Mazda Protegé



  • protegextwoprotegextwo Member Posts: 1,265
    "New Protege Owner (finally!)"
    by dkla

    I own a pair of 2000 PRO-ES's with 32,000 mile each. I love them boys ;-)))!!!

    1.) Don't spend the money for "the roof deflector", "does it make a big enough difference?". I personally don't care for the look of a sun roof deflector. It will make your PRO-ES look like a Corolla, lol!

    2.)"I guess I should change out my oil at 1000 miles and not wait until the dealer service (something like 3500, 3750 miles), right?" Well, I'm not an expert, however; I changed the oil in both my Protege's at 1,000 miles and then again at 4,000 miles. I now change oil every 3,500 miles and rotate tires every other oil change. This program has worked for me so far!
    Dave, enjoy your PRO-ES!!!

    Zoom Zoom
  • fowler3fowler3 Member Posts: 1,919
    Glad you made it safely cross country and now the proud owner of a Pro ES. Remember to come to the
    Thursday night chats (next one on January 3) and tell us about your motoring adventures.

    About your report: "back on as long as you hold it, forward on until you shut it off" brights function."

    European and Japanese drivers use Flashing Headlights instead of blowing the horn to alert other drivers. That's the reason for the "back ON until you release it" You are suppose to flip and release it rappidly to flash the lights quickly so as not to blind on-coming drivers.

    Some European cities prohibit headlights on within the city, they use driving lights or parking lights. Those cities have very bright street lights making headlights unnecessary. When drivers flash their headlights other drivers see them immediately.

    In the states, many drivers are becoming more aware of flashing headlights and what they mean, other than to dim or to tell passing truckers it's safe to pull in front of them.

  • tomcivilettitomciviletti Member Posts: 207
    YOur comments seem right on to this '99 es owner. Overall, a great car. I can't believe they still haven't added an ajustable intermittent wiper control! My '84 mitsu pu has it.
  • vocusvocus Member Posts: 7,777
    I wish more people in Maryland would lesrn what "flash to pass" means. No one seems to know that when they are in the passing lane and a car flashes its lights behind them twice, it means to move over to the right. Ugh, why can't it be more like Europe here? :)

    Also, I didn't know about the parking light thing, where you said you don't use headlights in some European cities. Maybe that explains why my VW Jetta's parking lights in the front are so bright, and why I have fender turn lights too.
  • dinu01dinu01 Member Posts: 2,586
    Being born in a Euro country and havinng travelled (a little) to other Euro countries, I would like to add to our uses for flashing the lights.

    1. Flash to alert incoming traffic of a radar trap, police presence. This is widely used in Euro countries and guess what? IT WORKS!

    2. Flash to pass. Yes people, if you are in the left lane and someone signals you, move over. Last Friday I was on the 407 (a private toll highway here in Toronto that b/c you must pay - unlike our other highways - is used by less motorists) and this girl/lady/whatever in her black '95ish Golf was in the left lane goiong about 118km/h when left lane traffic was going 130km/h. The middle and right lanes where empty and behing her she had 4 cars (me being one of them) that were signalling her to move over and she just didn't get it. Let's just say that everyone developed a mad case of road rage, passed her on the right and came in front of her and started to slow down to about 110km/h while another car was on her right. Then we all drove off, leaving her.. you guessed it... in the left lane. Yes Dinu was upset BIG time. I just wish the police would ticket these morons that hug the left lane.

  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    I wish I had a big old junky american car with bumper bars on the front. If I did, I swear I would run left lane bandits OFF THE ROAD. That is the #1 cause of road rage. If they want to go slow, they can do it in the ditch!
  • mazdafunmazdafun Member Posts: 2,329
    Eventually, you can pass them on the right.

