Mazda Protege5 Maintenance and Repair

mazdadude1mazdadude1 Member Posts: 49
Since the weather turned cooler, I get early morning engine rattle for the first minute or so of driving. Then it goes away. Someone earlier in the P5 main room said it might be due to the combination of iron block/aluminum head... different metals expanding at different rates when warming up>??? Greek to me.


  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    My engine seems louder and courser when cold but I wouldn't call it a "rattle."
  • mudflatmudflat Member Posts: 47
    I haven't heard any noises with mine because it's still pretty warm here, so this is just a guess, but perhaps the engine management system has been minimally programmed to adjust the timing and air/fuel ratio as a way to reduce the increased emissions that are normally present at startup with a cold engine, and this may be causing it to ping.
  • glennisfglennisf Member Posts: 13
    I just got home from picking up a cargo mat at the dealership. I asked the service guys about the rattle while I was there. It seems that this rattle is extremely common in all the Proteges, not just the PR5. They said that it isn't hurting anything; something is just vibrating and making a noise. Noone has a solution. So I guess the answer is that we just live with it until someone finds an answer.
  • performancep5gperformancep5g Member Posts: 1
    Is it just my car or does everyone feel like the tranny is a little harder to put in first gear than the other gears??? It feels like the stick is grabbing a little bit or rubbing against something???
  • mjudsonmjudson Member Posts: 10
    Ok. I have a few adjustments I want to make.

    Has anyone adjusted their clutch? My pro5 catches at the very bottom brand new, and I would like to back it out a bit so I can have a bit of play. Plus I think it is catching to early because I notice a very very small kick back or bump some times when shifting, even with it fully to the floor.

    Every once in awhile I notice my belt buckle is twisted at the shoulder harness and I have to straighten it out. Anyone experience this or have a fix? Else, Ill probably have to let it recoil back slowly.

    Has anyone used the fog lights in real fog? how good do they work? seems like a joke to me, seeing they only provide 1ft of light infront of the car. Plus the main lights would reflect back light regardless of what the fog lights were doing. What I want to do is remove the metal shield that is covering the light to get atleast 10ft of light distance from the fog lights alone and maybe a little more side lighting for curbs.

    Any ideas on this? has anyone modified or replaced their fog lights. I dont want to blind anyone, but in their current setup, they feel like they are more for looks than for real world use.

    Adjusting the head lights. My head lights are too low and can only see 50-100ft ahead. Has anyone adjusted their head lights? How is this adjusted. I dont see the normal long screw on top like most cars.

    Yes, I also get the rattle when it starts cold, but I dont start moving the car until the temp gauge starts moving.

    Thanks for you input.
  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    In an addition to the feedback here, be sure to check out the Additional Resources on the left side of the page for links to other Edmunds' tools, features, and related discussions. Hope this is helpful.

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards
  • mjudsonmjudson Member Posts: 10
    yesterday I was able to remove the fogs. it was real easy, one big nut that is directly behind the fog lamp. disconnect the wire and remove the 2 screws on the fog lamp it self. I bent the metal shield up untill it was squished against the glass cover. It probably only pushed up 1/2 inch which is good because I dont want to blind people. Then I readjusted the fog lamp mount. Now the top of my fogs touch the bumper.

    result, they work awesome now. They now light up 10-20ft distance infront of the car. Plus I can see 45 degrees of extra light on either side of the car allowing me to see dark corners and curbs.

    head lights just have one bolt, adjusted that and now i can see down the full length of road. Maybe too far down the road, but I notice they are not as bright as the fogs. Ill have to see how many people flash me during the week, or if they flip the rear mirror. But after 1hr driving last night, no flashes or flips.

    Now I just need to figure out that clutch adjustment.
  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    This is actually a common occurence on cars with a manual. I know that my old Honda Civic did this constantly. I always downshifted in second and then pushed in the clutch when I came close. Just don't force it to do anything it doesn't want to. You may damage the synchros. Personaly I've found import cars in general don't like to go into first when moving at all.

