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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • ram22ram22 Posts: 15
    The mechanic said that the red warning light does not come on if the radiator coolant is leaking. Is tis true ? I thought that if ANY fluid goes below the acceptable level, we geta warning light on the dashboard.
  • chicagoprochicagopro Posts: 1,009
    I can't speak for your 01, but my 2000 ES does not warn me of low coolant. Furthermore when this happened to me, the temperature gauge read normal as well even though I was dangerously low. I had no indication that I was losing coolant until I opened the hood one day and happened to notice that the level was down.

    Yes, it can be serious, and no, you shouldn't wait to repair it. In my case, they decided that the radiator was leaking, and replaced it under warranty.

    Good luck!
  • fayfay Posts: 7
    on my 94 protege DX:

    Ignition breaking down as engine heats up. suggest the following parts in this order:
    1. coil
    2. distributor assembly
    3. computer
    The onboard computer will not communicate with the diagnostic scanners.

    Is it still repairable?
    Thank you.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    I find Firestone finds more issues than actually exist, at least the ones I've been to. Yours may differ.
  • rotarykidrotarykid Posts: 191
    the front sway bar links are commonly replaced due to wear/breakdown that causes rattles over bumps.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    As the owner of a 2000 ES with 70,000 miles on it and the past owner of two '92 LXs ...


    I will nearly guarantee that is your problem. The plug wires on Protege engines go down inside the head about four or five inches to where they connect to the spark plug caps. The "tunnel" they're in gets very hot during engine operation and the wires break down over time. My first '92 didn't last 30,000 miles since I totaled it, but on my second '92, one day at about 35,000 miles, I started the car to find it missing terribly and puttering like crazy -- it was even hard to drive. I limped to the dealership with ominous dollar signs floating through my head, and the service writer put a new set of wires on it while I stood there and watched. Problem solved. With my current Protege, a 2000 ES, I started noticing a drop in gas mileage at about 30,000 miles, so I replaced the wires. It came right back up again. I recommend replacing the wires every 30,000 miles. They're only about $70 for a set from Mazda, or about $50 from NAPA. You can do it yourself in about five minutes -- just unplug and remove the old ones, and plug in and route the new ones, making sure you do each new one as each old one is removed -- there's an order to it and you have to connect coil 1 to plug 1 and so forth. The wires are also different lengths.

    My 2000 has 70,000 miles on it right now, and I'm taking the car in (late) for its 60,000-mile service on Friday. I am having them install a new set of plug wires while it's there.

    For those of you who have Proteges with more than 30,000 miles on them and you're still on your first set of plug wires, replace them. I guarantee you'll notice a big difference. The car will run like new again.

  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    73000 kms /45000 miles on it and only the plugs were replaced at 40000 kms. Still running as good as new. I'll get around to it in the summer. Should I go with the Mazda wires or an aftermarket brand?

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I've used both. I've been told that the ones NAPA sells (the premium ones, which are still cheaper than the Mazda ones) are as good as or better than Mazda's. (NAPA was actually the recommendation of my service writer at my dealership!)

    I'm just going with Mazda's now because they're convenient to my schedule this Friday. Hmmm, I'd better ask them how much they're gonna charge me for installation. If they're gonna tack on $30 for this little plug-'n-play, I'll tell them to leave the wires on my back seat and I'll plug the danged things in Saturday.

  • kaiserheadkaiserhead Posts: 166
    I'm at 102500kms on the original wires, the engine has been a little "off" especially during damp weather, I guess the wires could be to blame.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    ... at the difference new wires make.

    And if you want proof that the old ones are ready for replacement, unplug them from the plugs and look at the last two or three inches of wire before the plug connector. The ones on my '92 had actually shorted through the insulation and had been arcing to the wall of the tunnel they're in in the aluminum head. Little burned holes were plainly visible in the insulation.

    Not the best performance when half your spark is shorting to ground! And yes, wet weather seemed to compound this little problem. In fact, I've noticed in the last few months while driving in cold, rainy weather on the interstate, my Protege will sometimes miss -- just once -- so hard that it feels like I've been tapped on the rear by another vehicle. Yep, definitely time for new wires -- and plugs too!