    Kind of oblivious though, aren't they?
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    I can't help it. I absolutely HATE left lane bandits. They are BAD people.
  • chikoochikoo Member Posts: 3,008
    miss chi-pro,

    next time your window does not roll down in a cold winter(i don't know why you would want to do so on such a chilly day), just bang your fist lightly on the glass. That will loosen the frozen ice.
  • dinu01dinu01 Member Posts: 2,586
    that was funny! but i agree wioth u it is the #1 cause for road rage, no question about it. and we all know when people are nervous or mad they do stupid things. so let's all get SUVs and junky old american cars and run them off the road. hahahha!

    mazdafun: we aren't going to do it, but i guess we all wish cops would pull these ignorant inconsiderate people off our roads. just before rush hr here in t.o., if there is 1 vehicle in the left lane driving slow, you soon have cars backed up behind him, which leads to a slowdown (everyone touches the brakes), and in turn everyone behind them touches their brakes... evetually, as a chain reaction it becomes a traffic jam.
  • sfratsfrat Member Posts: 208
    Hi Everyone,

    Just wanted to wish everyone happy holidays. I just got back from a 10 hour trip to Indiana with my parents and sister. Boy, what a long trip. I can't imagine driving cross country, unless you have plenty of time to do it, and make lots of stops. Wish we'd taken my Protege instead of my dad's sable, but we needed to trunk room.

    Anyway, someone was having problems with their windows possibly frozen (sorry, i just read through 60 some posts, can't remember who). If its been damp, then I would guess there is some moisture inside the door that froze. I would have it looked at just to be safe.

    On our trip, there were plenty of people just sitting in the left lane, acting like they owned the road. Very irritating, and is very frustrating. Vocus, you're probably not going to have much luck getting people to stay to the right. In Maryland it is pefectly OK to pass on the right, which I think is dumb. Its much more orderly to keep fast traffic to the left, and slower cars to the right, not to mention when you merge onto the freeway, you have to contend with some moron going 90 in the right lane because everyone is going 55 in the left. How many other states is it pefectly ok to pass in any lane? I think most states have signs telling slower traffic to keep right.

  • chicagoprochicagopro Member Posts: 1,009
    Yikes! newcar, hope I'm never in the left lane in front of you :)

    A word in defense of left lane slowpokes:
    Maybe they're normally city drivers? In city traffic, the 'left lane fast, right lane slow' thing really isn't an issue. (We're just too busy dodging rollerbladers and pedestrians who throw themselves in front of us.)

    I must confess that the extended trip I took in October on a 4-lane divided highway opened up my eyes to the whole left lane, right lane deal. Was poking along in the left lane myself until other drivers 'helped' me realize the error of my ways.

    Then I became a left lane devotee, and had to laugh when I became frustrated myself at folks driving 'only' 75 in the left lane.
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    I drive in the city. I'm talking about left lane bandits when there is NO ONE in front of them. I realize there are exceptions.
  • chicagoprochicagopro Member Posts: 1,009
    Thanks for the info about the frozen windows.

    Chikoo: You asked why I would want to open the windows on a cold day: I like fresh air :) (no, for real...I like to crack the window a little bit, even if just for a few minutes). Banging on them had occured to me, but wasn't sure if that would cause more problems.
  • vocusvocus Member Posts: 7,777
    Talk about road rage, good God. :) I have had passengers in the car with me before, and flashed the lights at someone to pass in the left lane. My passenger (two separate ones) said it was rude and I shouldn't flash. I was like, "they need to move, this is the passing lane!". If they were in Europe and got flashed like that, they would know what to do. It just makes me mad that the "flash to pass" rule isn't universally learned by all drivers.

