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Thread: 2015 Mazda3 GT (automatic transmission) clunks and lurches

  1. #1
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    Mazda3 GT 2015 automatic

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    2015 Mazda3 GT (automatic transmission) clunks and lurches

    I bought my 2015 Mazda3 new from a dealer. I haven't reached 30k miles but I'm already having problems. I have an automatic transmission.

    Problem 1: Lurch from stop
    I drive up to a red light and come to a stop. The light turns green, I move my foot from the brake to the accelerator and begin accelerating. The car remains stopped as I press the accelerator and the engine revs up. After a moment (.25 sec to 1 sec) all at once the car jumps/lurches forward with a clunk. This behavior is sporadic. You could drive for days without it happening and then have it happen several times in the same driving session. On a couple of occasions the clunk was hard enough that I thought something may have broke inside the drivetrain but it continues to drive. I suspect the hill assist is holding too long but that's just a guess.

    Problem 2: Lurch when shifting from gear 1 to 2
    I back my car into the garage at night. In the morning I start up the car and pull straight out of the garage with the shifter in D. I pull out of my driveway and continue down the street. The car eventually shifts from gear 1 to 2. When it does there is a delay as it shifts gears. There is a wind-up noise as the accelerator climbs but the car continues to move forward at the same speed. As the car finally shifts into 2nd gear the car lurches forward with a jump. This only happens when the car is cold--the first gear change in a driving session. Also notice that this does not happen when shifting from gears 2->3, 3->4, 4->5, or 5->6 (or when shifting downward). You do not need to be pressing the accelerator very much. This doesn't happen every day but I'd say about every other day. Driving in cold weather seems to increase the odds of getting lurched forward.

    Problem 3: Lurch when shifting from gear R to 1
    This one is easy to re-create and it doesn't seem to matter if the car is warm. Shift the car to R and back up for a few feet (we'll say 10 feet). Come to a stop. Shift from R to D. Move your foot from the brake to the accelerator and begin accelerating. There is a delay in the shift. The engine begins to rev up but the car does not move forward. After a moment (.25 sec to .5 sec) the car finally shifts and you jump/lurch forward. Notice that when you shift from gear 1->R the shift is fast and smooth. By the time you move your foot from the brake to the accelerator the car has already shifted into R and is ready to move backwards. Note that I'm not trying to "race" the car by moving between pedals quickly. I'm moving from the accelerator to the brake in what I would call a "normal" motion and at a "normal" speed.


    I had the dealer look at Problem 1 but we were unable to re-create it.
    We were also unable to re-create Problem 2 although 1) I was given a ride to work by a member of Mazda staff in a 2016 Mazda and it did almost the exact same thing and 2) someone on Mazda staff admitted to finding this problem in another car at the dealership.
    Mazda staff was able to re-create Problem 3 although they called it "normal". They told me I need to wait longer for the car to shift. I was told to wait 1 second for the car to shift. They could not tell me why R->1 is jerky and 1->R is smooth.

    Has anyone else had these problems? Any idea what might be causing them? Are they "normal"?

  2. #2
    Registered Member concept's Avatar

    2014 Mazda3 S GT auto, 2008 MX5 6-speed

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    So....
    1. You've owned the car for 3 years and this is the first time the transmission has behaved as described?
    2. What is the outside temperature when these issues are occurring?
    3. Did you instruct the dealership personnel to keep the car outside for awhile before they test it?

    I have never experienced this but the ambient temps rarely dip under 40 degrees F here in San Diego.
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  3. #3
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    Mazda3 GT 2015 automatic

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    Quote Originally Posted by concept View Post
    So....
    1. You've owned the car for 3 years and this is the first time the transmission has behaved as described?
    2. What is the outside temperature when these issues are occurring?
    3. Did you instruct the dealership personnel to keep the car outside for awhile before they test it?

    I have never experienced this but the ambient temps rarely dip under 40 degrees F here in San Diego.
    1. No, it has been happening since early on in ownership. Maybe 5-10k miles.
    2. For problem 1, 30-90F. For problem 2, 30-60F. For problem 3, hard to say because I only found it recently but definitely 30-50F. Note, range of temperature throughout the year here is 30-90F.
    3. Yes we parked it outside overnight. We tested for problem 3 first instead of problem 2 which was a mistake. Was able to replicate problem 3 though.

  4. #4
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    2018 Mazda 3 GT Hatch

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    Did you check the transmission fluid level? Low level can act like that.

  5. #5
    Registered Member concept's Avatar

    2014 Mazda3 S GT auto, 2008 MX5 6-speed

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    Quote Originally Posted by leroy2000 View Post
    1. No, it has been happening since early on in ownership. Maybe 5-10k miles.
    2. For problem 1, 30-90F. For problem 2, 30-60F. For problem 3, hard to say because I only found it recently but definitely 30-50F. Note, range of temperature throughout the year here is 30-90F.
    3. Yes we parked it outside overnight. We tested for problem 3 first instead of problem 2 which was a mistake. Was able to replicate problem 3 though.
    So the dealership tech recreated the issue? Did he figure it out? Really, it shouldn't happen, regardless of the ambient temps but sometimes consistent issues during colder or warmer temps can help locate the source.
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  6. #6
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    @JimH46
    Not a bad idea. I consulted my manual and it says nothing about the location of the transmission fluid dipstick. This video seems to indicate that I need to remove the air filter in order to get access to it. Maybe I'll have to take it to a mechanic to do. Which seems silly to me but I don't have many tools so there's not much I can do anyway.

    https://www.carcarekiosk.com/video/2...ck_fluid_level

    @concept
    Yes the tech recreated problem 3. He first claimed that I wasn't holding the brake pedal while I went through the motions of shifting from R to 1. I said that isn't true and offered that he drive which he did. He proceeded to encounter the same problem that I did. He then told me that that behavior is normal and I need to wait "a second" with my foot on the brake after I shift to 1 before releasing the brake and attempting to accelerate. I'm not a mechanic but it seems to me that this is NOT normal behavior and I'm not sure how to proceed.

  7. #7
    Registered Member concept's Avatar

    2014 Mazda3 S GT auto, 2008 MX5 6-speed

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    Leroy - interesting story: When I had a Mazda RX3, many years ago, I'd back it out of the garage by putting the transmission in reverse for a second, then putting it in neutral while rolling down the drive way to the street. Then I'd coast to the intersection before shifting into drive. When I bought an MX6 GT Turbo in 1997, I'd perform the same routine but afterwards, the transmission would act as if it were failing - somewhat similar to what you described. I eventually realized that by keeping the transmission in reverse until I backed into the street, and then shifting directly into drive (no coasting in neutral), the transmission behaved perfectly, ever-after. I believe the solenoids' required input pressure was required to allow one or more to activate successfully. It's just a theory but it certainly was not required by my RX3's auto transmission.

    Does the shift delay happen equally on sloped and level surfaces?
    If so, here's what I would do: Take a 2014-2016 Mazda3 for a ride at this or another dealership. have the tech drive them back-to-back. If the dealership's Mazda does not have the same issue, then the tech's reasoning is not valid. This would be proof that there is an issue with your transmission.
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  8. #8
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    Mazda3 GT 2015 automatic

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    That's brilliant! Although I may need to do the test drive at another dealership. The tech I worked with at the local dealership was very, very unfriendly.

    Regarding coasting while in neutral, I just want to point out that in my case that I'm not doing any coasting.

    Regarding having problems while on a slope, I'm almost certain that both problems 1 and 2 occur regardless of level or sloped include. Problem 3 I'm not sure. I may have to try it.

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