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I've just got/sold my Mazda 3 / Re: Civic to Mazda...
« Last post by Engineer Andy on Yesterday at 08:19:00 PM »
I think, performance-wise, the 1.8 petrol Civic has the 1.6 Mazda3 licked, but only if you need to really get a move on.  By all accounts, the Civic's 1.8 petrol engine is both economical (for its size/output) as well as sprightly, essentially matching the mpg of the smaller-engined Mazda3.

On the other hand, the Mazda is the better handling car comparing the Civic mk9 to the Mazda3 mk1 or 2 (which is the one you're considering).  Apparently, the Civic mk9 doesn't handle as well as the mk8 as its more set up for comfort.  If you want that, don't look at cars with low profile tyres (45 profile and below) and larger rims (17in 'may' be ok, but 16in rims are better and the tyres cost a lot less to replace).

The Mazda will be the cheaper buy and cost less to maintain over its first 7-10 years if you get one that has been well looked after, but I suspect, in the longer term, the Honda will catch up due to its more resilient engineering, but that's for people owning cars well over 10yo.  You'll probably pay less (not that much) in insurance as well for the Mazda.  Your car is a good example of this.  My 12yo Mazda3 is now starting to show its age (wear and tear items, some not cheap, e.g. the ps pump), despite it only covering 64k miles, but has (touch wood) always passed its MOT since I bought it from new back in early 2006.

Its probably going to come down to what you like, looks-wise, driving dynamics/comfort and value for money.  Unless you're going to keep it until its well over 10yo, then they are about the same on reliability, for the preol engined cars at least.  For diesels, don't bother with the Mazda (in my view) - its Honda all the way on that score.  If you're doing low annual mileages (under 20k at least) or lots of start-stop short trips (under 5 miles), then petrol engined cars are always the way to go.  Modern diesels hate short trips and get very unreliable as a result.

Best of luck.

PS.  For far more unbiased reviews (if not done already), I'd visit - there's lots of test drives, reviews (including from actual owners who are members of the site, like me) and a members' forum like this one, where you can ask similar questions or on any car-related subject.  A couple of (honest and knowledgable) dealers frequent the forum, one of who highly recommends both these cars for value-for-money second-hand buys.  Its free and easy to join.  Not trying to lure people away from here, but you may find additional information of use to your decision-making process that you may not find here, especially as regards the Civic.
Steering/Suspension/Brakes / Re: Heavier steering issue
« Last post by StevenRB45 on Yesterday at 08:15:23 PM »
Random question

How is your battery?

I'm only bringing this up as I was having issues with inconsistent steering weight at low speed and topping up the battery levels sorted it. It had enough to start the car but when travelling slowly with lights/wipers on it something had to give and it appears it didn't have enough in reserve to run the PS pump properly.
Wheels/Tyres / Re: what tyres?
« Last post by Engineer Andy on Yesterday at 04:51:54 PM »
I've decided to go for the smaller 15in alloys (design 46 type) and new tyres (195/65 R15 H Michellin CrossClimate+) so will have 4 OEM 16in alloy wheels (and 4 roughly half worn (but 6 years old) Dunlop SP Sport Fastresponse tyres to either junk or try and sell on ebay etc.

The alloys are in fair condition for their age, and the tyres are still working well (including in the wet), if somewhat firm riding and noisier than a few years ago (but still far better on both fronts than the OEM bridgestones were at the same age in 2012.  The tyres are worn about 0.5mm or so more on the edges than in the centre (4-4.5mm on the fronts, 5-5.5mm on the rears) as I should've kept them pumped up a bit more during the last year, not helped by the fitment between the tyres and alloys not being perfect, presumably due to age (corrosion?) and thus they lose more pressure than when new.  They seem to hold their pressure better when the car is used more - using it once a week/fortnight over the last year didn't help.

Is it worth me trying to flog them?  I live in a flat, so have little spare space to store them on a longer term basis until they're sold, nor do I wish them to be stored in the boot of my car (especially as it adds weight and thus decreases mpg [a waste]).  Some people, including 'back alley' garages seem to be selling the same alloys with tyres of lesser quality for £35 - £50 each, sometimes more.  To me, this seems a lot for old and worn kit.  Maybe its because the 16in OEMs are so expensive (£156 each from Mazda) or that after-market rims are much cheaper nowadays for 'standard' ones, but still...

