What to look for when buying a used Mazda 6

2006 Mazda 6
2006 Mazda 6. Photo: Mazda

Safety: Mazda 6 has disc brakes on all four wheels. Antilock brakes (ABS) were optional in early models, standard from 2005. Traction control, side airbags, side curtain airbags are standard from 2007. In the NHTSA frontal crash tests, the 2003-2008 Mazda 6 got five stars for both the driver and the front passenger. In the side-impact crash tests, the 2003-2006 Mazda 6 without side airbags received three stars for the front and four stars for the rear passenger protection. The 2006-2008 model with side airbags was given four stars for both the front and the rear.

Mazda 6 reliability and common problems: For the most part, Mazda 6 has been reliable, but transmission issues are reported often. It might be a good idea to stay away from the 2003 model. In a V6, engine misfire could be caused by bad ignition coils. A faulty or clogged purge valve (solenoid) can cause the “Check Engine” light to come on. A purge valve is easy to replace and is not very expensive. Oil leaks from a valve cover and oil pan gaskets are common in a V6. A failed wheel bearing may be the source of a humming or growling noise that gets louder at higher speeds.

Mazda 6 owner tips: In some 2006, 2007 Mazda 6 the passenger side window might stop working after the battery was disconnected or drained. The power window initialization procedure must be performed: with the ignition "ON" open the driver's window fully, then close holding the switch up for two more seconds after the window is fully closed. Repeat with each window.
The clunking or popping felt in the steering wheel could be caused by the lack of lubrication in the intermediate steering shaft splines in the steering column. There was a technical service bulletin (TSB) on this issue and the repair is very simple; the steering shaft splines need to be lubricated. The steering shaft in question is located above the pedals under the steering column.
In a V6 engine, if any of the ignition coils failed, replace all the spark plugs to avoid more coils failing.
Change your transmission fluid if you notice it becomes dark and dirty. Read out simple maintenance checklist to learn how to check the automatic transmission fluid and more.
Faded headlights may be restored using a very simple technique; read more here.
In a V6-model, a burn oil smell can be caused by oil leaks from the valve cover gaskets and other sources. Completely eliminating all the leaks could be quite expensive, so we would advise to start from replacing the valve cover gaskets.
More on car care:

What to look for when buying a used Mazda 6: When checking a used Mazda 6, test the air conditioner, see if the center display works. We noticed that in some high-mileage models parts of the center display don't work. Check under the hood; a burnt oil smell in a V6 is a sign of oil leaks. Check the engine oil level, low oil level may indicate that the engine consumes oil, which is something to avoid in a used car. During the test drive, watch out for a humming noise that may indicate a bad wheel bearing, which is fairly common in these cars. Pay attention to how the automatic transmission shifts between gears. If there is a jolt or delay, avoid the car. Read our illustrated used car checklist for more tips on what to look for. Have the car properly inspected by an independent mechanic before buying.
Guides for used car buyers:

Resources:
Mazda 6 club - plenty of DIY instruction and other information.
Mazda USA - download owner's manual; maintenance schedule, references.
Safety Recalls - NHTSA
Transport Canada - Road Safety Recalls

2005 Mazda 6 specifications

Dimensions:
Overall length:   
sedan, 5-door:
wagon:
Overall height:   
sedan, 5-door:
wagon:
Overall width:
Wheelbase:


186.8 in (4745 mm)
187.8 in (4770 mm)

56.7 in (1440 mm)
57.3 in (1455 mm)
70.1 in (1781 mm)
105.3 in (2675 mm)

Turning circle: (curb to curb)

38.7 ft. (11.8 m)

Engines:
4-cylinder


V6

2.3-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder with VVT
160 hp @ 6000 rpm, 155 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

3.0-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 with VVT
220 hp @ 6300 rpm, 192 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm



EPA Estimated Fuel Economy:

2.3L 4-cylinder, manual:


2.3L 4-cylinder, automatic:


3.0L V6 manual:


3.0L V6 automatic:



city: 21 MPG (11.2 L/100km)
hwy: 28 MPG (8.4 L/100km)

city: 20 MPG (11.8 L/100km)
hwy: 26 MPG (9.0 L/100km)

city: 17 MPG (13.8 L/100km)
hwy: 24 MPG (9.8 L/100km)

city: 17 MPG (13.8 L/100km)
hwy: 25 MPG (9.4 L/100km)

Recommended Fuel: Regular unleaded

Fuel Tank Capacity:

18.0 US gallons (68 liters)

Engine oil capacity:
With oil filter change:
2.3L 4-cylinder:
3.0L V6:


4.5 US qt. (4.3L)
6.0 US qt. (5.7L)

* subject to change