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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • brajabraja Posts: 25
    My 2000 ES now has 1700 miles. I had noticed
    before that sometimes it would take more than
    one attempt to start the car. It had also
    stalled a few times at lights, when I started
    out on 1st from neutral. I had thought that this
    was because I was applying gas very lightly.
    Yesterday, the car was at home, and wouldn't
    start at all. (It would crank, but wouldn't
    start). I tried thrice, gave up. I tried again
    after a few hours and this time, it started
    at the second attempt. I'm going to take it
    to the dealer, but has anyone any clue about
    what might be going on? Any hints appreciated.
  • lgblgb Posts: 30
    do you use this starting procedure-clutch in, turn key, but don't step on the gas? If so, and no start, then definitely see dealer.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Your stalling when starting out at traffic lights sounds like driver error. Is this your first manual transmission? As far as the engine cranking but not starting, that sounds like something different entirely. When you turn the ignition key, do you give it a few seconds to start before releasing? Or do you let the engine crank once and let go?

  • lgblgb Posts: 30
    I was rereading your post and remembered that I went thru this a few years back with my 92 Protege. The technician at the dealer came back and told me, that even though the service writer had recommended a whole big package (replace CV joints), that I could probably just replace the outer rubber (?) boots and the lube stuff. That was over 60,000 miles ago, and the wheels haven't fallen off. However, it was still an expensive repair. But I don't see why the dealer has to do it, as long as they use the right parts (This has been a big problem with independent shops, they often try to use some non-Mazda part, which doesn't fit.) My advice to new Mazda owners is to use the dealer if their prices are close,or else bring the correct parts with you if you don't know your mechanic, especially for routine maintenance items. Fortunately, my Mazdas have held up relatively well with minimal repairs. I think other than the CV boot, I had one wheel bearing and needed new spark plug wires in 8 1/2 years and 119,000 miles (as of this morning).
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    No. With all OBD-II systems, if the fault which caused the CEL to come on is not detected after a given number of drive cycles, the PCM will turn off the CEL but retain the diagnostic trouble code in memory. Depending on the fault, the dtc may clear from memory after a further number of drive cycles. Disconnecting the battery serves mainly to clear radio presets.
  • brajabraja Posts: 25

    In response to your questions:

    1. I have been driving sticks for 10 years now. Of course, I'm trying to be gentle with the ES, so I don't accelerate hard etc. when moving from standstill. But what I find is that after it stalls, it takes more than one attempt to start it.

    2. I turn the key until the engine starts. For normal starts, it's not long. But on the occassions I had described, the car would simply not start.

    I don't if you read it, but there was a review on
    a 99 ES in which the reviewer said that his sample car came with a similar defect. He suspected a problem with the fuel injection.

    Anyway, my ES is with the dealer. Problem is, these guys often dismiss the complaint if they can't reproduce it. My car doesn't have starting problem all the time, but only on occassions. But the unpredictability is worrisome, since it can happen anywhere, anytime!


  • I hope you have good luck with the necessary fix. If i were you , go to another dealer in the area. Maybe they have better techs.
  • just had major tune-up in August, and A/C compressor replaced 2 weeks agos. Other day, Check engine light came on while daughter going back to college. I checked the oil and coolant, car runs ok, is this major?
  • lgblgb Posts: 30
    Uh oh, I have friends (with other types of cars) who had this happen... it is usually expensive O2 sensor. But I also read that sometimes it comes on if your gas cap is not on tightly. Worth taking off and putting back on (make sure it clicks). Good luck.
  • It actually says on the cap if you don't tighten till it clicks, check engine light may come on. If it's not that, better have it checked out. Better safe than sorry.
  • Picked up the car at daughters' dorm, check engine light wasn't on. Took it to Mazda dealer, they couldn't find anything wrong. Only thing I could think would cause it was that she stalled it at a light, and may have cranked a couple of times. by the way, car is a '97, bought it new, and just passed 77k miles. It's a long way from here to there in Central Texas. Been a great car, very reliable, only maintenance has been stalling problem with a/c on, also gets rather warm here, got tune-up, brake job and a/c compressor died labor day 110 degrees that day. bought extended warranty at purchase, and it paid for itself in 1 visit. So impressed, looking at 626 for next car for me.
  • I have a 2000 Protege ES, automatic, and when I'm driving between 70-80 mph, I get a very high-pitched whining noise coming from the engine. I asked about it when I took it in for the very first oil change and was told that the dealer couldn't test it because of the speed range at which it occurs. They fixed a tire problem in the same visit and seemed to think that that would solve the noise problem, but it hasn't. The noise starts at about 70mph and gets increasingly louder and higher until about 80mph where it stops entirely. If I take my foot off the accelerator it stops but starts again as soon as I put it back on. I realize the dealer's restrictions, but I have to drive this car on the interstate in speed limits of 70 and 75 and the noise is driving me crazy! Has anyone else had this problem or know what might be causing it so that I have something to go on?
  • your problem may be something simple like a belt that has to be tightened. next time you get your car serviced, have them check.
  • brajabraja Posts: 25
    Back from the dealer. They couldn't
    find any problem, started fine each time
    they tried. So, back to square 1, waiting
    for the next incident.

