Mazda Skyactiv-G 20 Engine Problems: Is The Engine Reliable?

Is the Mazda Skyactiv engine worth it? Find out if the engine is good or not

About eleven years ago, the car market saw the introduction of a new gasoline engine type- Mazda 2.0 Skyactiv-G engine. Despite its excellent reliability and strength, some issues are common with this engine, just as you will find in other engines too.

The Mazda Skyactiv-G 2.0 engine is prone to commonest issues, including:

  1. Oil Pump Problems
  2. General Engine Flaws
  3. Carbon Build-Up

When it comes to volume, Mazda Skyactiv-G may look small. However, with the introduction of modern technology, the engine offers excellent efficiency and power that stand it out from the crowd.

Since its appearance in the Japanese market over a decade ago, the high-tech engine represents one of Mazda’s proudest generational models.

Here’s the thing: users of this engine are fortunate to have most of these problems take time before they occur in this engine. However, proper and regular maintenance will help to prevent these problems in the long run.

What Are The Most Common Mazda Skyactiv-G Engine Issues?

1. Oil Pump Problem

Unlike in the old model engines, moving parts receive oil and lubricants through the drip deep systems. However, modern innovation has introduced an oil pump system which means that engines can circulate lubricants to all parts without any external system.

An oil pump is an essential part of the engine that is responsible for lubricating every running component in the engine. The way the component works is the same in all engines: pressurize, lubricate, distribute, and circulate oil to all moving parts of the engine.

The implication, however, is that once the oil pump fails, all the moving parts of your vehicle will stop functioning properly. The thing to know is that this specific component is prone to failure, especially if the engine lacks maintenance.

The oil pump helps to supply oil to the engine components. This lubrication helps to prevent running parts to contact each other. Oil pumps are also responsible for absorbing heat coming out from other parts of the engine while in action.

Although the Mazda Skyactiv-G 2.0 engine seems to be heavy-duty, it can, however, fail due to age and other factors. Failure of the oil pump will result in no lubrication of vital components, which may lead to immediate and total engine shutdown.

What Causes Oil Pump Failure

1. Irregular Oil Change

The enormity of the labour involved in changing engine oil with the crazy bill that goes into it every so often can make one dread oil changes. But the more you neglect to change the oil, the higher the chances that the oil pump will damage.

In addition to making the oil in the engine fresh, you should also top it to the recommended level. If you don’t pour and flush out dirty and rusty oil and replace it with new oil as frequently as you should, the oil pump is likely to get damaged.

2. Sludge And Debris Build-up

In the course of doing its job and due to wear and tear, the engine gathers grime, sludge, lube, and debris. These contaminants build up and clog the oil pump, causing it to malfunction and not properly lubricate the moving parts that need oil to function.

3. Wear And Tear

As the oil pump ages and covers more miles, it is bound to face devastating wear and tear in the process. This causes it not to properly deliver on its primary duty of circulating oil and lubricant all parts that need oil.

It doesn’t matter the quality of your oil pump; it doesn’t come with eternal durability and will wear down one day. Once the oil pump failure is becoming recurrent, it’s time to replace it.

4. Broken Oil Passages

Failing oil lines or oil passages will cause the pressurizing ability of the oil pump to decrease. In other words, if the oil passages are broken, the oil pump won’t have enough power to pressurize engine oil into the engine.

You should inspect if the lines holding the oil galleries allow oil to flow properly. The mechanic should also check for tears in the line.

What Symptoms To Watch Out For

Before we start wondering about oil pump problems in this engine, let’s take a look at some of the signs to watch out for:

  • Increased Engine Temperature: Continual flow of oil in the engine while in use helps to lubricate the moving parts of the engine. Low or no lubrication in these parts causes the components to forcefully rub against each other which produce excessive heat.
    Once you start to notice a warning light on your dashboard, it’s an indication that your Mazda Skyactiv-G engine is running at a high temperature.
  • Oil Pressure Light Comes On: The oil pump helps to regulate the oil pressure. Once the oil pump begins to fail, it will cause the oil pressure to decrease in the engine. This will cause the oil pressure light on the dashboard to come on.
  • Noise From Valve Train: One of the components that enjoy lubrication in the Mazda Skyactiv-G engine is the valve train. It contains critical and vital components in its system which helps the engine to run effectively.
    Such as hydraulic lifters, seals, and more, depend majorly on oil for lubrication. Poor or no lubrication causes them to produce noise. They may even stop working if not well lubricated.

