Mazda 3 Power Steering Easy Repair and Save $$$

This morning I received a call from a really good friend who owns a successful mechanic shop that specializes not only in your standard repair and service. But also in custom exhaust, performance solutions right to building full spec custom cars. Monday morning calls from Glenn usually are invitations to lunch. Not today.

He had a question about a 2004 Mazda3 that came in with intermittent power steering failure. The radio also cut out momentarily at the same time, but would come back on yet the power steering would remain in inoperative.

I remembered there was a time I was driving along the 401 near Pearson Airport outside of Toronto when I decided (without any real reason) to shut off the car, then bump start it while at speed to see what happens. (Bump starting is a way of restarting your car without using your starter. It can typically only be done on cars equipped with manual transmissions). What I noticed is that when the engine started again, that everything operated properly with the exception of the power steering.

I relayed my story to Glenn, he went on to work his magic and confirmed the probable diagnosis. I felt like Greg House telling Foreman, Cameron and Chase to do an LP (lumbar puncture) while I popped several pills.

So Here Is the Lesson:

If you have experienced the above in your Mazda3 chances are its not your Power Steering Pump failing. Especially if your car is a 2004. Why you ask?

2005 and up Mazda3’s are equipped with a larger capacity battery than 2004 models. This was a result of intermittent failure of the electrical system. Battery would fall below a certain level and several electrical system circuits would temporarily fail. This is not a huge fail on Mazda’s part, but it sure as ice cream melting on a hot day annoying and potentially dangerous.

How Does This Experience Play Out If You Are The Driver?

So if you are driving along and this happens, lights will dim. Instruments will shut off, then turn back on. Your radio will turn off then back on all without any explanation or cause. But your power steering will not work. Potentially dangerous if you are not an arm wrestling champion.

What To Do?

While this is prevalent in 2004 Mazda3 models, it may happen on 2005 and newer models as the batteries start to get older, starting to lose their capacity. So if you have experienced this, get the battery checked. There is a very good chance that it is only the battery. Get a second or third opinion if necessary as a battery is less expensive.


Thanks to Glenn of Camtech Auto in Mississauga for calling me with this. Glenn always picks up the phone or emails me with info that will help out Mazda3 drivers.

If you live or work in the Mississauga area and need a great trustworthy mechanic, give Glenn a call at (905) 814-5490 or stop in at 6295 Mississauga Rd., Unit 402 (back of the building) Mississauga, Ontario.

15 thoughts on “Mazda 3 Power Steering Easy Repair and Save $$$

  1. Wayne Kehoe

    I drive a mazda 3 2004 and I recently had problems where my power steering, my odometer and my speedometer would fail at the same time. I got my battery changed (first time) and it didn’t seem to fix the problem.

    Its weird because if I turn my car off and on again, the power steering is working for a couple minutes before failing again. Any idea what I should do?

    Thank you

  2. Edmon m santos

    I change my alternator fix my 4month old battery still my still stearing system is unfunctionable

  3. David Freitas Post author

    Edmond, sometimes a failing cell in a battery can wreak havoc on its electrical systems. The power steering system on the Mazda3 is no different.

    But by all means, I don’t mean to suggest that it is the only cause of power steering failure. But as a probable diagnosis that could save you money.

    I suggest having the system diagnosed by a mechanic you know that has experience with electric power steering systems like the Mazda3.

  4. Ken

    I have a 2004 Mazda 3 and have the exact problem you described. Thank god that the power steering failed on my driveway.

    However, my battery is quite strong and has absolutely no signs of it being weak at all. It starts the car strong. Do you think that the battery could still be the problem even if it has no signs of aging?

    I have no checked this yet but do you think it could be the fuse for power steering is blown?

  5. James

    Edmon did u get yours fix. I got a 2010 Mazda 3 and mine just started. SomeOne said something about ground wire loose but I haven’t had it check out yet

  6. Joe

    Got a 2004 Mazda 3 manual transmission with 125K miles. Exact thing happened. Driving along and battery light came on. Stopped to get gas battery light went off and drove to work. Next time I drove (its dark) battery light comes on, 3-4 miles later, power steering fails (got 2 lights power steering and battery), then I get a airbag light, next the lights dim, push on hazards and all lights go dead. Sounds like battery was totally drained. Alternator can’t charge a bad battery, right? Gonna change battery and then alternator.

  7. Pingback: 2004 Mazda power steering failure - 2004 to 2014 Mazda 3 Forum and Mazdaspeed 3 Forums

  8. David Freitas Post author

    Hi Joe, sounds like it could be the battery or possibly the fuse block located on top of the battery. How did you make out?

  9. David Freitas Post author

    Hi Ken, I would still get the battery double checked. On modern cars, a bad cell in a battery can cause all sorts of crazy glitches in the electronics of your car.

    Don’t start replacing parts and hoping for the best. Especially with expensive parts.

  10. Paul Jensen

    Mine is doing the same, momentarily losing power, radio, fan, power steering goes out but then everything comes right back on again. its usually when I’m on city streets, 1st or 2nd gear and turning a corner. I also have a brand new battery so I don’t think that is the issue. My starter is starting to go so I’m having that replaced in a few days. Could there be correlation with the starter?? Any other ideas from anybody besides it being a bad battery or battery cell?

  11. David Freitas Post author

    Hi Paul, if the radio and other electrical systems are all momentarily dying, there could be a common problem. I would check the ground connections to ensure they aren’t loose, corroded or broken.

  12. David Freitas Post author

    Hi Paul, I asked my good friend Glenn from Cam Tech Auto in Mississauga, ON ( if he had any additional insight into your issue.

    He replied with:

    If not a battery I have found a few of them lately with corroded wiring under the fuse box. This is looking like a common problem on older Mazda vehicles. Possibly water over the years that gets into that area.

  13. Anonymous

    I had this same thing happen to my 2010 mazda 3 on my way to work this morning. The positive terminal on the battery had some build up on it. Cleaned and buffed it really well and its working fine now. Gonna get the battery check also. I left my dome light on about a month and a half ago which drained the battery and I had to jump it. I think the combination of the battery being a little old and the build up on the terminal is what caused the momentary lose of power to those electrical systems………

  14. David Freitas Post author

    Glad it worked out. With modern electrical systems many electrical gremlins can often be attributed to a battery with a bad cell. Even if the car starts up every time.

  15. David Freitas Post author

    Hi Wayne, check the electrical connections, including the under hood fuse box checked for any signs of corrosion.

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