A Mazda Thing Or Part of the Accident

I have a 2005 Mazda 3s that I allowed my son to drive in LA traffic ( I should have known better). He rear ended a large truck with a metal bumper. Although there was no damage to the truck, my lovely Mazda was totaled. This car is well cared for and has never given me a bit of trouble, so I decided to keep it, make the repairs and replace the engine, as the engine was toast. The replacement engine had 109,000 miles on it. When I got my car back it started doing something it has never done before. Three times I have needed to step on the gas to get out of a bad situation when all of a sudden the transmission drops into third gear at 60 miles an hour and I lose power steering at the same time. The only light on the dash that comes on is the power steering light and the tachometer reads about 4,000rpm. I pull off the road, turn off the engine, wait a few minutes and restart. Everything is fine and I go on my way. I drove straight to the mechanic, he attaches the computer and there are no codes. His best guess is the transmission is “backing up,” i.e. gets lost and goes back to the previous gear. He’s not sure what to do. Questions: What’s going on, how do I fix it, do I need a new transmission?

Car was totaled by ins co but u fixed it? 8k value. 5k body/engine damage. Ins co writes u check and u buy car for nothing and than pay shop to fix it? So it has salvage title which means its worth 1/2 of usual value. And most ins co will not insure salvage car since its “bad”?

You need to file a claims adjustment with your insurance agent and return the vehicle to the shop who repaired it. If, as I suspect, you paid for the excess above the evaluation of the insurance in order to keep the vehicle, you can skip the insurance claim and just go directly to the repair shop.

Dropping into 3rd gear when you “step on it” is not unusual.
Losing your steering assist when you hit the gas is unusual.

Just for the sake of clarification…Does this car have electrically-assisted power steering, or does it have “conventional” hydraulic PS, with the PS pump driven by the serpentine belt?

If you have “conventional” power steering, it is likely that a loose belt is causing you to lose steering assist under those conditions. A loose belt might result from the use of the old belt tensioners on that “new” engine, or the belt might just be ready for replacement.

On the other hand, if the PS is of the electrical variety, I theorize that there was more impact damage than was originally recognized, and this might necessitate replacement of the electric PS motor, or some damaged wiring, or even a sensor or two.

VDCdriver… thanks! I’ll get out the manual tonight and check it out. I was charged for all new belts but I wouldn’t know if that really happened. Hmmmmm. I’ll keep you updated… thanks again.

Why was the engine toast? Are you saying that it was damaged by the collision?

Minor issues. Smashed front end, ruined motor. Sounds like a sweet deal.

My daughter’s 2004 mazda 3 has hydraulic power sterring, but the pump is driven by an electric motor. Yours is probably the same. I would check for bad electrical wiring to the pump.