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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    You certain it's the alternator that's smelling funky?

    Sure, an alternator can last 7 years. They also can last 7 days. These are electromechanical parts. I've had them go more than 100,000 miles (in my Mazda pickup), and I've been through three in 100,000 miles (in my Hyundai Excel). Like an old chicken commercial used to say, Parts is Parts!

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,328
    My wife has a 2000 Protege ES automatic that just hit the 69,000 mile mark today. I noticed a few things weren't right with her car.

    At speeds of 70 mph+, the steering wheel starts to shimmy a little bit. Maybe there is a tire out of balance? The car tracks straight on the highway though.

    When the car is stopped and in either R or D, I hear a squealing noise (it shakes too) coming from the front of the car.

    Any ideas as to what is going on?

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • pete22pete22 Posts: 80
    Don't know the problem. I have a 2000 protege with the same problem and am being it to the dealer in a week and 1/2. Let you know then. An electronic place I spoke to on the phone said it's probably the mechanism in one of the doors that controls the power doors (forgot the name he said), he said if only one goes bad it screws up the whole mechanism. Going to Mazda since they will tell me the problem for 45 dollars and apply it to the repair if I do it, the electric place wanted 70. I did call the parts department and was quoted 91 dollars for the part but I think the labor involves taking the door apart and is pricy. Will let you know.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Maybe there is a tire out of balance? The car tracks straight on the highway though.
    Are your tires properly inflated? Any strange wear patterns on them?

    When the car is stopped and in either R or D, I hear a squealing noise (it shakes too) coming from the front of the car.
    If the squeal happens while you're in Park or Neutral then I suspect its something other than your wheels.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,328
    Tires are properly inflated. No strange wear aptterns that I can see.

    The squeal happens when the car is in D or R. I don't think it has anything to do with the wheels either.


    I'm going to take it in sometime this week.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • I have a 2002 Protege ES 2.0 auto, 72,000 miles. The problem is sometimes from a stop it will rev high and slowly gain speed, just driving down the road it sometimes acts like its running out of gas it will sputter and jerk and barely move and die, It seems to do it when it warms up, but sometimes it can drive for an hour and be fine. It died in the middle of a highway intersection, could have killed me! I took it to an import mechanic and he replaced the fuel pump, plugs, wires, air filter and cleaned the injectors (&wasted alot of money) and said he couldnt fix it. I am about to burn it and collect insurance and buy a $3 KIA! PLEASE SOMEONE HELP! :mad:
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Manual or auto trans?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    His post says "auto."

    I was going to suggest plug wires until I read that the previous mechanic covered that -- just make sure he really did change them, OK? That's what it sounds like to me.

    Have you tried taking the car to a Mazda dealership's service department? If anyone knows the car, Mazda should!

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    "sometimes from a stop it will rev high and slowly gain speed"

    About the only thing I know of which will cause that is the auto trans slipping.
  • I have a 98 Protege LX, 78,000 miles. When I go over certain bumps, there is a scary rattle coming from the exhaust pipe area or possibly the trunk area. I think it is a loose exhaust...could this be a common problem? Is there an easy fix?
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    An 8 year old car is bound to have a few rattles. Could it be a rusty harness/fastener? Anything visible hanging underneath around the exhaust area? Any of the piping sagging suspiciously? Have you installed a new muffler since you bought the car?
  • luv2zoomzoomluv2zoomzoom Southwest Posts: 12
    Hi, my baby-01' Protege sedan LX 2.0, amonth ago (at the most) had a early 60,000 tune-up (@ 53,000), tires balanced, inflated, and rotated as well as the air conditioner system evac. The accelleration prob. I had did improve alot but there is still some hesatiation but no getting stuck and jerking. My air condtioner still has a smell (musty) to it; is this normal even though it was serviced? Also, I get alot of steering wheel shake even after the balancing, etc. I was told by Discount Tire that it was because my wheels (alloy 15 x 7) were heavy and that it could become uncentered and cause this. ??? My biggest concern is that my car eats gas very fast! Theres nothing leaking underneath. The ohter night the tank was filled up. Drove around (less than 25 miles) and it ate a quarter tank. The next day I drove a total of 73 miles all day and its now down to half a tank. I already spent alot of money for the above maintenance and I don't want to spend more trying to figure out what is going on. Is there a specific thing to ask to be checked when I take it back to the dealership? Thank you in advance!!
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    Other things to check:

    Mass Airflow Sensor, O2 sensors. Either system going out could adversely affect your fuel/air mixture, which probably accounts for your really bad mileage. That's assuming your fuel gauge is working properly. Fill up your tank again to confirm actual fuel consumption.

