Mazda Protege Rust Problems



  • samm43samm43 Member Posts: 195
    I couldn't agree with you more and admire your conviction. With the rust problem, the earlier Mazda's were actually not as bad as the ones built from around 2000-2007? maybe is when they finally discovered hot galvanizing..years after the rest had. Talk about a mistaken search in penny-pinching. If victim owners though, forgive them and continue to replace their present Mazda with a new one, then they got away with it. Had they stepped up and said, yes were are very sorry and know that we had an issue with rust during that time period and fixed those cars without a fight, then I would give them another chance. Unfortunately they did not do that and to this day, are in denial about it. I couldn't care how well they zoom now, there are other brands to pick from until they too betray me.

  • kschleickschleic Member Posts: 5
    I will never buy a mazda again. It is a shame as I did like their cars. I see many 2003 proteges with the same rust spots over the back wheel wells. I will continue to go to the mazda dealer where I bought it to get parts and I park right where everyone can see.
  • brucekennedybrucekennedy Member Posts: 1
    I negotiated a three way share on a rust fix on my Mazda Protege 5 2002.
    Factory, dealer, and me. The tab was to be $ 1000.
    When it came time to close the deal the dealer said Mazda factory rep had backed out of his commitment. So it was $ 1000 two way split. Another shop with high quality credentials did the job for $ 400. Which means the dealer only pretended to pay a portion of the bill and I really was going to foot the entire bill. This is fraud. My mileage was a few miles over 36,000 miles.
    I'm still living with the fix and come back rust for a car I love to drive but am ashamed to let my car buff buddies see. I help run a car show for 8,000 spectators and 500 cars, and a scholarship of $ 11,000 for the local Auto Tech College.
    This really has eaten at me. I love the Mazda drive. Zoom is a very real thing.
    Is there any evidence they have addressed the rust issue?

    Malibu lately just doesn't rust. An amazing achievement, but they are using technology any mfr can use.

    Toyota and Honda have always seemed to have the rust problem over the rear wheel wells.

    So Mazda is not alone.

    My P5 had rust near the license plate the day I picked it up, which indicates to me that the boat ride was uncovered vehicles on the ocean.

    Spread the word. Mazda needs to hurt badly on this issue, as does Honda and Toyota. That they will not deal with this is absurd.
  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    Maybe we should replace our zoom, zoom, zoom decals, w rust, rust, rust. Maybe get some attention. Just drove a Hyundai Sonata hybrid Blue Drive. Oh, my. My opinions of Korean cars have just changed. What a very nice ride. No more Mazdas in my future. Subaru? Oh, yeah. 02 Outback, no rust @ all! 77k miles. Hyundai? It was nice. Granted, I am sure it was a pretty pricey ride. My neighbor's car. He let me try it out this evening. Mazda did drop the ball, big time, on this whole fiasco.
  • autonomousautonomous Member Posts: 1,769
    edited November 2011
    Mazda did drop the ball, big time, on this whole fiasco.
    I agree rust was a real problem in Mazda vehicles like my 2002 Protege5.

    However, when it came to buy a new vehicle, I reviewed the field and decided that Mazda still offered the best deal and so I bought another Mazda (with some hesitation).

    My reasoning was three fold:
    1. my 10 year old Protege5 was in good condition in spite of the rust (note: the rusting had been corrected partially by actions by Mazda Canada and the dealership) ;
    2. other vehicles of that vintage also had some rust (e.g. Toyota Corrollas, Honda Civics) although I must admit I tended to notice the problem in Mazdas most;
    3. rust is inevitable when salt/brine is applied to road surfaces; the only recourse is to apply rustproofing as early as possible. Lesson learned: Rustproof your car right after purchase to protect it as soon as possible.

    p.s. Mazda3 rear wheel wells have been redesigned and some rubber added to exposed portions; these seem to be in response to the Protege rust history.
  • maverick81286maverick81286 Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a new car and need to sell my 02 protege5. Looking at it, I have no idea why anyone would ever buy it. Rusting everywhere, lots of scratches, and I bought it with rims on it which forces me to have low profile tires. Great for driving in the winter as we all know.

