Made by Japanese car manufacturer, the Mazda 3, or Mazda3 was introduced in 2004. Higher performance versions of the Mazda 3 are known as the Mazdaspeed3 in North America, Mazdaspeed Axela in Japan and the Mazda3 MPS in Europe.
Almost all modern cars have on-board computers, which by use of sensors detect if a fault has occurred with the vehicle. These lights display on the dashboard and range from a light indicating a service is running, through to a serious problem.
Red, or red flashing lights in particular should not be ignored. If you’re not too sure what it is, pull over if safe to do so and investigate. Some warning lights may indicate a risk to driver and passenger safety, or potential vehicle damage. Detailed below are the Mazda 3 dashboard warning lights, along with each symbol meaning and recommended action to take.
Warning Light Name: Brake System
Description: The brake system light has the following meaning:
- Without Electric Parking Brake
The Mazda 3 exclamation mark in a circle symbol comes on in red when the parking brake is on and should go off when the parking brake is released. If the light remains on when the parking brake is released, it may indicate low brake fluid levels or a malfunction with the braking system.
- With Electric Parking Brake
If this light stays on, it indicates either low brake fluid levels or a system fault.
What to do: Stop your vehicle as soon as it’s safe to do so. Check under the bonnet in the brake fluid reservoir and top up with fluid if required. If fluid doesn’t require topping up and the hand brake is released but the light remains on, it could be dangerous to continue driving.
Warning Light Name: EBFD
Description: EBFD, or ‘Electronic Brake Force Distribution’ system has determined that some brake components have a malfunction. This is illustrated by the illumination of both the brake system light (red) and the ABS light (amber).
What to do: Do not attempt to drive if both the brake light and ABS light up simultaneously. This is dangerous and it’s advisable that you stop the car and arrange the vehicle to be recovered.
Warning Light Name: Battery
Description: The Mazda 3 battery light comes on (red) for a short time with ignition as normal. If it comes on while driving, it indicates a malfunction with the charging system of generator. Engine may cut-out at any time.
What to do: If the light comes on while driving, immediately turn off any unnecessary electrical equipment such as the heater or air conditioning for example. This may prolong the use of the vehicle for enough time to find somewhere safe to stop.
Warning Light Name: Oil Pressure
Description: The red oil can symbol indicates a loss of engine oil pressure. High engine oil pressure is required to enable oil to circulate the engine. The light will come on at startup and shortly go out as normal. If the light comes on during driving, immediate action is required.
What to do: Stop and turn off the engine as soon as safely possible. Do not restart engine as engine components are highly likely to be damaged. Arrange for vehicle to be recovered.
Warning Light Name: Coolant Temperature
Description: The red thermometer symbol comes on at start-up and goes out shortly as normal. If it comes on when driving, it indicates that the engine coolant temperature is too high. Immediate action is required if this light comes on else engine components may be damaged. Other symptoms include a loss of power, knocking or pinging noise.
What to do: The Mazda3 coolant warning may either flash or stay on constantly:
- Stable Light
Immediately and as soon as safely possible, pull over and switch off the engine. Allow 15 minutes or so for engine to cool down. Check for water leaks. If no leaks, continue driving.
- Flashing Light
Slow down to reduce engine load. This may be sufficient for engine to cool. If light remains flashing, pull over and switch off as above.
Warning Light Name: ABS
Description: The Mazda 3 ABS lights up in amber and stands for Anti-Lock Braking System. ABS prevents wheel lock and under most conditions, prevents skidding and aids in steering whilst under heavy braking.
What to do: Your normal brakes will remain unaffected if the ABS light comes on. However, the safety features associated with ABS will remain deactivated. Have vehicle checked. Often the fault is due to ABS wheel speed sensors.
Warning Light Name: Steering
Description: The steering wheel and exclamation mark light up on the Mazda 3 dashboard in amber indicating a fault with the electronic power steering. Whilst operation of the steering wheel will remain unaffected, turning the wheel will feel heavy.
What to do: The system may have activated protection mode which results in jerking the wheel left a right when moving slowly or stationary. If this happens, park the vehicle and wait several minutes for the system to reactivate.
This fault can occasionally be due to an overheated power steering motor (temporary fault) or the steering angle sensor.
Warning Light Name: Master Warning
Description: On the Mazda 3, the red triangle containing an exclamation mark is the master warning light. There are various faults associated with this symbol.
What to do: Carry out the following depending on your version of the Mazda 3:
For vehicles with C/tyre D audio
To establish what the warning message is:
- Select the icon on the home screen which will display the application screen.
- Select Vehicle Status Monitor.
- To display current warnings, select Warning Guidance.
- Select the applicable warning for further information.
For vehicles without C/tyre D audio
- There is a malfunction in the battery management system.
- There is a malfunction in the brake switch.
Warning Light Name: Parking Brake
Description: The following description depend on the type of parking brake:
- The ‘P’ illuminated in red indicates the electronic parking brake has been applied. The light should go out once the parking brake has been released.
- The ‘P’ with an exclamation mark in red indicates a malfunction with the electronic parking brake.
What to do: Carry out the following:
- If the light remains on when the parking brake has been released, it indicates a malfunction. If the light flashes with the parking brake applied, it indicates a malfunction.
- This symbol indicates a malfunction. Have vehicle checked if any of those faults occur.
Warning Light Name: Check Engine
Description: This light is referred to as the check engine light or malfunction indication lamp (MIL). This light comes on the Mazda 3 dashboard in amber indicating:
- The fuel tank level is very low / approaching empty (on models SKYACTIV-G 1.5, SKYACTIV-G 2.0, SKYACTIV-G 2.5).
