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#3133265 - 09/23/13 10:04 AM Mazda 3 front end loose feeling over bumps
ryan2022 Offline

Registered: 06/05/06
Posts: 1459
Loc: Peterborough
Hi guys,

My Dad has an 06 Mazda 3 sport.

Its got 50k miles or so, and has a strange issue. Our mechanic says the motor mounts are fine and front end is tight.

Dad drives quickly at times, and says its most noticeable on on ramps hitting small bumps. It skittered across the pavement and feels unsettled.

He isn't pushing it to its limits, just enjoying the car.. I'm wondering if its the shocks, but it seems premature.

Any thoughts from 3 owners?
2006 Toyota Corolla CE 5w30 Synthetic

#3133268 - 09/23/13 10:07 AM Re: Mazda 3 front end loose feeling over bumps [Re: ryan2022]
Boomer Offline

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 1861
Loc: Pennsylvania
Tires? Tire pressure?
2013 VW Passat TDI SE, 51,300 miles Castrol Professional VW507 5W-30
2017 VW Golf All Track 10,150 miles Castrol Professional VW505 10W-40

#3133280 - 09/23/13 10:18 AM Re: Mazda 3 front end loose feeling over bumps [Re: ryan2022]
IndyIan Offline

Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 8444
Loc: Ontario, Canada
That does sound like shocks if the front end is tight, maybe very high tire pressure?
Try driving it on broken and patched pavement, if one front tire imitates a basket ball then you know that strut is blown.
07 Focus ZXW, 5spd manual, 190km VWB 5W30
06 CRV, 5 spd auto AWD, 298km M1 EP 5W30

#3133281 - 09/23/13 10:19 AM Re: Mazda 3 front end loose feeling over bumps [Re: Boomer]
SatinSilver Offline

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 8516
Loc: Ohio
Alignment shop and make sure gas tank is half-way filled up.
2012 Toyota Camry 68k-PUP 5w20,OEM filter, RT43s.
2005 Toyota Matrix 122k miles - VWB 5w30 conv, Valvoline oil filter. Nokian eNTYRES.

#3133291 - 09/23/13 10:36 AM Re: Mazda 3 front end loose feeling over bumps [Re: ryan2022]
supton Offline

Registered: 11/09/08
Posts: 11045
Loc: NH
Seems early for struts, but "way back when" it seemed to be general consensus that on my vintage Jetta the OEM's were done for around 40k. Most people drove past that point until it failed inspection with completely dead struts--but the cognescenti were convinced that the struts were not up to par at 40k.

Maybe the same here? Struts just not as good as they used to be? Especially after a number of years of "occasional" spirited driving?
2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 149k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 139k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 167k, his

#3133307 - 09/23/13 10:48 AM Re: Mazda 3 front end loose feeling over bumps [Re: ryan2022]
nitehawk55 Offline

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1084
Loc: Ontario , Canada
I'm thinking struts too unless the mechanic missed something which is possible .
05 Ford Five Hundred AWD 3.0 DOHC V6 CVT tranny

#3133310 - 09/23/13 10:49 AM Re: Mazda 3 front end loose feeling over bumps [Re: ryan2022]
ARCOgraphite Offline

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 11383
Loc: N.H, U.S.A.
The strut tops (bearings) on my 1991 626 were toast at 30K miles. Three to 4 Bearings all knocked out of the race.
also make sure tire are no more than 2psi over-inflated and the wheel bearings do not have excessive play ( wiggle the tire with each end jacked off the road <or> on a lift). Also grab the rack under the car by the tie rods and see if you can feel if the inner joints (in the rack) have slop. While your under there check the AS bar links and ends any problem which would have been obvious to your mechanic on a quick visual.

Edited by ARCOgraphite (09/23/13 10:52 AM)
2014 Nissan Rogue S CVT, OC#8 36109mi-MAGNATEC 5W30 + FRAM TG7317 Filter; 2017 Subaru Crosstrek CVT 4762mi-SOA 0w20 + SOA Filter

#3133331 - 09/23/13 11:02 AM Re: Mazda 3 front end loose feeling over bumps [Re: ryan2022]
GSCJR Offline

Registered: 01/20/13
Posts: 1020
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Sounds like you need struts.
03 3.0L 1MZ-FE NAPA SYN 5w-20 ProSelect 21348 242 KM
10 3.5L 2GR-FE CEB 0w-20 ProSelect 27047 152 KM

#3133384 - 09/23/13 12:05 PM Re: Mazda 3 front end loose feeling over bumps [Re: ryan2022]
Quest Offline

Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 7370
Loc: beaver land EH?
methinks struts and sway bar end links.

Typical with the ever-so-compact FWD these days....esp. with struts where over 90% of the mechs out there mis-diagnosed (or simply cannot diagnose defective/weak struts properly).

"Internet discussion boards act as echo chambers for conspiracy dittoheads" A.Allen

#3133724 - 09/23/13 06:32 PM Re: Mazda 3 front end loose feeling over bumps [Re: Quest]
ryan2022 Offline

Registered: 06/05/06
Posts: 1459
Loc: Peterborough
Thanks guys, I appreciate the responses.

I'll start the hunt with Dad.
2006 Toyota Corolla CE 5w30 Synthetic

#3134074 - 09/24/13 06:10 AM Re: Mazda 3 front end loose feeling over bumps [Re: ryan2022]
Char Baby Offline

Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 9218
My daughter's '06 Mazda 3i was doing a similar thing on the highway. When we'd go over broken pavement, the steering wheel was viberating from side-to-side and very sloppy. We ended up installing one lower control arm and both front struts(loaded) and rear shocks too.

Now, it's perfect!
'80 Firebird FORMULA V8/4bbl-purchased "NEW"
'06 Mazda 3i 2.0L
'15 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV

#3134505 - 09/24/13 12:44 PM Re: Mazda 3 front end loose feeling over bumps [Re: ryan2022]
FordTrucks71 Offline

Registered: 09/19/13
Posts: 75
Loc: metro Detroit burbs
Simply struts! 50k mis can certainly end the service life of any cars struts...replace rear shocks to for best performance!
13 Ford Edge 1200mi PP 5w20 M1 filter.
11 Mazda 3s 33k mi PP 0w20 Purolater P1 filter
86 Buick Grand National 44k mi ValvolineVR1 10w30 K&N filter