Question for Skyactive-G experts and fanboys

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Nov 2, 2017
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Middle son bought a 2018 Yaris ia (Mazda 2) with a 1.5L Skyactive-G engine and 6-speed auto for commuting to work (70 mile round trip mostly rural highway with a 2 mile 35 mph max dirt road on our end). Okay this is our first Direct Injection engine in the family and I haven't dealt with Mazda since I was much younger (Rx7, Autocross, sounds of oil pressure and rev warning buzzers, sigh). So first question
1. What are your recommendations for oil change interval on the engine? From what I have read 5000 miles for city drivers, up to 7500 for highway drivers. Was planning Pennzoil Platinum for oil like rest of our cars with Wix filter
2. Any recommendations on intake manifold cleaning for valves? On the Scion forums they talked about every 30000 miles have Mazda do intake cleaning, however others have had no problems and just due Italian tune-up (easy with him, just tell him to put in sport mode when merging in the city).
3. It has a sealed Automatic Transmission! Toyota tried this with their whole life of vehicle AT fluid spiel on oldest son's Toyota, but I changed the AT fluid in the Toyota anyway and it looked like crap coming out, much better now at 30000-60000 interval (when I can get him to do it). So what is your recommended change interval and fluid ( I use Valvoline Maxlife in all our other vehicles, except for the Crosstrek of course)?
4. Spark Plugs? Stock? Deferent change interval?
Comments: The more I read on this engine the more I am impressed. I am even tempted to replace a planned purchase of Rav4 for the wife with a Mazda equivalent (is there a Mazda equal) to replace Her 2012 Honda Odyssey ( I will never buy another engine with VCM, worked great after I disabled the VCM). Tho next vehicle needs to be able to store a full-size spare. Speaking of which I need to find a full-size rim for Son's Yaris for his spare tire, and Air pump, and start putting his emergency kit together.
 
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I've read that the 2 liter Skyactive engines have valves designed to run hot to reduce carbon buildup. And they have an oil/air separator along the PCV hose, which reduces the crud that gets sucked into the intake. So my approach is the occasional "Italian tuneup" to let it get nice and hot and maximize airflow through the intake. So far no problems but mine only has 42k miles.
 
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The Skyactiv auto transmissions aren't sealed in the same sense as some other automakers have done, but do have a little dipstick on a plug on the transmission body. I believe it's held in place with a small hex-head bolt to the side of the opening. These transmissions also have a convenient drain plug in the oil pan. :D Checking fluid level is a hassle because of where the plug is, but it can be done.

If it were my car that I planned to keep, I would definitely change the ATF every 30K miles. Stick to Mazda type FZ or whatever Toyota calls the equivalent blue ATF. Don't use any red "universal" or claimed "compatible" fluid. If it ain't blue, it doesn't meet the spec.

Because of the dirt road, sticking to the severe service interval of 5K oil changes would probably be best. Also change the engine air filter every 30K because of the dirt. If you stick with the same viscosity oil as recommended, Pennzoil and Wix should be fine.

My understanding about the engines being designed to reduce carbon buildup is the same as MRC01. I'm not hearing about high-mileage Skyactiv Mazdas needing decarbonizing, though maybe there are exceptions.

The 1.5 and its auto transmission seem to have been very reliable in the Toyota versions.
 
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2012 Skyactive here. Never did any maintenance to the engine, none except oil, filter and air filter. Any brand 5/30 oil in our warm climate. 85,000 miles, never needed a repair and still runs like new.
Don’t overthink it, change at recommended intervals.
 

Ws6

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Middle son bought a 2018 Yaris ia (Mazda 2) with a 1.5L Skyactive-G engine and 6-speed auto for commuting to work (70 mile round trip mostly rural highway with a 2 mile 35 mph max dirt road on our end). Okay this is our first Direct Injection engine in the family and I haven't dealt with Mazda since I was much younger (Rx7, Autocross, sounds of oil pressure and rev warning buzzers, sigh). So first question
1. What are your recommendations for oil change interval on the engine? From what I have read 5000 miles for city drivers, up to 7500 for highway drivers. Was planning Pennzoil Platinum for oil like rest of our cars with Wix filter I did same on the mileage, and PP is a good oil, so is Mobil 1 EP.
2. Any recommendations on intake manifold cleaning for valves? On the Scion forums they talked about every 30000 miles have Mazda do intake cleaning, however others have had no problems and just due Italian tune-up (easy with him, just tell him to put in sport mode when merging in the city). I just left mine alone. Did fine. Only had one for 106K miles, the other for 80K, though.
3. It has a sealed Automatic Transmission! Toyota tried this with their whole life of vehicle AT fluid spiel on oldest son's Toyota, but I changed the AT fluid in the Toyota anyway and it looked like crap coming out, much better now at 30000-60000 interval (when I can get him to do it). So what is your recommended change interval and fluid ( I use Valvoline Maxlife in all our other vehicles, except for the Crosstrek of course)? Leave it alone. Again, mine were fine for 106 and 80K miles, and everyone who has sent the fluid off after similar intervals gets an UOA indicating about 25K miles use is what the fluid looks like. It should probably last you 300K miles or so.
4. Spark Plugs? Stock? Deferent change interval? I did mine at 75K miles and they looked fine. I got no mpg or performance increase. I felt like I wasted money.
Comments: The more I read on this engine the more I am impressed. I am even tempted to replace a planned purchase of Rav4 for the wife with a Mazda equivalent (is there a Mazda equal) to replace Her 2012 Honda Odyssey ( I will never buy another engine with VCM, worked great after I disabled the VCM). Tho next vehicle needs to be able to store a full-size spare. Speaking of which I need to find a full-size rim for Son's Yaris for his spare tire, and Air pump, and start putting his emergency kit together.
The RAV4 Prime is excellent. I'd go with that. Otherwise, the CX5 Grand Touring Reserve, AWD Turbo Carbon, or Signature would be my move in this vehicle class.
 