What Fix To Apply

The oil pump problem does not mean good for the Mazda Skyactiv-G engine. I recommend that you regularly check the level of your oil if it drops. You can always top up the oil.

However, if the oil pump is bad, you may need to replace the oil pump. Labor can be a bit intensive if you have DIY experience. If you have no DIY experience, you may need to hire or visit a mechanic to replace it to get your back in good shape.

2. General Engine Flaws

There isn’t much to discuss under this section and there is no huge Mazda Skyactiv-G engine problem relating to it. Many modern-day engines run on turbochargers for power. Despite the modern tech used in designing the Mazda Skyactiv-G engine, the engine has got a fairly low output.

This is, however, not a thing to worry about but an assurance that you will need to worry less about the engine’s reliability and fuel economy.

While the major problem with the Skyactiv-G 2.0 engine is the oil pump issue, others do not pose a threat to the engine’s lifespan and reliability. Fortunately, despite the oil pump issue in this engine, the problem does not happen most of the time.

On the other hand, carbon build-up comes with a cheaper price to pay for DI making it an excellent technology.

I would have explained another issue associated with this engine but not many of these engine users complain about it. Cars and their engines are produced with varying parts sourced from different producers.

From time to time, defects in cars show up which make it rare to see surpass more than fifteen years and above 150,000 miles without developing minor problems.

The truth, however, remains that the Mazda Skyactiv-G engine is not among the bulletproof engines you can find out there.

At the same time, it isn’t a hundred percent flawless engine but offers users great reliability all-round. As early car engines continue to age, the chances of wear and tear become high.

3. Carbon Build-Up

Although the carbon build-up problem in the Mazda Skyactiv-G engine does not pose any threat, it is, however, a common Mazda Skyactiv-G engine problem I must discuss.

Usually, Direct Injection engines such as Mazda Skyactiv-G develop carbon build-up issues. The engine has a degree of oil blow-by, which makes easy entry into the intake ports.

Fuel is sprayed into intake ports with injection fuel. As the fuel is sprayed, it helps to get rid of any deposits. Direct Injection, however, directly sprays fuel into this engine’s cylinder and with this, any dirt within the port or valve remains there.

As time goes by, there can be the formation of chunks as a result of carbon deposits through oil that sticks to it. Lots of advantages can be derived from the DI system. However, it has a side effect on the Mazda Skyactiv-G engine.

Convincingly, excellent PCV systems are available in most of today’s engines. Although they do not help to get rid of carbon build-up, they, however, help reduce the rate at which the problem occurs.

While carbon build-up comes with lesser threat, it can become troublesome in 80,000 to the 120,000-mile ballpark.

Fortunately, you may not need to attend to this problem quickly. Some Mazda Skyactiv-G engines luckily escape this problem throughout their lifetime. On the other hand, you may experience a couple of problems while using this engine due to carbon build-up.

What Causes Carbon Build-Up

There are underlying things that cause carbon deposits to build up in your Mazda Skyactiv-G 2.0 engine. Unless you understand these things, you may be applying the wrong remedies for the issues you find.

Let us take a look at the reasons why carbon will build up in your engine.

1. Low Maintenance Routine

Carbon build-up can also occur if you fail to maintain regular servicing for the Mazda Mazda Skyactiv-G 2.0 engine. You should make sure there are adequate carbon cleaning services when replacing the filter or oil. This will restore efficiency and improve the driveability of the vehicle.

2. Poor Oil Quality

Poor fuel and oil quality can result in a build-up of carbon deposits. Incomplete combustion is a direct result of poor fuel quality. While the engine will still give off water, nonetheless, carbon will build up to cause you to experience driveability issues.

3. Stop-Start Travel

Generally, vehicles are likely to get stuck in heavy traffic during peak hours. When this happens, chances are higher that you will have to make stop-start travel, resulting in carbon build-up.

What Symptoms To Watch Out For

Now that I have explained what carbon build-up is, we should be wary of the following symptoms before assuming you have carbon build-up problems.

