Notchy gearbox when cold?

 Hi, I’ve just bought a 2010 mk 3.5 2.0i Tech sport with the 6 speed gearbox 16K miles. When the car is cold it is difficult to change up the box without the gearbox feeling notchy. It feels like it’s crunching 2nd and 3rd although there is no audiable noise. It seems ok when the car has warmed up. The clutch pedel also seems quite low. Is this normal? It’s under warranty until July so I’m interested in getting any potential problems resolved.

I’ve just sold a 2003 1.8i sport with 42K miles. 6 speed gearbox. That did the same with 2nd when cold, ok when warm. is this just a trait of Mazda gearboxes?


Thanks Vince


Hi Vince, It does seem a fairly common comment and we had the same thing. Castrol Syntrans 75W90 GL4 transmission fluid fixed ours to the point where it no longer bothers me . Yes it’s smoother still after a few miles but it doesn’t block 2 and 3 as it used to. Whether the dealership use this or have another oil that may help you on your later car I don’t know. Also worth checking you’re not losing clutch movement at the pedal/master cyl pushrod. There is an adjustment there to take out any excess free play. See if they’ll talk to you about it otherwise seek out a specialist.

 I have a 2010 Sport tech purchased new. 18056 miles done to date. I’ve always experienced the gearbox being a little nochy in first and second gear when cold,  but clears fairly quickly after a mile or so . I think it’s normal and have stopped worrying about it.

Hope this helps.



My Mk3 2.0 Sport was very notchy in 1 and 2 until warmed up.  Complained to selling dealer who said it the norm for the model.

 “They all do that Sir”, or “Normal wear” seems to be the Mazda dealers favoutite response regarding warranty work! Different story when they want to charge you £100 an hour to repair it out of warranty though! 

Yep, get in there and see what they say before the warranty expires Vince.


Same with my Mk3 but was much better when I changed the oil to Mobil SHC full synthetic but it is a trait with the MX when cold.



The gearchange notchiness does sound like a trait, but what do you mean when you say the clutch pedal is low?  If you mean the bite point, just make sure the clutch isn’t dragging before you put it down to the gearchange foible.  If it’s only just disengaging the clutch before the pedal reaches the end of its downward travel, have it looked at.

Just a generally applicable comment -  I have no specific knowledge of Mk3.

My Mk.3 with 7,000 miles on it is sticky 1st-2nd gear when cold but fine in all other gears. I will be putting some of the Ford Motorcraft oil in there once the cars out of warranty as it gets a very good write up. I was going to go put Silkolene SRG in it as i know from experience its fantastic at curing a notchy gearbox but the Motorcraft has an even better specification.

One car i test drove with around 70k on the clock felt like the gears where not syncing correctly 2-3 but there was no noise on that one, it was like the gears were falling over themselves if that makes sense - no? no suprises there then lol

Sorry i cant be of more help

 I changed the oil on Saturday to Castrol Syntrans and this has helped a lot. The box still feels a little notchy even when warm. Has anybody tried Molyslip?

I noticed when I changed the old oil (bearing in mind the car has only done 16k miles) that there was a dark substance around the drain plug. I wonder if Mazda use an addative from new? On a positive note there was no metal particles stuck to the magnetic drain plug so at least the gears arn’t suffering. I have no idea what synchros are made of but no big bits of anything was present in the drained oil Smile