---- — Q: We love the external trunk lid hinge mechanism of our 2009 Mazda 6, where hinges do not intrude into trunk cargo space. This enables us to fully pack the trunk, which is helpful for our annual trips to the Florida Keys. The mechanism, however, appears fragile compared to inside hinges. We haven’t had any problem, but I noticed that Mazda has gone back to the old-style internal hinges on the 2014 (and perhaps earlier) Mazda 6. This must have been done for a reason. Do you know of problems with the external hinges?
A: The external hinges were a great space saver for the vehicle. It definitely added to the available trunk space. The only downside that I have seen is that the lower anchor of the strut is a bit on the fragile side. I anticipate that after about 10 years, the metal may fatigue and fracture. After investigating a bit, I find there are a number of people that are upset that Mazda abandoned this style.
Q: I own a 2011 Mazda 3, five-door, purchased new. It has the 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine with automatic transmission and only 14,000 miles. The problem is at times the rear hatch will not unlock. The car has remote auto door open. The driver’s door and/or all four doors will unlock without problems all of the time. The first time this happened was last winter, and I thought it was a cold-temperature issue. Starting about a month ago, the problem has become almost a daily occurrence; it won’t unlock four out of seven days. If I go through a “lock-unlock-lock-unlock” sequence, it may open after a few tries. Other times, it will not open until after the car has been started and I’ve driven to my destination, and I will try the hatch and it will open. I have tried the spare remote opener that came with the car and thought it solved the problem for a few days, but the condition still is ongoing. The car is under full warranty until March 2014. The dealer told me to hold the unlock button down for a few seconds instead of just clicking it (a Band-Aid fix?). They also told me, “bring it in when the hatch will not unlock at all, all of the time.” Your thoughts will be most appreciated. By the way, other than this issue, the car has been trouble-free and a pleasure to own and drive.
A: There are a number of problems with this particular car that have to do with the trunk. When researching possible solutions, I found everything from a new battery for the remote, to a stretched cable in the trunk, and even a flipped switch in the trunk. However, there is a Mazda Technical Service Bulletin No. 051/10, which addresses this problem. The tech service bulletin gives information on how to use the remote control for the trunk. There is no repair for the issue. It’s all about how you press the buttons on the remote. Ask your Mazda dealer for a copy of this bulletin.
Car Care Tip: Keep all warranty receipts in a safe place. They may be valuable for warranty claims in the future.
Larry Rubenstein is a master technician who owns a North Shore service station. His column appears every Saturday. Write to Larry at The Salem News, c/o Auto Scanner, 32 Dunham Road, Beverly, MA 01915, or send an email to email@example.com.