  • Engine Misfire: Carbon build-up in the Mazda Skyactiv-G engine prevents airflow into the cylinders. When this happens, you will notice a misfire in your engine. When a misfire happens, you may experience hesitation or stall.
  • Engine Power Loss: Continual misfiring of the engine will result in power loss. Power loss in the engine will prevent it from functioning at its best state. You may experience stall, hesitation, or other related issues.
  • Knocking Sound: Carbon build-up will cause the engine to give off a knocking noise. When carbon builds up, the intake valve or the injector is usually the victim since the deposit accumulation is either at the tip of the injector or on the valve.
    Normally, carbon build-up results from incomplete combustion and a knocking sound.

What Fix To Apply

Usually, the most effective solution I recommend for carbon build-up is Walnut Blasting. It helps to clean and get rid of dirt or carbon build-up in the intake valves and port. Not many DIY’ers can engage in this process. You will need to contact your mechanic to get this resolved.

To resolve this, your mechanic will need to remove the intake manifold to get to the ports. To clean these components, you may spend up to an hour or two. This, however, depends on the level of damage in the valves.

Labor can sometimes be expensive between $300 and $600 to blast the valves. Certain users prefer the installation of oil catch or certain chemicals for the prevention of deposit build-up.

However, the moment carbon build-up becomes too much, the only effective solution is Walnut Blasting.


1. Is Mazda Skyactiv-G 2.0 Engine Reliable?

Of course, yes. It doesn’t matter how extensive you use the Mazda Skyactiv 2.0 engine, the vehicle provides solid performance for its users.

As it stands, you can rest assured the engine will serve you between the 150,000 and 200,000-mile mark. As a matter of fact, the engine can reach up to 250,000 or 300,000 miles.

Don’t forget, hitting this amazing mileage depends largely on maintenance, care, service, and use. The integrity of the engine’ components and accessories also has a lot to say about whether the engine can serve its life. Essentially, you need to regularly inspect your engine to enjoy it the best.

2. What Does Skyactiv Mean?

Skyactiv refers to the brand name for a wide range of technologies that were created by Mazda. This technology helps to increase both efficiency and output of these engines.

3. What Are The Specifications Of The Skyactiv-G 2.0 Engines?

Features: Specs:
Power, hp 155-162 hp (116-120kW)/6,000
Torque, lb-ft 150-154 lb-ft (200-210 Nm)/4,000
Displacement (in cc) 1,998 cc (129.1 cu in)
Valvetrain Layout DOHC
Compression Ratio 14.0:1 (13.0:1 – the U.S. version)
Type Of Internal Combustion Engine Four-Stroke, Naturally Aspirated

4. How Often Should I Maintain Mazda Skyactiv-G Engine Servicing?

Typically, the manufacturer of the Mazda Skyactiv-G 2.0 engine recommends that the engine should be maintained and serviced every 10,000 miles. However, to keep the vehicle under top operating conditions and ensure all-around efficiency and delivery, you can change the oil every 5000 miles.

Still on this, you can also uncouple the engine and open it for servicing after every 45,000-mile mark. The truth is that you should inspect your car as soon as you notice any strange symptoms. A stitch in time saves nine.

5. Is There Any Noticeable Mazda Skyactiv-G 2.0 Engine Problem?

Before reaching the latter mileage, the engine chains can begin to show advanced signs of damage. When you notice this, you should replace the chains to keep them in great operating conditions

Another problem you may also look out for is an insufficient oil pressure alarm. If this issue appears, it is time to stop driving. Inspect the oil level and top the lubricant to be sure that the oil is at the normal level.

If after adding the oil, the warning signal doesn’t go out, then checking some other parts of the vehicle might be the next thing to do.

Final Thoughts

In the end, the Mazda Skyactiv-G 2.0 engine problems cannot outshine the power and performance of the engine.

Although oil pump problems, carbon build-up, and general engine flaws are major Mazda Skyactiv-G engine problems, you should also be on the lookout for other engine-related issues.

However, replacing any damaged part of this engine should be done using OEM parts. Some users are fond of replacing parts with after-market parts.

This is not the best bet given that these parts portend serious danger to your vehicle and may cause more havoc for the engine. You may opt for after-market parts if you are only sure of their effectiveness.


Written by Kane Dan

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