92 MX-3; 18 CX-5
Approximately 7 years and 100k miles is average radiator life. I’m sorry that due to location the job is expensive. If you’re up to taking on the job (tools, space and some confidence) a new quality radiator is not expensive. And only guessing but doubt there are special tools required- just lots to get out of the way. If you don’t have a service manual I have used my local library all data subscription to get detailed service info. All said paying for the job is a great choice too.
 
Approximately 7 years and 100k miles is average radiator life. I’m sorry that due to location the job is expensive. If you’re up to taking on the job (tools, space and some confidence) a new quality radiator is not expensive. And only guessing but doubt there are special tools required- just lots to get out of the way. If you don’t have a service manual I have used my local library all data subscription to get detailed service info. All said paying for the job is a great choice too.
Hey, thanks for the reply man! And yeah, we just decided to go with a local radiator shop to do the repair. I've been hearing great things about All Data so I might just get a subscription to help ease me into other repairs as the car gets older (as much as we love it, it's not been our most reliable car sadly). As hard as one-hundred thousand city miles can have on a car I hope we can at least get another thirty to fifty- thousand more as long as these sorts of things don't happen too often. In the meantime let's just hope we can get it working again. 🤞
 
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Mazda 2 / RSTi / FJ80
Sounds about right for the mileage esp. if it's a lot of stop/go or in a higher heat area. I recently replaced mine (https://www.mazdas247.com/forum/index.php?threads/radiator-leaking-replacement.123869701/) and to be honest it was a pretty simple job even without installation instructions. I thought I'd have to remove the bumper etc but I was able to manage without. Mine was leaking from the upper side also where the plastic and metal meet - pretty common for different materials in high heat cycles. Good call not using the car until it's fixed because an overheating engine, esp. one without a gauge to actually see the temp, is not easy on the innards.

If you haven't taken it to be fixed yet I still think you'll be able to do the job yourself with simple tools. It's basically pulling some plastics away from the front and drop everything downward instead of pulling it up. I'm approx. 8K miles since doing mine with a cheapo AutoZone radiator and it's doing just fine.

If you still plan on taking it in they may recommend the thermostat and radiator cap be replaced too. I didn't do the thermostat since it seemed to be a bigger job than I was willing to accept but a new cap is always a good idea after this many miles.

Good luck!
 
Sounds about right for the mileage esp. if it's a lot of stop/go or in a higher heat area. I recently replaced mine (https://www.mazdas247.com/forum/index.php?threads/radiator-leaking-replacement.123869701/) and to be honest it was a pretty simple job even without installation instructions. I thought I'd have to remove the bumper etc but I was able to manage without. Mine was leaking from the upper side also where the plastic and metal meet - pretty common for different materials in high heat cycles. Good call not using the car until it's fixed because an overheating engine, esp. one without a gauge to actually see the temp, is not easy on the innards.

If you haven't taken it to be fixed yet I still think you'll be able to do the job yourself with simple tools. It's basically pulling some plastics away from the front and drop everything downward instead of pulling it up. I'm approx. 8K miles since doing mine with a cheapo AutoZone radiator and it's doing just fine.

If you still plan on taking it in they may recommend the thermostat and radiator cap be replaced too. I didn't do the thermostat since it seemed to be a bigger job than I was willing to accept but a new cap is always a good idea after this many miles.

Good luck!
Wow, you just gave me so much useful information man, I really appreciate it. Earlier today we picked up a decent radiator for $115 (tax included) and decided to go with a local shop to get the work done. If I had a little more practice under my belt and a decent set of tools I would've been elated if I'd been able to do the work myself and save all that money but seeing as it's the family car and I'm not the breadwinner it wouldn't have been a wise idea anyway. That said, knowing the bumper doesn't need removing and that everything can be done from under the car, I'm certainly going pass that on to my mechanic tomorrow. With any luck it could save us some money.

And if you don't mind me asking, what mileage do you have on your 2 currently? Has it needed any other major repairs like this one? I'm surprised that we've needed frequent brake work, multiple motor mount replacements, and now a radiator at only 100k and I just really hope my family can get a few more years out of this car especially if/when it gets handed down to me (I certainly don't want my first car to be breaking down all the time). Then again, like you mentioned, a car like ours takes a beating with all these city miles particularly during the Texas summers where temperatures stay around 100 degrees for weeks. I'm just looking for as many examples of long-running 2's as I can just to retain some hope so I'd love to hear more about your car.

Anyway, thanks a bunch for the response man!
 
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Mazda 2 / RSTi / FJ80
Wow, you just gave me so much useful information man, I really appreciate it. Earlier today we picked up a decent radiator for $115 (tax included) and decided to go with a local shop to get the work done. If I had a little more practice under my belt and a decent set of tools I would've been elated if I'd been able to do the work myself and save all that money but seeing as it's the family car and I'm not the breadwinner it wouldn't have been a wise idea anyway. That said, knowing the bumper doesn't need removing and that everything can be done from under the car, I'm certainly going pass that on to my mechanic tomorrow. With any luck it could save us some money.

And if you don't mind me asking, what mileage do you have on your 2 currently? Has it needed any other major repairs like this one? I'm surprised that we've needed frequent brake work, multiple motor mount replacements, and now a radiator at only 100k and I just really hope my family can get a few more years out of this car especially if/when it gets handed down to me (I certainly don't want my first car to be breaking down all the time). Then again, like you mentioned, a car like ours takes a beating with all these city miles particularly during the Texas summers where temperatures stay around 100 degrees for weeks. I'm just looking for as many examples of long-running 2's as I can just to retain some hope so I'd love to hear more about your car.