    A stuck EGR valve can also cause poor fuel economy. So can worn rings or cracked cylinders. Do you detect increased consumption of motor oil?

    Usually in the service manual, there is a troubleshooting chart, based upon symptoms.

    The musty AC is more permanently fixed by removing the condensing chamber behind the dash and thoroughly cleaning it out. Check to make sure the drain line is open.

    Bigger, heavier wheels are more sensitive to out-of-balance conditions. On some cars, the lugs are used to center the wheels. On Proteges, centering rings (usually plastic on alloy wheels, so they wear) are used. You might want to check the centering rings for wear (if they're even there). The mating surfaces on your hubs may be damaged, so inspect them too.
  • luv2zoomzoomluv2zoomzoom Southwest Posts: 12
    As usual, thank you so much!! I'll have those things checked out. :)
  • You mentioned it was the disk on the steering wheel, was this replaced too and why did they have to replaced the horn as well? Appreciate your reply.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    You'd notice rough, unsteady idle (almost stalling at times), decreased power output, hesitant acceleration (and rough too) and much, much lower MPG. At least those were the symptoms my Pro experienced when its MAS failed. It monitors incoming airflow. This data is used by the main computer to set fuel/air mix and idle speed.

    Your problem with the slow shift from 2nd to 1st may have to do with a bad speed sensor on your AT or a bad torque converter. The sputter might be related to a failing MAS.

    What's a gas tank heat shield doing under the engine compartment? Perhaps they meant the catalytic converter heat shield or the exhaust manifold heat shield. Either could shake loose (loose fastener) or crack, either of which will produce a metallic rattling noise. If you could, get your car onto ramps or on a lift and knock on these heat sheilds (and anything else you suspect so long as you don't damage it ;) ) until you find some reasonable suspect(s).
  • djandjan Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Mazda Protege DX that recently cuts off everytime I come to a stop or make a turn and have to stand on the brakes to stop. When it does run, it runs jerkily.
  • On my '02 sedan, I noticed a few weeks ago that pushing the Overdrive Off button produced..nothing. No light on the dashboard as had been the case before.

    Has anyone else developed this problem? Or have an informed opinion as to whether it's a tranny problem or just a glitch in the warning light?
  • My mother in Minnesota has a Mazda protoge (c. 1991) with a horn problem characterized by the horn occasionally going off by itself when she's not in the car. I searched the 'net on this problem and found that sometimes it's an issue with the horn relay and other times it's an issue with the horn switch. One person, replying to a forum post where someone described a horn problem, said:

    I'm hoping the problem is with the horn relay, which is cheap and easy to repair. If the problem is with the horn switch, as seems likely since you whacked the horn button to make it stop, don't let them talk you into an expensive repair. There are cheaper ways to deal with this. Check back here with more information.

    Before her appointment tomorrow, my mom would like to know, what might those "cheaper ways" to deal with a horn switch problem be, please? I neglected to make note of the URL of the forum where I found that post, so I can't ask the person that posted that statement. So, I'm posting here hoping someone can help.

    Thank you.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Well, forget about the light. When the overdrive's off, does it stay out of overdrive?

  • miket1miket1 Posts: 6
    Just wondering if you ever found a solution to your squealing belt problem because I have not? My problem began after a routine timing belt/water pump replacement and hasn't stopped since even though I have taken it back in 6 times with 4 new belts, 2 new alternators, 2 new water pumps, and many headaches. Thanks.
  • tdc1tdc1 Posts: 11
    I've had exactly the same problem. and it's begun just lately, with cold. See this, from Car Talk:

    Dear Tom and Ray:

    The temperature in my Minnesota town at 3 a.m. last night was minus 20 ... which was still not as cold as the letter of rejection I recently received from Harvard's Graduate School of Education. But I digress. At 3 a.m., I, along with others on my block, awoke to the blowing horn on my girlfriend's 1991 Mazda Protege. This is the third instance when the car's horn sounded at an odd hour of the night, and it doesn't stop until the car is warmed up and has been running for 20 minutes. After breaking my pen in a mad attempt to pry random fuses from the fuse box, I discovered that the horn fuse also powers the brake lights. So, removing the fuse is not a good option. What's the deal? -- Dave

    Tom: I think it's your girlfriend's father, Dave. He's out there leaning on the horn.

    Ray: There are two possibilities, and they both have to do with cold weather. Things shrink when they get cold, Dave. It's possible that during the coldest part of the coldest nights, your horn relay is closing on its own and making the horn blow.

