hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
87,118 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Mazda Tribute:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

problem #17

Jan 122015


  • 220,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Mazda Tribute. The contact stated that the rear window latch failed to lock. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The dealer stated the VIN was not affected by NHTSA campaign number: 04V605000 (latches/locks/linkages). The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 220,000.

- Gaffney , SC, USA

problem #16

Oct 012011


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Mazda Tribute. The contact stated that she was unable to open the door to exit the vehicle. He contact had to open the window and stick her arm out the window to unlock the door from the exterior door handle. In addition, the rear lift gate would not remain closed or locked and would sporadically open while the vehicle was in motion. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign id number: 04V605000 (latches/ locks/ linkages: Hatchback/ liftgate: Lock) but was advised by the dealer that the vehicle was not included in the recall. The manufacturer had not been notified of the failure. No repairs were performed. The current mileage was unknown and the failure mileage was 120,000.

- Washington, MO, USA

problem #15

Jun 172011

Tribute 4WD 6-cyl

  • 111,948 miles
Drivers side door handle broke under normal use. Cannot open door from inside vehicle. An alarming safety problem. When I took the panel off I found a small piece of plastic had broken off from the assembly. The door handle is constructed from ridiculously cheap plastic. This also affected the alarm system working properly as it would engage while inside the vehicle and go off when exiting the vehicle.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #14

Feb 272010


  • 100,000 miles
Inner door handles broken from regular use. Driver side door handles actually broke in half. Passenger front door handle broke as well internally. Neither door handle opens from inside. As for driver side door handle I replaced it with back passenger door handle as I did not feel I should have to pay for a defect like this. Front passenger door handle remains to be fixed. We all need to call Mazda and report this problem. This has been a huge problem with many of these vehicles. Mazda needs to know about it. 1800-222-5500.

- St. Pete, FL, USA

problem #13

May 012008


  • 75,000 miles
Drivers door latch stopped working in May 2008, have to open door by rolling down the window and opening from outside. Didn't get repaired. Now front passenger door has same issue.

- The Woodlands, TX, USA

problem #12

May 192010

Tribute 4WD 6-cyl

  • 129,827 miles
Driver side door handle stopped operating. Drivers door will not open from inside....outside handle works ok. It stopped working without warning. I am not able to open this door unless I put the window down and operate the outside door handle. Nothing occurred other than normal daily use prior to breaking. Vehicle is driven only by adults.

- West Bend, WI, USA

problem #11

Oct 162009


  • 90,122 miles
Interior driver door handle disengaged (broken cable attachment), handle no longer opens door. Must lower window and open door from exterior handle, not safe in cases where passengers (driver) need rapid egress. Weak door handle assembly at point of cable attachment seems like a design flaw/shortcut. This issue was common on the web-based repair sites with over 50 owners reporting issues on 1 site alone. Factory certified repair is $350! consequently a work around has been posted on the internet that is dangerous. Involves drilling a hole in the handle base and rerouting the cable to this new (less efficient) location. The poor design, weak break-strength and critical nature of the component (door handle assembly) almost ensures this component will fail. The outrageous cost to replace almost guarantees a steady reliable source of income for Mazda dealer rare dept. The fact that this component failure degrades the rapid egress in the event of an accident, it seems like an important issue for your Agency to address.

- Sierra Vista, AZ, USA

problem #10

Apr 122008


  • 76,000 miles
2002 Mazda Tribute I have had to replace all 4 door locks, at my expense. Has happened again to both front doors. Mechanic said that Mazda skimped on the rod mechanism and instead of installing two separate rods, one for the locks and one for the handles, the one rod cannot support all the doors. These doors will not open from the inside or the outside resulting in very expensive labor costs to remove the door panel to replace a $3 part. Here's what I don't understand. What is Mazda going to do when someone sues them for not being able to exit their vehicle in an emergency. I cannot comprehend why this is not a recall.

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #9

Dec 052008


  • 103,000 miles
Driver's door can no longer be opened from the inside. The interior handle no longer actuates the latch. One has to roll down the window and use the exterior handle. In the event of an emergency, this could be a safety issue - especially with electric windows. It is my understanding that this can only be fixed by replacing the interior handle unit where a plastic part has broken.