    Is there any way to fix the rust without taking it to a body shop? There is one major spot of rust above the wheel well (seems like the same spot for everyone) right where a new body panel starts. This panel continues around the windows to the side mirrors. Is it possible to just replace that panel myself? I tried to look online for a replacement panel with no luck. Anyone have any options? Also what kind of cost are we looking at for fixing rust at a body shop?
  • autonomousautonomous Member Posts: 1,769
    There is one major spot of rust above the wheel well (seems like the same spot for everyone) ... around the windows to the side mirrors
    I have normally seen the rust on the rear wheel wells; it sounds like you are describing the rust next to the front quarter panels.

    I tried to look online for a replacement panel with no luck. Anyone have any options?
    Have you tried checking salvage yards?

    what kind of cost are we looking at for fixing rust at a body shop?
    Starting price could be $200 to $300 but could easily double or triple. I'd tell the shop that the car need not be restored to new just good enough to sell.

    Personally, I'd figure out how much the car is worth as is (check cars in the classifieds for your area) and approximately how much the cost for the repair would be and then negotiate with a buyer.
  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    A friend @ church had a 98 Toyota Tacoma p/up that rusted out and had a bad ball joint. Toyota bought the truck back for twice what he paid for it. Another guy @ school had a Ford Windstar that had a bad rear axle and some other issues. Ford paid him more than he paid for it used and he spent $50 of his own money for a same model year Jeep Cherokee. Mazda, apparently, has worse customer service than even Ford! Wow. New low. Do the right thing! Fix these lemons.
  • autonomousautonomous Member Posts: 1,769
    98 Toyota Tacoma p/up that rusted out and had a bad ball joint. Toyota bought the truck back for twice what he paid for it
    How old was the truck when this happened? Was the truck still under warranty? Were there special circustances with this case? This seems very unusual to me.