    Anyway, I was driving a corolla for the
    last few days while the ES was in the shop.
    It's such a relief to get the ES back.
    Sorry to say,
    Corolla was really lousy (at least the
    one I was driving, < 10k miles on it.

    So, while the protege seems not to
    be entirely trouble-free, the feeling
    when it's running is great.
  • wenn27wenn27 Posts: 2
    I have a '99 Protege DX auto (yes, I know no power) with 17k miles and I too had one of the locks jam (driver side door). The dealer thought someone might have tried to break into the car, but I think more likely the plastic disc became misaligned.

    Just recently I have experienced a "bucking" with the engine. I'll be driving along at around 40 mph and the car bucks. The car seems to hesitate and then surge forward. Reminds me of the cars in the old cartoons. I know I need a new air filter and am taking it in this week for service.
    Anyone else have this problem?
  • carlrjrcarlrjr Posts: 35
    Sounds like a drivetrain thing since removing engine power makes the noise go away. My suggestion would be to investigate differential first, tranny second.
  • lgblgb Posts: 30
    Unfortunately, you can't project reliability/quality from a Protege to 626. Protege is Japan-made, 626 is not (although engine is a Mazda). Too much Ford to be reliable!
  • Can anyone tell me how to deal with the carbon
    My 1997 Protege(auto) has some knock noise when
    I push the gas pedal. I usually use 87 gas,
    yesterday I filled it with some 89 gas and the
    noise dispeared. Post #8 from kmh3 said high
    octane will cause excessive carbon deposit
    buildup, so Iwill not use 89 gas anymore.
    Any advice is appreciated.
  • I experienced two similar incidents of "bucking" on my 2000 LX (under 1000 miles). Since then, no problems at all. The "bucking" could have been potholes. It was a delay & quick jerk forward. Kind of spooked me, but now I've had it for over 5K miles, & no problems at all. Hope it WAS potholes!
  • wenn27wenn27 Posts: 2
    Took my '99 Protege with 17,000 miles in to the dealer for its 15,000 mile service and New York state inspection, and had to have the front brake pads replaced. I was surprised since I hadn't heard the typical "squeal" and the car seemed to brake fine. Unfortunately I do a lot of stop and go city driving. They told me the warranty for brakes is 12 months or 12,000 miles.
  • I have a 96 'Protege with 60,000 miles on it ,so far Ive had no problems with it. It's been a great car!
  • carbon deposits incease compression, causing pinging. Higher octane can reduce pinging but cause more carbon deposits. There are chemicals available at auto supply shops for removing carbon. I can't recommend a particular one. The alternative is to remove the head and scrape off the carbon.
  • I occassionally stalled my "99 pro es at first. The clutch is pretty aggressive and the engine is so quiet, its hard to tell when it's spinning fast enough to engage the clutch. Practice makes perfect.
  • houishhouish Posts: 1
    We have a 2000 Protege with the whining noise at 70 which has caused a lot of concern as I have had to do a great deal of freeway driving getting to doctors. This noise gets really bad if there is a cross wind. I have been talking to the dealer about it since April and have been dismissed, for months but when I got my husband to take the car in and demanded to speak to the service manager they at least road with us to hear the noise. There has been no fix but now they want to reseal the windshield. I don't believe this will help. Mean while I must drive on the highway with my fingers crossed. Please let me know if anyone has any luck in getting this problem fixed.
  • surf06surf06 Posts: 1
    I have a 1997 Protege ES and 'engine light' indicated electrical problem came on during trip down NJ Turnpike last week.

