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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • plaresplares Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 protege ES, manual trans and the other night I noticed flickering or slight fluctuations in the brightness of the dash and stereo lighting upon starting the car at night. The flickering was very subtle and did not appear to be related to the stereo or the engine rpm, though I only sat there and observed it for 5 minutes. The car is running fine otherwise. I do not have any additional components like an aftermarket stereo or alarm installed yet.

    I suppose it could have been the cold. I'm in Houston, TX (temperate winters), but the night I noticed the flickering, it was somewhere between 25-32 F and I had just scraped frost off the windows. I think I had the rear defroster on as well.

    Is it something to worry about?
  • I have a 99 Protege LX and I'm experiencing the
    same whining noise that a few other people have described. I don't think it's just wind noise or some other minor problem, because the buzzing seems to be related to how I am pushing on the gas pedal. I hear it most around 60-70 mph. Anyone have any success with this? I took it to the shop but they said they didn't hear it. A friend of mine bought a 2000 AS and also heard some funny transmission noise and after she kept complaining they finally replaced her transmission and now she doesn't have any problems. It turned out that Mazda knew about this problem because after she gave them a lousy review, they sent her all this literature about the transmission noise problem which evidently affects a variety of Proteges. I'm not sure it's the same problem I'm having, which is why I haven't stormed into Mazda holding the info.

    On an unrelated note, a long time ago someone mentioned a rattle in their dashboard. This may be totally different, but I had a similar problem, and all it was was a missing piece that was supposed to go on the back of the radio. Unfortunately, now there's a new rattle coming from the RHS of the dashboard that started after they fixed the first one.

    Anyway, any ideas about the buzzing would be appreciated!
  • I have a 2000 Protege ES which I've owned for a little over one year. Unfortunately, I'm often hit with a minor electric shock when I close the driver's door after driving the car. I had hoped that the shocks would stop after a while, but no such luck. I assume that the problem is that the car is somehow not properly grounded, but that's a complete guess. Has anyone experienced this with their Protege and do you know how to solve the problem? I'm planning on heading over to a dealership to get the problem fixed, but I was hoping to learn something about the problem before dealing with the dealership. Also, am I correct in assuming that the warranty should cover whatever work is required?

    One reason I've been somewhat hesitant to take the car to the dealership to fix the shock problem is that the local dealership doesn't seem particularly trustworthy. They told me to not take the car to places like Jiffy Lube for oil changes because Jiffy Lube doesn't have oil filters which are appropriate for the Protege. According to the dealership, Protege oil filters somehow incorporate special safety valves which the Jiffy Lube filters lack, which can result in leakage. This seems like hogwash. Clearly, Jiffy Lube may not have the best service in the world or the most experienced mechanics, but a decent oil filter is a decent oil filter. Or am I wrong?

    Any help on either issue would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  • speedyptspeedypt Posts: 200
    The electric shock is normal for this vehicle. We discussed it a while back in Protege 5 or 4...
    The earlier Proteges used to have a static discharge button near the door lock for this reason. It has since been discontinued. If you hold the metal part of your key, and touch it to the door latch while you exit the car you won't get a shock.

    Oil filters: I have used Fram (PH6607) filters on all three of the Proteges I have owned with ZERO negative effect. I don't believe that story from the dealer. How to know for sure? Buy a "Mazda" filter (usually made by AC Delco) and visually compare to Fram or other name brand. That should tell you there really is no difference. I personally won't go to the quick lube joints due to several bad experiences, and the fact that I'm not about to let some 16 yr old change the oil on my baby! (2000 ES Protege). If you are so inclined, a set of ramps and an oil change basin pay for themselves by the second oil change if you do it yourself!


  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    is usually caused by the type of tire. the materials inside to make them have less rolling resistance lessens the grounding effects. that's why you get shocked. My altima I get shocked more than the Protege. I just touch the metal key area before I get out and I'm ok.. usually.