    Tom: The horn relay normally gets closed when you push the center pad on your steering wheel -- the relay then activates the horn under normal circumstances. But when relays get old, they can close by themselves. The relay is located under the dashboard, to the left of the steering wheel. So, the next time this happens, reach under there and start pulling out relays until the noise stops. Or, if you'd prefer, you can go buy a new horn relay for about $10 and pop it in there in advance.

    Ray: If a new horn relay doesn't fix the problem, then it's probably the horn pad that's shrinking in the cold and completing the circuit. The horn pad on your steering wheel is separated from the contact ring by four little springs. Those springs might have worn out over the years, or it might just be so cold that the plastic horn pad itself is shrinking enough to make the contacts touch.

    Tom: You can pop off that horn pad with a screwdriver, and you can probably find replacement parts at a junkyard. Just don't leave the car unattended, though, Dave. They might mistake it for "incoming."
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,602
    If this is an air-bag equipped car, I don't think prying off the horn pad with a screwdriver is a very good idea.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • tdc1tdc1 Posts: 11
    Good point. That year Protege doesn't have an airbag in the steering wheel, though. At least my 1992 doesn't. And it turns out that, at least on the '92, the horn pad isn't pried off, but comes off easily by removing three screws from down underneath.

    Also, for anyone who needs to do this repair, there are no springs to go bad, but instead a buffer of what looks to be 1/4" foam that simply collapses a bit over time. It's easy to repair; I did it today. It cost me less than a dollar to repair (assuming it is repaired!), and took maybe an hour.

    a) Remove the three screws from behind (underneath) the horn pad housing.

    b) Pull off the horn pad (triangular-shaped center with logo on it).

    c) With the housing then exposed, you'll then see a triangular copper sheet. Remove the smaller screws that hold it in place. Carefully.

    d) Lift out gently, just a couple of inches,. DO NOT try to remove it all the way yet.

    e) You'll see a wire running from the copper plate to a connection in the base of the metal housing. Pull the pressure clip at the base end of the wire off its connection (take care to leave the connection to the copper plate intact).

    At that point the plate and what it's joined to can be removed. You'll see that you have a sandwich made of the thin copper plate that sits directly under the horn pad, a sheet of foam about 1/4" think, and the thicker copper plate underneath that, everything held together with two little plastic rivets.

    IF you can locate 1/4" foam, the repair is as simple as can be. The foam is not easy to find at crafts stores and the like. You may have to go to an electronics store and beg for leftover packaging material.

    f) Pop out the plastic rivets that hold the sandwich together ( I did this by pushing with a plastic spoon, so as not to break the rivets).

    g) Very gently remove the thin copper plate from the foam. They're attached to each other with spray adhesive that's meant to give way; but still... be careful.

    h) Use the old foam buffer as a template/stencil for drawing outline of the same same holes in the new foam.

    i) Cut out the holes in the new foam, and make sure they match the ones in the old foam. The electrical wire will need its hole, too.

    j) Put the sandwich back together, rivets last. It's worth the little extra expense to use spray adhesive for the three parts; don't spray it on thick, and let it dry a couple of minutes before sandwiching everything together (too soon and they're stuck for life; you just need a tacky surface to preclude slipping, not a solid bond).

    k) Reattach the electrical wire to the base with its clip.

    l) Reassemble.
  • How about the air conditioning compressor?
  • Hi Cheeshead6,
    I had the same problem with my '02 protege. I bought it in July and then noticed the button didn't work. It didn't seem like a big deal, as the car was always in overdrive. However, the car was still under the manufacturer's warranty, so I took it in to be fixed. The dealership said that the overdrive switch was broken, so they replaced it. Light works fine now and I can turn the OD on and off. So, it is more of a glitch than a transmission problem.
  • djan, i've been having the same problem with my 2000 Protege LX, 83K miles... for the last month or two, when a brake to a sudden stop, i stall or sputter to a near stall...

    i "feel" like my gas mileage has been poorer in recent months as well, but i have no measurement of that being the case and i don't know if it's a related symptom.
  • trock2trock2 Posts: 1
    When my car is cold it will start just fine, but when it warms up and i shut it off it wont start back up until it cools down. The engine will turn over, but it wont start up. It seems to flood. I replaced the fuel relay sensor. I tested the Electronic Fuel Injection, and it works fine. help please!!!
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    How exactly did you test the electronic fuel injection?
  • Hi,
    I have a similar problem, noise when in R or D, not in P or N.
    Did you get any diagnosys from the dealer ?
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