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I would recommend the Pennzoil Platinum 0W-20, and an OEM Mazda filter, with oil changes every 5k miles.
My 2014 CX-5 is approaching the 90k mile mark, and still runs perfectly after nearly 9 full years.
 
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I have a 2018 mazda 3 hatch. I put my oil change setting on the stereo to auto. I have ended up doing mostly 7500 mile OCIs give or take with good results. I have been using the Mazda oil filters and the Mazda skyactive oil. Now that mine is out of warranty, I have been using some 0w20 oil I caught on clearance. Pennzoil should be perfectly fine. I personally like Valvoline and when I run out of my current Castrol and Valvoline 0w20, I will probably make the switch to Valvoline extended performance, pennzoil platinum or Castrol edge gold bottle.

I personally have been using a seafoam through the intake or the STP intake cleaner on this and my brother's car every couple of oil changes. I didn't do my car until the 30k mile mark and his until about 40k. It made a pretty big difference and the engine idled quite a bit smoother afterward.

The transmissions are no where near sealed. They have a literal drain plug on the bottom. The fill plug is right beneath the intake box on my 3. I would use the recommended Mazda fluid and drain and fill either every 30k or 60k. I did my first drain and fill at 30k. I am unsure if I will continue to do so, but I did have a rough shift from 1 to 2 on extremely cold mornings, only on my first shift of the morning. After the change the problem was gone.

Spark plugs on these guys are recommended for a 75k change interval. Use NGK or Denso plugs. I just put a set of NGK Rutheniums in my brother's 2.0 and it seems to like them.
 

digger327

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I have a 2018 mazda 3 hatch. I put my oil change setting on the stereo to auto. I have ended up doing mostly 7500 mile OCIs give or take with good results. I have been using the Mazda oil filters and the Mazda skyactive oil. Now that mine is out of warranty, I have been using some 0w20 oil I caught on clearance. Pennzoil should be perfectly fine. I personally like Valvoline and when I run out of my current Castrol and Valvoline 0w20, I will probably make the switch to Valvoline extended performance, pennzoil platinum or Castrol edge gold bottle.

I personally have been using a seafoam through the intake or the STP intake cleaner on this and my brother's car every couple of oil changes. I didn't do my car until the 30k mile mark and his until about 40k. It made a pretty big difference and the engine idled quite a bit smoother afterward.

The transmissions are no where near sealed. They have a literal drain plug on the bottom. The fill plug is right beneath the intake box on my 3. I would use the recommended Mazda fluid and drain and fill either every 30k or 60k. I did my first drain and fill at 30k. I am unsure if I will continue to do so, but I did have a rough shift from 1 to 2 on extremely cold mornings, only on my first shift of the morning. After the change the problem was gone.

Spark plugs on these guys are recommended for a 75k change interval. Use NGK or Denso plugs. I just put a set of NGK Rutheniums in my brother's 2.0 and it seems to like them.
As I have researched the Skyactive engine I have found out the 2018-2020 2.0 and 2.5 have cylinder deactivation. have you had any problems with this. I had all kinds of problems with it on my 2012 Honda until I Disabled it with a resistor on the #1 water thermal sensor. Kinda put a hold on in plans to get the wife a used 2019 CX-5.
 
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As I have researched the Skyactive engine I have found out the 2018-2020 2.0 and 2.5 have cylinder deactivation. have you had any problems with this. I had all kinds of problems with it on my 2012 Honda until I Disabled it with a resistor on the #1 water thermal sensor. Kinda put a hold on in plans to get the wife a used 2019 CX-5.


The cylinder deactivation is on the naturally aspirated engines. The turbo won’t have it. This is on the CX5.

Mazda had a recall or TSB on the very early models of the engine with cylinder deactivation. That has been solved. A 2019 should be good to go.

What kind of price differences have you seen between the 2019 and the new CX5 on the lots?
 

digger327

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The cylinder deactivation is on the naturally aspirated engines. The turbo won’t have it. This is on the CX5.

Mazda had a recall or TSB on the very early models of the engine with cylinder deactivation. That has been solved. A 2019 should be good to go.