- Engine electrical system has a fault.
- Emissions control system has a fault.
What to do: If symbol flashes, avoid driving at high speeds. Risk to catalytic converter damage. Seek help from qualified engineer. When the check engine light comes on, a fault code is stored in the ECU. Diagnostic equipment is required to read the fault codes.
Warning Light Name: i-stop
Description: The Mazda 3 i-stop is an engine start/stop system that turns off the engine when the vehicle becomes stationary to save fuel. If the i-stop symbol illuminates on the dashboard in amber, despite continuously pressing the i-stop OFF switch and other when the bonnet is open and where the driver is not in the vehicle with the seat belt unfastened and the door open, there’s a fault with the system. The i-stop light flashing also indicates a malfunction.
What to do: See Mazda i-stop not working for possible reasons.
Warning Light Name: AT
Description: The amber AT symbol on the Mazda 3 dashboard indicates a electrical fault with the Automatic Transaxle.
What to do: Continued driving may cause damage to the transaxle. Have vehicle checked.
Warning Light Name: TCS/DSC
Description: The Mazda 3 has a Dynamic Stability Control system and Traction Control System (TCS and DSC) that aids in keeping the car in control if skidding is detected. The amber symbol may come on when the system is active (it looks like a car skidding).
What to do: If the warning light stays on continuously, there may be a fault with the Active Safety Technology (TCS/DSC). Have vehicle checked as soon as possible. This system relies on ABS wheel speed sensors and due to these sensors location, they often need replacing.
Warning Light Name: Air Bag
Description: This red symbol represents vehicle safety systems for the air bag and seat belt pretensioners. Seat belt pretensioner system tightens the seat belt in the event of a collision. Under normal operation, this red symbol should come on with ignition and shortly go out.
What to do: If the light does not come on with ignition, stays on constantly or flashes, there’s a fault with the system. Have vehicle checked as soon as possible. Check cabling under front seats.
Warning Light Name: TPMS
Description: The Mazda 3 is equipped with a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS). There is a fault with the system if the symbol flashes for around 1 minute when the ignition is switched to ON.
What to do: If the amber light illuminates (stable, not flashing), slow down and avoid sudden or sharp steering movements. Check tyre pressures as soon as possible.
Warning Light Name: Key
Description: If the key warning light illuminates in red or the push button start flashes in amber, the engine may not start. Try starting using the emergency start procedure.
What to do: Ensure you have the key in the vehicle, depress the clutch (if manual) or brake pedal (automatic) then press and hold the engine start button until the engine starts.
Warning Light Name: Security
Description: If the engine fails to start using the correct key and the security light illuminates or flashes, try to the following.
What to do: Ensure you have the key with you so that it’s in operational range. Switch off the ignition and attempt to restart. Try this 3 times. If the engine fails to start, have vehicle checked.
Warning Light Name: ALH
Description: ALH or ‘Adaptive LED Headlights’ illuminates in amber on the Mazda 3 dashboard to indicate a problem with the system. The system uses cameras that are mounted inside the windscreen.
What to do: Ensure the windscreen is clear from dirt or condensation to enable the Forward Sensing Camera to work correctly.
Warning Light Name: BSM
Description: BSM or Blind Spot Monitoring is a safety feature that warns the driver that a vehicle is in the door mirror blind spot. If the symbol comes on with ‘OFF’, it indicates a possible fault with the system or the BSM system has paused.
What to do: If the system isn’t working, ensure the sensors located in each corner or the rear bumper are not damaged or obscured.
Warning Light Name: Radar
Description: The Mazda 3 Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) will display the front radar sensor system malfunction light if a problem occurs.
What to do: This may be due to the radar being obscured by dirt. Clean the area around the radar on the front grille.
Warning Light Name: LDWS/LAS
Description: This is the same warning symbol for the Mazda 3 Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) and Lane Keep Assist System (LAS) Dashboard Warning Symbol Light. This symbol flashes along with a message when there’s a fault with LDWS or LAS. Or the light does not come on when the ignition is switched to ON.
What to do: This fault may occur if tyres are used that are not of the same specified size, manufacturer and tread pattern. Tyre that have significantly different wear may also trigger a fault. LDWS and LAS may not operate properly in this case. Either system may not operate if the emergency spare wheel is in use.
Warning Light Name: LED Light
Description: This symbol of a light bulb with an exclamation mark comes on if there’s a malfunction with the LED headlights.
What to do: Have the system checked.
Warning Light Name: SBS/SCBS
Description: SBS (Smart Brake Support), SCBE (Smart City Brake Support) and also known as FOW (Front Obstruction Warning illuminates in red if a fault is detected in the system.
What to do: This could be due to dirt obstructing the camera and radar systems. Clean windscreen (camera) and clean radar front emblem.
Warning Light Name: 120 km/h
Description: This light comes on some models of the Mazda 3 dashboard if the vehicle speed exceeds 120 km/h (75 mph) and a chime sounds for 5 seconds.
What to do: Reduce speed.
Warning Light Name: Low Fuel
Description: This symbol comes on when the fuel is low and the remaining quantity is 9.0 L (1.9 Imperial gallon)
What to do: Add fuel.
Warning Light Name: Key (red flashing)
Description: The red flashing key indicates potential issues. There are:
- The battery is dead.
- The key is not within operational range.
- The key is in an area within the car that is difficult to detect.
- The key is taken out of the vehicle with all doors locked and the ignition is still on.
What to do: Try the following:
- Replace the battery.
- Bring the key closer to the vehicle.
- Locate the key and place in a location that can be detected. This may include moving the key away from devices that may cause wireless interference such as a phone.
- Bring the key back to the cabin.