Mazda Rx8 Problems and Complaints


It looks great, it drives well, It’s quick and it’s been well reviewed…Unfortunately, it’s also a fundamentally flawed design that regularly requires a new engine…

There’s plenty of online information about the RX8 and mostly it’s positive.  There’s also many warnings about the fact that they need to be cared for – in particular, they’re designed to burn oil so that needs to be kept topped up and the engine should always be warmed up before stopping it.

Those warnings alone are probably not enough to put off a potential buyer, but there’s a much worse issue that doesn’t have as much coverage but is certainly more important and should make you think twice before buying one.

Getting my engine replaced. The engine went belly up and first thing they tested was the compression.
I only had 2 weeks left on warranty!   Fio07

The problem is that as the rotors wear down, the fuel and air mixture may start to leak from one combustion chamber into another, which reduces the engine’s efficiency.  This leads to low compression and manifests itself as poor starting when warm.

So the first piece of advice if you insist on buying one – Get a hot compression test done by Mazda.  It costs a couple of hundred pounds – but is well worth it.

Anybody that owns an RX-8, especially 2004-2005, that hasn’t had a compression check is foolish. Why, especially with all the info here, would you not get checked and potentially a new motor? I find and buy RX-8’s regularly that are under warranty and get new engines. My Mazda mechanic loves me and knows what I am there for. I end up with a new motor everytime, it’s just a matter of asking the right questions. I benefit from all the people that don’t understand this car or how to drive it.  95FXSTC

The basic warranty is 3 years or 60,000 miles.  Engines should not be failing with mileages this low when they’ve been looked after and followed the prescribed service schedule – however, they frequently do.  In America, they’ve extended the warranty to 8 years or 100,000 miles which may be further indication that the engine is at fault.

If you’re still thinking of buying a second hand Mazda RX8, then make sure you read through the following posts:

Do NOT buy a used RX8. The engine does not last unless it is taken care of by someone who knows exactly what they are doing. The average engine life is 60000mi. If your (sic) going for a new one, just lease it and beat it up. If you want a car to mod, then dont get it unless you really want to spend 20 hrs a week researching how a rotary engine works and how to repair it. Its a great car, but you really need to know what your doing with it. The Voice

Once the engine  starts suffering from low compression – it’ll still start from cold, but won’t when warm – as this video shows:


What if you have confirmed compression issues? One of the moderators from the RX8 owners club has the following advice:

a) If you have owned the car from new speak with Mazda. Hopefully you will still be covered by some kind of warranty and all being well with a little pushing and shoving you should be able to get a new engine, or possibly a goodwill gesture towards the replacement of an engine. Replacement engines from Mazda are circa. £5,000
b) If you are not the first owner, or are out of warranty:
a. Still have a word with Mazda, but you will need to have an impeccable main dealer service record and they may sympathise and offer a small goodwill gesture towards the cost of replacement.
b. Get an engine rebuild from a rotary specialist. These are currently in the region of approx. £3,500 dependant on what other ancillaries you require.

Basically – it’s going to be expensive!  When I spoke to Mazda, after my engine needing replacing at 58,000 miles having been looked after and with all the necessary paperwork – they couldn’t have been less interested.

I subsequently asked for a compression test to be carried out on the engine. This showed that compression was below minimum. The Dealer advises me the only solution would be to replace the engine completely.

Your best options is the engine rebuild, then get out of the car asap. – Honest John

In summary – it guzzles petrol, it needs treating with kid gloves and it’s only a matter of time until the seals start leaking and the only solution is a complete engine rebuild. ..It’s probably not worth the bother.  At least not until Mazda extend the warranty in the UK to match the US and acknowledge there’s a problem…



  1. Paul Kerrison
    Paul Kerrison06-28-2012

    Well Mazda have announced the rotary engine is officially dead…citing high costs, low sales and environmental concerns…

    ….and poor engine reliability perhaps?

    ah well….not to worry – after they ripped me off, I certainly won’t be crying myself to sleep 🙂

    Full Story here: 

  2. article spinner
    article spinner09-01-2014

    I cοuldn’t resist commenting. Very well written!

    • Lindsay

      I paid £3600 for mine. I had it for 9 months then the engine packed up. I got rid of it for £700 spares or repairs. Having FAKE water and oil temp gauges on a rotary run vehicle do not help either.