    On the Capital Beltway (speed limit is 55) people usually go anywhere from 80-105 in the left lane (they are just nuts). I try to avoid the left lane at all costs, but I will tell you it certainly helps having a 180-hp turbo to "punch" when it comes time to pass. :)
  • dsm6dsm6 Member Posts: 813
    isn't rude. Cruising in the left lane is rude. Just another aspect of the general self-centered, common courtesy and rules don't apply to me attitude so many people take. Boy, I'm grumpy today. Too many left lane bandits on the highway this morning, I guess.
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    Just the mention of left lane bandits makes me grumpy regardless of the kind of day I'm having. I'll bet some people do it on purpose thinking that they should be the ones who regulate the highways.
  • cdnp5cdnp5 Member Posts: 163
    I also agree with the people who don't like these bandits. It can be very dangerous to everyone around them. I believe this is why they post signs that say "Slower traffic keep right, Trucks use right lane only". I also drive through Toronto alot (I live in London) and these people really bug me and its all not about driving fast, just show some respect and move over! When you have to pass on the right you can cause more problems that its worth. I can't count the number of times I driving back from Toronto at night and there is someone driving in the left lane of three or four lanes and then a little further up there is someone in the middle lane and then further up someone in the left lane. And if you are really lucky you have that person pulling a trailer in the middle or left lane going 85 kph! This is one reason that accidents happen.

    Happy driving everyone,

    ps. On a good note, I'm glad all of that snow missed us, 200km south received a tonne, 200km north also received a tonne, you have to love those lake effect flurries.
  • fowler3fowler3 Member Posts: 1,919
    I hate that too. In North Carolina, and I think also in Virginia, it is against the law to pass in the right lane. But people do it. Many of those hanging in the left lane are going the posted speed limit and faster drivers pull around them in the right lane, making two wrongs,which could cause accidents.

    Some of those left lane bandits are going to make a left turn about five miles down the road and are afraid they can't get back into the left lane when their left turn comes up. Bad thinking! You have to plan ahead, but not THAT FAR ahead.

    Vocus: I said that about no headlights on in many European cities. Especially large cities. They do flash-to-pass and everyone should learn that. I have used that here and was surprised when other drivers pulled over to the right lane.

    It use to be in Germany, which had no speed limits on the Autobhans at that time, that all drivers who wanted to drive no faster than 55mph had to display a sticker on the left side of their rear window with a big 55 on it -- and were prohibited from driving faster, especially in the left or highspeed lane.

    Flash-to-pass in Germany always occured when the Mercedes and BMW drivers were about two miles behind you, they had extremely bright lights. The next flash they were on your tail and you had better get over fast because they were going at least 150mph! Culture shock! The state highway patrol drives Porsche 911's. Most taxis are Mercedes Benz's.

    Another nice thing they have ( or had) are telephone boxes a mile apart so if you are in an accident, and can still walk, you can call for help. The phones connect callers to Emergency Road Services. The ERS trucks patrol the Autobahns and help people with flat tires, broken fan belts, out of fuel, etc. and carry replacements.

    They may still have those, but with the way Europeans use cellphones more than in the USA, they may have done away with them. I was very surprised to see so many people standing on the streets talking on cellphones, in restaurants, and on trains. Now there's another story: the trains have telephones and fax machines for communicating with hotels for reservations, at 180mph.

    They are way ahead of the USA in public transportation. How often do you hear about trains hitting cars and trucks at RR-crossings here? Very often, right? Not in Germany, their high-speed intercity express trains run on separate tracks and all RR-crossings are connected to computers and other devices that shutdown an approaching train's engines if a vehicle is on the tracks, giving the driver time to stop.

    Another interesting thing. I was on a city bus and the front passengers got up and started folding up several seats and taking other seats in the back. I wondered what was going on at that bus stop. The driver pulled a lever and the front steps folded up and lowered making a nice platform and lift for a handicapped passenger in a wheelchair waiting to board. That's unheard of here.

    Today, Germany has speed limits on many Autobahns, but they are higher limits than here. Those people know how to ZOOOOM!

  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    If it's against the law in Virginia to pass on the right, the cops are missing a ton of revenue where I live!! ;-)

    You could well be correct, fowler, but I must say that no one around here knows how to drive politely and the cops could certainly clean up if they would just wake up and pay attention.

