Mazda 626



  • number17number17 Member Posts: 69
    JD Powers' result is an 'initial quality survey' ... I'd think engine and tranny problems are pretty rare within the first 90 days ... but if the panels aren't perfectly aligned, radio doesn't turn on, or power windows don't always work ....then I think I'd be hard pressed to believe the car was carefully put together for it to be reliable in the long run.

    If initial quality doesn't reflect overall long-term reliability, then I guess it's just a coincidence that the top finishers (Honda accord, Toyota Camry all finish in top 50) happen to be 'reliable cars', and most 'unreliable cars' (Neon, VW Golf / Jetta ...) happen to finish in the bottom of the JD Power survey.

    I am sure there are over a hundred surveys out there done by different companies, and some are more accurate, objective, and trustworthy than the others. If J.D Power's initial staisfaction survey and the # of recalls and technical bulletins over the past few years both indicate Korean cars are not that solid initially nor that reliable in the long term, then I guess I'd stay away from them until things get better.

    But hey, that's just me. I'm sure there are other surveys that indicate otherwise and it's up to each to pick which one to believe

  • ignaigna Member Posts: 4
    Hello all,

    I got a question to those who own 626 LX 2000 with auto transmission.
    Are you experience the same jumpy thing when you press on acceleration pedal? First you press then in a second you car responds and jump ahead?
    Or it does that thing when you drive slowly downhill?
    I am just asking to know whether or not go to a mechanic..

  • ignaigna Member Posts: 4
    From some posts:

    The ECU (computer) in the car was tuned specifically for 87 AKI
    and, when it encountered the higher octane, got confused and
    didn't manage fuel properly. After talking to my dealer, they said
    said that using a higher octane than the ECU is tuned for can
    actually damage the engine in the long term. Not a happy

    So, remember to check your manual for the proper AKI to use.
    They way I look at it is that if a car company with hundreds of
    thousands of man hours in research tells me to use regular fuel,
    who am I to decide that I need premium? So, unless you're driving
    a performance turbo or supercharged engine, stick with what the
    manual says.

    On a side note... If you insist on running premium fuel, stick with
    it. Switching between premium and regular will confuse the ECU
    as it tries to compensate between the two octane blends. Also,
    doing an ECU reset might help the fuel management system
    "accept" the higher octane. Since dealers don't want consumers
    to know they can reset the ECU, you'll need to find a group of
    enthusiasts to help you with the procedure (each car is a little
    different, but usually involves disconnecting the battery for 8
    hours, reconnect, start the car, idle for 30 minutes and then
    drive at highway speeds for 30 minutes).
  • number17number17 Member Posts: 69
    As far as I know, running high octane level should never damange the car. The ECU has a set timing based on the recommended octane level (which is 89 for 4cyc and 91 for V6 I believe). If a lower octane level of fuel is used, the ECU will retard the timing to avoid knocking, within its dynamic range. So if you use say, 87 fuel on a V6, you may have exceeded the ECU's slowest timing and causes knocking, and this is obviously bad for the engine.

    OTOH, if a higher octane level of fuel is used, as far as I know the ECU does not speed up the timing above its recommended level to extract more performance from the engine. Therefore it wouldn't give you any real advantage, at the same time there shouldn't be any disadvantage...

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    JD Power's original list had mistakes, and it was recalled and then later reissued.

    Goes to show you can't trust a single source. Look at several, then talk to owners in a forum like this one.

    Information is power.

  • skorolskorol Member Posts: 11
    I would love to see the link to JD Powers' data on defects per car. Could you please provide it.


    You said "yeah but those studies don't indicate serious transmission or engine problems."
    They indicate problems, body, problems. Same rules apply to every car, can you understand that? And Koreans did bad. Poor quality Korean cars prove once again they are nothing but POOR QUALITY cars. Besides, why do you think anyone on Mazda forum gives a darn what LA times wrote about Huyndai?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The one I had was the incorrect one, and I've only seen the awards list since them.

    JD Power's site still only has the awards, not all vehicles:

    Mazda is MIA, except the B-series truck, which is a Ford. Kind of bizarre role reversal.