    Its noting to worry about. the best the dealer can do is put a grounding wire on your car. but who wants a wire hanging down while driving?

    and the line about filters is hogwash. You want the best? buy a Mobil1 filter or something like that. The dealer's filter is usually manufactured by an after market company anyhow. would you as a dealer want someone to buy your filter at $10 per, or go somewhere else and spend $2.50 on a filter?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    The wintertime shocks are caused by static electricity due to the dry air and your clothing rubbing on the velour-like upholstery of our Proteges' seat covers. I get it too -- sometimes painfully. But what's all this "hogwash" (to quote a recent post) about "touching keys to frames" and such? Good grief, it ain't that hard! All you've got to do is hold onto the door frame as you slide off your seat and get out of the car! The static bleeds off through your hand as you get up! There's no need to touch keys to metal or anything like that. All you're doing there is extending the electrical path from your hand to the door frame. Just holding the door frame as you get out does the same thing. Try it!

  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    that doesn't work for me. I even try pulling my sweater to touch it on the metal, still shocked.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    ... to keep your hand on the door the WHOLE time you're sliding out of your seat. I don't see how you COULD be shocked doing this -- I never have.

    On a similar, more humorous note, have any of you ever wondered if anyone's had that winter shock problem right when they touched the gas nozzle to their filler pipe? Ker-BLAM!!! HA HA HA HA!!!!!

    Oh, guess what everyone, I made the big mistake of putting a LABELED CD in my CD player the other day, and ... GUESS WHAT. I've got to make an appointment with my service department to extract the damned thing. It won't eject.

    My fault!!! Sadder but wiser!!! Anybody got a fix that doesn't involve the service department?

  • speedyptspeedypt Posts: 200
    There's a 1999 Protege radio for sale on could try that...


  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    try something super flat. insert it and try to push the label back down onto the CD.. happened on the computer one, and that's what I did . puch it down in spots, and it ejected. (floppy)
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    The CD's label didn't come off. Our CD players are VERY sensitive to variations in CD thickness -- in fact, the owners manual even says not to put any CD in there that's got a label on it or this might happen. Too bad I didn't realize this one had a label until it was too late! The label is the same size as the CD, so it just looked like a printed CD. Oh well. I have an appointment with my Friendly Mazda Mechanic on Monday.

    (The car and radio are still under warranty, so I'm gonna play dumb and just say there's a CD stuck in there.)

    (Hey! Wouldn't you?)

  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    That's why I don't use the labeling kits for CD-R/RWs.. they are too big and never stay flat..

    good ol sharpie pen for me.
  • tsctomtsctom Posts: 9
    What you've heard is not hogwash.

    The Mazda oil filter has an anti-backflow valve. When you shut the engine down, the valve closes, and thus retains a slight amount of oil pressure in the system. Upon re-start, oil pressure is resumed more quickly (we're talking fractions of a second here), which is much kinder to the valve train of a overhead cam engine.

    Mazda pioneered this technology in their high performance Miata engine (you'll *never* find a knowledgeable Miata enthusiast using an aftermarket filter). It has now become standard in many OEM applications, including Ford's V-10.

    Saving 2 bucks on an aftermarket filter without an anti-backflow valve is false economy.
  • speedyptspeedypt Posts: 200
    Are you sure? Now I am doubting my own advice...

    I'll stop by the dealer on the way home and get a filter to check. Results posted on Monday!

    Regards and thanks,

  • tsctomtsctom Posts: 9
    Yep, I'm sure. You have to take the oil filter apart to see the backflow valve (I've done it) and it is definately there. It is a rubber diaphram, barely visible by looking through the outside ring of holes.

    You can get filters (or any Mazda part)at a substantial discount at or Both are very reputable.

    I have 2 Miatas (one for summer driving, the other tricked up a bit for autocross competition), a 626 ES 6 cyl, and a Tribute ES(hmmm, bit of a Mazda buff), and I would ONLY use an OEM Mazda filter in each.

    I haven't researched the Protege (getting ready to buy one for my daughter), but the Miata, and some other OHC engines, use a hydraulic lash adapter. A few tenths of a second running dry on startup doesn't help the cam, and that's why they use the backflow valve.

    My Ford V-10 motorhome also uses the backflow valve in their filter, and STRONGLY cautions against using a filter without it.