    Ah well, this is not on topic, please carry on. And happy New Year in addtion to happy zoom-zooming!


    Sedans Message Board
  • chicagoprochicagopro Member Posts: 1,009
    We have similar handicapped-accessible busses here; if memory serves correctly, they exist in NYC as well.
  • yooper53yooper53 Member Posts: 286
    I've seen them in Milwaukee, WI as well.
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    Most of the SouthWest metro buses here in Minneapolis are kneeling and handicapped accesible. I'd guess most buses were like that.
  • vocusvocus Member Posts: 7,777
    I know, I want to have at least one chance before I die to drive on the Autobahn. :) I have hit speeds up to 120 mph in my Jetta, but it was on a dark highway late (like 2am) at night when no one else was around. Granted, the speed limit was still 65mph, and it was a dumb thing to do. But I digress.

    I don't think going 80+mph as a speed limit would work on highways here. We use cell phones and all that less than Germans do, but it seems Americans still have trouble talking while driving their 6-ton SUV through city traffic. :) Besides, most older American cars aren't built to run 80+mph on the highway without shaking your brains out first.
  • fowler3fowler3 Member Posts: 1,919
    When you are driving 120mph do you flash-to-pass or just flash past the other cars? LOL

  • fowler3fowler3 Member Posts: 1,919
    I received a neat greeting card from a friend the other day, a jigsaw puzzle of where she lives. You put it together on your computer.

    You can upload a photograph, maybe of your Protegé, and the program automatically makes it a jigsaw puzzle. Then sends your greeting and the URL for the puzzle to your friends and family.

    Here's the web site.

    It's really cool, set your monitor to 800 X 600 to see all the options. No scroll bars. If it's your Protegé take a picture on a sunny day for bright colors and sharp contrasts.


  • elec3elec3 Member Posts: 160
    I'm undecided about flash to pass. I grew up and learned to drive in Chicagoland, which gave me the skills to deal with driving conditions just about anywhere, but there's a huge variety here. Sometimes you can flash all you want but traffic just won't move. Everybody is going 50 feet per minute. Other times somebody is up your butt when you've got nowhere to go and are already going 15 over. I never felt particularly sorry for anyone flashing me when I'm driving 80 in a 55 (or 65 even). If they REALLY want to go faster than that, they can go around me. I had an old guy in an old wood-sided station wagon madly flash me one time when I was driving 80-85 on an interstate. When I finally got over (to get him off my butt), he zoomed by at well over 100. Sheesh.

    The problem I often encounter is that I drive fast enough that I need to be in the left lane (to get past all the semis and old VW Beetles) but not insanely fast enough that nobody comes up behind me. Then you have to deal with slowing way down and cutting in between two semis, which to me is more of a hazard and inconvenience than if the other guy would have slowed down from 90 to 80 until you got clear of the trucks and he could pass on the right.

    Then again, I have absolutely no problem with passing on the left, right, middle, or wherever I find an opening. Chicago taught me that. I always joke about how while others are taught to "drive defensively", I prefer to drive offensively so as not to get eaten alive. This doesn't mean I drive to offend, it just means that instead of poking along and trying to stay out of the way, if I need to get over a couple lanes, I'll look for a hole and punch it. Sure you could just get in the far right lane and go 50 the whole way, but jockeying and weaving is the way of the world and if you don't learn to at least deal with it, you will feel intimidated every time you get out on the highway. My mom at nearly 50 and over 20 years in the Chicago area is still afraid to drive to O'Hare airport.