PS. My new alloys and tyres are due to be fitted in just under three weeks, so I was thinking, if I do sell them, I can market them now and do the handover after the new ones are fitted.  I don't want to go through any postage stuff - personal collect only.  Is that wise or not?  I'm not doing it to save me money, just hassle.
Vehicle Electrics / Re: Another passenger window issue
« Last post by dicky on Yesterday at 04:01:05 PM »
I had this same issue and spent a while on the net before finding this solution. Everything else out there seemed to relate to the 'auto reset' problem - which this is not!

We have 3 Mazda 3's in the family (don't ask!) and one recently suffered a flat battery and the other 2 I replaced as a precaution (all the same age). The flat battery car was jump-started and has been holding a good charge so I did not replace that battery. On the other 2 I replaced both batteries because they were not holding charge well - very sluggish starting. When I changed these batteries I used a 'computer memory saver' to preserve power to keep the radio presets etc (we don't have the radio codes and I don't know how to get them).

In all 3 cars, the passenger window failed to operate - exactly as describe both in the OP. I'm not sure why in the case of the 2 replaced batteries because I maintained 12v on the radio etc and they were fine. In all 3 cars, power was never completely removed - maybe the computer saver voltage wasn't stiff enough?

My fix was simply to depress (engage) the window lockout switch; turn on the ignition; wait a few seconds; ignition off; disengage the window lockout switch; go to passenger door switch - hey presto the window operates. Then I carried out the auto window initialisation procedure.

Thanks for giving me the steer - I hope other people find this before going down the dealer route........
I've just got/sold my Mazda 3 / Re: Civic to Mazda...
« Last post by StevenRB45 on Yesterday at 02:16:08 PM »

I have the model you are looking at so I'll give you my thoughts.

First soft paint is also a Mazda thing so you'll be right at home!

I was looking at getting a Honda Civic FN 1.8 ES when I bought mine and I haven't regretted it so far.

Ride wise, it's firmer than some but well judged, so little body roll good handling but soft enough suspension to not be tiring.

Engine wise it isn't particularly charismatic or powerful but she does the job reasonably quietly and doesn't hammer the fuel:

Performance wise it feels better than on paper figures suggest if you don't mind putting the revs on to get up to the peak power and torque figures when you want to get a shift on. Otherwise entirely adequate for round the doors in my opinion and I've not encountered a motorway hill it couldn't hold 70 on the cruise on yet. Only times it's felt slow would be when doing multiple accelerations 0-70 for rounderbouts on the motorway or hitting steep hills in the Yorkshire moors. But I would say take a test drive as one man's ok is anothers Slow..

Things to look out for? Not really they tend to work reliably, my list in 4 years is one drop link. However I'd stick your hand around the lip of the rear arch and check it's not starting to bubble just in case (mine is round there grrr!)

The seats, they all do that don't know if anyone has actually done anything with it. Having looked at mine a few times I suspect the padding in the seat has been damaged by sliding in and out over the bolsters so any decreasing would be temporary.

Oh and totally forgot about a couple of bits of character that can be off putting on an initial test drive. First the 12mph 12 mph you will hear a clunk which is the abs doing a self check. It should happen once per start up like clockwork. Second on cold start the variable length inlet gear can lead to quite a loud almost diesel like noise on pull away. It should not be audible at idle and should clear within 2 minutes on a cold day and pretty much immediately on a warm one.
Steering/Suspension/Brakes / Re: Heavier steering issue
« Last post by Engineer Andy on Yesterday at 02:03:21 PM »

I had forgotten about this issue, and that I had put in (and not removed) the Trans Tune cleaner/conditioner to my PS reservoir.  I just thought I would check the contents, given the long time since I had done it.  My 'turkey baster' wasn't sucking up much (there was a crack in the [glass] tube), but what fluid I did manage to get into the old milk bottle wasn't exactly nice clear and red.  I then bought a much better hand pump with different sized hoses, including one small and flexible enough to go right down to such everything from both parts of the odd-shaped fluid reservoir.