    BTW, I strongly agree with your advice re doing one's own oil changes. Easy, with a few tools, and you can take the oil to a parts store for disposition! One learns a great deal about one's car by climbing underneath occasionally, dontcha think?

    Good luck,
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    An oil filter anti-drainback valve can NOT retain pressure in an engine's lubricating system after the engine is shut down. Pressure is developed by applying force (from the oil pump) to a confined liquid (the oil). Any residual pressure will bleed off through clearances between lubricated components as soon as the oil pump stops turning. What the valve WILL do is prevent oil from draining back through the filter to the oil pan, thereby ensuring a full lube system for the next startup.

    Btw, I've been using AC Delco oil filters with anti-drainback valves for at least 20 years. They're nothing new.
  • tsctomtsctom Posts: 9
    I said:"Upon re-start, oil pressure is resumed more quickly"

    You said:
    "thereby ensuring a full lube system for the next startup"

    Sound like pretty much the same effect to me. The purpose of my post was to dispute the assertion that anti-backflow valves were "hogwash."

    "Btw, I've been using AC Delco oil filters with anti-drainback valves for at least 20 years. They're nothing new."

    Good for you.
  • speedyptspeedypt Posts: 200
    I posted bad info. I went and bought a Mazda oil filter. There...plain as the valve. Now I will say that I'm on my third Protege and I've always used Fram filters (swore by them in fact). But Tsctom was right. I was wrong.

    Well...I will say that I've always used the Fram filters, and I've never had a problem. I am guessing more so due to my overly regular maintenance schedule than anything else, but it remains true...I've never had a problem. I will be using the Mazda filter from now on, at least until Fram "catches up" and offers an IDENTICAL match, rather than a "pretty close" match.

    Thanks Tsctom, for opening my eyes.


  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    "When you shut the engine down, the valve closes, and thus retains a slight amount of oil pressure in the system". This is incorrect.

    "Mazda pioneered this technology in their high performance Miata engine". This is incorrect.

    We are in agreement on one point, however. Oil pressure will be restored sooner if the lube system is full prior to engine startup. It is not my intention to be adversarial, but factual and accurate. "Factory vs aftermarket filters" topic covers anti-drainback valves in depth.
  • fritz1224fritz1224 Posts: 398
    According to windowphobe(who seems knowledgeable about these things) the hydraulic valve adjusters were replaced starting with the 98 engines. I don't know what year your Miatas are, but if pre-98 they may have the HLA's.
  • Actually, what I had said was that Mazda had abandoned HLAs in the 626 engines for 1998, one of which is now going into the '01 Protegé - although the 1.8 (BP) Protegé engine has gone to manually-adjusted lifters as well (as the BP's sibling did in the MX-5/Miata), and the 1.5 (Z5), I believe, always had them.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    I'm surprised that Mazda has switched to manual lash adjusters, considering that they're another maintenance point. What't the RPM red line for these engines?
  • tsctomtsctom Posts: 9
    My pleasure, Pete.
    My 95 Miata has HLA's, and, frankly, I'm not sure about the '01. It's still under a car cover, waiting till spring!

    On the 2001 Protege, the 1.8 engine has been discontinued (I'm not familiar with this engine, was it a DOHC?), the DX and LX have the 1.6, and the LX 2.0 and ES have the 2 liter, detuned from the 626. Easy decision; $380 well spent on that option!

    Does anyone know if the spec oil for the 2001 Protege is 5W20?
  • Actually, HLAs had become a maintenance point for them also - a lot of people, mostly in the 626 realm, had been coming down with the infamous Mazda tick. But I suspect the real reason is emissions: with a fixed tolerance for valve lift, it seems like it ought to be easier to design for maximum combustion.

