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Mazda Protege Basic Maintenance Questions



  • I just recently acquired a 2001 Mazda Protege ES from my mother. It has 98K miles and it is excellent condition (it has all the options, side air bags, ABS, sunroof, 6CD changer). I bought this car new in 2001 and sold this car to my mother in 2004 with 68K miles. I noticed then that the car was very loud on the highway and the noise was very pronounced in the rear of the car. The original tires have been replaced twice on the car with Dunlop low profile tires and the rims that came on the ES are still on the car. Tires are 195 50R 16 with the original Mazda rims. As the car gets older it just seems to be more pronounced. I haven't driven the car until I acquired the car just recently and it just seems annoying to have that much road noise. Has any one else experienced this problem with the ES model?

    I am an avid Mazda owner and have owned them since the early 90's. I have owned a 1991 Mazda 626 DX, a 1992 Mazda Protege DX, a 1993 Mazda Protege LX and I still own a 1996 Mazda 626 ES with 169K miles. This car still drives like a new car and is so smooth riding. I have had to put about $3,000 into the car over the last 2 years and the car is still going strong. Since the 626 burns premium unleaded fuel I thought it would a good idea to acquire the Protege to cut down my fuel consumption and cost.

    I am totally sold on Mazda's. They are excellent cars and I highly recommend them.

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    replaced twice ... with Dunlop low profile ... 195 50R 16 ... original Mazda rims.

    Which model of Dunlops? How's the suspension? Ever try a wheel alignment?
  • The pro is not a quiet car. Tire noise is the worst problem. Mine came with bridgestone re92's, which were noisy. I replaced them with bridgestone s-03's, which were just as noisy, but at a different pitch. I'm now running michelin pe2's, which are somewhat quieter, but not noiseless. Hiway or touring tires are generally quieter than perfromance tires, but I will stand the noise in return for good handling. Tires tend to get noisier as they wear, as well.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    BFG Traction T/A VR4s. I had them on my 2000 Protege ES, and my wife has them now on her 2002 Protege5. Very nice handling tire, excellent traction (AA rated) in dry and wet (even does pretty good in snow), and lasts a long time. Oh -- very quiet (compared to Bridgestone and Dunlops) too. Check them out at Tirerack -- we picked up my wife's set at Sears for about $103 a tire, everything included.

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Tires tend to get noisier as they wear
    That's interesting. I don't think I ever "heard" ;) that before. I would have thought that as they wear the rough spots would get worn down so the tires would get smoother and flatter and hence quieter.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    BFG Traction T/A VR4s.

    Agreed! I have just had these installed on my P5 and they are a dream. See the Mazda Protoge5 forum for more information.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Well autonomous ...

    I had about 30,000 miles on my set when I traded my Protege, and they had plenty of tread left. My wife's P5 has about 15,000 miles on hers, and they too are wearing nicely. Nice choice.

    And yes (to the other guy), tires get louder as they wear. Think about it -- less tread to absorb road noise. Go to any discussion at Tirerack and you'll see people talking about tires being "quiet at first" but getting louder as they age.

  • Interference engine or impact engine means when the timing belt breaks the pistons and valves inside the engine impact and break. This happens because the timing belt keeps the camshaft( which turns to open and close the valves) and the crankshaft( which moves the pistons up and down) turning at the same speed so the valves and pistons do their job properly creating compression in the cylinders at the right time to give the car power. When the timing belt breaks the camshaft and crankshaft spin out of control and imact each other. A few auto makers make non-impact engines that allow extra clearance so if this happens the valves and pistons don't hit, even at highway speeds. You guesses it, Toyota Camry. If you don't have one, change your timing belt every 60,000 miles.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    Stick to regular fluid and filter changes, wash off dirt & salt and you'll do a lot for the longevity of your Pro.

