1996 Mazda 626 LX 2.5/V6 from North America


Solid, reliable, but overpowered, this car has been very good to me


6 months after I bought it, the check engine light would come on periodically. After a few stops at the dealer with no discrepencies found, it went away and has never come back. Wrote it off to engine break-in.

12 months after I bought the car I had to replace the tires (~5000 miles). It came with the sporty low-profile high performance Michelin's. I got them to pay half the replacement cost, but when the new ones wore out 12 months later I gave up on that tire. Unfortunately, the higher mileage tires don't have the grip needed to contain this car's power. It's real easy to spin the tires starting up especially when the road is wet. Otherwise handling has been great and I've only had to replace the tires every 30k.

I got rear-ended around 50k and while they rebuilt the bumper and body panels two residual problems have recently surfaced. The trunk gasket had not been sealing well so I've pulled all the upholstery out of the trunk and replaced it. Also, one of the muffler welds was fatigued and rusted through and I needed to replace it.

Only other thing, oil sensing unit blew around 70k miles. Cost me $1.73, an early oil change and 2 hours under the hood.

General Comments:

This car has been a dream overall. Fast, peppy, comfortable, stylish. I love the huge trunk. Does not perform well in snow due to overpowered drive system. I'm going to put snow tires on it this year to see if it helps. Then maybe performance tires again in the spring, now that I can afford them.

This car has had a number of recalls over the years, make sure you are up to date. I think they want to check the springs now.

I wish I was surprised by the bulk of the comments posted here. Ford does not have a good track record when it comes to transmissions. This car was a combined effort between Mazda and Ford and the result is obvious. I specifically selected the model I did because although the car was assembled in the U.S., V6 engines and manual transmissions were manufactured in Japan. The automatics and 4 cylinders were products of the Ford factories.

I hope this trend has stopped and look forward to reviewing it when I buy my next car, but that will be some years still in the future.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 17th September, 2003

1996 Mazda 626 LX from North America


Stay away from this car!!!


This car been nothing but a headache for me. I had to replace the transmission within 3 months of buying the car. Nobody can solve the overdrive light blinking on and off when driving on the highway. Shifting into reverse feels so rough.

General Comments:

This car is not worth buying, you're going to break your bank account.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd August, 2003

1996 Mazda 626 LX 2.5 from North America


A single mom's financial nightmare


There are significant transmission problems with this car. I also have the "flashing light syndrome" noted in another review. I don't travel a great distance to work, but it seems that after driving maybe 15 to 20 minutes on the freeway the O/D light seems to start flashing. While stopped at a traffic light the car is hesitant to take off, almost as if a jerking motion when pressing the gas. The car has no get up and go and the dealership has been quite uncooperative because when it comes to repairs, nothing is under $400.00. I recently replaced the transmission fluid line which surprisingly sprouted a leak after my car was at the dealership for simple rear light bulb replacement (which by the way was only $24.00 to replace all of my rear bulbs). It seems like a conspiracy. My service guy also told me that my transmission was "on its last leg.

Now I am being told that my car needs fuel injectors! AHHH!

Does Mazda have any other recalls at the moment? I was at the dealership in April for two recall notices.

General Comments:

Up until recently, this car had been very reliable.

This car is starting to nickel and dime me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 17th June, 2003

5th Sep 2003, 10:07

I'm having same kind of transmission problems. There should be an engineering problems. Be careful if you decide to buy a mazda car.

5th Jan 2004, 09:29

Sounds like I am reading my own thoughts! My 626 is having the same exact problems (O/D light was flashing and general transmission malfunctions). Now I had to have it towed to Aamco for repair because it will not go forward in drive anymore! Estimated price to repair it will more than likely be $1,300 - $1,900!!! My car is only a 2001 this should be happening so soon!

Any advice anyone can give would be great. Any recalls??

16th Nov 2004, 22:41

I have been having the same problems with my Mazda 626, I have paid out more than $3000. on this car and I can't understand why its always the same problem the transmission. I have read the horror stories and I have flash backs because these are my stories. I will never purchase a Mazda again, never. Can I get a refund?

We all should at lease get what we put out on the transmission repairs.

I wake up seeing my OD light and go to sleep seeing the OD light

6th Dec 2004, 08:44

I own a 96 Mazda 626 LX... yes they have bad trannies... but the only thing you need is a tranny cooler (like 100$) and all of your problems will go away. And the get up and go can be fixed (mazda626.net) :)

Thanks, MadChris.

17th Apr 2005, 18:21

I have a Mazda 626 and it was a great car until we change the fluids. When we change the fluids in it my transmission stop to work. Now all the car does is start up.Can't figure out what's the problem. Anyone know?

18th May 2011, 19:20

Some times taking off both the battery cables will reset everything, and things start to work again.. Hope it's helpful.