19th Jan 2011, 21:48

Alternator gave out on my 2004 Tribute at 64,000 miles. It had to be replaced again just 3 months later under warranty.

At 71000 miles the check engine light went on. PO304 low pressure cylinder 4 had to replace 3 coils from dealer for $350 and told low pressure needed valve job. After just 71000 miles...


I am thinking of letting it run out and popping in a new long block engine...

21st Feb 2011, 06:44

I own a 2002 Mazda Tribute LS with 245,000 miles. Normal maintenance kept the car running well. I have replaced the tires three times, changed the alternator twice, replaced the CV joints, replaced the coils as they failed over about 18 month period.

The transmission has apparently died over the weekend. No diagnosis yet, however, the car will not move in D. It will move in L, 2, and reverse. The overdrive light was blinking when it failed, so maybe the problem can be repaired without a lot of expense. I need the car to last another six months or so until the driver graduates from college. I cannot complain about my Mazda experience. It's been a great car -- none of the repairs were especially costly.

17th Mar 2011, 23:13

2002 Mazda Tribute LX 3.0 V6 made in Hiroshima, Japan with 84,000 miles to date.

Installed an Avital 3200 remote starter.

GEM module replaced at 21,000 miles. Warranty.

Bought a Haynes repair manual.

If the CEL light comes on, read code with a code scanner, cheap to buy, I don't trust any "stealer-ship" with fixing what they say is wrong.

Replaced EGR pressure differential sensor twice. Cheap fix, out of warranty.

Tire valve stem's rubber cracked and leaked air out of tires, not the original Mazda valve stems.

Took it to a tire shop where I bought the BF Goodrich Long Trail tires they fixed easily for free. Neighbor's Dodge Caravan did the same thing 4 months later.

IAC valve once, also another cheap fix. That cures the cold start/stop problem.

Replaced rotors and brake pads at 56,000 miles. No unusual wear problems as others have experienced. I love to mechanic on my own vehicles, at least I know it's done right.

Electrical contact cleaner spray fixes the power mirror and moonroof switches.

Cloth on door panels re-glued.

If we continue regular scheduled maintenance, fluid changes and filter changes, I don't see why it shouldn't extend the life of the vehicle. Changing transmission fluid, engine oil and filter, radiator anti-freeze, fuel filter, even bought the cabin air filter.

Just started a steering "squeak". I've already researched the possible solutions.

Overall this zoom-zoom has been a great "light truck", look on the vehicle's title.

I hope we can get as many miles out of this vehicle as some of the posters here have reached.

29th Mar 2011, 01:09

Rough idle when there is moisture or high humidity, is usually coil and plug related. Be sure to use the dielectric grease on the coil, and the coil connectors. And anti-seize compound on the plug threads. Usually if the coils are misfiring, it will damage your spark plugs. Change your upper intake manifold gaskets while you're changing the coils. They are cheap, and will save you from having to work on it again for some time. Cylinders 1, 2, and 3, are a bit of a pain to change, but 4, 5, and six are easy. Make sure you check the codes before and after the repair.

1st Apr 2011, 16:13

Your sunroof leak is most likely not the seal. The new sunroofs have a small drainage tray around the perimeter of the sunroof. You have two drain lines/holes in the front corners in the black plastic area. They are a little hard to see, unless you are looking for them. Take a compressed air hose with a rubber tipped blower type gun, and blow the lines out with about 90 psi of air. As you are doing this, you will most likely see a small amount of water dripping from below the fender, which means the line is clear again. Vacuum any leaves, dirt or debris from around the drainage tray, and you are good to go. Easy fix!

10th May 2011, 16:54

I have had to replace the alternator about every year and a half. What is causing this problem? I know your frustration. I just got my battery replaced Friday and came out to find the battery dead today (Tuesday), again. Looks like another alternator replacement is on the cards. On my 3rd engine. 1st two were under warranty. I have also had the vinyl peel off the door panels and have had the odometer bulb out for a couple of years now. (It lights up the Drive Neutral Reverse indicator).