    Redlines apparently haven't changed at all, despite the new lifters: 6500 rpm for most of the fours, 7000 rpm for the MX-5 Miata, 7000 rpm for the 2.5 V6, 6000 rpm for the Miller-cycle engine in the Millenia S (which I believe never had HLAs).
  • pkuehnpkuehn Posts: 6
    I recently purchased a '98 Protege LX with 50K miles from a dealer. From the look of the transmission fluid on the dipstick, it looks like it could use a fluid change. However, the maintenance schedule in the owner's manual does not mention changing the transmission fluid. My question is, do you change your transmision fluid? If so, at what intervals? Also, do you use Dexron III or better fluid? Thanks.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    My prior experience with Japanese imports required:

    At 30,000 and 60,000 and 90,000 miles you need to have a professional perform the following service:

    Manual Transmission-
    Inspect, check and change the gear oil in Manual Transmission and Differential.

    Automatic Transmission-
    Drain Fluid, remove Oil pan, clean and inspect, refill with Fluid.

  • Well, the clunking that some of us have noticed is getting a little more pronounced in my 2k ES. I can now hear and feel it(slightly) when I shift into second as well. Before, it was only present when letting out clutch when starting from first or reverse. Just seems like there's some play or slack in the drivetrain. The dealer will definitely hear about it, but I was hoping to have some type of response when I get the "It's normal" answer. Anybody else dealt with this issue with the dealer and what was the outcome?
  • finn8finn8 Posts: 2
    I own a 99 Protege with a manual trans. and have been having a multitude of problems. My first Mazda was a 1989 problems whatsoever. With this one I have the infamous "clunking" of the the clutch, which the dealer reassured me by saying that he didn't hear it but it's covered for 50k, I have to get the gas tank replaced because of a loose baffle, and the starter replaced because it doesn't engage immediately in temps. less than 20 degrees. All I get is a clicking sound at the point where it should start. I love the car but it has more rattles than a 10 yr. old Escort. I had considered buying it when the lease expires... but Sunfires and N eons are looking better all the time.
  • rnd2rnd2 Posts: 31
    i called mobil-1 and they say that some of there oil filters have anti-drainback valves, they said that if the stock OEM filter has the anti-drainback valve then the mobil-1 replacement filter will also have the anti-drainback valve, i do know that mobil-1 is a top rated oil filter
  • rnd2rnd2 Posts: 31
    have you driven a sunfire ? my honda was in the body shop and they gave me a sunfire to drive it was piece of crap i took it back the next day and got a saturn it was mutch better than the sunfire,dont get me wrong my protege is mutch better then a saturn
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    finn8, leasing a lemon is not a joking matter. If your Protege is a lemon, I feel your pain. But, as God is my witness; DO NOT rebound with either of the domestic joke mobiles you mentioned. If reliability and build quality are the absolute quality you desire at the end of your present lease, look into a Honda or a Toyota. I feel sure your chances of owning a problem free vehicle will increase with a top box Japanese import, just my 2 cents!

  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    When it comes to small-displacement engines, the Japanese have the American auto manufactures beat. Also, Honda, Subaru, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota just pay more attention to build quality on their assembly lines, than the "Big Three". IMHO, as gas prices start to creep up into the $1.50+ range, the domestic auto industry has failed to manufacture a competitive small sedan when North America needs it the most! Finn8, I own two Y2k Mazda Protege's with aproximently 17,000 miles each, that are trouble free. I hope your pursuit with the Mazda Dealer resolves your repair issues. Nonetheless, I feels the Mazda Protege is a tight high value vehicle built for fun and reliability. Good luck and God bless.

  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    The Focus is more than competitive.
    Look at the sale charts.
  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    And the Focus gets recalled more competitively too...
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Vadp, when I suggested to finn8, to consider other Japanese imports as an alternative to his "lemon" Protege; I referred to "competitive" in the sense of build-quality. So let me re-state; "The domestic auto industry has failed to manufacture a reliable high quality small econo sedan when North America needs it the most". At the risk at getting further off topic, my 2 cents; it's unfortunate that the Ford Focus is a generally well designed vehicle which suffers from multiple build-quality issues. McDonald's sells billions of hamburgers world wide, giving them a huge advantage in market share, nonetheless only a child would equate their hamburgers with the word quality. Well, this post is now well off "topic", LOL! Soooo, I will refrain from posting in this "discussion" my thoughts on Neons, Foci and Sunfires.