    Switch to synthetic oil if your car sees temperature extremes or you like to rev the engine high for prolonged periods (or if you're picky, like me, heh...seriously, the engine seems to start much more easily when temps are below freezing). I haven't done so, but others have switched to synthetic transmission fluid with positive results.
  • Meade:

    Thanks for your reply. Did you install a set of BFG Traction T/A 205/50/16/V on your 2000 Protege ES? If you install a larger size tire will it create any problems? I have heard if you install larger tires that possibly your check engine light will go on since it senses there is a change. Did you experience any problem going to a larger tire? I currently have Dunlop 195/50/16 tires on car.

    Thanks, Skip
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Nope, I installed the OEM 195/55-VR15s on my Protege. (The ES wheels were upped an inch in 2001.) I previously had 205/50-15's on my car, and since this was a "plus zero" size, it didn't make much of a difference -- less than 1 mph at 60. Consult the tech info at for an explanation of "plus" sizing.

    Here's a great little tool to use to see what the difference will be when changing tire sizes slightly:

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    I replaced the standard Dunlop 195/50/16/V on my Protege5 with BFG Traction T/A 205/50/16/V tires this week and they have been completely problem free. Better than that, they are wonderfully sticky and make the car feel well-planted while zooming up the tachometer. Highly recommended tires!
  • duh_sterduh_ster Posts: 102
    Hey all, it's been awhile since i've been here...can't believe I still recognize a lot of the handles here!!

    anyways, my dunlops are toast (195/50/16), and i need new rubber...AUTO, u mention that u purchased BFG Traction T/As. how r they in the snow? i'm just looking for a good "all season" (= western canada snow, ice, rain, dry, etc) tire that is cost efficient (ie. "el-cheapo")....anybody else have any suggestions?
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    my dunlops are toast (195/50/16)
    How many miles/km did they last?

    BFG Traction T/As. how r they in the snow? i'm just looking for a good "all season" (= western canada snow, ice, rain, dry, etc) tire that is ... "el-cheapo"
    Installed the BFG Traction 205/50/16 T/A a couple of weeks ago and thank god there's been no white stuff here yet (although I hear that parts out West did get a sprinkle). Any day now (but likely by mid-December) I'll get to test them in the snow. That being said, I'm not driving the entire winter on all seasons ... especially in Canada. I've got an excellent set of BFG Winter Slaloms for those 4 months of winter sports:
    * the ice-slide-to the-stop-sign marathon,
    * the blinded-by-a-freak-snowstorm test,
    * the white-knuckle-avoidance-of-jerks-dashing-to-their-graves-on-unplowed-streets challenge. :surprise:

    p.s. BFGs are popular which means you can shop several outlets for the best price and you can also replace them easily in case of accidents.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    How's it going, Duhster my old friend? Long time no see!

    Ditto on the BFG Traction T/As. My wife's set has close to 20K miles on 'em and they're really good tires at a really reasonable price. I'd be looking at them for my next set if they'd make 'em in a size that'll fit my 3!

    So how's everything?

  • duh_sterduh_ster Posts: 102
    ...i only got 67000 kms on the stock dunlops. i went to midas for an oil change, and they topped up my tires. stupid me didn't check the airpressure until about 2 months later when i noticed one tire was nearly flat. upon inspection, they were all about 10psi over-inflated (except the flat one of course), and the tires looked like they'd been thru the grinder...*sigh* i wouldn't mind trying the BFGs, just not too sure about their winter performance...i don't have the $$ to have 2 sets of tires...*double sigh* and of course, it snowed today...

    MEADE! long time no chat buddy...i've been searching for your group on yahoo with no luck...guess this is THE BEST place to meet up anyways!! u guys have a M3 now? when did that happen??? did u trade in one of the pros??
  • chicagoprochicagopro Posts: 1,009

    How's life?

    Still have my 2000 Pro...~48,700 miles (sorry, don't know what that it is in Loonies. ;) ).

    Hope you're doing well!