I like the car for the most part, but I just wish there were something preventative we could do to avoid the multiple alternator replacements! Pep boys at least have a lifetime warranty on the alternator though, but you get a hit on the labor every time. Ugh!

22nd Aug 2011, 16:54

Sam thing happened to me. One day I went out to the tribute and no drive gears. Trans out at 80k.

No hard wear and tear. Also the alternator was out. We need a class action against Mazda for the trans.

David Hayes

San Antonio TX.

4th Jun 2012, 13:40

2001 Mazda Tribute bought used in 2008. Have had a few little problems, nothing major so far. As a used vehicle, it was priced far below comparable Toyotas, due to I was told, reliability and cost-of-repair.

Happy with the general driving experience.

Spacious interior, well-appreciated, easy to convert from back seat to cargo. Have used it for family and personal, and hauling lumber and building materials, and it has held up well.

Road noise can be quite reasonable, or excessive on certain stretches of blacktop. Wind noise is horrendous, especially around the driver's mirror and window. Fortunately, the 6-CD changer is functioning well, has been in use 90-95% of drive time since 2008, though I infrequently remove/replace different CDs.

Wind also has a serious effect on fuel mileage. Can stretch 500 km on a tank of gas with a tail wind; half that with a head wind. The automatic transmission requires full release on the gas to choose the right gear for acceleration and steep hills, but with the right touch, it feels like a reasonably powerful little vehicle.


Coolant light went on shortly after purchase. COOLANT LEVEL is very sensitive and needs to be topped up between fluids servicing. No big deal, I was topping up oil in my previous vehicle. I am still on my original bottle of carry-along Mazda coolant. Although an inspection found engine OIL LEAKS, the level has never dropped a significant amount between changes.

AIR BAG LIGHT went on; something unplugged under the passenger's seat. They leave loose cords hanging in an easily accessible space.

Driver's side exit DOOR HANDLE broke; was not abused, mechanical parts should not be made of cheap plastic! Mazda dealer quoted $550 to replace what should be a $5 piece of molded plastic, so no thanks, that will never be repaired.

No brake wear issues, but most of my driving is highway without heavy traffic either.

BRAKE LINE blew in 2011, thankfully when I was stopped. Had all 4 hoses replaced at that time, and pads were still in good shape.

WEAR ON TIRES is significant, don't get a lot of mileage on good tires. Also blew a tire after driving on muddy gravel, as the space between the tires and wheel well is insufficient to pass 1" gravel stuck to a regular tire. And when it comes to replacing tires out on the highway, there is no room for a full-sized spare, just a DONUT. They could have made space if they wanted.

REAR WIPER no longer touches the window. After a family member repaired their MPV rear wiper several times with no success, I will just drive using the side mirrors exclusively, pretending I am in a truck when weather obstructs it.

Replaced the ORIGINAL BATTERY, and discovered it was not something remotely suitable for a cold country. Winter temps here drop to -40, and before the new battery it would have trouble starting anywhere below freezing.

Current Worries:

However it is not a vehicle designed for summer either, as in hot weather the SUNROOF/MOONROOF balks. When on earth would you use it except on a hot day? Opening mechanism is slow to start, closing mechanism will not operate until the vehicle is parked in the shade for a while or cloud cover. It's a great way to let out the hot air fast while waiting for the A/C to kick in, but then you can't close it... very much hoping it doesn't die permanently while open. Resonant frequency is ~60-80 kph for thumping noise of air when window is refusing to close.

RH INNER SOCKET has some play, and was to reinspect to possibly replace in 10,000 km, which is now. Crossing my fingers on that, as it is to be a major service.

Future Plans:

I will probably not choose a Mazda again. I have not had good experiences with all three dealership/service repair places I have visited, and am not impressed with the special premium on Mazda parts that are certainly not better quality than the next guy's. I will probably drive this vehicle to its end, hopefully a long time coming. I hope by then someone chooses to build good cars designed for drivers and designed to last. It can be done, and as far as I know, NO manufacturer makes the right choices.