    Auto manufacturers need to take responsibility for their products through warranties that are fairly administered.
  • jmoyer11jmoyer11 Member Posts: 1
    I got my '02 4 years ago, driven 40k of its 115k miles. It had some smaller rust issues when I got it, it's gotten much worse since. Several rust issues underneath the car. Sway bar, part of exhaust, multiple ball joints, brakes, FUEL TANK all needed replaced since I got the car all due to rust. I discovered another part of my exhaust that needs repaired with another broken rusty part near the manifold that needs replaced. The bottom looks awful from all the rust.. MP5: fun drive, versatile, looks great for low initial cost - but very rust prone.. My heart would love a new(er) Mazda 3, but my mind will prevent that from happening. With that said, what car has the upsides of Mazda cars without the rust downside???!!?!
  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    Welcome to my world. I have some interesting clunks in the front end of my car. Not sure I want to spend the extra cash to have them taken care of. I have a horrendous patch of rust over my drivers' side wheel opening. Car has been paid for for over 5 years now. Only 59k miles:) Very disappointing. Mazda does nothing about this. I will never buy another one. Very pricey for what you get. My car is over 10 yrs old, but so is my Subie, w far fewer problems. Subie did take care of a head gasket issue when my car was out of warranty. I am 2nd owner of that car. Initial owner of Mazda. Have babied the Mazda. Mazda needs to take ownership of this problem. Best of luck.
  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    I would hope Mazda would monitor this board. We have recently reached a couple of very important financial milestones and certainly could buy a newer car if we so chose. Knowing this about Mazda, that brand is now no longer an option for us. I share this opinion w others, too. What part of No. America do you reside in? We are in MI, where we do get terrible winters, but still, rust in a y2k plus car should not be a problem.
  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    Happened in 2003. I am not sure as to the mileage.
  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    Jamie Kitman in the August issue of Automobile magazine was lamenting the bad future ahead of Mazda Kogyo. Talking about how wonderful the cars are and what a terrible shame it would be if they were to bite the dust. I wrote a letter to the editor about how wonderful my 02 Protege 5 has been and how great Mazda has been about backing it up in terms of the rust issues. I would love to see it published, but am not going to mortgage the farm on that bet. Must be nice to get the cars for free and be able to return them after a week or so. Sure wish I would have done this w my Mazda.
  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    I was rear ended, in the car, last year. I took the car to the body shop to have damage taken care of. Came to a little over $2k. Not bad hit. I asked about fixing the terrible patch of rust over my rear wheel. It would have been $931. Having said that the manager was quick to add that he could not guarantee that it would not rust again and if it did, I was on my own. Seems to be the whole story behind this Mazda rust issue. Too bad, too sad, you are on your own, pal!
  • third_handthird_hand Member Posts: 4
    So disappointed. Just been told that our 2002 Mazda Protege 5, bought new by us in Sept 2001, 98000 km, has rust in the strut towers. Would cost about $1200 to repair. Not even able to be safetied! This is and has been a terrific little car. I had wanted another five or so years out of it - engine etc humming like a Swiss watch. However, rust everywhere. Shopping for a new car (EXCEPT AT MAZDA - husband says never, ever will we buy another MAZDA) and the dealer has offered us $500 for salvage. Ouch! Does anyone know about selling a car for parts?
  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    I do feel for you. Mine has only 61k miles on it. It is a nice car. Very few mechanical issues @ all. I would also like to keep mine. Good luck parting it out. I live in town w very little storage space. We do have a good scrap yard in my town, but $500 sounds about as good as you would get. That is a funny business. Those who own the yards do really well. I knew a guy who ran one. He always had a wad of cash like I'd never seen before. I am sure the US IRS saw about 20% of what he made. Also got some great deals on all sorts of vehicles. Very profitable. If you have the space perhaps you could do this and then sell whatever is left to a scrap yard. When I look @ Craigslist I do see all sorts of ads for engines, trannies, etc. Best of luck. No Mazda here again, either.
  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    I am taking it you must be Canadian w the 98k km on the car. We bought ours brand new in May of '02. If I do my basic math right your car would have a little over 61k miles on it. That is what my car has. 61k miles. Ouch. I had to have some sort of sway bar attachment bracket replaced, but mechanic said otherwise it looked ok. Now I am very nervous. We live in MI, USA, and we use lots of salt on the roads in the winter here. And we drive it all year long.
  • zoom_oh_2002p5zoom_oh_2002p5 Member Posts: 17
    I had similar problem. I learned that the problem apparently was corrected at the Canadian plant in 2009.
    So don't kill your consideration of a Mazda3 or CX-5 (2013).
    Other models of Mazda do not rust (Miata we have had three).
    But check if 2010 and up are rusting.
    Good luck.
    My vanity plate reads "Zoom OH)
    Canton Ohio
  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    You are welcome to Zoom around OH all you care to. In the meantime my made in Japan Mazda rusts in my MI driveway and has for quite a long time. Best of luck w yours. I also know the CX7 was considered a bad buy by Consumer Reports. I just love Subie. They did right by me when they had a problem. Mazda did not. I would also look @ a Toyota RAV 4. Not sooner than I have to, however. Both cars are paid off & it feels so very good, even if one is a rust bucket.
  • autonomousautonomous Member Posts: 1,769
    my car has. 61k miles. Ouch. I had to have some sort of sway bar attachment bracket replaced, but mechanic said otherwise it looked ok. Now I am very nervous. We live in MI, USA, and we use lots of salt on the roads in the winter here. And we drive it all year long.
    Your car does not sound too bad. How much did your mechanic quote to replace the sway bar bracket? Considering the winters in MI, did you get your car rust proofed?

    My 2002 Protege5 had 81K miles (or 132K km as we say in Canada) when I passed it on to my nephew last year. He is enjoying it and plans to drive it for several more years. Although there are rust issues, I would have to say they are fundamentally cosmetic (that is, they do not affect the vehicle's performance or safety) because the car was rust proofed from the start.
  • zoom_oh_2002p5zoom_oh_2002p5 Member Posts: 17
    I did not report the strut rust.
    My rust was limited to the rear wheel body panels.
    It was pretty bad, and reached the point that one of the panels was barely hanging.
    I put $ 2200 into replacing the inside and outside panels on both sides.
    this 10 year old vehicle with 86k miles now looks as good as new.
    Consider the cost to replace, the monthly payments, when you can keep a car,
    dump a couple of grand into it every couple of years (major parts or maintenance, or body work) and have a car that is an absolute joy to drive. Nothing can beat it, for me. The design profile is a wonder to behold. The Lexus IS of the same year was so close in design that in photo you could not tell which was which.