    I think I've changed my mind about letting my dealer have anything to do with the plug wires. NAPA has a set of Belden premium plug wires for my 1.8-liter Protege for $40.99. I am very familiar with Belden as they make high-end cable for radio communications (my hobby), so I trust that name highly. By comparison, I just got off the phone with my dealership's parts department (while writing this paragraph, in fact), and Mazda's wires for my 1.8-liter engine are $75.65 -- nearly TWICE the price!

    Looks like I'll be zoom-zooming over to my NAPA store this weekend!

  • rotarykidrotarykid Posts: 191
    good idea to use the factory replacement wires.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Give me a good explanation for why you say that. I want to hear exactly why "factory" wires are better than wires manufactured by Belden, a decades-old manufacturer who's been making premium wire products for OEM automotive, industrial and communications applications for decades.

    This, by the way, from a Miata enthusiast elsewhere on the net:

    "After searching locally for NGK plug wires without success, I purchased NAPA Belden Premium wires because of satisfaction with NAPA products in the past. The NAPA wires appear to be of top quality. The spark plug boots are almost identical to the Mazda original equipment wires in appearance. My Miata now runs noticeably smoother and only time will tell as to the life of these wires, but they have a lifetime warranty, which is more than I can say for the Mazda wires. I`m satisfied with the NAPA Belden wires and would recommend them as an alternative to the more costly wires I have seen advertised."

    Interesting that the owner of the well-respected (and accredited) Miata site from whence that message was posted said the following:

    "After all, it's common knowledge that the factory ignition wires are probably the weakest part in the entire car."

    So please ... 'splain to me why OEM wires are so wonderful? I'm all ears.

  • jjj321jjj321 Posts: 11
    Just got a 2003 Protege ES last week, when I test drove it it veered to the right, salesman told me no problem it would be aligned before I actually bought it. When I went to pick it up, the problem had not been corrected so it went in to service, after that it seemed fine. As it turns out it still was misaligned just not as bad as before. Going to take it in Monday.
    A/C is only adequate, worried about how it will do during the summer down here in Florida, going to check it out as well, maybe it needs re charging. I have had many Mazdas before; MX3, 626, and never had this problem.
    Also the inside plastic panel that covers the left front pillar seems to be loose.
    I hope this issues will be addressed by the dealer or Mazda, would hate to think I bought a Lemon.
    Aside from this issues I am very happy with my new car.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    See my response to your double-post over on Protege.

  • civiletticiviletti Posts: 86
    I believe the NGK wires I bought were the same as mazda uses. I imagine napa wires would be fine as well.
  • rotarykidrotarykid Posts: 191
    I'm sure there are a FEW manufacturers of quality spark plug wires out there that in fact are better than OEM, however, my personal experiences with aftermarket wires on cars that I repair everyday have found that MOST aftermarket wires pull apart with the slightest effort to remove them, or just do not fit properly. I KNOW that the factory wires work properly and last longer than most of those aftermarkets. The simple act of replacing aftermarket wires with OEM has repaired quite a few cars over the years. I'm sure the miata owner you spoke of noticed a big difference- performance wise -as soon as he/she installed those NAPA wires on their car. Since this is a protege board and not a miata board, this point goes even further. The aftermarket cap and rotor that NAPA is going to supply you with will jeapordize those wonderful new wires. I have had customers bring me their proteges with a no start problem (no spark) and they go on to tell me-"it's not the distributor-Ijust put a new one in it". The aftermarket rebuilt distributor IS not at fault, it's just that it didnt come with a new cap and rotor, and the aftermarket c&r are to blame.
    I don't make money on the parts at my job, and if I thought aftermarket parts would make my repairs better, I would certainly use them.
     Also meade, if your post was directed at me, and I think it was, don't misquote me. I never said factory wires are better than belden's or whoever- I just know factory wires work properly, so it's a good idea to use them......
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    Thanks for the responses - I'm curious how this wire discussion will short itself :)
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I picked up the Belden wires on Saturday and brought them home, and guess what? They don't have the little square boots on them that keep stuff from going down into the block where the plugs are. And the boots on the OEMs are molded onto the wires -- you can't just slide them off and reuse them. So it's back to NAPA after work today to return them, and then over to my dealership to pay twice the price to get those stupid little boots.