What kind of price differences have you seen between the 2019 and the new CX5 on the lots?
Uhh no. No Vehicle with cylinder deactivation. No turbo models around here in used lots or new. 3000 to 5000 difference between new and used I'm looking at. May have to wait until crisis is over or suck it up and buy new like I did my 2017 Crosstrek (around here used car dealers keep asking more for used crosstreks than new, dumb). Or go back to looking at Rav4s and CR-V's
 
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As I have researched the Skyactive engine I have found out the 2018-2020 2.0 and 2.5 have cylinder deactivation. have you had any problems with this. I had all kinds of problems with it on my 2012 Honda until I Disabled it with a resistor on the #1 water thermal sensor. Kinda put a hold on in plans to get the wife a used 2019 CX-5.
The Mazda 3 didn't get cylinder deactivation until 2019.

My mother has a 2020 mazda cx5 with cylinder deactivation. Her's has been perfectly fine, though she barely drives her vehicle. I know some of the 2018 CX5's were recalled due to an error in the ECU causing some form of failure in the cylinder deactivation unit. Luckily Mazda is generally very proactive in dealing with issues and recalls. I have a lady with a 2018 cx5 who comes to visit me at work with over 150k miles on hers already and seems to have done nothing but basic maintenance. She is in at least once a month to buy whatever is on special for an oil change.
 
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Though others may differ, I am fundamentally opposed to Cylinder Deactivation. I would recommend you clearly and definitively check if the prospective Mazda Skyactiv-G powered vehicle has CD. There is a some kind of power flow screen that shows when it shifts into and out of CD mode. Non CD vehicles will NOT have this page.

BTW, there is no known way of disabling the CD.

Though it is hard to know just how widespread the CD "problem" is, there appears to be a sizable portion of Mazda3's out there with very rough CD transitions out there. Same with the Mazda6. Not sure with the CX5, though there is little reason to think it'd be any different. CD is ONLY on the naturally aspirated vehicles. Not on the Turbo's.

Re the automatic transmission, yes there is a dipstick on a "ledge" so to speak, held in place with a cap-screw. I would recommend you thoroughly clean all around this dipstick before you attempt to remove it, as this ledge, I believe, accumulates road debris, dirt. you do NOT want that to fall into the hole! If you REALLY want to be sure, remove the air intake so that you can get a clear line of sight to ensure that all is clean before you attempt to remove the dipstick. The air intake and all plug-ins have to be intact before you start the vehicle... so once it is thoroughly clean you should be reassembling all, and then subsequently gaining access to the dipstick / fill port from underneath.
 

digger327

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Wow, he is getting a avg of 41 mpg so far in the Yaris ia. Well took the wife out today to see what vehicles she liked. The Cr-v got a big meh, Forrester she can see well out of. She really liked the CX-5's, and the new 2019+ Rav4 she was okay with except long high hood to her (she is used to that short, sharply sloped minivan hood). I've narrowed it down to the Forrester and Rav4. I understand Toyota borrowed the Skyactive technology for their newest engine and it has the D4S dual ports (Both DI and Port injection). Asked the Mazda dealer when 2022's coming in and he just shrugged his shoulders and said "we don't know or if ever with chip shortage". Lot's were so empty Honda was repaving and striping half of their lot. CarMax was best stocked with vehicles stashed everywhere however they are moving so much thru it was impossible to to tell what was for sale (expensive) or not, that is where wife got to actually see effort to get in/out vehicle, sit, and play with knobs in vehicles (just may have been sold already). New (2022) where available (4 at Honda HR-V?) were 300-~750 OVER MSRP (remember when we argued dollars below or above Invoice). Trying to get motived and just order a new vehicle. We do tend to keep them until they die. My old 99 Outback I bought new new lasted just under 200,000 miles but died in a accident.
 
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Supertech Synthetic 5w-30 7,500 miles if all Highway driving. Whatever oil filter is cheapest. It will run forever.
 

Ws6

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Wow, he is getting a avg of 41 mpg so far in the Yaris ia. Well took the wife out today to see what vehicles she liked. The Cr-v got a big meh, Forrester she can see well out of. She really liked the CX-5's, and the new 2019+ Rav4 she was okay with except long high hood to her (she is used to that short, sharply sloped minivan hood). I've narrowed it down to the Forrester and Rav4. I understand Toyota borrowed the Skyactive technology for their newest engine and it has the D4S dual ports (Both DI and Port injection). Asked the Mazda dealer when 2022's coming in and he just shrugged his shoulders and said "we don't know or if ever with chip shortage". Lot's were so empty Honda was repaving and striping half of their lot. CarMax was best stocked with vehicles stashed everywhere however they are moving so much thru it was impossible to to tell what was for sale (expensive) or not, that is where wife got to actually see effort to get in/out vehicle, sit, and play with knobs in vehicles (just may have been sold already). New (2022) where available (4 at Honda HR-V?) were 300-~750 OVER MSRP (remember when we argued dollars below or above Invoice). Trying to get motived and just order a new vehicle. We do tend to keep them until they die. My old 99 Outback I bought new new lasted just under 200,000 miles but died in a accident.
Id go Toyota. Snag a Prime or at least Hybrid, though, and sidestep 90% of rav4 complaints.
 
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