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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • I was on a steep incline facing downwards and put my Protege ES (2001, AT, 1 week old) into reverse and took my foot off the brake, and the car slid forward (and down). Is this normal? I did the same thing on my friend's old Buick Regal (also AT) and the car stayed put, so I'm not sure if this rolling forward happens to all Mazdas, or if I have a problem. I was under the impression that with AT, the gears lock into position when put into reverse. I live in SF, so this is a major concern. Could someone with experience in this matter post a response? Thanks!
  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    I'm just posting what I said I found on NHTSA website. and I did, in the last paragraph, mention that giving you the benefit of the doubt (BOTD), there will be 1 TSB or Recall on the civic. go reread it. The civic, giving you the BOTD, will have either 1 TSB or 1 Recall now. So a 2 yr old designed car has as many TSB/Recalls as a newly designed Civic.

    The Focus, in its 2nd yr has a recall. The Civic in its first new major body change has either 1 TSB or 1 Recall. sad for the focus.
  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    If the incline is steep enough, gravity will exert a much stronger influence than the engine will in reverse. seeing as you did not have your foot on the gas, just in plain reverse, it is possible that the car will go forward. Just as if you were aimed up the hill and put the car in D and without your foot on the gas, the car could go back.
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    hello al,

    I'm thinking about getting a Mazda Protege, probably the 5 door hatchback which is suppose to come out this June as a 2002 model. In general how reliable are the Protege's? I'll be switching from a Toyota to the Mazda. Also how reliabe is the new 2.0L engine that they put into the Protege? I heard this engine came from the 626.

  • My 91 auto. stalls and when I try to restart I have no dash lights therefore it turns over but won't start. Anywhere from immediately to 5 minutes the dash lights return and I can fire the car up.

    It happens mostly in stop and go traffic, when slowing to a stop and in mild weather and rarely happens on the highway and in cold weather.

    The dealer has replaced the distributer, engine temp sensor, ignitor and ignition module.

    This car needs to live on...please help.

  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    alternator or battery. My car would stall and the lights go out when the battery was dead. As a result of the alternator failing.
  • lgblgb Posts: 30
    I havent posted in a while but a few of us 00 manual Protege owners also noticed various clunks on shifting (as well as hesitation inbetween the lower gears). I think maybe one person had a real problem (differential) but the rest of us seem to have accepted clunks as "normal". I'm at 11,500 miles now and I either dont notice or dont hear clunks any more. I deal with the hesitation by shifting at higher rpms. If anyone has anymore info on clunking or hesitating, please post!
  • Yeah, I don't think I'm going to worry about it anymore either. If other associated symptoms seem to start, I'll look into it further(i.e. won't shift, slips or starts clanging). Just want to enjoy my little sport and stop sweating the small stuff.
  • This sure is one of the slowest problem boards of the bunch. Makes me feel great about my decision to go Pro, but if things don't pick up in this board it may get the heave ho. That would be a shame since in maybe 5 or 6 years we may have a problem we want to share.
    Maybe we need to start making up problems or referring to the ridiculous.
    Like, I had to put some air in my tires the other day, is this covered by warranty?LOL
  • ny10ny10 Posts: 4
    Hi, I really need some help. I've got a 1992 MAZDA 323 that has a recurring stalling problem
    that no one has been able to solve. If you have advice about how to solve it, or if you know
    where I can get good advice (via another web-posting or some other source), I'd really appreciate
    hearing from you.

    The pattern of stall-outs is seemingly indecipherable. It will stall on the highway or just going
    around the block. It usually gives a hesitation or two, and the accelerator becomes useless for
    10-60 seconds before it stalls completely. It's a standard transmission, and if necessary while
    driving I can turn the car turn the car off as the stall threatens and then turn it back on–and it then runs fine again. Likewise, if it stalls out completely, I can turn off the car and then start it
    immediately with no problem. The interval between stall-outs is usually at least a day and
    sometimes weeks. Go figure.

    This problem first occurred in about 1993. No one could solve it, but it disappeared. Then it
    returned a few years after that. And now it's back again, off and on since the fall of 2000.

    Here's a record of what my latest mechanic has tried:

    –Tried to duplicate problem but couldn't.

    –Completed tuneup: sparkplugs, cap, rotor, air filter, fuel filter, oil change.

    –Checked for computer fault codes. Found code 17. This code refers to the oxygen sensor, the fuel pressure regulator, fuel pump, and the computer itself.

    –Fuel-pressure test showed fuel pressure to be just a touch above normal (if it was lower than
    normal it would have been a good chance that it was source of the stalling problem). This test
    was done with the car hooked to a gas analyzer which registers the fuel/air ratio.

    –Replaced oxygen sensor and fuel pressure regulator, and checked these new parts with the car hooked to the gas analyzer. The car was run for quite a while and monitored throughout the day but never stalled, nor did the fuel/air ratio change at anytime. Car stalled out several days later, and a few more times after that.

    –With no facts to condemn the fuel pump or computer (which are the only items left that the fault code refers to), the mechanic feels there is not much else to do except replace the fuel pump and/or computer. But these items are not cheap and there is no guarantee that they will fix the problem.