    A car that falters and bucks, sometimes doesn't start, has tires that won't deliver traction, can make life a bit of misery all day long. Fear you won't be able to start when you are a good distance from home, etc.

    Keeping a car "whole" can be a boost to every minute of the day. The 2002 and 2003 Mazda Protege5 are "special". There are many makes in this car class in today's car market. Current years. But there isn't the same design edge. For example the Subaru has bling rear lights that just look tacky. Otherwise, the same basic design.

    If you have a wind tunnel and a good design staff, you have to come to this body design.
    We are the lucky ones that can own one without car payments and have the true ZOOM ZOOM experience. My vanity plate reads "ZOOM OH". My wife's vanity plate reads "ZZMIATA".
    We have had three Miatas. Our current one is a 1999 and it runs like a top. 13 years old and looks showroom clean. My vanity plate showed up in the Canton Repository, the local paper in "Seen around town" which shows neat vanity plates each day.

    Stick with your Protege5. It is a special car, and you won't find one to match it unless you are very, very lucky.
  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    Brother, you have the right to drive whatever you want. It seems as if God has been very good to you financially. I congratulate you on that as well. I guess we just have different expectations in terms of quality and durability of motor vehicles. You drive your Mazdas and have a ball. Me, I choose not to. To each his own. We can agree to disagree on this one. To the other people who feel left down, as I do, do as you must. The beauty of our nations, USA and Canada, and the free market. Customer makes his/her own choices depending on his/her financial resources and life needs. It works.
  • autonomousautonomous Member Posts: 1,769
    The 2002 and 2003 Mazda Protege5 are "special". There are many makes in this car class ... But there isn't the same design edge. For example the Subaru has bling rear lights that just look tacky. Otherwise, the same basic design.

    Speaking of "edge", I imagine most Subaru drivers not caring too much for those comments! ;)
  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    Hey fellow rust owners, I do have some good news. I washed and waxed trusty rusty today and noticed that each time I do wash and wax the beast the time required is lessened. I knew there had to be a silver lining to this conundrum! Who knows, if it lasts long enough I should be able to finish the job in fifteen minutes or less. Sort of like my hair. I am now able to exit the shower, have the dog sneeze on my head two times and no longer require the use of a towel or blow dryer. Thank goodness for small miracles! Now all we have to do is convince our state/provincial legislators to charge us licensing fees based on weight. We would certainly pay less and less each year as our rust buckets oxidize in our driveways! I think FL here in the US used to charge based on weight! Our mileage must certainly be going up, too, as we have less metal for the wonderful 2 liter engines to haul around. The power of positive thinking! Oh, and Automobile mag did NOT, surprise x3, publish my letter to the editor about Mazda rust. Then again, if my well paying job relied on the largesse of said auto companies I would not publish such letters, either. Viva Mazda?
  • zoom_oh_2002p5zoom_oh_2002p5 Member Posts: 17
    I bit the bullet and had inside and outside panels rear, replaced by a local high quality custom shop for $ 2200. I don't regret the investment. I love the car, and now I'm not ashamed to show up at a car show as a visitor.
    Mazda has a black mark on its record for this gaffe but overall the brand is a quality offering and with Skyactive high mpg vehicles in the future this car brand has a lot to look forward to.
    Don't give up. Consider an expensive body job to keep the car you love to drive. I invested $ 75 for a plate that said "ZOOM OH". My wife's Miata says "ZZ MIATA".
  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    Do you work for Mazda? In any way, shape or form? You certainly are very quick to jump to their defense. If this is so, you really should let the other people on this forum know. If not, they have done a very good job of getting your fealty. To each his/her own. $2200 to me is a whole lot of money. I just wish I had this amount in a Cayman Islands bank account.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,132
    Just because someone likes their vehicle(s) doesn't mean they're an employee of the brand. $2200 does seem like a lot, but if it fixes a problem for a good long time, then it's cheaper than potentially buying something else and having a car payment.