  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    Sounds like a mantra to me.
    Check out the '01 Honda Civic in its first year of production.
    The first recall is out - for the PCM module. Radio problems?
    No recall yet, probably Honda will treat it as TSB.
    Please, get real. These cars are very high volume models
    The suppliers get constantly squeezed by the OEM. Unfortunately they need some time to work the bugs out.
    The Focus '01 model is recall free and selling very well, almost as well as the small car champion - the Civic.
    And the recall issue is getting too old, sorry.
  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    Please yourself.

    going to the NHTSA website and running recall search and TSB searches...

    Mazda Protege
    2000- 4 TSBs, 0 recalls
    2001- 1 TSB, 0 Recalls.
    1999 (last major body change)- 18 TSBs, 1 Recall

    Honda Civic
    2000- 20 TSBs, 0 Recalls
    2001- 0 TSBs, 0 Recalls

    Ford Focus
    2000- 135 TSBs, 6 recalls
    2001- 0 TSBs, 1 Recall.

    even looking at the Chevy Cavalier
    2000- 20 TSBs, 1 recall
    2001- 1 TSB, 0 Recalls
    1995 (last Major Body Change)- 64 TSBs, 3 Recalls

    Your thinking is flawed. each of these cars listed has had much less incidences of TSBs and Recalls over the last yr and a half. Even looking into major body change years, the Focus has had 2x the amount of the next runner up, the Cavalier. The civic, giving you the BOTD, will have either 1 TSB or 1 Recall now. So a 2 yr old designed car has as many TSB/Recalls as a newly designed Civic.

    135 TSBs and 6 recalls is too many.
  • Well, I haven't had any of the other problems you mentioned and I feel like this is a good value for what you get. It's just that this clunking thing is a little disconcerting. If it did this with a rear wheel car I would suspect "U" joint or rear end, but this front wheel drive manual is a new animal to me and I don't have a clue as to what can cause it. CV joints maybe. Only got 4k on it though and first noticed it with less than 1k.
    Apparently though, this must not be too wide spread a problem since no one else is offering their experience with it.
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    According to you the '01 owners are just making this up. Right?
    From the "Honda Civic 3" board, post #164:

    "I just received my first official "Motor Vehicle Product Update" from Honda today in
    the mail for my less than 2 month old 2001 LX. It says that the PCM (Powertrain
    control module) could be damaged by a surge in the electrical system. This was
    my first Honda purchase and I am hoping that this is not sign of the months and
    years of ownership to follow with this car."
  • finn8finn8 Posts: 2
    My references to Sunfires and Neons was just a little dry humor. My prior cars had been a VW Beetle, 2 Toyotas and the 323 Mazda. My experience with the Japanese cars must have given me a false sense of security. All were trouble free and only seen the dealership for scheduled maintenance. This Protege however is a let down. I'm satisfied that I got the starter and fuel tank repaired (it took 4 trips to the dealership) but this clunking is something I have never heard in any of my vehicles (all were manual trans.) I guess time and miles will tell. And yes.. the tires are awful. Don't get me wrong ... I love the car, but it's just a rude awakening.
  • I was on a steep incline facing downwards and put my Protege ES (2001, AT, 1 week old) into reverse and took my foot off the brake, and the car slid forward (and down). Is this normal? I did the same thing on my friend's old Buick Regal (also AT) and the car stayed put, so I'm not sure if this rolling forward happens to all Mazdas, or if I have a problem. I was under the impression that with AT, the gears lock into position when put into reverse. I live in SF, so this is a major concern. Could someone with experience in this matter post a response? Thanks!
  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    I'm just posting what I said I found on NHTSA website. and I did, in the last paragraph, mention that giving you the benefit of the doubt (BOTD), there will be 1 TSB or Recall on the civic. go reread it. The civic, giving you the BOTD, will have either 1 TSB or 1 Recall now. So a 2 yr old designed car has as many TSB/Recalls as a newly designed Civic.

