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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • jjj321jjj321 Posts: 11
    This car would be perfect if not for its very and I mean VERY weak AC.
    Rented a Neon last week and even do that car was not to my liking its AC rocked. Made me wish that my 2003 Pro ES air had half the power.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Who would expect that in 2004 you can't get a decent AC system on a new car? Bums me out as I use my ac even in the winter.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    My 2000 Protege ES with 74,500 miles on it continues to be the only car I've ever owned where I find myself turning UP the thermostat because I'm too cold -- and I'm a big guy too.

    BTW, it hit 91 with high humidity Sunday and the a/c worked just fine!

  • kaiserheadkaiserhead Posts: 166
    I didn't have any problems with A/C living in South Florida. It took about 10 minutes to get going on a hot, sunny day, but it was fine.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    I find GM has the most powerful AC units. Nobody else comes even close in my opinion.

    My '99 Protege has an adequate AC unit. The one in my wife's '03 P5 is fine, if the computer doesn't decide to cycle it off due to competing demands for power. I noticed that it turns off when I ask for more than mild acceleration (as when merging onto roads, passing etc.). I hate when cars try to think for me too much. I guess they decided it would make the power loss due to running the compressor less noticeable. However, it means the AC takes longer to cool the cabin or it blows warm air instead of cool air.

    I prefer the fully-manual AC in my older Protege. When I want more oomph (like merging onto the freeway), I turn off the AC myself and then turn it back on after I've got up to speed. The auto-off function in my wife's P5 surprised me. I thought the AC had failed (the button was pushed-in, but the light was off) at first. No wonder my wife thinks her AC sucks (though she maintains she's never noticed it turning itself off while accelerating). I think it works fine when it's on. Of course, her car has a black leather interior, which doesn't help.
  • civiletticiviletti Posts: 86
    Why would you want your cabin sub-70 degrees? Maybe you should put wheels on your fridgidaire.

    Try using a windshield shade and opening the windows until the interior is down to ambient temperature.

    What color is your pro?
  • cdnp5cdnp5 Posts: 163
    I guess this is going to be another preference issue. I hardly ever use my a/c as the heat doesn't bug me much and it does get very humid here (30C+ with humidity yesterday). So I also have to turn down (or is up) the temp as I find the car too cold for me on the hwy when I do use it. Never use it in the city, ever. Oops, unless its raining of course.
    I hate it when I go into people's houses and they have their a/c just cranked inside so you have to wear your winter sweater to stay warm, I don't understand?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I was riding with my boss across town a few summers ago, and it was a typical, 90-degree-plus summer day here in Richmond, with terminal humidity. Normally, upon getting into my car on a day like this, I'd reach for the a/c and immediately crank it up to full arctic blast. He didn't turn on his a/c -- he just rolled down the window.

    I began to get hot and asked him why he wasn't using his a/c. He then told me that he prefers not to use it, because when he does, the blast of hot air he gets when stepping out of the vehicle makes him sweat once he gets inside wherever he's going.

    At first I thought he was insane (like most bosses are, right?) but I began trying his little method -- not leaving the a/c off, but not using it full-blast like I used to. Sure enough, the old f__t was right -- I now prefer getting the car down to a comfortable (not "Antarctic Winter", but comfortable) temperature, then I crank the thermostat up to about 10 or 11 o'clock and set the fan speed to 1 or 2. I stay comfortable, as opposed to having ice form on my legs and arms like I used to do, and when I get out of my car and walk across the street to the office, I don't break out in a sweat like I used to do when I left a 60-degree car and faced a 95-degree rush of air when I left the car.

    It works!

    (BTW, in case you're gonna use what I just said against me, I will say that I apply the above scenario when I'm wearing a business suit on workdays ... on weekends, when I'm in a pair of shorts and a T-shirt and heading to Home Depot, I turn that baby to Siberian Popsicle and let it freeze my feet to the floor.)

  • kaiserheadkaiserhead Posts: 166
    I knew a guy who delivered appliances in South Florida and never had the A/C on in the truck even on the hottest humid days. He claimed that the constant change in temperature from getting in and out of the truck made him sick, makes sense.

    Being a native Canadian, I never got used to the heat in South Florida and had the Protege A/C on full cold all the time. I thought that the little 1.6L engine would have trouble keeping up with full A/C and the demands of SoFla driving, but it did fine.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Why would you want your cabin sub-70 degrees? Maybe you should put wheels on your fridgidaire.

    Why wouldn't I? I keep my other car's climate control at 67. Every car I've ever owned I've run the AC all year round. I'm comfortable between 60 and 72-73. I don't mind below 60 but I loathe over 75. I moved to San Diego over a decade ago to avoid the miserable heat of the Sierras (over 80 degrees from april thru september) where I grew up.