  • genes555genes555 Member Posts: 10
    hey skorol,

    KOREA is the no.5 automobile producing nation in the world and her cars are proving to be popular all over the world.

    they are showing signs of blossoming.

    i'd rather pay for a $40,000 Hyundai or Daewoo than a $40,000 Toyota or Mercedes because i know i'll be getting my money's worth.

    go check out the Hyundai or Daewoo forums and you will see many happy owners there.

    and by the way hyundai is the world's seventh largest automobile company and they stand behind their products.

    i'm just waiting for a nice six cylinder sports car to hit our shores...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    There is no $40k Korean car sold here, at least not yet.

    Hyundai will soon offer the XG300, an Avalon-sized car, but even that should be mid $20's.

    I was disappointed that they never produced the HCD conertible sports car. They sold the Tib instead.

  • number17number17 Member Posts: 69
    I think Korean cars can make a lot of sense for buyers on a budget but I can't see why anyone would spend $40k into a Hyndai.

    Your $40k MB is prob still worth $25k-27k or so in 5 years time, while your $40k Hyndai is lucky to be worth $18k ... so with the same initial capital you put into the car, you're getting $7k to $9k less in 5 years!!

    Don't believe me?? Check the depreciation of Korean cars. Prestigious vehicles like MB, BMW, Lexus, are still worth over 55% of their initial value after 5 yrs. Japanese imports are worth a tad over 50%, while reliable domestics are worth a tad under 50%. Korean cars are worth 40-45% ...after 5 yrs.

  • skorolskorol Member Posts: 11
    You have to be crazy to pay $40K for Huyndai. But this is a Mazda forum, so let the crazy people pay $40K for Huyndai, and let us discuss 15-20K Mazda.
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Member Posts: 765
    There were three flavors of this transmission - '87, '88 through '92, and '93 up. Let's hope they got all the parts right on that '91.
  • jstandeferjstandefer Member Posts: 805
    Unfortunately, the automatic transmission used in the 4-cyl 626 is not that great of a transmission. However, I can give you some advice for making it last longer and act a little smoother.

    All it takes is a little bit of patience... The reason it feels so jumpy is that the transmission is slow to shift, particularly between park, reverse, neutral, and drive. When you first get in the car, start it up and let it sit in Drive until the engine revs down to a reasonable level (below 1,200rpm). When you put the car into a gear (Drive or Reverse), wait a second until you feel the car jerk slightly. Now the car is in gear and you should be able to gently depress the accelerator. Doing this everytime will keep the whiplash to a minimum and the transmission should last longer. It is especially important when you are backing out of a space and going from Reverse to Drive. That extra second works wonders.

    If you, or anyone here, have any questions or concerns, feel free to e-mail me. Until recently, I sold Mazda's. mailto:[email protected]
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    It shouldn't make a difference. You probably rarely reach 4th gear in those conditions.

    If it does use 4th, the OD Off button would give you more instantaneous power but less mileage.

  • johnlwjohnlw Member Posts: 28
    We have had two 626 4 cyl. automatics during the past five years, and in truth have had no significant problems. The car handles well, is roomy inside, and looks great. I would buy another.

    As far as Mazda products go, my brother has a 323 with 170,000 miles (it won't die!), and a neighbor has a Mazda minivan with 150,000 miles. If you like the car, buy it.
  • vocusvocus Member Posts: 7,777
    Where the heck are you getting such a big trade-in on your Protege? I have a 1999 DX which I owe $16,000 and change on (negative equity from last car got me) and was offered $9700 for it. Help!?!?
  • skibry1skibry1 Member Posts: 174
    Our Freeport came into our lives at the end
    of Feb.We're about to preform our 2nd oil
    change @ the 5500ml mark.We give nothing
    but high marks for looks,handling,comfort
    (after a few mods)and fuel economy.We are
    definatly looking forward to join that 6
    digit mileage club!
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Member Posts: 765
    People who have no complaints about a car are less likely to pour out their hearts (or other organs) online.

    Actually, I think the worst of the transmission problems are over and done with. Most of them involved the Ford CD4E box, and Ford has made a couple of running changes to the tranny to improve its reliability, the first of which began appearing in, you guessed it, model year 1997. This won't necessarily help someone looking for, say, a '95, but it should improve the odds for someone buying a newer 626.
  • kc_flynnkc_flynn Member Posts: 45
    How have the 5 speed LX trannies been historically? What about the 1999-2000 models with the 5 speeds?
  • number17number17 Member Posts: 69
    I think all the tranny related problems with the 626 was A/T related, especially the 4 cyc A/T transmission which is really a Ford part.

    As far as I know, there's not been any problems with M/T tranny for the 626 for the past few generations.

