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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • 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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