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  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    Had open house @ my son's school this evening. Lo and behold there was a silver Mazda 3 in the parking lot that had the same kind of rust in more or less the same area that my 02 Protege 5 had. I was somewhat surprised. I would have thought Mazda would have figured out there was a problem and would have tried to come up w some solutions to it. Not sure what year it was, but it was obviously newer than my 02.
  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    Whilst I have had fun posting on here and commiserating w other owners of rusty Protege 5s, it is time to, alas, move on. We will be taking possession of a 12 Mitsubishi iMiev 100% electric vehicle next Saturday. We looked @ Fiat and Mitsu. Did not even given Mazda a fleeting thought. If Mazda does monitor this board, please do take note. Bad customer service creates long and acrimonious memories in the 53% of the public that can afford new cars. Wish you all the best as you zoom x3. Or is that oxidize x3:) Best of luck and God speed.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Member Posts: 2,345
    Great last post! Sorry to hear that though..

    I'd love to hear your ongoing comments on the new electric, but i know that this site does not allow any conversation outside of the model/issue of the thread first chatted about.

    As a boycotter myself when wronged on a serious enough level, one thing I am increasingly encouraged about though when reading this thread, and it is the conviction with which rusty Mazda owners have about not owning another. The comments seem pretty universal in that they all loved their cars, but will not be a patsy for the brand any more since Mazda has failed to own this problem and treat past loyal customers decently and fair.

    I'm not very familiar with the electrics..I find it odd you did not mention the Leaf. But seems to me I recall something about the Mitsu...maybe size? It might be a micro and a totally dif class from the Leaf?
  • autonomousautonomous Member Posts: 1,769
    edited September 2012
    As a boycotter myself ... rusty Mazda owners have about not owning another

    Are you an ex-Mazda Protege owner?
  • third_handthird_hand Member Posts: 4
    Farewell and good luck with your Mitsu. We bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra in mid-summer, but I am still clinging to my rusty Protege. It turned 11 on Sept 11. It has 99,000km and I would really like see it turn over to six digits. My kids laugh at me and my husband has kicked me out of the garage, so as the cold weather sets in I may forget my loyalties and wrest the new car from my son! Cheers...
  • kschleickschleic Member Posts: 5
    I finally had enough of Mazda to get rid of the car. The engine was great, however, the body was rusting and the paint was peeling. I bought a VW Passat TDI Sel Premium! I never ever considered a mazda because they totally denied that they had a problem. Good Luck to those that have Mazdas... No reason to follow this site anymore... Good Luck...
  • autonomousautonomous Member Posts: 1,769
    Good Luck to those that have Mazdas
    Likewise, good luck with your VW.
  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    Decided against the Mitsubusihi iMiev. Too limiting for the price. Went w the Volt. Pick it up Monday. Will sell trusty rusty Mazda @ the garage down the street who worked on it. Does a good job selling used VW and Mazda cars. He knows the car as he has done all the work. Only 62k on my Mazda so should bring some good cash for a young high schooler or college kid. Mechanically in good shape. Just the pesky Mazda rust. Mazda was never even in the running, nor will be again. Best of luck to you all. Excited about the Volt. Have heard some fantastic web sites that are pro Volt. Some hypermiling nut jobs as bad as me!
  • third_handthird_hand Member Posts: 4
    Just sold my trusty rusty for $900 to someone who has the same model and needs it for parts. 99k. 11 years old. Very disappointing. For shame, Mazda, for shame. Zoom zoom off, I say...
  • speeed001speeed001 Member Posts: 1
    Was eyeing a 2003 P5, 123k mi for sale here in NW Indiana. has rust behind both wheels, thought it might be minor and an easy fix. After keeping an eye out for other similar Mazdas around town and noticing that every last one of them has rust in the same spot, i figured it was more than just a coincidence and googled 'mazda protege rust' and found this forum right off the bat. You guys just saved me from making a huge mistake. Thanks!!
  • third_handthird_hand Member Posts: 4
    I just got rid of my beautiful (except for the ravenous rust) zoom-zoom and coincidentally now I seem to see mint 02/03 Protege 5s everywhere I look - and thus continue to feel bad about my loss/bad luck. Husband says they've likely had body work. But, like you, for the most part this make/model/year are all rusting in identical spots. Mazda's loss, because we will never buy Mazda again.
  • frogmann777frogmann777 Member Posts: 2
    2002 and 2003 Mazda Protege5's in any area with snow removal are terrible with rust. If you are prepared for major bodywork every two years, it is still a fun car to drive (I'm a delirious driving fan of this car and design). The Mazda3 is a much better car, especially within the past 3 or four years, but the body design is much different. Check out the latest Subaru Impreza.....very similar body style.
  • cskicski West Springfield, VAMember Posts: 1,583
    I have noticed rust on Mazda's in my families Mazda dealership. My moth-in-law is part owner of a local dealership.