    Local mechanic said there was a bad fuel injector. He replaced it ($400), but he told me the engine was still running 'rough' and the entire computer might be 'bad' and go go to dealer. The next morning, the light was back on (I'm trying to get my money back). Car only has 24,000 miles on it! I have an appt. with dealer. What should I expect from the dealer? My 3-year warranty expired in April of 2000.
  • If you are talking about getting your money back for the car...and you have owned the car for over three years...and your warranty has expired...forget it. If you are talking about getting your money back for the fuel injector...good luck. I know the dealer is usually more expensive, but that is why I usually take my vehicles back to the dealer for major repairs. If they do the work and the car is still not right, usually...not will have some recourse when it comes to getting them to make it right.
  • carlrjrcarlrjr Posts: 35
    The computer is the least likely problem. Sensors might 'go bad' but engine computers rarely fail. I wouldn't take anything more complicated than my lawn mower back to that mechanic.
    Most 'check engine' problems are emissions related, and a lot emissions problems are covered beyond the factory warranty. Yet another reason to go to a dealer; make sure you ask if any necessary repair is covered under a federal emissions warranty.
  • If you have a copy of your warranty it should tell you the details...federal law mandates that vehicle emissions are covered under warranty for a certain length of time, which is longer than the Mazda factory warranty if my memory serves me correctly.
  • brajabraja Posts: 25

    I had posted about a problem with FM
    reception in my 2000 ES. I have now
    identified a specific issue. There is
    noise in my FM channels (more noise
    in weaker channels) when the engine
    is running. The noise is like a sputter
    and its frequency increases with engine
    RPM. If I shut the engine off, the noise
    goes away. Is there any remedy for this?
    Should I ask to replace the radio? The
    car has 2700 miles.
  • I'm not an electronics expert but here is what it sounds like to me. It sounds like the interference is coming from the engine. I wonder if a wire (maybe to the antenna) has come loose and is touching some metal somewhere and picking up interference from the engine, battery, alternator, etc. As you can tell, I am not an expert. The car is still under warranty. I would take it in and have it checked out. Let us know what was causing it when you find out.
  • speedyptspeedypt Posts: 200
    It's the tires. Mine does the same thing, and it got better or worse on my last ('92 LX) Protege. When I switched to Goodyear Eagle GTII tires, the noise went away completely. I was convinced it was the tranny too, until I switched tires.

    Hope this helps!
  • in response to #116, I too had one incident thus far. However rather than get jammed lock, my door opened by itself while I was driving. I noticed problems with getting it shut but im sure it was shut good being that I had driven for 15 minutes on the freeway in speeds excess of 60 mph. However on a turn I took at 25 mph the door opened when I hit one of those lane markers "bumps".
  • Hope you had your seat belt on. My Ford Ranger did that once. As part of my maintenance routine I had to tighten the latch (on the frame) that the door grabbed on to regularly.
  • OK, I must have the only "lemon" Protege yet. It's a 2000 ES 5-spd, ~14K miles in 10 months of ownership. It started making a clunking noise when shifting in July, and in August the dealer replaced the differential. That helped for about a week, and then it started doing it again. A friend suggests that the CV joints may need to be replaced. Does that make any sense?

    And now, the fuel economy is declining significantly. I was averaging ~28-29 mpg until recently, with a mix of highway and city driving. Had a trip recently, all highway and 50 mph back roads, and got 30 mpg. The most recent fill-up averaged _22_ mpg, and some other ones recently have been a little low, too. Should I chalk the 22 up to bad gas, or is there something else that needs to be checked?

    Wah! I _love_ my car but I am really wondering if I should keep it. The lemon law is too strict for me to use it, so I'd really take a hit financially if I gave the car up.

    Help! Please!
  • I think you might be overreacting a little here. If you want to see some real problems go to the Jetta forum in this conference or the Focus forum in the sedan conference. Your car is still under warranty. Take it in and give them the symptoms and ask them, no wait, politely demand that they fix your problems. The lemon law is for cases much more severe than what you are experiencing. Check out the "Jetta, break down often?" forum if you want to see some real lemon law cases. I do have empathy for you though. As much as I love my Pro-ES (auto), I would be sick if it were giving me problems. BTW, I have averaged 28.5mpg for my 1st 5 tanks of gas with about a 50/50 mix of city and highway miles. I'm about to hit 2000mi on my Pro with no problems so far.


  • Doc,

    This topic has been discussed in here before. I have a 00 ES 5-speed with 3,700 miles. I get a small clunk noise sometimes on the 1/2, and less frequently the 2/3 shift. It only occurs after the vehicle is coming off the expressway, and is hot. It is too faint to be heard with the windows open in traffic. The dealer said it was normal. I drove another ES on their lot with 7,500 miles. It did the same thing. Sometimes although we love our ZOOMING we forget that the drivelines in our Mazda's are great , but not as refined as say, a Honda 5-speed.