    Soon to be P5 owner!
  • tistevetisteve Member Posts: 142
    I too have found that import manuals don't like to go into first until you're almost stopped. I also agree, don't force it!
    I wonder if this is a safety thing so you don't accidently put it in first while doing 60 mph and then let the clutch out and BAM! There goes your engine and transmission and maybe screw the clutch up.
    Generally speaking, if you're still moving, second gear should be ok, maybe a little bogging. If you want first, you need to stop first!
  • silentguiltsilentguilt Member Posts: 35
    If you feel resistance going back into 1st, double clutch it. Put it in N, blip the throttle, and it should slide right in :)
  • alana3alana3 Member Posts: 9
    I have had my P5 for about 7 weeks now. Overall I love my little car. Over the past
    week though, I have noticed that the ride has
    been getting very rough and bouncy. Even on
    smooth roads.

    The only thing I did recently was add air to
    the tires. When I checked them, they were around
    29psi. The manual said that 32psi was the recommended air pressure. So I filled them up to
    32psi. That was about a week ago too. I am wondering if somehow that affected the ride or if
    something is weird with the suspension or shocks

    Alana :)
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Member Posts: 591
    Higher pressure will often improve handling and slow down tire wear but will always harden the ride as well, a little or a lot. I find it is usually best to go by the manufacturer's recommendation but some pressure gauges read much lower than the real pressure so if the ride is quite harsh you might want to get a better guage to make sure your tires aren't now over-inflated.

    Also make sure you read the pressure while the tires are cold, as they'll warm up when you drive which increases the pressure. The recommended pressure is for cold tires only.
  • phoenixmp5phoenixmp5 Member Posts: 60
    This topic has been covered a number of times with numerous recommendations regarding tire pressure. So... here's my two cents worth.

    I found that my tires were inflated to 48psi. The side wall of the factory Dunlops read 52psi max.

    Following several recommendations to follow the owners manual(not the sidewall), I dropped the pressure to 32psi. The car drove like my Camry... Soft and smooth. I also noticed the outside of the tread showing signs of dragging, not to mention my gas millage dropped 4mpg!

    I spoke to my dealer and they said they recommended always following the sidewall as Mazda did not make the tire. The next set of tires may recommend 32psi, but the Dunlops are stamped 52psi. They also recomended dropping a few punds, in order to compensate for the extremely hot weather we have here in the summer time.

    My P5 now has 7400 miles on it. I've kept my tire presure at 48psi and have not noticed any strange tire wear since.

    As recomended by hpulley4, you may want to check your tire guege! It sounds like it's reading low!
  • bluong1bluong1 Member Posts: 1,927
    What do I miss here? The side wall mark on the tire indicated the maximum pressure, not the recommended one!

    Higher tire pressure will imply:

    1) less roll resistance
    2) less heated under speed (since the tires change less its shape while rotating).
    3) better mileage (consequences of 1 and 2)
    3) less road grip
    4) less comfort

    Recommended pressure are always given by the car designers, which give a good trade off among all the above effects. The optimal pressure may change from tire to tire, but few psi at most. 48 psi IMHO is too high.

  • bluong1bluong1 Member Posts: 1,927
    If one of your wheel is off balanced, it makes also the ride bouncy (in addtion, you'll feel a vibration on the steering wheel if the front wheel is off balanced). Check if your wheels are well balanced.

  • phoenixmp5phoenixmp5 Member Posts: 60

    I've never owned tires which were labeled "Inflate To 52psi Max" only ones that read "Inflate To 32psi max". All I can tell you is that at the lower pressure, the outside edges were showing signs of premature wear and my gas millage dropped to well below Mazda's ratings.

    If I were to have a warranty issue with the P5 stock tires and the outer edges of the tread were worn, Dunlop would tell me I ran them too low. If the inside was worn, they would tell me I ran them to high. The tread appears to be wearing evenly @ 48psi.

    If I were to inflate them to 32psi, I would be 20psi under the tire manufacturers recommendations. If I were to apply the same logic to a set of tires which recommended 32psi max, I would be running @ 12psi. Where do you draw the line?

    Whether that appears to be too much pressure or not, I can only allow the tires to speak for themselves.

  • bluong1bluong1 Member Posts: 1,927
    Hi Ryan,

    bellow are few websites about the above topic:

    article 1

    article 2


  • maltbmaltb Member Posts: 3,572
    Do you know what Dunlop's reccomended pressure is?
    Not max pressure, but recommended.
  • phoenixmp5phoenixmp5 Member Posts: 60

    Enlighten me... I haven't seen anything about Dunlop's recommended pressure!


