What the Clutch is Up With Your Mazda Warranty?

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#clutch #lawsuit
Disassembled clutch with a skull and cross bones

Go ahead and ask a Mazda owner what they think of their clutch. Just be prepared to duck as they hurl their 3rd broken flywheel at your head.

According to owners – especially those with a 2nd or 3rd generation Mazda3 – Mazda has designed an error-prone clutch system. But while the defects make them mad, it's the automaker's lack of support that has them fuming.

Common Problems with Mazda Clutch Systems

According to many, Mazda's clutch systems contain defective release levers (clutch forks), bearings and pins. These defects result in early wear on clutch disks, pressure plates, and flywheels and, eventually, clutch failure.

And the failure is many times catastrophic. Take the 2010 Mazda3 for example. Owners experience their first clutch failure at 37,627 miles (on average) and then again before 70,000 miles. And when they do, it's not just worn down components.

"I decided to have my car towed to a mechanic I dearly trust. The service technician, after pulling everything apart, said he has NEVER seen a clutch fail like this particularly with so few miles. The clutch was destroyed." – 2010 Mazda3 owner

A destroyed clutch can leave a driver stranded (at best) or in a very uncomfortable situation (depending on when it fails).

Mazda's Response? Sucks To Be You

Based on the sheer number of complaints and warranty claims, it's hard to imagine that Mazda isn't aware of the problem. Mazda allegedly redesigned the clutch assembly several times including around 2014, but clutch replacements and failures continue.

Despite all the cries for help, owners find they are being blamed for the premature failures more often than not. Even lifelong stick drivers are being accused of straining the clutch.

"THIS IS RIDICULOUS. Second clutch replacement in this car, between 40 and 70k miles. Driving a clutch my entire driving life, and never had a problem until now." - 2010 Mazda3 owner"

Man making snow angels in a giant pile of money
Meanwhile, at Mazda HQ

Additionally, Mazda refuses to tell prospective or current customers about the alleged clutch defects. Opting instead to conceal the problems by offering an express "bumper-to-bumper" warranty. But when owners go to use that warranty, they're being told the clutch pressure plate and flywheel aren't covered while being handed a hefty repair bill.

"What is the most unfortunate part of this matter is that there seems to be a lack of ownership for this problem on the behalf of Mazda. I sure love this car, but as a professional/consumer/someone who is mindful of my personal well-being, I doubt I will own one again." – 2010 Mazda3 owner

Mazda Clutch Failure Lawsuit Filed in California

Tired of being blamed for premature clutch failure, a clutch lawsuit was filed in California in April 2016. The lawsuit targets the 2010–2015 Mazda3 with either a 5-speed or 6-speed transmission.

The lawsuit says clutch failures happen early and without warning. Once the system is fried, Mazda then refuses to repair the clutch pressure plate and flywheel, even though those parts are explicitly covered by Mazda’s 3-year/36,000 mile warranty, 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty and 7-year/70,000 mile certified pre-owned powertrain warranty.

The plaintiffs also state that Mazda knows about the problem, refuses to acknowledge it, and replaces failed clutches with other defective systems.

Mazda's Motion to Dismiss Partially Denied

Mazda's motion to dismiss the case was partially denied in March 2017. Here's what Mazda wanted and what the judge agreed to.

  1. Mazda said that clutch failures can be the result of numerous things, and the plaintiffs weren't able to prove a unified defect. The judge agreed, but will allow the plaintiffs to amend their claims.
  2. Mazda wanted claims they violated certain consumer protection and warranty laws thrown out. The judge ruled in favor, however he once again left the door open for the plaintiffs to amend their claims.
  3. Mazda wanted non-California plaintiffs dismissed for this California-based lawsuit. The judge agreed and ruled non-CA residents can not file claims based on California protections.
  4. Mazda wanted claims of violating California's Consumer Legal Remedied Act and the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act dismissed. The judge denied this part of Mazda's motion.

The plaintiffs in this case are being represented by http://www.caffertyclobes.com/ and McCuneWright. While it is now a California-only case, it could lay the groundwork for future cases.

Lawsuits Regarding This Problem

Lawsuits about this problem have already been filed in court. Many times these are class-action suits that look to cover a group of owners in a particular area. Click on the lawsuit for more information and to see if you're eligible to receive any potential settlements.

  • Partial dismissal

    Megan Humphrey et al vs. Mazda Motor Corp.

    1. Partial dismissal

      A Mazda MAZDA3 clutch noise and replacement lawsuit will continue after a California federal judge granted in part Mazda's motion to dismiss, but allowed some claims to carry on, giving 2010-2015 MAZDA3 owners hope of relief.

    2. Case Filed

      A Mazda MAZDA3 clutch noise and replacement lawsuit will continue after a California federal judge granted in part Mazda's motion to dismiss, but allowed some claims to carry on, giving 2010-2015 MAZDA3 owners hope of relief.

    Class Vehicles
    • 2010-2015 Mazda3

Generations Where This Problem Has Been Reported

This problem has popped up in the following Mazda generations.

Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.

Further Reading

A timeline of stories related to this problem. We try to boil these stories down to the most important bits so you can quickly see where things stand. Interested in getting these stories in an email? Signup for free email alerts for your vehicle over at CarComplaints.com.

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, here's a handful of things you can do to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint

    CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint
  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify The CAS
  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA