It took 36 days, but the 2016 Mazda CX-3 is back in action. As reported in the preceding long-term update, the CX-3 had been blindsided by a Cadillac Escalade and was down for the count with injuries to the driver side rear. To expedite the repair (motivated by my concern over potential damage to the rear suspension), insurance claim forms were quickly filled out. The CUV was then deposited at the body shop the day after the incident.

Naturally, the CX-3 was sitting and queuing up for most of those 36 days. The much-dreaded insurance claim processing was the first hurdle to clear. That took up the first two weeks. The actual mending of the damaged door and rear quarter-panel didn’t take nearly as long. But because the CX-3 is still a fairly new vehicle, it was more of a challenge than normal to get a replacement 18-inch wheel for the Grand Touring trim (the struck wheel was scuffed up) and a specific seal for the body. Thankfully, there was apparently no harm done to the suspension. The Mazda would not track straight after the accident, and with the afflicted rear corner now set to the proper alignment spec, it drives as straight as it ever has before.

While making a beeline for Motor Trend headquarters from the body shop, I started sweating. It was strange; I typically have the air-conditioning on throughout the year to avoid perspiring. Let’s go through the checklist. The climate control fan is on the auto setting, and the temperature selected is to my liking. Yet warm air is all that’s blowing out of the vents. I put the temperature down to the chilliest possible (60 degrees), hit the cabin recirculation button, max out the fan speed, and cross my fingers.

Defeated and with an unrefreshing tepid breeze wafting over me on an exceptionally warm day, I guided the CX-3 to a dealership. In my heightened state of awareness due to the accident, I was convinced that something had gone horribly wrong. The long-term MX-5 Miata had its own AC tragedy not too long ago, as well. (It turned out to be a component failure with an indeterminable root cause.)

My most recent effort with recharging an AC system was on a full-size SUV assembled in the 1990s (with a relatively low amount of miles driven for the vintage), so consider me amazed upon learning that the long-term CX-3 with fewer than 30,000 miles on the odometer had run out of AC refrigerant. It ended up costing $120 to double-check the system for leaks (all clear there) and to replenish it with $17.10 worth of R134a. At least that only took a day.

Text Source: Motor Trend