    The Focus, in its 2nd yr has a recall. The Civic in its first new major body change has either 1 TSB or 1 Recall. sad for the focus.
  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    If the incline is steep enough, gravity will exert a much stronger influence than the engine will in reverse. seeing as you did not have your foot on the gas, just in plain reverse, it is possible that the car will go forward. Just as if you were aimed up the hill and put the car in D and without your foot on the gas, the car could go back.
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    hello al,

    I'm thinking about getting a Mazda Protege, probably the 5 door hatchback which is suppose to come out this June as a 2002 model. In general how reliable are the Protege's? I'll be switching from a Toyota to the Mazda. Also how reliabe is the new 2.0L engine that they put into the Protege? I heard this engine came from the 626.

  • My 91 auto. stalls and when I try to restart I have no dash lights therefore it turns over but won't start. Anywhere from immediately to 5 minutes the dash lights return and I can fire the car up.

    It happens mostly in stop and go traffic, when slowing to a stop and in mild weather and rarely happens on the highway and in cold weather.

    The dealer has replaced the distributer, engine temp sensor, ignitor and ignition module.

    This car needs to live on...please help.

  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    alternator or battery. My car would stall and the lights go out when the battery was dead. As a result of the alternator failing.
  • lgblgb Posts: 30
    I havent posted in a while but a few of us 00 manual Protege owners also noticed various clunks on shifting (as well as hesitation inbetween the lower gears). I think maybe one person had a real problem (differential) but the rest of us seem to have accepted clunks as "normal". I'm at 11,500 miles now and I either dont notice or dont hear clunks any more. I deal with the hesitation by shifting at higher rpms. If anyone has anymore info on clunking or hesitating, please post!
  • Yeah, I don't think I'm going to worry about it anymore either. If other associated symptoms seem to start, I'll look into it further(i.e. won't shift, slips or starts clanging). Just want to enjoy my little sport and stop sweating the small stuff.
  • This sure is one of the slowest problem boards of the bunch. Makes me feel great about my decision to go Pro, but if things don't pick up in this board it may get the heave ho. That would be a shame since in maybe 5 or 6 years we may have a problem we want to share.
    Maybe we need to start making up problems or referring to the ridiculous.
    Like, I had to put some air in my tires the other day, is this covered by warranty?LOL
  • ny10ny10 Posts: 4
    Hi, I really need some help. I've got a 1992 MAZDA 323 that has a recurring stalling problem
    that no one has been able to solve. If you have advice about how to solve it, or if you know
    where I can get good advice (via another web-posting or some other source), I'd really appreciate
    hearing from you.

    The pattern of stall-outs is seemingly indecipherable. It will stall on the highway or just going
    around the block. It usually gives a hesitation or two, and the accelerator becomes useless for
    10-60 seconds before it stalls completely. It's a standard transmission, and if necessary while
    driving I can turn the car turn the car off as the stall threatens and then turn it back on–and it then runs fine again. Likewise, if it stalls out completely, I can turn off the car and then start it
    immediately with no problem. The interval between stall-outs is usually at least a day and
    sometimes weeks. Go figure.

    This problem first occurred in about 1993. No one could solve it, but it disappeared. Then it
    returned a few years after that. And now it's back again, off and on since the fall of 2000.

    Here's a record of what my latest mechanic has tried:

    –Tried to duplicate problem but couldn't.

    –Completed tuneup: sparkplugs, cap, rotor, air filter, fuel filter, oil change.

    –Checked for computer fault codes. Found code 17. This code refers to the oxygen sensor, the fuel pressure regulator, fuel pump, and the computer itself.

    –Fuel-pressure test showed fuel pressure to be just a touch above normal (if it was lower than
    normal it would have been a good chance that it was source of the stalling problem). This test
    was done with the car hooked to a gas analyzer which registers the fuel/air ratio.

    –Replaced oxygen sensor and fuel pressure regulator, and checked these new parts with the car hooked to the gas analyzer. The car was run for quite a while and monitored throughout the day but never stalled, nor did the fuel/air ratio change at anytime. Car stalled out several days later, and a few more times after that.

    –With no facts to condemn the fuel pump or computer (which are the only items left that the fault code refers to), the mechanic feels there is not much else to do except replace the fuel pump and/or computer. But these items are not cheap and there is no guarantee that they will fix the problem.

    Please help! Thanks.

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