    My LX V6's M/T has been pretty good in the 2 first months ... coming from a Honda, obviously some adjustments are needed (not as accurate, precise and short as Honda's ... ) but now I'm used to it I have no problem with it at all.

  • smistrettasmistretta Member Posts: 2
    My 98 626 lx has 41k miles. What kind of things should I have done to it to prolong the life of my car?
  • andrewsadeckiandrewsadecki Member Posts: 3
    I'm thinking of buying 88-92 626 5spd....
    There is one I'm going to see this weekend. 1991 Mazda 626LX, 4DR, HB, 5spd. The car has 206K (km), but the engine has been replaced 2 months ago with "low km" engine as per owner. He could not explain why the original engine died... He claims that "new" engine has had only 40K on it and it came from salvaged car. He is asking $3995 CAN for it, but might let it go for $3.5K
    I would appreciate any advice on the above. I've read some horror stories about Mazda's AT at but that should not be relevant to this one should it?


  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Member Posts: 765
    At 41k, not a whole lot is likely to be worn out just yet. There's a whole raft of services listed in your 626 owner's manual for the 30k point; if you haven't attended to any of them, now's a good time to start. At the very least, you ought to replace the spark plugs, flush the cooling system, have the transmission (if an automatic) serviced, and check the valve cover gasket for teensy leaks - over and above the usual oil and filter change and tire rotation, of course.
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Member Posts: 765
    Mazda recommends changing it every 60k miles, unless you live in California, in which case they suggest you have it checked at 60k and replaced at 105k. Given the amount of labor it takes to get at the belt, you might as well change it at 60k and be done with it.
  • wakbeigelwakbeigel Member Posts: 9
    I appreciate the info.
  • wakbeigelwakbeigel Member Posts: 9
    Hi all, My wife really loves the 626, so we may purchase one in the next few months. Based on all of the gripes I've read, I may spring for the extended warranty. How much should I pay for an extended warranty? Will it fully cover the tranny and lifter problems I've read so much about?
  • number17number17 Member Posts: 69
    It might be worthwhile to find out what kind of warranty Mazda already offers on engine and tranny in where you buy the car ....

    I found out AFTER the purchase that Mazda of Canada offers a 10 yr engine + tranny warranty that covers labour and parts, and starts AFTER your 3 yr bumper to bumper warranty expires. That means you have basically 13 yrs of warranty on your engine and tranny!!!

    Mazda actually offers very good warranty compared to other imports. 3 yrs/ 80,000 km bumper-to-bumper warranty is a lot better than 3yrs/50,000 offered by Honda and Toyota (which is really 2.5 yrs to most ppl), and the 10 yrs warranty on engine and tranny is even better. The problem is, Mazda NEVER does any kind of advertising and I didn't know about it until I've purchased the car ....

    I think Mazda can do a lot better if they let people know about their cars and their services ....

  • vocusvocus Member Posts: 7,777
    But if you have to purchase an extended warranty on a brand new car for peace of mind due to past reliability issues, then I think it's time to check out another kind of car. Don't you???
  • number17number17 Member Posts: 69
    I dunno if the way I worded it may be misleading, but the 10 yrs engine + tranny warranty I mentioned are NOT extended warranties. Mazda offers that warranty on any 1999+ Mazda vehicle (excluding trucks) as standard ...

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Those warranties were for Canada.

    In the US it's 3/50, also better than Honda or Toyota offer here.

    You can get an on-line quote here:

    Though I also don't think it's necessary.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    That's a toughie. If the invoice was $19,200, it cost him $16,950 minus the hold back he'll get later. For Mazda it's 2% of the base MSRP. Let's guesstimate that would be about another $400 bucks or so, so the next cost is $16,550.

    Break it down on paper, and offer the dealer actual cost, no profit, and tell him that's best and final, no nickel and diming. He should not expect to profit from an aging car, but then again he may not be willing to swallow a $1000 loss (your current offer).

  • billusbillus Member Posts: 4
    I saw mention of the need for timing belt replacement. I have a near-perfect '98 626 with 64,000 miles on it. The user's manual quotes 105,000 for the timing belt change if purchased in California. Is the engine slightly different in such cases?

    I leased the car, unfortunately, and have another 9 months to go. So far, the 626 has required near-zero repairs. If I can return it at 75,000 miles in this shape, I'll be impressed indeed.

