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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • I am considering buying a 1999 Protege LX from Hertz (mileage is about 28,000). I test drove the car and everything checked out fine. However, I noticed that when the car is in drive and I am stopped, there is some engine vibration. Is this normal, or does it indicate an impending problem?
  • carlrjrcarlrjr Posts: 35
    It isn't unusual for a computer-controlled engine to wiggle a little at idle because the ECM is messing around with the idle control to get the best emissions. How's the power and/or performance otherwise? If it doesn't die or hesitate when you take off it should be no big deal.
    However, as with any used car, have a mechanic or even a dealer check it out. Better to spend under $100 before you buy then to spend a lot more after.
    I'm not that familiar with Mazda's scheduled maintenance, but a tune-up is likely due at 30K; that tune up will probably eliminate this problem.
  • Other than that slight vibration, the vehicle performed very well. Thanks for the info and the advice.
  • lgblgb Posts: 30
    I own a '92 with a 1.8L engine. I don't have alignment problems, but I do have one missing hub cap. Have you tried a dealer alignment? I'm not a dealer fanatic, but experience is that a regular shop just does not deal with these cars that often. good luck.
  • Thanks to all for the insight on the LX vibration issue. As it turns out, w/a clean air filter & new plugs, the car is running strong & fuel economy is averaging about 29 MPG. However, the car still makes a racket when stopped in D or R. Last week my son slammed the rear driver-side door shut while the driver side door was open. To my surprise, I heard a hint of the rattling noise that annoys me so while stopped in gear. After dragging my wife out to help, I determined that the sound component of the vibration is coming from the hood latch! If I pop the hood open, the sound goes away! I looked at the latch mechanism & cannot figure out what adjustment is possible to hold it down tighter (if that is the fix). There are no apparently missing dampening parts around the perimeter where the hood contacts the grille. A folded cloth (outside the engine compartment rubber seal of course) does the trick, but I am really hoping for a more elegant solution. I am already about $300 into this problem, so I am not in huge rush to go back to the dealer. Any suggestions?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    On most cars, there are little round rubber plugs attached to either the underside of the hood or the upper side of the fenders and radiator support where the hood closes. They usually look like little (maybe an inch in diameter) rubber "nuts" -- complete with six sides. On most cars I've had, these "nuts" have threads underneath and can be screwed in or out to vary their height. If yours has them, you can unscrew them a turn or two to adjust the closure distance so the hood shuts good and tight.

  • What gives? I have a '96 Protege LX with 42K miles. One day while on the interstate highway coming from the beach going about 70mph, the 5th gear slips out into neutral. I could not, for the life of me, get it to go back into 5th gear. I had to drive the remaining 45 miles back home in 4th gear! I take it to my local mazda dealer and they wanted $1200-1500 to replace my transmission. They said I had lost 5th gear and I had some seal leaking. I told them that the 5th gear slip thing only happens after an hour or so at highway speeds not around town, so I still had 5th gear. Since I don't have $1500 available (I'm a college student), any suggestions or alternatives in my case. I guess I don't believe them. My opinion is that a manual tranny should last the life of the car, that's one reason I bought a 5 sp in the first place. This has only 42K miles on it for God's sake. So right now it's sitting in my driveway collecting dust.
  • speedyptspeedypt Posts: 200
    I had to replace the plug wires on both of my '92 LX Protege's at 40k. The problem presented the same on both, anything over partial throttle resulted in sputtering. I thought it was "all over" until I had the dealer check it out...sure enough, new plug wires did the trick.

    Try that first before dumping any other money...



  • Hi, I have a 99 Es automatic with 21,000 miles. A few weeks ago, my Over Drive and check engine indicators came on. It had no pick up. I took it to the dealer and after several tests they found out my transmission needed to be fixed Since of course, it was under warranty they replaced it. Apparently, some dealers were noticing this problem out in California. Has any one else had to replace their transmissions????? I love my car but am very surprised.
  • Have never heard of the over drive light coming on. Do you live in Cali? Wonder if it has anything to do with the strict emissions in Cali? Glad you got it fixed under warranty.
  • My '94 Protege horn has just recently started going off for no reason- at any time, day or night, even while I'm driving it. Smacking the steering wheel seems to stop it, but as that's a little ridiculous, I've resorted to pulling the fuse out anytime I'm away from the car (even more ridiculous, except when I'm woken up at 5am). I'm guessing it's an electrical problem somewhere within the steering column, but does anyone have any ideas? Oddly enough, it didn't happen until it started to get cold down here..
  • No, we live in New Jersey. We were just surprised that a year old transmission went bad. Thanks anyway!
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    no indication whatsoever before it went kaput?
  • Sounds like there is a problem with the counterbalance shaft. The counterbalance shaft runs the 5th and reverse gears. 1 to 2 gear and 3rd to 4th have synchros, so they help match engine speed. 4th gear is always a 1:1 ratio so you can drive it. How does reverse work? You might ask around to some foreign car specialists. Sometimes, these inde's can quickly diagnose and fix the problems easier and more helpful. A tranny with properly changed fluid generally lasts a long time. If you've ever disassembled a newer automatic tranny, a freakin' 5 speed is nothing compared to the automatic complexities.
  • Sometimes, condensation can complete a circuit and cause strange problems. YOu might have a small amount of condensation completing the horn circuit somewhere. Sounds like the horn mechanism might be the trouble spot. I would go through and clean and inspect the connections at the horn assembly. I would also disconnect the horn and stick a multimeter to the lines to measure continuity. That way, the horn wires can be messed with wihout the horn actually going off and better isolate the problem. It doesn't sound too complicated. Hope this helps.
  • Yep, moisture could be closing the circuit. You may be able to clean things and fix the problem, or maybe bend the contact [usually spring steel to increase clearance.
  • On "clunk": items sliding around in the trunk may clunk! (my experience, with that vast sea of carpet); If air conditioner is on, its compressor may be deactivated as you accelerate, leading to clunk (a guess, since that is a behavior of some other cars' compressors, to minimize drag on the engine when accelerating).
    On overdrive problems, or any problems: be sure to check the NHTSA information easily linked-to via Edmunds, which shows "formal" complaints of problems to NHTSA.
  • My 97 5spd dx stalls when coming to a stop. Doesn't seem to matter whether we downshift or coast. Dealer and and independent mechanic found nothing wrong.

