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Common problems with the Mazda RX-8

Charlotte Phillips, 3 months ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Repair
Mazda rx-8

WhoCanFixMyCar explores some of the problems that drivers have commonly experienced with the Mazda RX-8, and how much it costs on average to get them repaired

First launched in 2003, the Mazda RX-8 is a sleek and sporty model, boasting a 1.3 litre engine and a futuristic shape.

What problems do Mazda RX-8 have?

Some of the common problems drivers have reported with the Mazda RX-8 include:

Some of these problems have led to Mazda announcing recalls on certain affected RX-8 models, which you can find in the table below.

Mazda RX-8 recalls

Mazda RX-8 starting problems

Mazda RX-8 engine problems

Mazda RX-8 power steering problems

Mazda RX-8 catalytic converter failure

Mazda RX-8 ignition coil failure

How long will an RX-8 engine last?

Is the Mazda RX-8 reliable?


Mazda RX-8 recent recalls

Affected model datesIssue
2008-2010Fuel caps may crack and fuel tank cap may loosen, could result in loss of fuel and fire risk
2003-2010In the event of airbag deployment, excessive pressure could cause the inflator to rupture, causing injury to occupants
2003-2008Steering could be impaired by cracks forming on the front lower transverse link socket

Mazda RX-8 starting problems

A known issue with the Mazda RX-8 is their faulty starter motors. The simplest way to notice this problem is if you are having problems with starting your car. The ignition system in the RX-8 is also said to be poor, particularly in cold weather, which only increases the pressure on the already weakened starter. Mazda announced a recall for this problem in 2006 where the problem was resolved, however older models are still susceptible to this issue. 

If your car is struggling to start, it could be a sign of starter motor failure. On average, a starter motor repair on a Mazda costs around £237.50 when booked with WhoCanFixMyCar.


Mazda RX-8 engine problems

The Mazda RX-8’s most commonly reported problem is with the model's engine. The RX-8 comes with a unique rotary-style engine, which is widely reported to be unreliable. Your Check Engine warning light on the dashboard is a key indicator that you’ve got a faulty engine, however other common signs include a smoking exhaust, overheating and poor fuel economy.

If you are unfortunate enough to have engine problems, it can spell big issues for your car, and the most likely solution to this problem is getting an engine repair or replacement engine fitted. The average cost of an engine repair on a Mazda when booked with WhoCanFixMyCar is £245.50.


Mazda RX-8 power steering problems

Various drivers have reported power steering issues with their Mazda RX-8, where the power steering drops in and out for no reason, despite the connections working fine. You might notice this in your vehicle by having a slow responding or stiff steering wheel when turning, different noises when turning your wheel, or you might find a puddle of red liquid under your car which would indicate a power steering fluid leak.

Power steering issues can be easy to resolve, and generally not too expensive either. On average when booked with WhoCanFixMyCar, a power steering repair on a Mazda costs around £91.67.

Mazda rx-8

Mazda RX-8 catalytic converter failure

The catalytic converter is widely reported to be susceptible to failure on the Mazda RX-8. Common symptoms of catalytic converter failure include struggling to accelerate, a sluggish engine performance, dark exhaust fumes, and you might even notice a rotten egg smell coming from your exhaust.

If you’ve noticed any of these issues, it could likely be caused by catalytic converter failure. A catalytic converter replacement costs on average £330.68 on a Mazda when booked with WhoCanFixMyCar.


Mazda RX-8 ignition coil failure

Additionally, the Mazda RX-8 has been reported to damage the ignition coils. The ignition coils are there to convert battery power into electrical currents, which allows the spark plugs to have enough power during combustion. You might notice that your car has ignition coil failure with symptoms like a stalling engine and hard starts, with the ignition coils on the RX-8 being prone to failure every 30,000 miles.

Replacement of the ignition coils on the Mazda RX-8 costs on average £178.97 when booked with WhoCanFixMyCar.


How long will an RX-8 engine last?

The rotary-style engine on the RX-8 is widely reported to be highly unreliable, particularly after 60,000 miles. Warranty providers have claimed that Mazda have themselves unofficially stated that the engines do become unreliable after 60,000 miles.

Due to issues with reliability as well as poor fuel efficiency, Mazda’s last produced car with this type of engine ended in 2012, so luckily if you bought your vehicle after this date, you shouldn’t be affected by this problem.


Is the Mazda RX-8 reliable?

With its widely reported poor engine reliability, the Mazda RX-8 is considered by some experts to be a fairly unreliable car model. Not only is the engine susceptible to problems once you hit 60,000 miles, it also contributes to a high fuel consumption on the model making it pricey to run.

On the other hand, the NHTSA rated the Mazda RX-8 between four and five out of a possible five stars across three different categories in their crash test ratings, a strong rating for a particularly sporty model of car.


Having issues with your Mazda RX-8? WhoCanFixMyCar are here to help you find a trusted garage in your area for the best price.