    And to put a different spin on things, in New Mexico, where I spend most of the year at school, speed limits are generally 70-75 on the highways and interstates. There are few cops and not too much traffic. It's not uncommon there to see that old VW Beetle puttering along at 50 in the right lane while people trying to get somewhere zoom by at 90 or more in the left. The state is largely desert wasteland and the roads are straight, making fast driving a bit safer. The only time my Chicago ninja driving skills come into play down there is when I drive through El Paso. I-10 through El Paso is fairly winding and well traveled, especially during rush hour times of day. The speed limit is a posted 60 but those crazy Texans will go much faster. I often feel like I'm in a video game there, swooping around corners and down hills, trying to avoid the ruthless and the clueless with whom I share the road. That and getting over a good 4 or so lanes to get to the airport (it's one of those roads where lanes disappear on the left and reappear on the right so the number doesn't change but you find that your middle lane is now the far left lane and will soon be gone).
  • chicagoprochicagopro Member Posts: 1,009
    I the greater Chicago area, it's every man for himself. That's why I wasn't prepared for my first roadtrip downstate, where (almost) normal rules of the road apply.

    Tell your mom not to feel bad about not wanting to drive to O'Hare...for such a busy airport, they really don't have the approach into the area very well-marked. You almost have to know where you are going in advance, because you don't have much time to get over for the airport exit. (This is coming from the city...not sure what it's like coming from the other direction.)
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    but I have found the absolute worst as far as cut-throat driving is in New York City. It seems like those people are always playing chicken. I've driven in LA, Chicago, DC (really bad too), and NYC has to be the worst. I would never bring my Pro anywhere near that wretched traffic (at all times of the day, in every direction) mess. No offense to anyone from NY, but that city is the least car friendly of any US city I've been to. And the potholes.......
  • fowler3fowler3 Member Posts: 1,919
    place I have ever driven. Almost all of the cars have crushed left rear fenders. I wondered why until I came to one of their Go-rounds. Instead of traffic lights at intersections where five or six roads meet they have traffic circles drivers have to merge into, very slowly, and exit at a road on the other side. Often you get crowded to the inside lane and can't get out. This forces you to pull to the right, when possible, unless you want to spend the day going around in a circle. It's forcing their way to an outside lane that crushes fenders. Primative engineering! Wasn't bad in the horse-and-buggy days.

  • edmund2460edmund2460 Member Posts: 293
    I know this has probably been beaten to death, but it just occurs to me that I don't know the answer. The PRO manual I believe recommends 91 octane. What does that translate to since gas stations have 87 89 and 93 ???
  • chicagoprochicagopro Member Posts: 1,009
    Yes, this has been discussed. And I think as a result of that discussion, I decided to switch from 89 down to 87. I thought the manual said 87...mine's out in the glove box :)
  • protege_fanprotege_fan Member Posts: 2,405
    My manual says to use 87 octane, so that is what I'm using.
    In regards to flashing to pass, I drove to my parent's house last night and decided that if the chance came up, I'd try it out. Well, lo and behold, a car going under the posted speed limit was going along in the left lane. I could have easily passed, but decided to try the flash. Worked like a charm; the driver pulled into the right lane. However, as soon as I passed, the car went back into the left lane. There were no other cars ahead or behind him/her. People do such strange things on the road.
  • hjr2hjr2 Member Posts: 105
    mother in law has had a protege, DX, 1997 model, since June 1998.
    It has had the following problems
    1)Heater died at 64,000 miles..just this week
    2) radio replaced 2x
    other than this, it is a nice car(engine could be more powerful,like the newer ones are).
    My mother in law,though, swears that the car is inferior to her old 1992 Cavalier, which also had problems, like alternator left her stranded when it died, they replaced it, and it died again 60 days later, and replaced again.
    I guess it is due to "peer" pressure(her husband is against "foreign" cars highly vocal) o drop the Mazda and drive a Tracker.
    Oh well, A nice car guys, even though I drive Hyundai stuff these days. What is the "sporty" (around $15,599) Protoge(was on sale, $1,500 off msrp)?
  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    The manual for m '02 Pro5 says to use 87 ctane so that's what I use.
  • zupsterzupster Member Posts: 20
    I've had my Pro for 2 weeks but have run into an unexpected problem. The stiff suspension is causing a neck injury to flare up, to the point where I'm wondering if this car is going to work for me.