    >>Try using a windshield shade and opening the windows until the interior is down to ambient temperature.<<

    Leave the windows down and pop the sunroof. That means the car's just as hot as the outside air. That doesn't solve any problems.

    >>What color is your pro? <<

    Unfortunately, dark green. If only there'd been a white or silver one available. Cool - temp wise - colors that keep clean for long periods.
  • cdnp5cdnp5 Posts: 163
    >>Try using a windshield shade and opening the windows until the interior is down to ambient temperature.<<

    "Leave the windows down and pop the sunroof. That means the car's just as hot as the outside air. That doesn't solve any problems"

    I think this would solve some problems. Wouldn't it be better to have your car at 80-90F rather than 140-160F+. Its just like an oven in there with the windows/roof closed up. I also have tinted windows and I leave my roof open on vent and part the back window towards the sun. I find this makes a huge difference with the temperature inside the car when I return. But remember, don't leave any windows open if there is any chance of thunderstorms. I've seen it done before.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    I already do the windows thing. Problem is it's still been blazing hot here - over 90 many days. Get in and that weak AC unit must drop 20+ degrees.

    BTW, no chance of a thunderstorm here. Snowing would be just as likely.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Mine's dark green (Emerald Mica) too.

    It was 89 when I drove home yesterday and I tested my A/C on full blast. Bone-chilling! Had the thermostat up to 9 o'clock 10 minutes into my ride.

    BTW, here's an A/C tip for those of us in hot, humid areas: turn the compressor off and the fan to high about a minute or two prior to reaching your destination. This will help dry out the system so it doesn't sit and "sweat" after you park. That "sweating" causes moisture to stay in the system, which turns to mildew and can make your car smell like grungy gym socks the next time you use the A/C!

  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    You're a lucky man. But then again, what you consider bone-chilling may be far different than I. Anthing over 60 isn't bone chilling to me. ;)

    After growing up in the Sierras - evenings and mornings in the 20s, 30s and 40s - once I got to San Diego I stopped wearing jackets. I own one coat and I think it might be in my office closet. Or maybe the guest room closet. Shrug.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Two things.

    1. I am 6-1 and weigh 270 pounds. I'm what they call a "big and tall" guy (with emphasis on "big"). I frequently refer to myself, especially when the administrative assistants in my office complain that "it's sooo coooold in here," as a "well-insulated individual." I tell them they can always put on a sweater or wear long sleeves -- the converse of that is to see me start shedding clothing because I'm too hot. They always agree to let it stay cool after I say that, for some reason.

    2. I have a Radio Snack digital indoor-outdoor thermometer -- several of them, in fact. I'm a "weather junkie." On one of Richmond's infamous 95-degree, 100-percent-humidity afternoons two Julys ago (when my Protege was already two years old), I took one of them outside and into my car. Driving down the interstate, I stuck the "outdoor" probe of the thermometer into one of my center dash vents. The air blowing out of my vent was 43 degrees.

    Yes, forty-three degrees. This compares with my previous vehicle, a 1994 Mazda B2300 pickup, which could only manage 50 degrees, and my home, a pair of 1996 Rheems (lol), which put out 48-degree air.

    I stand behind my "bone-chilling" comment. My Protege blows out air that's more in the refrigerator territory. If yours doesn't, I can only assume that either (a) you don't have yours in recirculate, or (b) your air-conditioning system needs maintenance or repair.

  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    >>> Leave the windows down and pop the sunroof. That means the car's just as hot as the outside air. That doesn't solve any problems. <<<

    Food cooks faster in:
    1. an oven OR
    2. an open bonfire

    do u get the point?
  • choe13choe13 Posts: 348
    Theres no problem with air pressure with both front tires, or back tires. 35 thousand km

    when i step on the gas, to rocket out from a standstill in a perfectly straight road, without my hands on the steering wheel, the steering wheel slihgtly favours the right. This is really bugging me.

    Would 4 wheel alignment solve this problem??

    is this natural with all front wheel cars with this much km so much used??

    experts let me know
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    All FWD cars have it to some degree.

    I wouldn't worry about it unless it's jerking your hands off the wheel. The faster you try to "rocket" from a stop, by the way, the more pronounced it's going to be.

    BTW ... What kind of name is "nma"? Some of us like to address each other by name. Please put one in your profile!

  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    If yours doesn't, I can only assume that either (a) you don't have yours in recirculate, or (b) your air-conditioning system needs maintenance or repair.


