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Mazda 626 Troubles



  • rpm9rpm9 Posts: 73
    I looked up reliability reports on and discovered that the 94 626 was the only year that was considered "worse than average" of the 93-97 626's. Is there any particular reason why the 94 over the other models did not fare as well? Aren't they all basically about the same vehicle? Is there a consipiracy against my car? Was Consumer Reports angry with Mazda that year? Will I survive through this disheartening news about my 94? Will I have to increase my medication again?
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    The only substantial difference between the average '93 and the below-average '94 is that the four-cylinder '94 comes with the CD4E transmission. (CR no longer breaks out I4 and V6 data separately on this model.) The only other change I can think of is the switch to R-134 in the A/C system.
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    Well, it's not technically a Ford plant. The 626 (and the Mercury Cougar, for now) are built at AutoAlliance, a Ford/Mazda joint venture (previously a Mazda-owned plant, and before that a Ford facility, but we're getting into ancient history here) at Flat Rock, Michigan, southwest of Detroit. Since we're quoting Consumer Reports lately, it's worth noting that the 626 is doing consistently better in CR reliability scores than the Cougar, which suggests that either Mazda's designs or quality-control specs are somewhat superior to Mercury's, despite some common parts (the Cougar uses the CD4E tranny, and while Mazda provides its own engines, some North America-specific emissions gear is sourced from the locals).
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    The V6 has a friction gear on the exhaust-side cam, used to reduce noise that may be caused by brief backlash; it may simply be at the end of its adjustment range. It is not an indication of problems, merely an inadequacy in a noise-reduction system. (Julian Bradbury has written up a description here.)
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 28,144
    What year are you looking for?

    You have to remember that you are going to hear more from the few people that have problems than the thousands of people that have no problems. That's true with any car.

    Personally, I've put 38,000 on my 99 LX-V6 automatic and haven't had a single issue. Oil changes is all its had. In my opinion, its the top car in its category. I tried all the others and the 626 is what I liked best.

    However, it really depends on what you're looking for. I found the Camry to be a softer ride. To me, that's bad (I prefer the better handling of a stiffer suspension). But, to somebody else, softer may be preferable. I also felt the 626 was quicker. I know the horsepower numbers don't support that statement, but there's more to it than hp numbers.

    The biggest difference is price. The 626 is less expensive. And I don't believe that's due to build quality, but rather popularity. The Camry is in higher demand and, therefore, commands a higher price, new or used.

    By the by, I just happen to be selling mine. ;)

    Like I said, its a great car for its category. I want to change to something smaller and sportier.

    Good luck with your decision.

    '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 52-car history and counting!

  • fzkongfzkong Posts: 1
    I am seriously consider buying a used Mazda 626Dx. It's a 95 model, with 80k mileage. Yet it's only priced at $3800. Test drive is OK. However I am little suspicous. Why it's priced so low? Maybe because of its transmission problem? Don't know.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 28,144
    well, that all depends. Is it the automatic?

    Even if you load that car up on Edmunds (which only shows automatic, A/C, and tape player as options), it comes back with a $3550 trade-in price. And, having an idea that Edmunds is generous on the trade-ins, the seller would probably be looking at around $3K as a trade-in. so, selling it for $3800 on the side doesn't seem all that cheap. Seems to me like that's a fair price for both of you (if its in good shape and everything is mechanically ok, as you suggest).

    If it doesn't have the auto, then its even overpriced.

    '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 52-car history and counting!

  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    I have always suspected that, since oxygen sensors tend to last no more than about 80,000 miles on these cars, someone unhappy with actually having to replace the miserable little widget will trade cars at that point rather than go through the process again - perhaps because mechanics (and nonmechanics, such as, well, me) tend to misdiagnose these things until they're blue in the face. Then again, the '95 automatic has OBD II; it should be perfectly obvious when an oxygen sensor goes.
  • patman6patman6 Posts: 1
    I noticed that my oil was very low. After getting my oil changed I decided to change my spark plugs. While doing this I noticed there was oil in at least 4 of the "spark plug access cylinders". The plugs were dry inside the engine, but there was oil on the tops and all over the socket I used. I think I let oil get inside one or more of the plug holes, so when I started it up it runs very rough and the engine light is flashing.
    I imagine I have a gasket problem, but what will happen if oil entered the spark plug holes?
    It's obviously not running on all cylinders. How bad did I flub up?
  • mwaxkremwaxkre Posts: 2
    i'm looking to buy a new 626... 2001
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Did you check the gap on the plugs before installing them? Sounds like you have a plug not firing or 2 plug wires crossed. The CEL code is probably one of the following generic OBD-II diagnostic trouble codes:
    P0300 Random/Multiple Cylinder Misfire Detected
    P0301 Cylinder 1 Misfire Detected
    P0302 Cylinder 2 Misfire Detected
    P0303 Cylinder 3 Misfire Detected
    P0304 Cylinder 4 Misfire Detected
    P0305 Cylinder 5 Misfire Detected
    P0306 Cylinder 6 Misfire Detected