    I had a 2003 Mazda Protege' and loved the click-click of all the controls and it was very nicely done inside and out. I had no complaints that summer.

    However, I drove with a lead foot and wore out my tires by fall. I ended up hydroplaning and slammed into a jersey wall full speed.

    I thought it had all season radials. WRONG!

    I thought it had all season radials too. WRONG!

    I really thought that all cars had both of the aforementioned "features" and was sure at least that it had all season radial tires. So, my mistake, my insurance claim.

    Chris Skalski: Network Engineer 2012 Kia Optima EX

  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    We sold ours about 3 mos ago. We did get $5500 US for it. Only had 62k miles on it. Was in grand shape save the rust around one wheel well. I liked most things about the car, but the rust and Mazda's refusal to fix it left a bad taste. Never another. Leased a 13 Volt & I am smitten. Think it will be plug in hybrid/electric from this point on. Feel a lot better about using less gas and polluting a whole lot less.
  • frogmann777frogmann777 Member Posts: 2
    The factory tires for 2002 and 2003 Protege5 were terrible in the wet.
    I am running a summer set that is forgiving in the wet, and a winter set on separate wheels.
    I put the car with original tires in a snowdrift up to my windows on all sides,
    after spinning out on a curbless street and coming to rest by the side of the road, perpendicular to the road. I had serious snow tires mounted with a couple of weeks.
  • horridohorrido Member Posts: 1
    edited August 2014

    Well, at this point, Mazda should pay me to keep my Protege5 rust bucket off the road. This car has less than 100K miles, and is a junker due to rust problems. It's white, and the seal coat completely failed within 5 years. Rust began around both rear wheel wells at year 6. You don't see ANY P5 around here without rust in the same area. You see lots of other older cars without rust. I will buy those brands from now on.

    I love everything about this car, except the rust. And yes, it lived in the garage, was washed/waxed regularly, never been in an accident (or even dinged), and I'm the original owner - bought from dealer. The year after we bought the P5, we bought a Pontiac Vibe (for the wife). Now, 11 years later, put those two cars side by side - one looks almost as good as a new car, the other looks like a junker. One car you can work on, the other - every time you try to turn a bolt it snaps off due to rust.

    At another site, in a article titled TOP 10 BEST & WORST RUST-RESISTANT CARS, Mazda 3/5 took the top worst position, with the only 'very weak rust resistance' rating given. The ratings were based on data 'collected over 15 years by the APA (Automobile Protection Association)'

    This point cannot be stressed enough. Mazda has the worst rusting cars of ANY car manufactured.

    I will NEVER ever buy another Mazda. I will tell all of my friends and acquaintances to stay away from Mazda. If I ever hear of anyone considering buying a Mazda, I will ask them to google 'Mazda rust'. There is no excuse. Modern cars should last at least 200k miles, with 300k being easily achievable with care.

  • 02mazda02mazda Member Posts: 34
    We just got back from sunny CA. Saw a few 02 and 03 Protégé 5s. Guess what? They did NOT have rust, which reinforces my belief that Mazda sold a car in certain regions of the country, and Canada, that it was not built for! They appear to be able to withstand warmer, more mild climes, but rust like the dickens in the salt belt in harsh winters. They never took ownership of that fact and that mistake. Which is why I shall never, ever buy another Mazda.
  • bharatpbharatp Member Posts: 5
    My Mazda protege 2002 is rusting badly but 1999 protégé has less body rust even though both were used in the same NE USA area. I think it is related to the FORD management, cost cutting to cover the Mazda purchase capital.
    On my past 40 years of US Car experiences I have decided not to buy GM or FORD. Now I have added Mazda on my "Do Not Buy" list. According to my experience with GM and FORD cars and service/support are poor.
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