Mazda2: That ain't right

  • The Mazda's front brake discs start to suffer
  • Noticeable vibration and judder when braking
  • Seems to be a common issue for the Mazda2

Slowing down for a roundabout, I felt a strange vibration through the Mazda's brake pedal.

At first I thought it was the car's anti-lock braking system, which when activated can generate a similar sensation.

The road was dry though and I wasn't going particularly quickly. Approaching another roundabout, the same symptom repeated itself.

Obviously there was some kind of problem. Previous experience told me that the Mazda's front brakes were probably at fault.

The issue could be the result of a number of things. The brake discs could have warped due to overheating, the brake pads and discs could be wearing unevenly, or pad material could have stuck to the disc's surface.

This was somewhat surprising for two reasons. Firstly, the Mazda2 hadn't been driven particularly hard.

Secondly, most modern brake discs are quite resistant to warping and uneven wear. They're usually made from durable materials, and well ventilated to keep them cool.

It crossed my mind briefly that the front wheels or suspension may have taken a knock, or an engine mount may be failing, but the car still drove fine otherwise and everything looked in order.

When braking from higher speeds, however, the problem also began to manifest itself as a light vibration through the steering column, further pointing to an issue with the front brakes.

I'd only managed to warp a brake disc once in my life, when I suffered from a seized brake caliper on an old Triumph Dolomite. It took an awful lot of heat to distort the disc enough to produce noticeable effects.

Now, either that means I'm simply not trying hard enough, or that most cars have brakes that aren't prone to warping. Other long-term test cars haven't exhibited the same kind of issue after similar mileages and usage, so it wasn't something I was doing.

A quick search of the internet revealed this to be a regular occurrence on Mazda2s, so much so that it was even mentioned in a few second-hand buying guides. 

Despite a few test emergency stops showing that the brakes still worked perfectly, and the issue being more of an annoyance than a problem, I eventually decided to book the Mazda in to get it looked at.

It will be interesting to see what the dealership reports back.

Current mileage: 7,616 miles

Average mpg: 47.22mpg