    Please help! Thanks.

  • I would think if the fuel pressure test showed good readings, this would likely eliminate the fuel pump, wouldn't it? Have you tried a mazda dealer or are you going to independents?
    Isn't there a way to test the computer without replacing it first? I know, more questions than answers, sorry.
  • ny10ny10 Posts: 4
    Thanks, fritz1224. In the past, I did take my 323 to Mazda dealers for an opinion, but they never had an answer, and the independents have always had more time/interest in figuring out this puzzle. But maybe it is time to try a dealer again, perhaps especially for a check of a Mazada-specific computer. Take care. --ny10
  • atuzaiatuzai Posts: 47
    I bought a 93 protege LX two years ago. It is a wonderful car, no any big problem till now. When I bought it, it had 110K mi on it. Now it is about 140K mileage on it. I do not know much about car, I just change oil every 3k mi and tire rotation every 7K mi. nothing else for maintenance. Since 30k already put on it from when I got it. I am wondering what kind of maintenance I should do for it. anyone could give me some suggestion? like every ??K to what what. Thanks!
  • speedyptspeedypt Posts: 200
    Your owners manual is your best guide for all that, but some things I would watch...

    60k(120k, 180k, etc) the $180 and have the timing belt changed.

    Plugs...platinum tipped plugs are my personal favorites.

    Plug wires on the older Protege's seemed to go bad on me about every 45k or so, can act like a power loss or rough running condition.

    Use a bottle of fuel injector cleaner every 10k or so (I like Chevron Fuel System cleaner with Techron...about $7)

    Change your tranny fluid and coolant every other year

    Hope that helps!


  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    replace fuel and air filter.
  • speedyptspeedypt Posts: 200
    Buy a K&N Air Filter and just clean it every 30k-50k and save money in the long run!


  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    I hope that's a typo.. 30-50K between filter cleanings? The oil will get massivley clogged waiting that long.
  • I have a pair of those, for dancing. :)

    Actually, I think he means the air filter, not the oil filter.
  • atuzaiatuzai Posts: 47
    It is really helps. The problem is my old car did not have owners manual. That is the reason why I asked what I should do. Could someone input some main point for that?

    BTW, I will need drive about 60 miles everyday from now on. It is lots of miles will put on it. Thinking about buy a new one but as a student, $ is the big problem. So anyone could give me some idea how long Protege will live for this condition? 170K? 180K? or 200K?

  • speedyptspeedypt Posts: 200
    It's not a typo. You can go 30-50k miles between cleanings if you don't live in too dusty an area. I personally have cleaned mine every 15k-20k. The destructions for the filter (and on their website) say you can go up to 50k between cleanings. Fully saturated with dirt and oil, they still pass nearly as much airflow as a new paper filter.

    39.95 once for the K&N vs. 11.95 every 10k for paper. I'll take the K&N and do my cleanings every 15-20k. Recharge kit only costs 6.95 at the local motorcycle shop and lasts 4-5 cleanings. K&N state a 2-4% increase in power using their replacement filter, but I didn't notice all that much difference.


  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    hmmmm I still wouldn't feel comfortable waiting that long. maybe 2 twice a yr at the longest, and once per year after that, by extending the intervals if after 7500 it looks cool.
  • Question:
    How hard is it to install a Spolier or the Windvisor on a Protege? I didn't get the options when I bought the car, but after seeing so many cars with these options, I drool. I want to make sure it is not going to be a pain in the butt before I shell out 400+.

    p.s. speedypt, thanks for the maint. breakdown and parts suggestions.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,242
    Umm, I am a GM man myself, but does someone know if the Protoge engine uses a crankshaft position sensor? The 3.8L GM engine used to have a real problem with intermittent stalling with no real pattern to it. The big hint was that if you tried to restart the engine WITHOUT first turning the key off (resets the ignition subroutine in the computer) that sucker would crank till the cows came home and never fire a lick. Turn the key off, and it will fire off on the first try. I had one of these engines do this to me for nearly two years before a bulletin was issued stating that this "could be" the problem. Replaced the defective sensor and never had the problem again. Even if the Protoge doesn't use that particular sensor, the trick of turning the ignition fully off and getting an immediate correction pretty well tells you there is an intermittent code fault within the system.

  • Hey guys. This is my first post, and you all seem to have the answers, so here are my questions:

    I have a '94 323 that has been a really good car for me, runs great and I have had no problems. But I would like to improve the performance and looks a little bit. First, I always found the headlamps kind of dim, and a few years of winter driving has kind of sandblasted the surface of the lights. How do I get my hands on those bulbs I see in Beemers and Audis? I see some on ebay, but they advertise them as having like, 100 watts of output. That's not street legal. So, where can I get reasonably-priced super-high output bulbs that 1.) are street legal, 2.) actually produce a 'high output' glare and 3.) won't melt my headlamps/wiring? I'm in Ottawa, Canada, too, in case that matters.

