The automatic transmission began clicking, and the problem grew worse within a week. I took the car in, and was informed that Mazda used a chain driven transmission in the 1998 626 which was prone to failure. It was named the 75,000 mile transmission by several mechanics. $2300 later, I had my new transmission installed with 74,000 miles on my car.
I had what was deemed a light rear end collision. No damage was done to the bumper or to the paint on my car. However, the airbag sensors were right behind the bumper. Both bags deployed needlessly, which also cracked the windshield. This was a $1300 insurance bill. Most cars place the airbag sensors further in to prevent this problem.
At 104,000 miles, my oil light is coming on. The oil level is full. The dealer says the engine has sludged badly, and that little oil is reaching the top levels of the engine. A new engine is $5,000. I have chosen to have this one rebuilt.
I bought this car because of the solid reliability of my sister's 1989 Mazda 626. I have parked my 1998 and am driving the reliable 1989. The 1998 is junk. I could have leased a BMW for less than what this car is costing me.
Beware of the new Mazda 6. It may be a much needed improvement, but it still has Ford parts, and the V6 is nothing, but a Ford 3.0 Liter engine.