    Thanks for the articles, they conflict each other! One says go with the manufacturer's recommendation, the other says choose something in between.

    Thank you both for your responses. Everything is still as clear as mud though! Maybe I'll try 42psi... It seems like a nice compromise.

  • maltbmaltb Member Posts: 3,572
    That's why I ask. All I know is that you shouldn't exceed the max cold pressure. From what I know, the tire manufacturer does not reccomend a pressure; that is the responsibility of the auto maker.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Member Posts: 2,228
    The inflation stamped on the tire is not a recommendation but a warning. It warns you to not exceed that pressure or you could experience a blowout. I would be very careful with that high tire pressure. You run a higher risk of damaging your alloy rims with potholes since the tires will absorb very little of the impact. Alloy wheels are already more susceptible to damage then steel wheels. Putting 31 psi in my VW GTI with aftermarket sport suspension hits bumps harshly (manufacturer recommendes 27), and one of my alloy rims was bent by a raised railroad track at 20 mph before I even added the firmer shocks. Also, my car noticeably hydroplanes easier with the tires at 31 instead of 27. One steel rim on my 00 Accent was bent by a pothole when the tire was inflated to 33 psi, the max recommended pressure for heavy loads. Now I have to deal with an annoying bouncy sensation everytime I come to a stop. My point here is that with the high pressures you are using, you have a higher chance of bending your wheel or damaging the internal belts of the tire, as you can see by my experiences. Also, you are riding on a smaller contact patch as the tire is raised higher than what the car manufacturer designed it to be, so your braking, hydroplane, and handling performance is reduced and your steering becomes super sensitive, which can get tiresome on the highway. If I were you, I wouldn't go any higher than 36 psi. I honestly don't see how you can put up with the ride. It has to be rough! Anyway, just thought I would share my experience with the downsides of using above recommended air pressures.
  • bluong1bluong1 Member Posts: 1,927
    Thanks for the info. I always inflate my tires at pressure recommended by the car makers. I found your experience very insightful, especially about the hydroplane. In Houston, heavy rains are the main weather hazard, so I'll never venture to put more pressure on my tires.
  • phoenixmp5phoenixmp5 Member Posts: 60
    Thanks for the helpful information. There are tons of conflicting viewpoints out there regarding this issue. What you say makes good sense and I'll give it a try.

    Just so you know, 48psi is a stiff ride, but not as bad as you may think. When I test drove my car, it had 52psi in all the tires and I loved the ride then! Like I mentioned earlier, the P5 feels like my Camry with 32psi. I'm sure my passengers will like a softer ride too. I'll try dropping it down again. I just hope I don't loose 4mpg again!

  • kenny_dankenny_dan Member Posts: 1

    I have had my silver P5 for 3 months now and if I brake while reversing the brakes make a high pitched squeak.

    I am reluctant to think that I have worn down the brake pads to the point that I already need new ones. I've only got 2000km on the car and I really don't drive it very hard at all.

    Since I am not really a "car person" can anyone give me any ideas on why this may be happening?
    Any solutions (other than going to the dealer of course)?

  • mustang87mustang87 Member Posts: 129
    You must have the optional backup alarm which alerts the people behind the car that its moving in reverse.

    ok, j/k
  • blinker13blinker13 Member Posts: 4
    I am experiencing steering wheel/front end vibration only when the car is cold and has been sitting 3-4 hours. After warming up 5-10 minutes, it is smooth. I've checked the pressure (32 psi), I've had a tire shop balance and front-back rotate. 2000 miles on car.

    It begins as a pretty heavy thump/wop as if I had a flat spot, or a belt seperated, but I don't know why this would fade after 10 minutes, or why it would remain after rotating. Anybody else?
  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    I'm chocking it up to the tires being slightly out of round. I've noticed this is other Higher performance tires. When you warm them up and then park them they get out of round until they warm up slightly. I could be off base but that's what I've observed in the past.
  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    Hi Folks - You'll now find a direct link to Edmunds' Maintenance Guide in the Helpful Links on the left side of the page. In addition to looking up manufacturer recommended service schedules, you can now keep a look out for any Recall or TSBs (Technical Service Bulletins) on your Protege5. Hope this is helpful.