- Allen, TX, USA

problem #8

Dec 102008


  • 102,000 miles
2002 Mazda Tribute inner door handle broke. Very poor plastic design. Seems to be a common problem with these vehicles. Dealer wants over $100 for the cheap plastic replacement.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #7

Oct 012002


  • 1 miles
2002 Tribute from the first week there have been problems. 1st the driver side interior door handle stopped working. Plastic piece that allows handle to open the door had broken. Repaired $$$ paid! 2nd the driver side electric windows stopped working. Motor had to be replaced. Repaired $$$ paid! *** we are now faced with the passenger side interior door handle not working, the master cylinder leaking brake fluid, an issue with the 5 and 6 spark plugs falling out for the 3rd time in 4 months, the battery cables staying corroded and slow to start, there is some sort of knocking in the front passenger wheel. I have replaced the rotors and had other similiar issues with this vehical that seem to be very common problems. I have spent the last 4 hours doing my research and see that there are complaints of this same nature on almost every web site. I don't know how long the average person will wait on an 'issue' to become a recall. I don't have the patience to unroll the window every time I want to exit the vehicle. Not to mention having to ask my passenger to let themselves out in the same manner. I am not going to pay another penny on fixing this vehicle. I have paid for so many maintenance issues that now that I think Mazda should have fixed. When do these complaints become recall reality" what is my next option" I can't imagine how bad it would be to have my family in the car, the engine fouls out because of the spark plug issue, the brakes won't work because of the master cylinder leak, the battery cables corroded and preventing the windows being able to let down to out. I will contact my dealer tomorrow and work out the recalls I was not aware of, hopefully we can get our door locks fixed too!

- Fort Walton Beach, FL, USA

problem #6

Nov 012008


  • 78,000 miles
Interior door handle on driver's side is broken. Have had to open the window to get out of the car, (open by exterior handle). Repair costs over $150 due to manual labor involved. Also, steering became very noisy with screeching on turning at slow speeds. The outer tie, tye (spelling?) rods had to be replaced because the one's on there could not be re-greased. Cost: $210.

- Diamondhead, MS, USA

problem #5

Oct 102008


  • 115,000 miles
2002 Mazda Tribute inner door handle broke. Very poor plastic design and from reading the internet a very common problem with these vehicles. Dealer wants over $100 for the cheap plastic replacement. Also had plastic radio knob crack dealers wants almost $20 for spare part.

- Wingate, NC, USA

problem #4

Aug 152008


  • 68,000 miles
Went to open the door and the handle had no type of tension on it the handle wound not open from the inside drivers position had to open from the outside.

- Mount Vernon, OH, USA

problem #3

Jan 142007


  • 34,100 miles
The front drivers side door lock and latch system failed. The door will not open from outside the vehicle. The actuating rod broke away from the latch. Mazda seemed to have this same problem in the late 1980's with the 626 and 929; recalls were performed then. Problem is I can't seem to find parts available to fix it. I have gotten away with gluing it for the past year. Now there is nothing left to attached the actuating rod too. I have been on the internet and have noticed several other complaints of this happen on the same vehicle (2002 Mazda Tribute LX).

- Marshfield, WI, USA

problem #2

Aug 062006


  • miles
Interior door handle failure.

- Appleton, WI, USA

problem #1

Aug 282004

Tribute 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles
We have a 2002 Mazda Tribute ls. While on vacation the passenger side door became permanently locked. The door would not unlock using the remote keyless entry or manual button. This presented a serious safety hazard in the event one would need to use the door to exit the car following a crash, and also created an incredible nuisance for the passenger. We took the car to the dealer and after destroying the side panel, replacing the entire lock mechanism and charging us nearly $600 we can open the door again. This is obviously a defective part, but Mazda nor the dealership was willling to assist in the repair of a problem that was in no way due to our negligence or mis-use. The car is extremely well cared for and driven only by myself and wife (mature adults). Subsequently, Mazda issued a recall for the back hatch locking mechanism. We feel these locks are defective and that we should not have had to pay for the replacement of a defective part. At this point we have paid $600 and the door works again, but we are serioulsy considering getting rid of the vehicle as we don't trust that it won't happen again.

- Council, ID, USA