    It's on recirc. So it sounds like another trip to Mazda. Ughh.
  • protege61protege61 Posts: 2
    I've finally realized that my 2001 Protege sedan seems to automatically turn on the air conditioning when I set the HVAC setting to DEFROST *or* DEFROST+LOWER - probably regardless of how high the heat setting is. And further, the air conditioner light doesn't come on to warn me about this situation. My Villager van turns on the air conditioner in the DEFROST only setting, but not in the DEFROST+LOWER setting, and it also turns the air conditioning light on, so I am warned. I'm a little annoyed by this situation, because I have a habit of driving using the HVAC DEFROST+LOWER setting, because it keeps the windshield from misting. This is particularly necessary in the winter here in Canada. It seems like I am doomed to unnecessarily low gas mileage a lot of the year because of this strange design decision. Has anyone else noticed this? The user manual doesn't mention it, but it's pretty obvious just by putting your hand over the vent. It wasn't noticeable in the winter and early spring, because I always had the heat on, which masks the fact that the air conditioner is on. Btw, I just bought the car last fall, so it's not that I haven't noticed this strange behaviour through 3 years of ownership.
  • protege_fanprotege_fan Posts: 2,405
    You are correct. The A/C automatically comes on in the defrost, defrost/feet, and feet only settings. The A/C helps to dehumidify the air.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I've never noticed that using my a/c affects my gas mileage very much. Maybe 1-2 mpg or so, but I don't notice a very big difference in total miles between fill-ups in the summer vs. more temperate months.

  • protege61protege61 Posts: 2
    Depending on the HVAC setting you are using, your air conditioning may be on all year round. In my case, it was, because I used to leave it permanently on the defrost + feet position. Thus I would assume it would result in perpetually lower gas mileage. I am now doing an experiment to see if I can get noticeably better gas mileage by not using that setting. Presumably avoiding using the A/C would also increase the lifetime of the A/C unit.
  • hboydhboyd Posts: 98
    I was doing an easy oil change on my '01 ES on Sunday and found a brake fluid leak. Oh crud! There was seepage under the power brake unit and on the undercarriage and brake lines. My basic warranty just expired 3 months ago -- but still within mileage frame at 46.5K)!

    My dealer looked at it and diagnosed the problem: the seal between master cylinder and power brake unit failed. The regional factory rep was there and authorized the repair; however, only parts cost would be covered gratis. Not great, but the sad thing is that the master cylinder is on a national back-order with a one week lead time. ARGGG.

    Good thing that the car is still "driveable" according to the dealer... it is just leaking a little fluid out of a seal. I called Mazda NAO and they stated that the factory rep has the final say. Anyone with a similar experience or comments??

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Wow, I've never heard of that happening on a Protege, and my wife and I are on Proteges 3 and 4. My '00 ES has 75,300 miles on it and it's never had any problems like that. Sounds like one of those "isolated incidents," unfortunately. It's nice to see Mazda extending the out-of-warranty olive branch.

    BTW, what's the financial damage estimate?

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Like I said in the post above, my 2000 ES (which turned 4 on Monday) has 75,300 miles on it. In the past week I've noticed a "clunkity-clunk" noise coming from one or both sides of the front end when I take a bumpy curve near my neighborhood -- one I take to work every morning.

    It may be new strut time.

    Anybody had any experience with replacing the struts on their third-generation Protege? What did you get (did Mazda do it or did you take it somewhere else or do it yourself) and how much did you pay?

    The car passed state inspection last week with flying colors (whatever those are), and it was then that I made my decision that next May will be when I trade it for a new Mazda3.


    I figure it won't pass inspection next May because it will need new brakes and tires. It also has a small crack in the windshield that passed inspection this time, but if it widens any, it won't next time, and I don't feel like putting windshield No. 3 in this vehicle. I'm also wondering whether, if I do have worn struts, if I can make do with them (they're just a noise nuisance right now, and only if you listen for them) for a year without replacing them. With the mileage the car will have on it by then (roughly 95,000), I don't think the few things it needs will grossly affect the sheepish trade-in value.

    I just had my 60,000-mile service done about 5,000 miles ago, and the timing belt isn't supposed to be changed until 105,000 miles. So next May at 95K looks like the delivery date of my new baby!

    Now, should it be Winning Blue Metallic or Screaming Pumpkin Mica?


  • meinradmeinrad Posts: 820
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    They didn't really need it; I was upset about the torn dust boot. But they do dampen noticeably better than the old ones. Still not a soft ride, but impacts are more muted.

    I had the dealer do it. Cost per piece was about $135 for each front strut and total labor was about $130 for both plus some time to inspect the brakes while they had the wheels off, plus the coolant flush etc.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    WOW! Think I'll do it myself, if I decide I need to. I'll monitor the situation and see how Zoomster fares with his sore knees for a while. I sure as heck ain't throwin' $400 ($135 X 2 + $130) at new front struts!

    I've done shocks before -- other than a little elbow grease there was really nothing to it. I might invest $15 in a Haynes manual to see what's involved -- might be money well spent.

  • chicagoprochicagopro Posts: 1,009
    So "clunkity-clunk" means worn struts?

    Good to know...looks like mine will be getting replaced this summer....
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