Anyway, thanks a bunch for the response man!
No problem! I'm almost to 140K mi. with approx. 14K mi. under my ownership which has been strictly 40 mi./day round trip to work where 30 of those miles each day are freeway (half of which is stop/go).

When I first picked up the 2 I replaced the battery, wiper blades, and antenna seal. The rear shocks are blown but I've just been leaving them for now. Then just the radiator and cap and that's been the last year or so of ownership. The brakes were done prior to the purchase but I'll need to check on them soon. I don't go through brakes quite as fast since I drive slow as hell to save gas and use the manual to engine brake. I suspect new plugs will be needed within the next 6K miles as I'm noticing the ever so slightest stumble at idle. As for motor mount replacement, that's something I've read about on the Fiestas which share the same chassis but I don't know what causes them to fail. I read something about them being hydraulic.

I have to say, I'm a big fan of the 2 and would recommend it to anyone looking for a small nimble vehicle especially in the Manual Transmission trim. Mazda knows how to make a manual transmission and this is one of the best I've felt in such a low priced car.

With good care I suspect the average 2 could last a solid 200K miles but I know many people become uneasy with such mileage and making repairs on a vehicle not worth much. The way I look at it is if a sub-$5K car can last me 4 solid years that's a $104/mo payment. Factor in say an extra $500/yr in repairs/maint. and that's less than $150/mo car payment - far less than diving into a new vehicle and taking the depreciation hit.

I'm not sure how old you are but it seems like you're interested in keeping the vehicle maintained. I would head down to Harbor Freight or look on craigslist/offer up for some cheap tools and start to get involved with the maintenance/repairs. With the internet at your finger tips you can pretty much tackle any issue and if you get stuck others can always chime in to help!
 
No problem! I'm almost to 140K mi. with approx. 14K mi. under my ownership which has been strictly 40 mi./day round trip to work where 30 of those miles each day are freeway (half of which is stop/go).

When I first picked up the 2 I replaced the battery, wiper blades, and antenna seal. The rear shocks are blown but I've just been leaving them for now. Then just the radiator and cap and that's been the last year or so of ownership. The brakes were done prior to the purchase but I'll need to check on them soon. I don't go through brakes quite as fast since I drive slow as hell to save gas and use the manual to engine brake. I suspect new plugs will be needed within the next 6K miles as I'm noticing the ever so slightest stumble at idle. As for motor mount replacement, that's something I've read about on the Fiestas which share the same chassis but I don't know what causes them to fail. I read something about them being hydraulic.

I have to say, I'm a big fan of the 2 and would recommend it to anyone looking for a small nimble vehicle especially in the Manual Transmission trim. Mazda knows how to make a manual transmission and this is one of the best I've felt in such a low priced car.

With good care I suspect the average 2 could last a solid 200K miles but I know many people become uneasy with such mileage and making repairs on a vehicle not worth much. The way I look at it is if a sub-$5K car can last me 4 solid years that's a $104/mo payment. Factor in say an extra $500/yr in repairs/maint. and that's less than $150/mo car payment - far less than diving into a new vehicle and taking the depreciation hit.

I'm not sure how old you are but it seems like you're interested in keeping the vehicle maintained. I would head down to Harbor Freight or look on craigslist/offer up for some cheap tools and start to get involved with the maintenance/repairs. With the internet at your finger tips you can pretty much tackle any issue and if you get stuck others can always chime in to help!
Hey man, thanks for the recommendation on finding some tools. I've always wanted to work on our car (which will soon be mine if everything works out financially) and now that our mechanic is starting to give us the runaround I think I'm gonna do our next oil change later this month. Fear has kept me from being overly hands-on with our car because I really don't want to mess anything up but it's time to get over that fear and start off with something simple. I'm extremely cautious and patient when I approach new things so I'm sure it'll be fine especially considering all the research I'll put into doing it right.

It's funny hearing you mention a stumble at idle. Are you referring to a little vibration or shake when coming to a stop? Because that's what we've been experiencing for months now. We were told we have a Crankshaft Position Error Code coming from the car's computer so that may be the source of the issue but I'm not too sure. We're also hearing an occasional knock in the engine at idle which is another source for concern. We put good plugs in it not too long ago and we always make sure to keep everything in good working order so it's strange to be experiencing these things all of a sudden. But besides that, and some annoying little brake issues, everything else seems to be working fine otherwise.

It's just nice seeing other owners like you who put in the effort to keep their car in decent shape. The thing I've focused on is detailing and generally keeping the car clean. Living in a big city has taught me how neglected cars our these days, especially in high traffic areas. The worst part is that people don't even bother to show any consideration to other people either — we recently got a second scratch in the same spot and in the same parking lot we got the first (most likely by the same person). I actually had a devilish idea to patent some kind of "death paint" that would be super coarse and rough to the touch and would scratch the hell out of any car that came too close. That'll show 'em right? haha

But in all seriousness, thanks for the responses man. This is the quiet side of the forum since the 2's generally don't get a lot of attention anymore so I while I don't wanna carry the torch or anything I do want to make sure my future car will remain in good shape inside and out. And btw, the new radiator seems to be working great and I hope it stays that way! I attached a photo if you're curious. Quite a big crack right?

IMG_20200229_161033156.jpg
 
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