    Obviously if the dealer replaced your differential you may have had something different entirely. I am curious however. Did you really have to push for the repair? Did the dealer seem familiar with the issue? Was the differential on back order?

    I get 29-30 mpg consistently in 70% city, 30% highway driving, and have not had a single concern other that the occasional clunk.

  • The 01 is the same 2.0 from the 626. Now at 130hp. That engine is no where as smooth as the 1.8, and has Ford engine controls. All for only 8 hp? I'm not convinced it's more.

  • I _love_ the service dept. at the dealer where I got my car [128 Mazda in Wakefield, MA]. They seem to know their stuff and are easy to deal with.
  • thanks for the advice so far...

    I know that ES's have a "clunk" when shifting, but this is a more extreme sound. The "clunk" is two distinct noises, one in front on the driver side, followed shortly by another in back on the passenger side. It's definitely more noticeable in 1/2 and 2/3 shifts [though that may be due to more ambient noise at higher speeds].

    When I needed to have the differential replaced, it was on back order and took about 2 weeks to come in. As I said, the problem went away for about 1 week after the differential was replaced. Would the CV joint be a possible source of the clunking problem? I have found that it helps to have an idea of what the problem is when speaking to the dealer, especially since I am female and can be treated like I know _nothing_ about cars :(

    My SO and I are probably going to drop off the car on Monday for the dealer to look at.

    Also, any suggestions as to what might be causing the fuel economy problem? I got about 24 mpg on my last tank, with about 50/50 highway/city driving. That's better than 22, but not the 28-29 I was getting when the car was new.
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    If you haven't already, you might like to pop over to the Our Turn Conference and talk to the host about what's going on with your vehicle. She is an automotive technician and may have some advice for you.

    Either way, let us know what happens.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • Hi all! I just signed on and see that others have experienced what I have, and wanted to ask if anyone has overcome the problem.
    In post #8, kmh3 explained what may cause rough idle when the engine is under load. I have a 97 Protege LX (Auto, 51K mi.)and it has been idling rough when in D and stopped for a while now. The shaking & rattling would go away if I put the car in P or N, so I procrastinated in getting it looked at. In early summer, I started using the AC, and the compressor started making the car do the same, even in N.
    I took the car in to a reputable mechanic, and was told that the engine computer was not storing any fault codes. Their suggestion (given that I had changed the plugs & air filter @ 30K mi.)was to clean the fuel inj. sys. I told them to go ahead & the car seemed to run a bit better, but the rattling soon started again.
    As the weather cooled & went back to leaving it in N when stopped & revving the engine to about 1K RPM when the AC was absolutely necessary.
    I recently took it in to the dealer to get safety inspected, and was told that plugs were "rounded" and that the engine specs. needed to be re-set. Since the work was only $60, I told them to go ahead & the car behave better for a couple of miles.
    Frustrated, I took a look at the air filter at home, and found a bunch of bird seed & seed husks in the filter housing. The filter itself was crammed with husks, sucked up by airflow I am sure. Eureka! I told myself. I cleaned out the filter, vacuumed out the housing and drove around the block, only to found out that it is still idling rough in D or R while stopped.
    I am going to take it back to the dealer this week, but I am completely baffled as to why I am still having the problem. If anyone has some sound advice as to what to expect from the dealer or what else to check on the car myself, I would be most grateful.
    Thanks in advance.
  • Just picked up my new Pro LX (same as ES in the US) last Saturday. Very satisfied so far. Just found some vibration at around 120Km/h, only shortly, but happened a few times.
    Does anyone ever experience the same situation before? My Pro is 4 spd, 1.8L engine.
  • I have a '99 Protege LX with about 39k miles all highway. I live 57 miles one way from my job. This is my first car.

    I have been fastidious about preventive maintnence, although I haven't changed the spark plugs yet. (I'm not sure what they do, but I planned to get an oil change and change my spark plugs this weekend), After driving home from work and pulling into the supermarket, my car was running fine. I pulled out of the parking lot and got on the highway, the car refused to go over 45. As I pulled off at the next exit, the car refused to go above 20. I switched to second gear, the car picked up a little, but still struggled.

    I pulled over, wondering if something was stuck in the wheels (I had an air filter system fall out while driving on the Verranzano bridge in a rental). Tires not flat, nothing trapped, no warning lights are on. The last oil change I got, I paid extra for them to top all the fluids so that should be fine.

