Regular readers may recall my painful experience earlier this year with a DPF failure on our Mazda 6.
What I don’t think I’ve blogged, though I know I tweeted, is that the saga didn’t end there. We had a second breakdown, almost identical to the first – gradual loss of power from the engine, followed by a Christmas tree effect of warning lights on the dashboard, meaning I stopped in a layby and the children missed their booked science day out with friends. Another friend recovered them, and I didn’t make it home until nearly 6 o’clock after the RAC weren’t quite as efficient as they had been previously. The car then had another holiday at the garage and this time the DPF was replaced, running cost of repairs reaching £800.
Last week the light came on again. Tim took the car in and the DPF was repressurised? An adjustment sometimes required after a new one has been fitted we were told.
Today I set off for a britmums meetup in Cambridge. I took Tigerboy with me, and left home at 8.30 this morning. Cruising along the A14 it seemed to me that the car was a bit laggy, not as responsive as it could be, but given that it’s got a new DPF in it, I convinced myself that I was just being paranoid and kept going.
As I pulled off the A14 towards Cambridge power dropped off completely, and with that sinking feeling, I knew I was going to break down again. Decision time – nurse it along into the centre so I could get to my meetup, or pull off and call for rescue? I continued on, and I’m pleased I did. If I’d called immediately, maybe I’d have got a different patrol man.
The meetup was great, although I was rather distracted by the knowledge the car was broken down – the tracking, DPF and check engine light had all come on about 10 minutes out of the centre. So after an hour or so I called the RAC, knowing it would take them a while to get to me.
It did. Well over the hour predicted – but given the patrolman had rung to give me an update, I wasn’t too fussed. I took Tigerboy to the library, and he had a great time climbing and scuttling about, so by the time we got the car out of the carpark to go somewhere the patrol van could get to it, he was tired and fell asleep.
And then the fun really started. I described all the experiences we’d had with the DPF problem. How the power drops off – you can have cruise control on and the revs and speed just fall away, even if you put your foot down flat the engine just doesn’t respond. This is supposedly the engine management kicking in to protect the engine from the effects of the DPF fault, given that the DPF is clogged at this point and needs regenerating.
I was directed to this video.
Seems ridiculous to assume that this short procedure could make any difference.After all, as the manual says, the DPF light flashing indicates that the DPF requires regeneration by driving for 10-15 minutes at a specified high level of revs to burn off the accumulated particulate. And if you can’t regenerate it, you have to replace it. And the other lights did stay on. But the diagnostic computer thing (technical term) got plugged in and there was no fault found, so the codes were reset and I got in and tried driving. Car felt responsive – back to normal. Lovely RAC man followed me down the A14 to be sure – and after 20 miles we waved our goodbyes and I drove very happily home.
Now, tell me how sticking a wire in a hole and pumping the accelerator ten times could possible fix problems with loss of power and then all sorts of warning lights coming on on the dashboard? Because I don’t see how it could. Which means I’m wondering whether the DPF light really indicates a problem with the DPF, or whether it is at least partially set up to get you to take your Mazda to a dealer for an expensive service. (Once the light comes on, the loss of power and so on is the engine management cutting in to protect your engine from the effects of the clogged DPF. Surely if you reset the sensor, but the DPF was still clogged, it would just trigger the sensor again?) This has cost us £800 and lost me three days this year. We missed a family party (not a huge deal, but very disappointing for the extended family) and the children missed a booked educational activity and day with their friends. If we didn’t have bells and whistles RAC membership (which trust me, we’re keeping) it would have cost us two recoveries, one over 100 miles, the other around 70. I’m told that recovery is £10 a mile? All in all, I’m thinking that we won’t be buying any more Mazdas, I’ve completely lost faith in their attitude to their customers.
I’d love to hear what you think. Am I overreacting? Or is this whole situation akin to fraud? Any other Mazda drivers out there experienced DPF issues?