Link only (if the thumnail gets deleted due to low site storage):

As you can see, the 'old cloudy beer' appearance of the fluid was indicating that either/both the fluid generally was past its use-by date and in need of replacement and/or the Trans Tune had done its work, but just taken a lot longer than normal.  Admitedly I haven't used the car much in the last year.  I've since refilled the reservoir with the recommended Dexron II and the small amount of Trans Tune left, as well as cleaning the outside of the reservoir so I could see more easily if the fluid changes colour again.  I've got the air out of the system and hopefully got the new fluid circulating with what remained of the old by the recommended stationary lock-to-lock steering and just driving about.

The steering is a bit better, but not appreciably, as before.  Perhaps there's still some more gunk/varnish in the system (say on the steering rack moving parts that come into contact with the hydraulic fluid) to be removed - I don't know - it may be, as we've discussed before, that the pump is just worn and only working at, say, 50-75% capacity, dying a slow death.  What I'm not sure if the car has or not (as other makes do) is a filter somewhere on the system.  If it does, this may be the reason why, in the first use of the Trans Tune, that it didn't clear up the system, because the gunk was blocking the filter (like limescale on a kettle filter) and thus fluid flow in the system was still impaired.  I have no idea (without taking the system apart) where any filter might be - the one on the YT video (for a LR Disco II) was in the reservoir itself.  I'm hoping that adding a decent amount of fresh fluid and maybe doing more TT treatments might clean the filter up (if it has one) and liquify any remaining gunk/varnish in the system.

What I also came across yesterday is a YouTube video or two of (US-based) Honda car owners with similar problems, but their problem was fixed (for the time being) by just spraying 'penetrating oil' (or WD-40 [not sure if a 'special' sub type or the standard stuff]) on the steering rack's external moving joints/parts - one had done this only after replacing the rack and the pump (and presumably the fluid) to no effect.  Not sure if our cars have any such moving parts that can be 'lubricated' externally (i.e. just spraying from the engine bay rather than removing the rack) in the rack assemby, but as this is cheap, it might be worth a punt, in conjunction with another round of Trans Tune cleaning before I part with £850+ for a dealership pump change and system flush.

Any thoughts?
I've just got/sold my Mazda 3 / Re: New to me Mazda Sport
« Last post by StevenRB45 on Yesterday at 01:59:04 PM »
Depending on how long it's been since it was serviced poor plugs and a dirty air filter will sap a bit of power.

They aren't exactly a fast car tbf 0-60 in 9s makes as fast as a warm fiesta/our Citroen C3 so not entirely sure what the expectation is?

If it has previously been used gently on short trips it might explain it getting faster with use. If you're using it harder than the previous owner there's a good chance winding it up is giving it a bit of a decoke. Might be worth running a bottle of injector cleaner or similar through it once it's been serviced and applying an Italian tune up.
Mazda 3 / Re: Mazda 3 Handbrake Will Not Hold Car On Slight Incline
« Last post by moozmooz on April 19, 2018, 09:36:08 PM »
There's an easy way to check this, and I should have pointed it out earlier. Put it down to age.

Jack up a rear wheel and reach round to locate the handbrake actuator lever. Spin the wheel and try braking by pulling on the handbrake actuator lever. If you stop the wheel, it's pointing towards the cable being stretched. If you don't stop the wheel, the fault must be at the caliper and might be resolved by removing the pads, adjusting the pistons, then reassembling.

You're not getting braking at either side, so it's almost certain that it's the same fault each side. I'd be amazed if the internal mechanism that pushes the pad onto the disc when the handbrake is operated had failed on both sides at the same time, so they're either seized, or the pistons were cranked too far back when the pads were last changed (as described previously), or the cables have stretched.

The amount of wear on the brake pads shouldn't make any difference. When mine were changed my mechanic (not Ed) described them as being like razor blades and congratulated me on getting every last bit of wear out of them, while still within safe limits and without damaging the discs.

Safety note. Best to use axle stands before reaching behind a wheel when the car's on a jack. Don't want you blaming me for a broken arm.
I've just got/sold my Mazda 3 / Re: New to me Mazda Sport
« Last post by 3adzam on April 19, 2018, 09:27:46 PM »
Anyone? Hopefully I posted in the right place....
Mazda 3 / Re: Mazda 3 Handbrake Will Not Hold Car On Slight Incline
« Last post by StevenRB45 on April 19, 2018, 07:20:08 PM »
Removed as possibly utter hogwash.. ;)
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