  • duh_sterduh_ster Posts: 102
    everything is ok here...i've got it up to 68000kms (~42,000 miles). let's see...i think u guys knew about my T-bone car accident (idiot ran a stop sign and slammed into my 11 month old car...not even 1 yr...) :cry: it's all fixed up now and running fairly good. let's see, i got a $120 speeding ticket (excess zoom zoom evidently...yea, cop didn't think it was funny either...) windsheild & rubber needs to be replaced. brakes are starting to squeek, so i'll get those looked at too! let's see, from a life perspective (just to answer meade's question!) i got married a couple months ago! she needed a new car too, but i couldn't convince her to get a protege...err...3. oh well, i convinced her to marry me, so i'm still ahead in the long run... ;)
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    got 67000 kms on the stock dunlops
    Actually, 67K km (~42K miles) is more than decent for these tires; many of us didn't get half that out of ours.

    BFGs ... not too sure about their winter performance...i don't have the $$ to have 2 sets of tires...*double sigh* and of course, it snowed today...
    The Traction T/As are beefy (especially in the 205/50/16 configuration), quiet, grippy and in rainy conditions they don't hydroplane. So, in their first year they may not be bad for the snow. Later, if they start handling poorly in the winter, fork over the dollars for winter tires next year. If you handled several winters in your Dunlops, you should be able to best Frosty with the BFGs.

    My 205/50/16 Traction T/As cost $131 each (before tax) at Canadian Tire; this included wheel installation but not balancing ($8) or alignment. My BFG Winter Slaloms cost $700 for the tires and rims (including tax) at an independent tire shop.
  • chicagoprochicagopro Posts: 1,009
    Congrats, Mike!

    On-topic: Well, at least one of you owns a Protege. :shades:
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329

    On-topic: my wife has exceeded 45000 mi on her original Dunlops (well, her P5). But we're scoping out the aftermarket tires (Traction T/A and Kumho Ecsta)....the tires look like they could handle one more winter. This time, I will make sure she replaces her tires BEFORE the rubber crumbles (like they did on her 7yr-old Dunlop D60A2s on her '91 Saturn).
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    the rubber crumbles (like they did on her 7yr-old Dunlop

    Goodness, she's getting her money's worth out of her tires. Did you hear that some manufacturers are recommending that tires be labelled dangerous if they go beyond a certain period (I think it was 5 years) because of the degradation of the compounds?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Yep, I traded the 2000 Protege with 91,100 miles on it (we can't all be like Dale, after all) for a Velocity Red 2005 Mazda3 hatch back in April. I've already got more than 10,000 miles on it and I'm lovin' it!

  • The better half had to replace her P5 Dunlops at around 37000kms. Replaced them with Kumho Ecsta's. For the price, can't really beat them. Great traction and so far no signs of wear. She's now at 47000 kms. Now looking for something really good for the winter.
  • Did you ever figure out what the problem was?
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    Along with that, I think they should make the date of manufacture more obvious on tires, so consumers can make sure they don't buy tires that are too old.

    Even if my tires still have plenty of tread left, I tend to replace them every 5 years, just like the car battery.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Even if my tires still have plenty of tread left, I tend to replace them every 5 years, just like the car battery.
    Since most people don't keep their cars over 10 years replacing your battery and tires at the 5 year interval makes a lot of sense. Why wait until you get into trouble? My battery is still kicking after 3.5 years so I'm hoping to get it through another two Canadian winters; wish me luck!
  • For folks not needing an all-season tire, I heartily recommend the Michelin PE-2. I paid $113 each, installed and balanced with hazard warranty at Costco. Dry response is a bit below the best max-performance tires, but in other parameters, it is equal to the top tires in the dry. Wet performance is phemomenal. It is better in the rain than most high performance are on dry pavement. Besides the test, check out:

    Michelin Pilot Exalto 2 (PE2)
  • Hi everyone. I'm new to this forum. I've got an '03 Pro5 which I'm very happy with. I read somewhere that the cabin air filter is supposed to be changed out once a year but I can't find any info in the owner's manual on how you go about changing it. Anyone have any experience with that? I'd rather not pay the dealership to do simple maintenance like that. Thanks!!!
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    No cabin air filter in any Protege or P5 sold in the US that I know of.
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