    The wires did look nice. Too bad for Belden and my wallet!

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Advance Auto Parts, if you have one where you live, has all its Purolator Premium air filters on sale for $5.88. The one for the Protege/Protege5 is normally $13. Go stock up!

    Also Pep Boys has Rhino Ramps on sale. Both models are $10 off -- the ones I got were the 12,000-pound ones, normally $29.95, on sale for $19.95. I bought them after reading how much some of you like yours -- and I'm impressed. First plastic ramps I've ever owned, but man are they lighter than my old steel ones, they did NOT contact the air dam when trying to put the car up on them, they have very tall back stops so you won't drive off the front of them, and -- perhaps most importantly -- they did NOT sink into my asphalt driveway under weight like my old steel ones did!

  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    It's all good Meade. Now we know 100% sure (from raotarykid and you) to only get OEM wires.
  • rotarykidrotarykid Posts: 191
    I told you so is something that people say that guessed right.......what I said is fact and comes from years of need for me to stick it in your face..........
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I still maintain that the Beldens are better wires. If I can find aftermarket wires with the appropriate gaskets, I will be purchasing them.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    My local Bap Geon (import auto parts store for ye who don't have this wonderful store in your town) -- -- has a set of NGK 8198s for $41.60. I had them take the wires out of the box and describe them to me. Yes, they have the rubber boots on them.

    Looks like I'm stopping by BG to get my new wires and NAPA to return the Beldens on my way home today.

    Still no apology -- I ain't payin' no stinkin' $75 for OEM wires that aren't as good as aftermarkets that cost half as much! - - sp

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    And if NGKs are the OEM wires, then why buy the ones from Mazda and pay twice as much?

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Belden makes wire. That's Belden's product.

    NGK and Mazda sell plug wires made out of other manufacturers' wire. Now, I know Belden. I've been using their RG-8, -213 and -8X communications cable for years. They're highly regarded in the communications industry as top producers of high-quality wire products.

    Who knows what Mazda and NGK use in their wires -- lowest bidder probably? Would you rather use a product that was designed by the manufacturer with its own components, or a product that's been cobbled together using parts from various manufacturers at the lowest possible price? Come on, be honest.

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  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,094
    ....time for everyone to step back and get some perspective. This is about Protege P&S, not about beating each other up and taking offense where none was intended.

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  • ashutoshsmashutoshsm Posts: 1,007
    Here's how I see it.

    Nothing wrong with wanting quality wires, when OEM wires are either of
    1. questionable quality
    2. Excessive price

    That you found NGKs elsewhere for half the price debunks the whole "buy-OEM-only" mantra that anyone associated with Mazda (or any other dealership) service always spews. Read my lips - no more price-gouging!

    I do agree, however, that you definitely do not want to put on non-stick-like fitment plug wires that lack the right boots/endcaps.

    That said, I installed dealership-puchased NGKs myself, on my old Pro, and loved the difference/improvement. I would have bought them from NAPA, but a nice 20% discount at the dealership (car club) made it not worth my while to drive elsewhere. The plugs cost around the same everywhere.

    Now, can we cease this unnecessary back-and-forth and wait on the actual installation and (expected) rave reiews? :)
  • meinradmeinrad Posts: 820
    You wrote " and loved the difference/improvement".

    Is it possible to explain that? Is it gas mileage, acceleration? I really wouldn't know what to expect with different wires. To me, if they work, they work. When they get old they don't work so you need new ones.

    I'm getting very close to my 30k service but wouldn't even know if I needed new wires or not. The car goes like it's supposed to for all I know.
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