    Getting a small amount of oil into a cylinder is irrelevant. Getting foreign material on a plug tip, having a plug gap closed up, cracking the porcelain insulation on a plug during installation (happens regularly), or crossing 2 plug wires will result in a misfire. In any event, a scan tool is required to access/erase the stored diagnostic trouble codes and turn off the CEL. And it'd be a good idea to have the oil leaks repaired while you're at it.
  • Hi all:
    I have a 1994 Mazda 626, Auto, V4, 93,500 miles.

    I bought this car from a used-car dealer in Jan 2000 (76000 miles). Till last month, it gave me no problems. I used to get oil-changed every 3000 miles. Since last month, the CEL/MIL flashes on and off. It usually happens when I accelerate.

    I took it to a mechanic friend and he recommended some Operations Switch replacement. But when he opened the engine hood, he saw a lot of black-oil sludge deposits. He told me that the previous owner of this vehicle must be pretty irregular with oil-changes. And its a better idea to replace the engine or sell the car. He told me that there is no way he can remove the deposits from the entire engine. And since engine sometimes cannot suck the oil, the CEL/MIL light flashes on for 4-5 seconds.

    So I thought of selling my car before the condition worsens. But it was more practical to get it checked from another auto-center and get the problem diagnosed.
    So Today I took it to the GoodYear Auto-Center.
    They told me that they cannot get the error-code since the CIL/MIL light has to stay-on to pull-up the code. But my car's MIL stays on for 4-5 sec and vanishes. So they advised me to come back when the light stays-on for a longer time so that the computer can store the error code.

    I am confused. I don't know what to do !!! I don't want to wait till the condition worsens.
    Also I have read in this site that 1994 models have transmission problems creeping up.

    Please advise.

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 28,144
    Ok. Well, like I said, I think the Mazda handles better. Its also cheaper. But, if resale value is a major concern, then you may want to go with the Camry. Mazda does not hold its value as well.

    Personally, if I had held out for the 626 ES-V6 with the manual tranny, I wouldn't even be concerned about resale because I wouldn't be selling that car. :)

    good luck.

    '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 52-car history and counting!

  • Hi all:
    I had described my problem in #512.
    I just went to the dealer and he pulled-up the code. It was code - 181. He tells me that its the air-flow meter which has gone bad.
    He gave me an estimate of 394 $ which includes 250 $ part and 144 $ labor (2hours * 75$/hr).
    Is it possible that I can get the air-flow meter from outside and get it installed by a local mechanic. In any case, I have seen in this site that 1994 Mazda 626 was the worst vehicle. So I have become paranoid and want to sell this car after fixing the problem. So thats why I don't want to waste any more money on this vehicle.

    Please advise me about the Air-Flow meter.
    Where will I get the best bargain and how much labor rate should I pay for it ???

    Final question: Does this problem need immediate attention...or can I delay it for a few weeks ??
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    Sometimes these things respond to a little cleaning. The guys at - Ford Probes of this era share powertrains with the 626 - have pretty much scienced out this arcane art. I would definitely check them out before spending the big bucks on a new MAF.
  • wjm1wjm1 Posts: 33
    I was wondering - is there anybody here who haven't had any troubles with his auto tran for say 120K miles. No matter 6 or 4 cyl. 626 from 1993+
    How about that?
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    Once in a while, I hear about someone who's cracked the 100k barrier, and said someone is usually sweating bullets because of all this tranny brouhaha. There is, according to my correspondence, at least one of these boxes with 150k on it.

    The tranny on my '93 was just fine when I traded it in just shy of 90k.