    If it weren't for having such a high residual ($18K), I'd forego paying the $4K in excess mileage (40,000 miles x .10) and keep the car. Blue Book is for around $10K with 75,000 miles on. It's in perfect condition and runs so quiet in idle that you can't tell it's on. I had no idea a car could be so reliable!

    Once I close the lease, any ideas how likely they'll put the car on the same lot? Any chance they would just sell it to me at the Blue Book cost or Blue Book + mileage overage?
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Member Posts: 765
    There aren't any differences. California regulators, however, are persuaded that timing belts, being dimly related to emissions, ought to last 100,000 miles, and Mazda duly changed their recommendation to keep the drones in Sacramento happy. I figure, though, that access to the belt is tricky enough that if you're going to open up the cover to look at it, as Mazda recommends you do at 60k, you may as well go ahead and change it. The consequences of a broken belt on the V6 - I assume this is a V6, since no one would ever accuse the four-cylinder of being quiet at idle - are rather dire.
  • paul29paul29 Member Posts: 178
    I have a 97 4 cyl. and with a/c off and engine warm at idle speed, it is almost impossible to tell it is running from outside ,about the only indication is the exhaust if outside temp. is cool enough.These engines have hydraulic lifters(HLA)and if oil is changed as per will remain quiet (dirty oil = noisy lifters). Very pleased with engine in mine , not so pleased with the auto trans. though.
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Member Posts: 765
    Actually, it's more of a slouch. :)

    So what's wrong with your transmission? (626 engines tend to be sturdy, but some of these slushboxes....)
  • paul29paul29 Member Posts: 178
    Auto trans is not smooth when engaging or shifting as compared to my Toyotas. The Madza(Ford) trans was designed to use a straight Dexron/Mercon fluid where Toyota, Chrysler, and others use friction modified versions of the Dexron fluid (not to be used in Mazda) which allows a designed amt. of slippage. This is only one difference, some also electronically reduce engine timing at shift points to reduce engine power for a smooth shift,ie Lexus and others.Maybe Ford should buy a few Toyota transmissions and copy their ideas??
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Member Posts: 765
    I'm probably in the minority here, but I'm partial to a somewhat firmer shift, perhaps because I spent all those years stirring my own gears in a 5-speed Toyota. Or maybe it's just fear of isolation. :)
  • skibry1skibry1 Member Posts: 174
    Our Doubleought 626 LX with 5.8K is a dream.
    Thanx,Charles,for that expression. Never heard
    of stickshiftin' coined like that Clever!
  • ediebjoediebjo Member Posts: 1
    Does the a/t getter better with mileage? The automatic shifting on my 2000 seems to be improving. Does anybody know if the dealer can make any adjustments to improve shifting. Smooth shifting seems to coincide with rpms.
  • billusbillus Member Posts: 4
    Thanks, Number17, for the advice. BTW, what happens if the timing belt slips/breaks/whatever. Is it kinda like...oops, there goes the engine? It would be great to make it through the end of the lease...

    Regarding the auto. transmission, it does get better over the first 30,000 miles, I've found. The annoying thing (at least on my '98/ES/V6) is when you floor it and performance seems lackluster. Then, when you back off the gas, you hear this GRRRRRRROWWWWWWWWWWL and sudden, intense surge of power, like the engine had to charge up or something. It feels like you have an inline 3-cylinder with a biturbo. If it hits right, you can squeal the tires up to about 85 mph. If it doesn't, you feel like you're driving a Yugo uphill, through snow, with bald tires and a trunk full of lead blocks. I try to either wisely kick off the overdrive (O/D button on the shifter) or downshift to 2nd. Then, there's no problem whatsoever.

    Another problem is when it gets confused...accelerate slightly just after it downshifts from 3rd to 2nd and it may shift up and down 2-3 more it's wondering what the heck you're thinking or teasing you.

    As for reliability...ALWAYS starts on the first crank, no squeaks or rattles, feels like a new car, looks incredible after a good washing (paint job outshines forest green BMW's and Mercedes' all the time), handles pretty well when I'm bobbing through the mountain roads around here or dodging potholes on 880. Once in a while, I'll feel the traction control kick in and I get this warm, fuzzy feeling...or I'll do a panic stop and, though I'm about to faint, I note that the car stopped in a perfect straight line, and a short line at that.