    I fell in love with the Pro after 3 different rentals in CA and NC. The only reason I can figure that I didn't notice the problem is that I was driving on mostly new asphalt roads, not the patched and repatched roads that tend to be around here in Chicago.

    I am majorly bummed out as I've been looking forward to this moment for months, (good thing my wife is the understanding type!)

    Does anyone have any suggestions? I hate to change the way this car drives, but I might consider giving up some of the great handling if it means I can keep the car. It has helped some to tilt the seat back nearly vertical. Not sure what my tire pressure is as we just entered a cold snap.

    Incidentally, I visited my dealer today to kick around the possibility of trading for an MPV. He offered my $12,000 on an '02 LX with 300 miles. Whoa. I was hoping I would only get hit for around $1500 (instead of over $3000) since I was proposing buying another new, more expensive vehicle there.

    Maybe its time to move south.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Member Posts: 2,329
    Sorry your neck's starting to hurt.

    Probably the easiest thing to try is to lower your tire pressure from 32 to 30 or 29. Your handling will suffer a bit, and so will your fuel economy, but it will soften impacts.

    After that, try switching to a good "touring" or "grand touring" type tire. I think the Micheline X-One is an excellent tire in this class. Good grip wet & dry, with long tread life and much better at absorbing impacts. Their only downside is the siping in the tread design tends to collect a lot of small pebbles. My Dunlop Sport A2s are softer than the stock Firestone FR680s, but are harder than the X-Ones (IMO).

    While you do this, you can "minus-1" your tire size (although this will require new wheels...steel ones cost about $40 in a 14" size). Your tires' sidewall will increase in height about 1/2 inch, which again softens road impacts.

    Beyond this, you're looking at softer springs and shocks, which gets more complicated (although costs about the same as good new tires and wheels) and more drastically affects the handling of the car. If it weren't for the multiple recalls and TSBs on the Focus, I'd recommend a non-SVT'd version, as this car has a lot of wheel travel in its suspension.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Member Posts: 2,329
    Boston, MA - no regard for pedestrians. Very aggressive driving in the city. Hate those dumb traffic circles. Almost like driving in NYC in those.

    NYC - This is where I learned to drive. I mellowed out while on the west coast (and in the Midwest, where I currently live), but I get back into my old driving habits whenever I return. Playing "chicken" is a good description of how to avoid getting stuck behind "double-parked" vehicles etc. Expect a lot of "close-quarter" driving, front-to-back and side-by-side (taxi drivers either have a very good sense of the extents of their vehicles or don't mind getting them scratched up). My father always kept a "beater" just for driving downtown. Most folks with nice cars kept their distance from it. :) ....that's something to remember; you can almost always bully expensive vehicles. Cross-Island expressway has the narrowest lanes I've ever experienced on a freeway, and they let 18-wheelers on it! And the clover-leaf with the Long Island Expressway is the smallest I've ever driven on too, with practically no merge length.

    Houston, TX - man, they drive fast here! Even during a torrential downpour! Not a lot of weaving though. Lots of tailgating.

    Washington, DC - Fast-paced driving. Some weaving. Lots of tailgating. Lots of blind curves.

    SF Peninsula - Fast-paced driving, but most folks seem to allow enough following room, except at rush hour. Got to watch out for drivers stopping suddenly to yield to pedestrians. Most go out of their way to do so, it seems, though not all. Probably one of the best places to get around on a bicycle (unlike the midwest...but that's another story).

    Cincinnati, OH - Just a lot of careless drivers. I've had the greatest number of close calls here due to people merging w/o looking or rubbernecking or something else silly. I never heard of "sun delays" before coming out here. Even during good weather people have difficulty driving.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Member Posts: 1,265
    Zupster, I would consider seeking a medical opinion to make sure the new car is the only cause of your neck discomfort. Perhaps, the pain flair-up is only a symptom of a larger issue?