  3. RX8 specialist
    RX8 specialist02-16-2016

    The Mazda Rx8 Cars as a well known facts are Rotary Engine based cars, which without any doubt needs extra care and servicing, are still among the UK most liked sports cars and If you get them serviced on time from any dedicated Rx8 specialist like Warren Court Rotaries, you will be more then happy to own an RX8 in UK.

    • john waddon
      john waddon04-28-2016

      Couldn’t disagree more. I bought my RX-8 from new, followed all of the advice re: oil checks, start-up, etc, had it serviced on the dot…and it still blew up at 65000 miles. The dealership couldn’t have cared less and the Service Manager confirmed that he had a major backlog of RX-8’s with engine compression problems to deal with.
      I wont go near another Mazda – of any description – again.

    • Thea Barnes
      Thea Barnes09-01-2016

      That’s crap. My enginefailed last week. The second engine in this car. Under 50k on the second engine. Respected every service bulletin. Oil change every 3000 km. Spark plugs replaced twice in its lifetime. Mazda deserves to be sued for this piece of crap.

  4. RX8 specialist
    RX8 specialist02-29-2016

    Although this is a great and very well written post on Mazda Rx8 flaws but I think that almost every automobile has some or other problems. Being a Rotary Engine Car Mazda Rx8 cars are a little different from normal piston based cars. But Soon Mazda is going to launch MX5 Rotary powered cars. Which means that Mazda Is still hopeful to win the market with their Rotary technology. Secondly if your car is maintained by any RX8 specialist who really knowa what he is doing then hopefully you will get your car well maintained at relevantly Low cost . You may discuss with Warren Court Rotaries about your car. They are Rx8 specialist and dedicated their business only to Rx8, Which means that They are well experienced for RX8 cars and they do their best to provide you value of your money in what ever service you hire from them.

  5. Mark Thomson
    Mark Thomson03-23-2016

    Very well written & good informative feedback. Pity Mazda did not play honest when they sold these cars – rarely can they do more than 100000kms of normal commuter & mixed driving. Commuter driving kills them much quicker and they need major service intervention every 5000kms – oil & de-carbon at least and a 3 hour high speed road test. I am trying to sell my son-in law’s 2003 manual, & it’s got low compression, and its going to be difficult to tell him that its value-less.

  6. Ryan karl alldrin
    Ryan karl alldrin04-01-2016

    Was looking at one on craigslist with hot start issues, i think ill look elsewhere.

  7. Eric

    My 2004 rx8 starts but has no power under load, it barely moves at all in any gear. Had all the fluids changed,drove about 500 miles, parked it for 2 weeks, and all the issues appeared, it ran fine then it didn’t. The car only has 22000 miles.

    • Chris

      It’s probably your ignition coils – they’re a pretty typical failure mode, not crazy bad to replace, talk to a rotary specialist, your normal piston car mech won’t even think to test them.

  8. AA Syed
    AA Syed08-13-2016

    I red line it every time I drive, sometimes multiple times in a short journey in an urban city, safely only.

    Premium oil, and topping engine oil as often as every month or two.

    Get engine coolant replaced every year.

    I feel like my rx8 can take on most of what’s on the road. Although I’ve promised myself to never race anyone, albeit have been offered plenty

  9. AA Syed
    AA Syed08-13-2016

    Basically drive it like you stole it. Get the manual and don’t drop below 4k rpm unless uphill

  10. Kmac

    Spent thousands on mine (not just yearly on fuel) I don’t think there’s anything to be replaced! No doubt need a new clutch soon as only put one in last week! They’re a labour of love but the most enjoyable car I’ve driven (possibly) best advice is if something goes wrong get rid of it as it’ll only be the start of your problems!

  11. antonio

    Got my rx8 2006 second hand at 42000 miles…can not wipe the grin off my face…eats anything on the road…so much fun to drive and I have had them all, bms audi mercs you name it ive driven them and they cant touch the rx8….only paid 2250 for it and if the engine blows up I will get a rebuild and march on …and stick two fingers up to my mates in there 25 grand german crap……put a drop of 2 stroke in the tank when you fill up and Castrol gtx semi synthetic in the engine every 3000 miles and have fun

    • Cristi Burca
      Cristi Burca12-07-2016

      Nice one dude!!!

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