    The Seriously Reworked CD4Es are still mostly too young to have six digits on the odo.
  • kene32kene32 Posts: 1
    Harry. I have exactly the same problem as you do. Anyways, i have heard from a lot of people that the problem is from a sensor called the (O2 Sensor). I plan on changing mine soon. However, my car has 167,000 miles on it and it's still cruzing. The only problem i have is the Check Engine light that comes on when i start it or some times when i go on the free way and dirve for about 2-5mins. It come off when i come into the city.
    So do not worry your self about the Transmission. I do not think it's the Transmission. Transmission go down because the evil in them wants to act. That Mr. Phily's 1994 Mazda 626's Transmission went down does not mean that yours is going to go down too.
    Think about me that has 167,000 miles in mine and still cruzing. OK. As for me, i will cruse my car till the wheels fall off.
    But Nomore Mazda for me. Am done with them. Reason is not cause they suck. They are great cars and we've had quite a number of them in my family but the problem is the parts are very costly to buy. Am going to ge myself a BMW once i graduate.
    Later for now.
  • Hi guys:

    Today I am going to clean the MAF sensor myself because CEL is flashing on/off. Lets see if I can save 400 $. I found a wonderful link on regarding cleaning the MAF sensor.

    Thanks windowphobe6 for referencing me to this site. I will keep you guys updated.



  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    Well, yeah, they're not cheap - this is, after all, a relatively low-volume automaker - but spares for a 3-series BMW aren't exactly blue-light specials, either.

    I do like the idea, though, of Evil Incarnate somehow possessing transmissions. It would certainly explain some of the diagnostic difficulties, and as anyone who saw The Exorcist will remember, fluids are vital. :)
  • godfather2godfather2 Posts: 13
    My girlfriend has a 94 626 LX/V6 with a bad dashboard vibration during low gear/high torque driving. Does anyone know what would cause such bad vibes in the dash or is this just a normal "wear and tear issue" for a seven year old Mazda?
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    Something's loose up there, and it's hitting its resonance frequency at some specific RPM. You're going to have to keep this thing rattling long enough to find exactly which part is not snugly attached to all the others. Most of these parts fasten with screws that are semi-cunningly hidden, so it may take a while to isolate the offender.
  • rpm9rpm9 Posts: 73
    I've been reading your posts in this forum for several weeks now, and I just have to tell you that with your witty, entertaining, and educational writing abilities, Edmunds ought to give you your own forum. You are, without a doubt, one of the most valuable assets to this website. I hope that this endearing compliment doesn't make you blush because it is well deserved and I thank you for offering us "carnuts" the invaluable knowledge that you selflessly generously share.

    I can see you now on that podium with your Edmunds statuette in your hand as you shout to all of us: "You like me. You really really like me..." And we do.
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    There are any number of people on Town Hall with more automotive smarts than I. I do a pretty fair job of slapping words down and hoping they sort themselves into a sentence, but then I seem to write more than most people.

    Anyway, it's my face and I'll blush if I want to.

  • godfather2godfather2 Posts: 13
    I figured something out on my girlfriend's 94 626 regarding the dashboard rattle: It only does it when the car has been sitting awhile (like overnight), and the car is cold. But later on in the day, when the car has warmed up a bit, the rattling stops. What would cause such weird behavior?
  • bj02176bj02176 Posts: 115
    Same thing happened to me on my 1999 VW Passat, when it was cold the dash rattled, later when it warmed up it disappeard. This did not happen in the summer months. Expanding and contracting I guess. I now have a 2001 Mazda 626 v6, windows creat that is about it. Also regular and mid grade gas seem okay but best performance, no hesitation, is with premium. Anyone else have their 2 cents regarding gas and the 6 cylinder.
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    While some plastics are immune, most stuff tends to expand when heated and to contract when cooled. This suggests some adhesive somewhere in the dash is failing to fill its assigned space, and when it shrinks, there's a gap between parts that's just asking to rattle.

    On my old Toyota, when the dash started to rattle, I could usually fix the problem by turning panel screws until I hit the right one. Present-day dashboards are mostly bereft of visible fasteners, but there's a screw or two hiding somewhere, and a slight turn might make a substantial difference in the noise levels.
  • ian18ian18 Posts: 133
    With my wife's '93 Mazda 626 ES V-6, it seems to idle a little rough at times if anything except the high octance grade is used. I believe that 91 octane is recommended in the owner's manual, it was a bummer when the gas stations downgraded their mid-grade from 91 to 89. Now we have to use the very expensive premium.