    I felt the difference in suspension tuning and ride quality when I switched from my 94 Toyota Corolla to my 2000 PRO-ES for like a couple of days. After that, could not feel the dif? I hope you feel better soon! :-)

  • chicagoprochicagopro Member Posts: 1,009
    Jeez, that really sucks about your new car and neck...I hope (in a way) that Larry is right, and that maybe it isn't the car that's doing it.

    I agree, though, that Chicago-area streets are pretty bad, and we haven't even had our winter cycle of snow/ice/freeze/thaw yet, which as you know always creates more craters. And during some construction this fall around the corner from me, workers let some sort of god-awful moonscape exist for about 2 months while they were 'fixing' the street. Dreaded driving through that each morning. Even the SUV's had to slow down.

    Are you in the city, or the burbs? Which dealership are you using?
  • dinu01dinu01 Member Posts: 2,586
    Zupster: Definitely lower your tire pressure. The Difference b/w 34 and 32 (recommended) is quite significant. I tried it out. Try 30 or 29 as Mazdafun said. Yes the Michelins X One are great all seasons that will do the job on dry pavement and on snow.

    Worst Place to Drive: Don't know about NYC or CHI, but Toronto is ok, even if it gets congested in rush hour. Montreal on the other hand provides a more European driving experience. Narrower streets and lanes; cars allowed to park on major streets so you always have to watch for opening doors and a place to merge on the left lane, very bumpy streets with lots of potholes and uneven patches... Somehow I get a feel I'm talking about Chicago :)

    Overseas, apparently India is bad and driving in Turkey is not much better. I heard there is this rule that any car wanting to merge from the right into a left lane, has priority to do so. So without checking, drivers just butt-in. There are quite a few colisions this way, but it's nothing big; everyone is used to it.

    And I just wanted to add Romania where potholes 1/2 foot deep are not out of the ordinary in Bucharest and driving between cities is just plain dangerous. The roads have been re-paved ( since 1989) and in some places there are 2 lane going in each direction (yey!), but that is not too common. On most roads (I can't refer to them as highways as there are horse carriages, tractors and trucks going 50 km/h and of course the odd sheep crossing if you're lucky) you have to come into oncoming traffic to pass since nly one lane is going in each direction. No DRLs, so you can't really see if there are cars coming at you. Pretty fun, no?

  • chicagoprochicagopro Member Posts: 1,009
    Okay, I'll stop complaining about Chicago now :):)
  • fowler3fowler3 Member Posts: 1,919
    When I bought my '01 Protegé LX I wondered if I would get use to the firm ride. The LX is softer than the ES, but firmer than most other small cars.

    It takes time and mileage, by 3,000 miles you will notice a softer ride as the struts loosen up. That won't help your neck problem if you can't drive that long. Try avoiding the roughist pavement spots
    and patches. Lower your tire pressure for the next 1000 miles and see if it is better.

    Protege_fan, some drivers pull into the left lane because the road camber is less (pulls on the steering less) and the pavement is smoother. If a city right lane has a lot of manhole covers people drive in the left lane to avoid the jouncing.

  • fowler3fowler3 Member Posts: 1,919
    The only change I made in my Pro's seat was to add a lumbar cushion. You might try lowering the seat as far as it will go and add a foam seat pad to absorb road shock. Go to a seatcover shop and get them to make a medium-foam seat pad for you. Try several thicknesses and densities to see which is the most comfortable for you. Have them make a cover for it that comes close to your Pro's interior fabric color.

    You will be surprised how a little padding can make a world of difference. I couldn't drive five miles without a backache, after adding a small lumbar pillow I drove over 400 miles in one day with no pain at all. Cost was only US$7.00.

    Car seats are NOT one-size-fits-all. People vary in size and physical makeup which requires small adjustments. In some cars I have owned the driver's seat had to be raised at the front, using washers, to provide leg support. Others, the track had to be repositioned for better leg distance to the peddles to prevent cramps. There is no such thing as "average size" if you want to be comfortable.