    This happens in spells. Used to happen only when the tank was less than half full, and only when one of us drove it. The problem became dangerous last week, stalling when I had to slow down because of obstructions in road, for example, so we took it in. The mechanic drove it around town, checked the computer, and found nothing wrong. Seems to drive fine now.

    Any idea what the problem is?
  • Please help. I spend a small fortune for guesswork but the problem still exists. My 92 Mazda Protege stops while driving after every right turn. I am out of ideas. Maybe someone can diagnose this problem , or maybe someone experienced this same weird problem. I will be very greatful.
    Best regards,
  • This one could be a difficult problem. I would do some driveabliity checks, like checking the fuel pressure and also check for vacuum. Have you had your fuel filter changed? Sometimes, these overlooked little filters can cause all kinds of stalling and rough engine running problems. It might be something like too low of an idle problem. Check the pcv valve too.
  • I've heard problems like these on other cars. In most instances, it's a wiring problem, such as a harness being pulled too tight or a frayed wire problem in the steering column or some other component rubbing wires. You might try inspecting under the dash and turn the wheel while inspecting the wires, making sure none of them are touching. You might check under the hood as well to see if any wires are rubbing there. Also, shake wire clusters to see if the problem occurs while the car is sitting at idle. Just a few ideas. Maybe someone else has ran into this exact problem with this model year or something.
  • If I remember correctly, the electrical connector for the fuel pump is accessible by pulling the rear seat cushion. You might try checking this connector to see if it's properly seated; if it's loose, it's conceivable that the force of a right turn might be enough to break the connection temporarily, which would cause a stall.
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    call 1-888-car-talk for expert advice for free!
  • Holy SH**, is this for real? My 5 year old could have put together a more concise posting.

    Talk about a need for remedial spelling.

    Must be a Daewoo owner in disguys, oops, sorry, I ment disguise.
  • Nice post, glidescope.

    It's worth noting that (at the moment, at least) there are NO Daewoo owners that bothered to enter complaints on that site.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    ... we are blaming Mazda for a dealership that has poor management. Since when does a bad experience at a McDonald's drive-thru make all McDonald's restaurants bad, for example?

    People are human, and it appears from the above post that possibly there were problems/ignorance on both sides of the bargaining table.

    If you don't like the service you receive at one dealership, take it to the management. If that doesn't work, go to another dealership! But your poor experience at one dealer doesn't change the fact that I've owned four Mazda vehicles, all purchased from the same good dealership in Richmond, VA!


  • HELP!!! My 99 Protege (manual trans.) is 5k miles away from the end of its warranty and I have yet to find a solution for this problem. At about 2000 rpm's when accelerating, there is a rattling coming from somewhere near the front of the car. There was a TSB that seemed to relate to this, but I have since had the dealer put the part on and the noise still exists. I have been to the dealer 3 times now with the car and they can't seem to track this thing down, it is tough because you can't get it to make the noise when it is idling. I am just wondering if someone has had this problem or knows of any other recourse I may have if the dealer can't pinpoint the cause (even though they admit to hearing it on a test drive). Thanks for any help,

  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    of rattling? does it sound like marbles or knocking or muffled or distinct or thick metal noise or thin plate noise?

    One thing you can get checked is the transmission axle ends (they contain sliding bearings to compensate for suspension movements) at the differential side. If they are worn out, you may get rattling sound under load, not under regular cruise speeds.
  • My dad's 2000 DX has a problem similar to this. It will happen when the car is idling in drive at a stop light, but it doesn't happen ALL the time. Only every once in a while. It sounds like two metal plates vibrating against each other coming from the left side of the speedometer cluster just in front of the windshield. His car only has 2000 miles on it, but he doesn't drive much so whenever he hits 3000 miles to change his oil I will mention this to the dealer (But I doubt they will be able to fix it)

    I heard of a TSB about exhaust resonance when you rev the engine to around 3700 RPM that will make something rattle, but I don't think that applies since the car is does not rev at 3700 RPM idling!
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    there are no moving parts in the area where you indicate near the windshield! are you pretty sure about it?
    all the major moving parts are on the right side.
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