    I do believe I'll lease/buy another when my lease is up. Unless there were a 626 convertible or a more hefty engine, maybe a "smarter" transmission, I'm surprisingly happy.
  • ryangaltryangalt Member Posts: 1
    The characteristics you describe about your auto transmission giving inconsistent performance is exactly why I drive a car with a stick. Some automatics are smarter and/or smoother than others, and the auto's on the newest high performance cars are much better than what we had to choose from in the past, but... The bottom line is that no automatic is as smart as the brain of a skilled driver and they still will not always be right where you need them to be when you need them to be there.

    What an auto is good for is making it easier for you to talk on the cell phone or eat while you are driving. However, unless you are doing one of those things all the time, you would probably really enjoy the 5-speed (it's faster & better MPG). Think about it if you decide to get a new one...
  • raleighrealtorraleighrealtor Member Posts: 1
    Yeap, I agree with you I was displeased with the transmission when I first got my 99 626. But after about 12,000 miles it settled down and now is quiet and responsive. Mine just rolled over 34,000 and I believe it is my favorite car yet. We tend to buy a new car every 24 months, but cant think of one we like better (under $25,000 that is) Highly reccomend this car,quiet & peppy with the 4cyl, auto plus leather seats! If you are on the the 626!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Both engines make their power up high, so the manual lets you control where the revs are and therefore return better acceleration.

    I drove the wife's 626 to work this AM, and the power really lights up above 4000rpm.

  • number17number17 Member Posts: 69
    Can't agreed with you more .... that's exactly the reason I'd take a 5 sp anyday. Mazda's (or Ford's) MT is also defn not one of the smarter ones in the industry. Honda makes more responsive AT and Toyota makes smoother ones. A stick gives you way more control, and one less component that will go wrong.

    And that's what it boiled down to for me- V6+5sp MT. 626 LX-V6 is the best value ... my only other alternative was the Maxima ... which costs way more.

  • laurakatie1laurakatie1 Member Posts: 4
    I agree the manual tranny is the way to go! That is one of the main reasons I bought this car. V6 plus MT in a sedan. Seems to be rare these days! My other choice was a Passat, but it was a bit out of my "comfort zone" for payments. Instead, for just under $19,000, I bought a loaded 99 ES V6 5spd. Bought it in September. 9 months and 18k miles later, no major problems. The only problem was the belts did sqealed like a SOB during cold starts shortly after I bought it. The dealer quickly fixed it, but it was rather embarassing when my neighbors would stare at me in my brand new car everytime I started it in the mornings!

  • number17number17 Member Posts: 69
    Yes I was also considering the Passat .... but the GLX V6+5spMT Passat is way out of the budget though (almost price of an A4!!!), while Passat GLS 1.8T + 5spMT still costs slightly more than 626 LX-V6, and is slightly underpowered. Also, VWs are not known to be too reliable .... Passat seems to be a pleasant exception though.

  • jgard1jgard1 Member Posts: 19
    What kind of shoes does the 2000 ES come with? My 97 ES (still) has a set of Michelin XGT H4's which are fantastic on bone dry road, slippery when wet and downright dangerous in the snow. I live in the great white north so I bought a full set of snows and steel rims for my winter driving. Highly recommended! Keeps the fun to drive factor at a maximum all year around.
  • barich1barich1 Member Posts: 143
    It comes with Bridgestone Potenza RE92s.
  • number17number17 Member Posts: 69
    Yes V6's come with 205/16R55 RE92 tires, the exact same tires used on the Honda Prelude's. The tires are decent in dry, but are poor in rain, and unacceptable in snow. I'm definitely going for a set of snow tires before winter comes ... On dry surfaces though, the sidewalls are reasonably stiff for sharp turn in, the tires are reasonably quiet and have good braking distance. In rain the good tread pattern accounts for reasonable braking distance, but the tire material is not too grippy its lateral growth is really bad in rain.

    bmclaughlin1 - thanks for your input. 626 ES for 626 ES, I bet you really liked the car eh? = ) Nothing against AT, cos over 95% of family sedans sold are AT's .... but the Mazda AT is especially subpar compared to Honda and Toyota. IMO, on the 626 the MT is a much preferred choice for smoother ride and much better acceleration. OTOH, have you experienced any problems with using 87 fuel?? I think the manual recommends 94 and requires minimum of 91 octane level gas to avoid knocking ...

    Finally CD changer - instead of going for the factory changer I've chosen to go aftermarket path... and my Sony changer (which I inherited from my previous cars) is working great .... it's 8 yrs and counting = )

  • number17number17 Member Posts: 69
    I meant lateral hold, not growth ....
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