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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Sorry in advance for the long post. I'm new on here and wasn't sure the best place to post this, but I figured this was a good place to start. From older posts it sounds like others may have had similar issues possibly. I have a 2014 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, automatic, 118K miles, no modifications.

2 days ago on the drive from home to work, I experienced a strange sound coming from what sounded like the front of my car (possibly front right, it was hard to tell exactly). As long as the car was moving, there was a persistent loud metallic grinding sound (not sure if I'm describing it correctly, I'll try to link to the sound recording I made in a follow-up post). The sound would stop whenever the vehicle came to a complete stop and wasn't moving, fine while idle, and as soon as I started moving again it would return. A few hours after getting to work, I took it to the dealership...on the drive there, I didn't hear the sound and no issues. Got to dealership and they were dumbfounded, checked everything and couldn't replicate the sound and didn't see anything out of the ordinary. I let them hear the recording and they came back an hour saying they heard something after they had it up on the lift. I was told to bring it back the next morning so they can take more time looking at it and get me in a loaner car in the meantime.

No issues or sound on the drive home, same the following morning when I dropped it back off at the dealership. A few hours later I get a call that they think they found a source...they said I'd need to get my transmission replaced. They claim that after doing some research they decided to take a camera and look inside my transmission, and when they did they saw some debris inside (he said something about how a small percentage of Mazda's have a known issue with the transmission after a while, they found it in a TSB I think) .They told me it could be a bearing that eroded or something else, and they felt like that's what was causing the sound. Definitely not what I was expecting to hear!

I've never had any other issues with the car before that sound, and in the 3 drives I've made since the first and only time hearing it, I haven't had any noticeable problems. They let me leave that first day when they couldn't find any source for the sound or recreate it, and only after another half day did they come to the conclusion that they think it's my transmission. Not sure if I should just go with what the dealership is suggesting and get it replaced, or try to get a second opinion somewhere else (like at a dedicated specialty transmission shop). What they quoted me was pretty expensive so even if another mechanic says the transmission has to be replaced completely, I'd like to try a cheaper quote. I've put a lot of miles on this car in the 5 years I've owned it, so honestly I'd probably be looking at trading it in for a new car in the next year or 2 since I'm starting to get issues like this now. Thanks in advance for any advice.
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