Engine done at 25K miles

Hi I recently acquired a 2011 mazda mazda 3 from a local reputable dealer when it had just over 19k miles on it. Less than a month in I find that my check oil light is coming on, so we filled it with about 2 qt of oil and about another week or so that was gone. We take it to the dealership, they “nipped the problem in the butt” so they said, but no less than 2 weeks later the check oil is coming back on. We took it back and after much complaining they said mazda approved me for a brand new engine.

Now, what I’m worried about is the rest of the car. I have a loan on the vehicle and I need it to last but if the engine is done at ~25k miles, how bad of shape can the rest of the car be in? We have brought it to the dealer and they inspected everything but the breaks and it was all supposedly in good shape

And also how will this affect my car’s value? I can see buyers being weary of a vehicle that needed an engine replacement in less than 25k miles. But at the same time I could see it might increase the value considering its a brand new engine directly from mazda and installed by a mazda dealer

What would you recommend I do in this situation?

Is there any warranty on the vehicle? Is there any visible sign of an oil leak? Has the car had an oil change since you got it? Have you driven it 6,000 miles without checking/changing the oil?

I would accept a new engine with a big smile on my face. The rest of the car is fine.

There’s an excellent chance that what happened was that the original owner never checked his/her oil and it ran dry, causing bearing damage. That would mean that the rest of the car is unaffected by engine problem.

Go for the free new engine. The manufacturer’s warranty will still be in effect for the entire vehicle.

I am in the same camp as mountainbike.
This is almost surely a car whose first owner(s) didn’t change the oil as often as it should have been changed, and likely never bothered to check the oil dipstick between oil changes. (Translation=running the engine on chronically low oil levels and driving it too long between oil changes led to engine damage.)

Just so that the OP is aware of something that he/she might not have realized, the fact that this car was apparently driven less than 5k miles per year by the previous owner(s) is not necessarily a good thing. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to be unable to unravel the…complexity…of maintenance schedules that specify oil changes (and other maintenance) at intervals of both odometer mileage AND elapsed time, with an either/or, “whichever comes first” proviso.

More than likely, the lummox who was the previous owner focused only on the odometer mileage factor for oil changes, and ignored the elapsed time factor–which can actually be more important when it comes to preventing the build-up of damaging engine sludge.

For your own benefit, please take a careful look at the Mazda maintenance schedule, and notice that it lists oil changes (and other maintenance procedures) at XXXX miles OR XXXX months–whichever comes first. I don’t think that this is a difficult concept, even though it seems to be…over the heads…of many car owners. In other words, if you aren’t adding a lot of miles per month, then you need to take notice of the elapsed time factor for maintenance.

And, you need to pull the oil dipstick at least every couple of weeks in order to make sure that the motor oil never falls more than 1 qt below the full mark. Personally, I always replenish the oil as soon as it has dropped by 1/2 qt. If you are not comfortable with checking your oil, then I suggest that you enlist the help of a friend, neighbor, or co-worker.

So…I think that you should thank your lucky stars that Mazda Mazda is standing behind a badly-maintained vehicle. As long as you maintain it properly (according to BOTH odometer mileage and elapsed time values) it should serve you well in the long term.

And, when you get the next oil change, it might be a good idea to have the brakes inspected–before something…breaks.


consider the positive side, an engine with 25k less miles than the car!

I bought a 1990 Ford Aerostar in 1991 from an independent dealer that came with the balance of the warranty. After a year, it was determined that the engine had to be replaced. Ford did the replacement under the warranty and the independent dealer loaned me a car from his stock. I was grateful for Ford and the independent dealer for coming through. The Aerostar was doing fine at 150,000 miles when I traded it for a new Windstar in 2000.
Sometimes engines go sour at an early age. In my case there was a hairline crack in a cylinder head. After changing a,head gasket earlier, the problem surfaced again and enough coolant leaked into a cylinder that the cylinder wall was scored. Hence, the engine was replaced.

Compared to many who post here with engine problems while under warranty you are the big winner. Throw that dealer some compliments.

Who knows why the first engine went. It could be a mechanical failure, or neglect.

Either way, as others have noted, be very happy. The dealer, or more likely Mazda, is doing well by you.

Enjoy the car now that it has a new engine. This should not affect the value of the car at all.

I bought a freezer from an independent appliance dealer at a good price. The compressor had gone out on the warranty period and the customer was given a replacement freezer. A new compressor was installed in the original freezer and I bought it at a very good price and it came with the standard new freezer warranty. That was 34 years ago and the freezer is still working.
A new engine in your car is an added plus. This beats having the dealer try to rebuild the original engine. The only case where a,replacement engine might detract from the resale value is on a collector car 40 years down the road where the numbers don’t match. However, I don’t think a Mazda3 will ever be a collectable car.
Years ago, a new or remanufactured engine was common. You could purchase a remanufactured engine from the Sears or Montgomery Ward catalog.

I know that I would be thrilled to get a new engine in a situation like this and it should not effect the value of the vehicle. I would like to add that you might have to pay for some fluids or other small items that do not come with the new engine. We had someone post on here a few weeks ago that they were mad because they had to pay less than Forty dollars for the oil and filter. Now where could someone buy a new engine for Forty dollars ? You should be fine.

I agree with the crowd. You’re lucky that it worked out this way. Make sure that you catch up on any other maintenance that might have been skipped and then enjoy the car.

“This beats having the dealer try to rebuild the original engine.”

As a matter of fact, it can’t be done

This engine has a “non-serviceable” bottom end

You can remove the pan and head . . .

But you literally can’t remove the pistons and rods . . . not without destroying the engine


The expression is “nip the problem in the bud” ie when the problem is first starting like a bud is the start of a flower.
Also , I don’t know about your car but on most cars that light is to show you are losing oil pressure because there is so little oil in the engine. Do not let the oil get that low in your engine, if you do, damage is already occurring.

What they said. Make SURE you check the oil regularly. The oil light is not for low oil level, it’s for low oil pressure, a BIG problem.

If they’re giving you a brand new engine (not a used one referred to as new…) and not hammering you for any large deductibles, I’d take the new engine in a heartbeat and be happy.

Odds are the car was a lease vehicle that never had the oil changed or seldom changed.

With a new engine I strongly suggest a vigorous oil change regimen and physically checking the oil level about every other tank of gas. If you do not know how to check under the hood I suggest you learn to do so.
Not knowing how to do his or even caring about the oil level is a major cause of these kinds of problems.

I have seen brand new cars (one was a Toyota Camry about three years ago) with terrible oil burning problems and even complete engine failures caused by defects in castings or poor assembly (typically misaligned piston rings).

Regardless of the cause it is good to see the dealer and manufacturer making it right for you. Your car should be completely fine after the replacement. As others have mentioned, it is good to check your oil often. Once a week is good. That way you can tell when something is wrong before it becomes a major issue.

Sometimes big parts have what is known as “infant mortality” In non-techno-speak, parts die young or maybe they get killed by a previous owner. In any event, you have a new engine that should last a good long time if you take proper care of it. Bring the mechanics and service writer some donuts when you pick up your refreshed car and be happy.

“You could purchase a remanufactured engine from the Sears or Montgomery Ward catalog.”

My dad did this on a 1948 Plymouth in the mid '60s.
A motor from Sears and a paint job from Earl Scheib.
My mother nicknamed it “High Boy” because it was taller than all the low slung cars of that era.
It would fit right in with all the SUVs now, height wise.
My older brothers would slump down in the seats to keep their friends from seeing them in such an un-cool car.
When the frame got too rusted he gave it to a friend with a farm.
He put it on stands and attached a saw blade to one of the rear hubs.