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards
  • elec3elec3 Member Posts: 160
    If there have only been 30 posts about problems AND solutions in the 6 months it has been available :) I know I love mine and it just hit 4000 trouble free miles.
  • phoenixmp5phoenixmp5 Member Posts: 60
    10,000 trouble free files and loving every one of them :-)
  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    Hi Folks- This discussion in now linked from the Hatchbacks Message Board to the Mazda Protege Owner's Club. If you have a chance, please stop by and say hello in our Mazda Protege Owners: Meet The Members discussion. Also, for those entering here from the Hatchbacks board, you'll find a direct link to the Owners Club on the left side of this page. Hope this is helpul.

    To elec3 & phoenixmp5- Glad to hear that your Protege5 is serving you well. Happy motoring! ;-)

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards
  • theparallaxtheparallax Member Posts: 361
    In the Mazda Protege Owner's Club main list, there's a space between Protege and 5 for this message board, whereas the other link below it just spells it out as "Protege5" instead of "Protege 5". Just a minor little nitpick. :)
  • revkarevka Member Posts: 1,750
    It's been corrected. ;-)

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards
  • ashutoshsmashutoshsm Member Posts: 1,007
    Note that many of the posts in the problems board for the P5 and the sedans are about the lack of problem posts. Thus artificially pushing up the number of posts. Just like this post. I think I'll shut up now :-)

    OT: Love my 95 DX sedan :-)
  • pgillpgill Member Posts: 84
    Has anyone compared wind noise at highway speeds with and without the roof rack? I've read somewhere that there is considerable wind noise attributed to the factory roof this true? I'm considering removing them since I do a lot of highway driving and feel the cabin noise is a bit excessive in my P5. Any thoughts?
  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    They are pretty noisey. I removed them early on but I forgot that I needed them to go get the christmas tree so I put them back on again. (sigh) When it warms up a bit in MN I might take them off again.
  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    I took mine off too. I don't use them right now and it makes brushing snow off easier.
  • pgillpgill Member Posts: 84
    I removed the roof rack last night and drove about 90 miles mostly at highway speeds this morning. I did notice the cabin was quieter and a "rumbling" sound I heard at 40 mph disappeared as well. While I wouldn't characterize P5's cabin as quiet at highway speeds, I'm glad I took the roof rack off. Thanks for the suggestions.
  • douglamdouglam Member Posts: 67
    Any of you notice there's a lot of rattling going on inside the car? Everytime my car goes over uneven roads, I can hear a least one rattle or squeak coming from the interior panels (especially the headliner). The condition has gone worse since the weather is cold. It's really annoying to have this kind of noise in a 3 mth old car.

    Anyone have similar problems and how did you guys fix it? I'm thinking of sending it back to the dealer, but I'm not sure if they'll do anything about it.
  • mp5freakmp5freak Member Posts: 51
    Yep - I got the same problem. The first rattle comes from the door panel - but I think that has something to do with the aftermarket speakers I installed, so thats probably my fault.

    But there's always been some type of wind noise over my left shoulder - sounds like its coming from the hatch area. More annoying is the noise coming from somewhere under the dash, seemingly behind the speedometer. Only started when it got colder. The cabin looks very tight and flawless -so I'm surprising that Im' hearing these noises.

    I'd be interested to hear whether anyone got anywhere with their dealer. The problem is recreating the noise so they know how they might fix it!
  • douglamdouglam Member Posts: 67
    Exactly!!! there's a noise coming under the dash!!! But I can't pinpoint where it is. Well at least I know it's not just me being paranoid :)

    If you open your driver side front door and look at the dash panel, there's a flat piece of plastic that covers the side of the dash. That piece of plastic is pretty thin and there's quite a big gap between that plastic and the door frame. I was wondering if that's the culprit.

    Some guy in another forum said that he heard some noise coming from the front dome lights, and the dealer fixed it by tightening some screws. Seems that they will actually try to fix it.
  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    The only rattle I have is coming from the pass-side door panel. It's a "buzzing" at certain RPM's. Otherwise it's dead quiet.
  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    I found one that I found that was coming from the center console. Right below the stereo on the plastic that surounds it there is a slight buzz. I tracked it down by tapping the right side of the console. Of course on mine it went away when it got cold. (GRIN) Of course that's what warranties are for baby! When I bought my used saturn a few years ago I went back about a dozen times to rattles fixed before the warranty ran out. Of course some of them went away and some didn't. But it made me happier about the car.
  • mp5freakmp5freak Member Posts: 51
    Hmm - I have that same rattle and I keep chaulking it up to my aftermarket speakers. But I'm hearing of some people who have that buzz/rattle and have never touched their door panels.