    By the way, the vehicle has 85,000 miles on it and is doing pretty well. Timing belt, distributor, cooling water pump, A/C compressor and lots of brake work have been done. Also put in a Mazda OEM CD deck.
  • grizzlegrizzle Posts: 2
    I have a 94 626 with 370,000 miles on it. No major repairs, same alternator, etc. She burns a quart every other week. ( not smoking either) Manual tarns.
    I know that 2002 model year will find me with a new 626, but this is my 3rd Mazda with a manual tarns, and I am really nervous about an automatic. I have never owned a car with an auto tarns. Knee surgery is "encouraging" me to go that way, but after reading some of these messages.... any thoughts on the ewer 626 auto tarns?
  • godfather2godfather2 Posts: 13
    370,000 miles and never had to replace the thermostat, distributor, struts, calipers, cv joints, timing belt, water pump, or .02 sensor? It almost sounds impossible...(Or do you not consider these as major repairs?)
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    The only one of those I'd consider major would be the distributor, which really isn't supposed to be a wear item. (And I suspect he considers the timing belt/water pump combo to be a single maintenance unit.)

    What usually causes CV joints to fail is cracking and splitting of the rubber boots; this is a common occurrence, but hardly an inevitable one, and rebuilt axles are cheap.
  • grizzlegrizzle Posts: 2
    The only repairs I have had have been wheel bearings. The timing belt, and brake pads I considered maintenance since the manual instructs to replace the belt every 60,000 miles, and you know when the brake pads need replacing.
    Any feedback on the automatic transmission for the 2001?
  • bj02176bj02176 Posts: 115
    I'm not to impressed with the tires that come on the 16 inch alloys. They are 205 or 215-55. Maybe Bridgestone I think Not to good in rainy weather, had a little hydroing yesterday. In my one time in the snow they also were not very impressive. Any suggestions
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    My LX has Bridgestone Turanzas in P205/60R15, and they performed like champs during our snowy season, though they're only average, I'd say, dealing with mere rain.
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    Mazda has never had an automatic I'd consider bulletproof, but the LA4A-EL (the transmission Fordishly known as CD4E) has come a long way since its Bad Old Days in the middle 90s, though I don't think I'll ever see one last 200k miles.
  • Hi Fellow Mazda Drivers:
    The CEL was coming on/off so I took it to the dealer..pulled up a code of 181. and the dealer told me that MAF sensor needs to be changed.
    so I took my car to a nearby Auto Service center and got the MAF sensor changed. It cost me around 225 $. But even now the MAF sensor is coming up sometimes although less often.
    FYI, I have a 1994 Mazda 626 LX V4,auto, 93000 miles

    Do u guys think that 02 Sensors have gone bad as well. Please advise.

  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    I mean, oxygen sensors can and do go bad on these cars, but they don't generate the same codes in the CEL. You'll need to have the new code pulled to see what's up.
  • sugarmagsugarmag Posts: 10
    I trashed ( and I mean trashed ) the stock Bridgestones on my 99 ES-V6 at 17000 miles, they were garbage. I stayed w/ the same size but switched to Yokohamas like my MX-6 had, & am quite pleased. I haven't made them chirp once, & they have good traction in the rain too. I got the AVID V4. Those Bridgestones also hydroplanned all over the place. I got the Yokos off of Tire Rack & had them shipped to the dealer - saved me tones of $$. Do yourself a favor & get those pieces of crap off your car.
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    ....they won't last much longer anyway. :)

    I'll keep the Yokos in mind.
  • c1wslc1wsl Posts: 1
    on my 95 626 (70,000 miles) comes on when I rev higher than 2800 rpm. Performance does not seem to be affected. Could it be the O2 sensor or would bag plug wires or rotor cap be causing it? Is it an expensive fix?

    I'm a novice and aside from a basic automotives course in college, don't know much. Please excuse my ignorance. Thank you.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 28,144
    Wow. Did you have the RE-92s? (i think that's the number).

    I figure I'll have to replace them after the summer, but I've got 38,000 on mine. I've loved them. I may even get another set. When I can take a relatively sharp onramp at 50 and barely get a squeak out of my tires (while my passengers are making more noise than that), I'm fairly impressed. Do I impress too easily?

    '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 52-car history and counting!