    I got back into the car, no change. Pulled into my apartment complex, waited 10 minutes and restarted the car to check the transmission fluid. The car started to sputter really bad, as I changed gears it was struggling. I'm not an expert in cars, but it sounds like the transmission.

    Last year, after about two weeks of driving the car, it was burping when it idled. I figured I got some bad gas, and started purchasing only Exxon gas. I then switched to Sunoco, which is near my apartment. The car runs better on Exxon.

    The last several times I gassed up, I filled the tank with Exxon. This morning, since I was on E I filled the tank with Sunoco.

    What do you think could be the problem?

    I appreciate your advice, I live alone in a state 115 miles away from family, and I don't have any friends in this state. So, I feel really vulnerable, and don't want to be taken advantage of.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I had the same problem with my 1992 LX and it turned out to be related to something I DIDN'T DO on the scheduled maintenance, and it appears you let it slip by too.

    The Protege's engine is designed with the plugs way down inside the valve cover. Where you see the wires going into the cover, they actually keep going down about another four inches until they contact the plugs. Moisture and other contaminants can get down in there and cause one or more wires to arc through their rubber insultation to the metal tunnel they're in, resulting in a dead cylinder. This happened to me with my '92 at about 36,000 miles, after I didn't replace my plug wires as recommended in my maintenance schedule at 30,000 miles. I too thought horrible thoughts as I sputtered along and barely made it to my dealership. When I got there, my service manager put on a new set of wires on the spot -- took about five minutes and cost all of $40 -- and the problem disappeared!

    Hopefully this is your problem. Sounds like it is, since you've done everything but replace those plugs and wires! (Hey, if it ain't, it sounds like you're still under warranty anyway!)

    Good luck!

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    "Rubber insultation" -- LOL!!!!

  • In some recent posts, a few zoomers' noted a whining sound at high speeds.
    I have a new '00 and I don't get that high speed whining in my own car, but I have experienced it in my father's '99 LX(ES).
    IMHO, I think it sounds like a high-speed wind vibration. Think of blowing across a blade of grass pinched between your thumbs, that whining.

    The only culprit I can think of, is the slats (3 of them) in the main opening of the air-dam/bumper. On my dad's car, I thought it might also be the exposed wiring for the fog lights.
    Suggestion, check to make sure that anything with a lot of air rushing past it is securely bolted or held down. Maybe the bumper is a bit loose?

    As for the transmission clunking, sure, but only if you never rev it past 3000rpm. What are you people thinking? The powerband starts at 3,800!!! The only time my engine spends below 3000rpm is in the first second and a half of first gear.

    Happy little revver. Zoom zoom zooM!
    '00 LX(CDN) 1.8 5spd
    5K KM's, and loving every one of them
  • I bought a used 5spd 1.8L '93 protege two years ago. Since then I've done two front end alignments and gone through 2 sets of tires--each seems to cure the problem (at least temporarily). The mechanics will do alignments and sell tires until I'm broke. The front tires wear heaviliy on the outside seemingly regardless of air pressure. The front end shakes at 70+mph. I still get good mileage, 40mpg. The funny thing is I only know one other driver of the same car and she complains of the same thing and she refuses to drive over 60mph because of the problem. Does anybody know anything about what I'm whining? The worst part about this problem was that I noticed the front tires were bald on the outside when I bought it. And I bought it. But is this a curable problem?

    I like the car, but I've also noticed that the hub caps have brittle clip-things and don't hold on too well after they have been removed/replaced several times. My data: I traveled to Cleveland recently for business. Of the 4 proteges I saw (early 90's models), all of them were missing a hub cap and one was missing two. So is mine.
  • Did they have the 1.8L engine in '93? I remember reading a post about alignment problems, but do not remember what the solution was. Was that you vocus? (if you're out
  • i have 99 lx thats whines at high speed 75-80 sounds like metal grinding dealer says cant find noise because of high speed. i see from posts that many other people have same type of noise , did anyone have it resolved by a dealer?? and if so what was it
    thanks bruce
  • I have a '99 Protege with 34k that also had a rough idle. At first I was told that it was just a bad fuel ('tis the season for gas companies to put their winter additives in the gas) mixture that caused the rough idle. After running down the tank and putting in fresh fuel I thought I was fine. However the problem returned and this time the 'ckeck engine' light came on flashing (a bad thing). I called my local dealer and had me bring it in ASAP.
    They ran their computer and found out that I had burnt a hole (don't know how) through my 'coil pack' (I think it is the equivalent to the distributor cap). Hopefully this is useful info.
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