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.

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