  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    At 70k, you're probably due for an oxygen sensor, but then plug wires seem to get flaky around this time too. First have the codes pulled (an idea whose time has come), and see if they identify the offending component. None of these is particularly expensive, though as a general rule, college kids really can't afford anything anyway. (Like I should talk.)
  • ece3446ece3446 Posts: 32
    Hi all,
    Thanks for the info. on my last post. I had another question. My 626 is approaching 175,000 miles and the last time I replaced the timing belt was at 112,000. My question was: Should I replace the water pump along with the timing belt this time becoz the last time I changed the water pump was less than 2 yrs. ago (whenI last changed the timing belt) ?

    So it just seems like a waste of money to do it again so soon. Also would anyone happen to know how much I should pay for a used passenger side door for a 1993 626 ? Thanks again,


    P.S. Love this car.
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    Water-pump life on these cars is usually quite a bit greater than 63k; unless you have some reason to think it's ready to spew through its weep hole or something, save your money for now and replace it at your 230k timing-belt change. (And if it goes bad before that, then change both pump and timing belt.)
  • windwingwindwing Posts: 3
    I want to buy a 93 Mazda 626 LX (76k)at 4K .I just wonder if someone can tell me what general problems I should look for and is it good deal?
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    They gave me $3500 for mine last year, and then turned around and sold it for $5900. :)

    I think we've pretty much exhausted the list of Potential Fourth-Generation 626 Issues; there must be dozens of such posts in this thread alone. The '93 predates all the Ford-transmission stuff, which might be a useful thing to know.
  • windwingwindwing Posts: 3
    Hi, I'v got some questions. Maybe you guys can help me out.

    I had that 93 LX checked up by mechanics and they told me that "brake rotator" ??needs to be changed and it would cost $200. According to them , the thin brake rotator would cause the car shaking when braked at the stop sign, Actually , I did notice some shaking when the car stopped at the traffic light, is it caused by that or others ?Another thing is the transmission fluid is dirty but not smelled burnt. Is it OK or should I just do something with it?

    By the way, is it kind of suspicious for a 8-year old car with less than 76K(bought from a used car dealer two years back by the current owner, no previous service record except the current owner's and he doesn't even know if the timing belt was changed or not)?Does anybody know how to tell if there is a rollback? I need the information to decide if I should by the car. Thanks!
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    It's highly unlikely that the odo has been fudged. I'm guessing the guy bought it somewhere in the 50k range and just never thought about it.

    He probably also never thought about tranny fluid either, which is why it's kind of grey and nasty-looking. Not necessarily a problem, but not a good sign either.

    A warped brake rotor would cause some shaking on the way to becoming stopped, but its effect once you're already stopped is quite a bit less. The '93 LX I used to have would quiver a bit under those conditions, which I attribute to less-than-ideal NVH techniques and the laws of physics; the V6 is simply smoother than the four, at some particular RPM things will resonate, and any irregularities in the idle are likely to be excruciatingly obvious.

    If you buy this thing, prepare to peel off about $550 right away - for the timing belt that wasn't done, the warped rotor and a transmission flush. If, after adding in that $550, it's still in your price range, buy with a happy heart. :)
  • nnssnnss Posts: 2
    I would like to buy a 92 Mazda 626 DX (93k)at 2K. My friend who test drove it said the cv joints need to be replaced and three tires are almost worn out so must be replaced as well. I am just a little bit worried why the cv joint is craking (Could it be the result of some accidents?). I checked the history and it is clean, however the seller said the he maintained everything by himself since he bought it at the beginning of this year. He changed the alternator and battery.

    In addition the steering wheel tilts left. Is that normal? I am going to have it checked by mechanics tomorrow morning. Could you give some suggestion on the problems I should be pay attention to? Thanks. This would be my first car and I just read some posts here and learned a lot from you. Thanks a lot.
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    CV joints are sealed in rubber boots to keep their lubrication in and dirt and grit out. Once that seal is broken, whether the rubber dries out and cracks or is torn open, the joint's days are numbered. I had to replace a boot and a joint at around 85,000 miles on a '93 626; this is common enough an occurrence that I'm inclined to believe that this is about as long as the rubber boots will last. Rebuilt axles are available and are comparatively inexpensive.

    By "tilt", do you mean that it's not exactly centered or that it's not perpendicular to the steering column?
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