    My second question is tires. I have 14" steel rims on there now. What are the absolute biggest and widest tires I can put on these rims? I don't care if my speedometer gets frigged up. I want fat, wide tires. But I also want the proper clearance for them. Any ideas? I have no interest in alloy rims and stuff - I just mean standard type tires. I see the fat ones on VW Golfs and like the look.

    Thanks in advance, men. I know you won't let me down.
  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    go to and see the different sizes you can put. also is a good sourch of consumer ratings.
  • lsvorlsvor Posts: 3
    I want to respond to the poster with the '93 Protege LX and questions about longevity, but this board is not exactly intuitive in these matters. However, I have two Proteges--a '91 LX with 245,000 miles and a '98 with 100,000, and feel I have some insight into these issues. Comments: (1) I see no need for a K&N air filter. I replace the air filter whenever I think about it, but have never seen one that really needed it. Just inspect it--if no obvious oil indications and you can see light when holding it up to the sun, let it go. Or replace it--it's not that much money. (2) No fancy plugs needed. Just buy NGK or Nippondenso. Replace maybe every 60,000 miles. (3) I agree with the comment on the plug wires. I haven't replaced the '98's yet but the '91's went out at about 70,000 miles and it was perplexing since it mimics a lot of other things that could go wrong. (4) The half shafts last about 100,000 miles. Hunt around. I buy the rebuilt shafts from a local parts store (Autozone) for around $70.00 each and have a mechanic that puts them in for $120.00 for the pair. (5) The brakes last forever. I replaced the pads at 150,000 miles, but they still had miles left. Do it yourself. It's easy. (6) A weakness, in my opinion, is the front suspension. I have replaced the struts twice because of pothole incidents. I have the equipment (primarily a spring compressor) so it didn't cost that much, but they go out of whack easily. The '98, on the other hand is bulletproof. At 65 mph I hit a landscape timber (4x4) that had been dropped on the highway--both wheels. Nothing. That was at about 60,000 miles. I have 100,000 miles now on the original tires (yes, you read that right--original Birdgestones) with no rotation, no alignment, no nothing. Amazing. (7) Watch the fans. I replaced the blower fan with a salvage yard motor for about $50.00 (Mazda wanted $150+). It's a 15 minute job. I waited too long on the cooling fan (the one inside the radiator) and it locked up. Despite the nominal presence of the a circuit breaker and a fuse, it fried everything. That one I couldn't find in aftermarket or salvage and paid $170.00 to a dealer. (8) You should be able to get a shop manual from a dealer for aroung $90.00. Well worth it if you do even a little of your own work.
  • lgblgb Posts: 30
    I'll add my comments on longevity of these cars- I donated mine to charity at 120,000 mi, still running fine. Be sure to keep up with oil changes, it will help stop the valve lifters from ticking, and oil leakage onto the plug wires. The brakes, a/c and manual transmission all held up extremely well. My only repairs were to replace two wheel bearings & uv joint boot covers.

    Stalling: on an older Nissan (Datsun) that I owned, similar symptoms & it was the fuel pump.
  • I was wondering how accurate the 5 year cost for maintenance and unexpected repairs as listed in an article by Kiplinger. They had the Protege at something like $3000+. Sounds like a lot from date of orginal purchase of brand new car. Can you confirm these figures are about what the first 5 years of ownership cost? Thanks.
  • lsvorlsvor Posts: 3
    Assuming an average of 12,000 miles/year, or 60,000 miles in five years, my maintenance and unexpected reapirs have been about as follows:
    '91 Protege LX: Tires at about 45,000. Bought original Yokahama's from Discount Tire Direct at $50.00 (delivered to my home); local Discount Tire Store installed with a lifetime balance for $10.00 each--once for $240.00. Thermostat at 48,000 miles--warranty covered. Oil changes using cheapest 10-30 at Target and Autozone filters every 3-4,000 miles(I do it myself): 20 at $8.00=$160.00. I tuneup (myself) at maybe $$30.00. That's it. I doubt I've spent that much in 245,000 miles: in addition to tires at about 45,000 miles, and oil changes--one complete strut change at about $45.00 per axle, one additional front end only, brakes at about $15.00 per axle, complete clutch (throwout, clutch, pressure plate, and master cylinder at 210,000--$850.00; cooling fan--$170.00; blower fan $50.00; repairs related to the electrical damage caused by cooling fan lockup $225.00, and two half-shaft replacements. That's it. The '98, of course, is practically new at 100,000 miles. Other than oil changes (I do now use Fram filters @$5.00 each, and a good 20-50 oil @ about $1.20/qt.) I have spent $0. No tires, brakes, struts. Oh, I take that back; I did change the plugs, rotor, and cap for, say $20.00. It should be kept in mind that most of my diving on both cars has been between Austin and San Antonio (essentially open road, although you will find many who disagree); very little in-town driving. Even so, however, I think these cars are the best.
  • fritz1224fritz1224 Posts: 398
    Thanks for confirming my suspicions. I didn't think that 3k+ sounded right. Looks like you do a lot of the work yourself and that saves a significant amount, but I would say you sure have gotten your money's worth out of that 91. Do you refer to the manufacturer's service manual for some of those repairs or are you a mechanic by trade?
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