    Douglam - seems we have the same problem! Really annoying - the wierd thing is that it doesn't always happen! How do you explain that to Mazda? This morning on my drive to work I didn't hear it once - but its a bit warmer today so...

    One other problem... Anyone having problems getting started when the engine is cold? The engine seems to studder sometimes on startup if the engine is cold. This morning I wondered whether it would even start! And it was above freezing this morning, so its not like I live at the North Pole :) Maybe I just need to keep the ignition cranked for longer until I release...but I swear I did that this morning and still go the studder... anyone else? My next maintenance will be at Mazda where I'm hoping they can fix some of these problems....
  • douglamdouglam Member Posts: 67
    I don't think the aftermarket speakers are the culprit. I mean, if you screw the speakers on nice and tight, there shouldn't be anything that will rattle (except maybe if you blast your stereo really loud)

    Yeah, the rattles are sometimes so faint that i'm afraid that the dealers can't hear them.

    Another problem is that the windows will rattle when they are partially down. Anyone agree?

    Oh, and about starting your engines when cold, i had the same problem, but now i have a solution. (my dealer told me this). Before you start your engine, turn your key far enough so that it's at the fully on position for 2-3 seconds (when you see all the little warning lights go on). After that, then turn the key further to start cranking. I do this as a habit now, and it works like a charm.

    I'm not sure why we need to do this, becuase my previous 6 year old civic starts right up at subzero temps without the need to "prime the fuel pump"!
  • vocusvocus Member Posts: 7,777
    Cars are more prone to rattle if they are cold. What you could do is park the car at the dealer overnight, then have them take a ride with you in the morning in the car while it's still cold. I found it easier to diagnose rattles when the car has sat all night long and is cold.
  • SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    That's very good advice doug about turning the key partway until the warning lights are off. I do that on al my cars in cold weather. I was never sure if it made a big difference but it certainly can't hurt (and it makes sense to.)

    Also, since in the Pro, the AC Compressor is ON in every Climate Control position except for Full Face adn Face/Feet... I try to turn to one of those settings when starting the car in the cold.

    Fewer things to crank over.

    fwiw.. I live in cold VT and have no problems with cold starts. (UNheated garage)
  • mazdafunmazdafun Member Posts: 2,329
    The wire harness connectors in the door can rattle, not usually the speakers themselves.

    Also, there are a number of plastic pins that hold the trim panels to the door itself. They may not all be correctly fastened. If you can easily pull away any edge around the door trim panel, then a fastener isn't correctly plugged in. Hold a flashlight to the gap and you should be able to see what is wrong.

    Cold weather will shrink your plastic parts to where they can separate enough to rattle. The rattles will go away when your interior part temperatures go up above freezing. Tightening screws may not work as they may not exist there. You can try to put thin felt material between the offending parts or squirting in some rubbery glue.

    I sometime hear a rattling sound in the instrument cluster (I have a '99 LX, but the dash isn't that different from the P5's), which seems to be rpm-related. I figure it's either the cable that feeds the speedometer or tach (I tend to think tach, as I've never heard this in a vehicle that lacked an analog tachometer). This seems to go away a few minutes after the engine warms up.
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    My window rattles too when it is partially down. It's just the driver's side.
  • douglamdouglam Member Posts: 67
    Thanks to all who responded! :) You guys are great. Well, today I changed my front speakers and so I removed the door panels. I found that there's some styrofoam glued to the door panels (for insulation, i guess) and one piece was coming loose! So i glued it back.

    Also, there were about 10 screws in the back of the panel. I didn't know what exactly what they did, but I tightened them further anyway (i thought they weren't as tight as they should).

    And before putting the panels back, I added some insulation in the panels myself. I bought some sheets of polyester battling (used to make quilts and comforters). They're about 0.5 inch thick and are pretty fluffy (cheap too). I'm sure that this will absorb some of the noise and rattling going inside the panels (road noise also).

    Haven't had much time to observe if my mods killed any rattling, but i'll keep an ear on it and let you guys know.
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