    If they are going to use firm suspensions they should at least make the seats softer -- shock absorbers for your butt. If you had wanted a Jeep you would have bought a Jeep. ;)

  • zupsterzupster Member Posts: 20
    Thanks for all of the advice. I'll try lowering the tire pressure first, then a seat cushion. I'll report back in a week or so.

    You guys (gals) are great, I knew I'd get great ideas and feedback on this board. The enthusiasm and good spirit here is wonderful.

    protogextwo - how did you guess, the larger issue involved is several inches around the middle from 10 years of a desk job, ok and some donuts. I'm going to see the doc too, to see if something serious is going on.

    chicagopro: dealer was Liberty Buick Mazda in Libertyville. I live on the north side of the city but drive up the Edens to Lincolnshire for work. I was all proud that I got a deal $500 below Edmunds TMV until I checked again the other day and now I'm several hundred over. Oh well, its all relative I guess.

    thanks all.
  • browntrout1browntrout1 Member Posts: 72
    People in Greece are crazy and don't wear seat belts. In athens when you come to a 4 way intersection, you honk your horn while pass through at 50 mph to warn the guy coming from the other street...or at least that is what the cabs do. I have never driven in Athens and don't really want to. The roads are so narrow and there are so many scooters and motorbikes travelling between the lanes. Craziness!!

    As far as north america. NYC is bad. Again, i've only been in cabs here, never driven...thank god. Montreal (where I'm from) is very bad as well. Speed limit on most highways here is 70 kph (45-50mph) but most people travel around 110 kph and the there are quite alot of people weaving in and out at 150kph. Very aggressive driving here. People do not let you in even if you signal for 10 minutes. Actually most people do not signal lane changes becuase that gives away there next move!!
  • fowler3fowler3 Member Posts: 1,919
    Do you wear glasses and do you spend a lot of time looking at a computer display? If so, that could be the cause of your neck pain. I use to get a bad stiff neck trying to see a display with tri-focals.
    Still have problems because I'm 80% blind in one eye. But no neck pain because I take frequent breaks.

    Another cause, possibly, is compression driving over rough streets. Ask your doctor.

  • protegextwoprotegextwo Member Posts: 1,265
    "I'm going to see the doc too, to see if something serious is going on."

    Our health is easily taken for granted. When we are feeling great, you never realize how lucky we are. Listen my friend, keep the faith. I'm sure you will feel better soon.

  • chicagoprochicagopro Member Posts: 1,009
    hey, fellow north sider...

    I bought at Jacobs Twin (far west on Grand) because I'm, seriously, as I'm sure you realized, there are very few Mazda dealerships in the area. Jacobs is convenient to neither home nor work, but it's within city limits.

    Don't feel bad about the price...seems like you did okay. Because of the scarcity of dealerships, we don't have too many options.

    Good luck with the neck thing.
  • bondobobbondobob Member Posts: 34
    I used to have a problem driving (or even riding as a kid) in NYC. Pat Bedard from Car & Driver set me straight years ago in a column about this topic. I tried it and it's true!

    Driving in NY is a game. The object is to go as fast as possible. Hitting someone is against the rules since you need to stop and exchange insurance information and stuff (going against the object of the game). Close is good. Attitude is everything. Once I realized that everyone (except the tourists) played by the rules, I can ace taxicabs with the best of them.

    I used to have a scruffy GMC short wheelbase van that I would drive into NYC and diced successfully with cab drivers and delivery trucks. People crossing against the light would run for the curb upon seeing that van barrelling toward the intersection.

    I have to be careful with the MP3 on the few times I drive into the city instead of taking the train. It is too easy to bend a rim or bubble a tire. (Lately driving into NYC is truly impossible anyway with state police, NYPD and Army guys at every tunnel and bridge.)
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