I bought an '03 Protege ES back in November.
I love this car to death, but noticed 2 rust "spirals" starting on the driver's side door. I did notice this in the lot when I looked at the car. Now I'm a bit worried.
I am not sure if the dealer will cover the rust issue.
But I just wanted to say that it does indeed appear that rust has developed out of nowhere on my Protege.
Check the rear quarter panels, on the wheel well lip, also under the rocker panel mouldings.
We too are currently freaking out over the amount of rust on our 2003 protege. There are some spots where it is our fault, but other places where the paint just chips off and rust appears for no reason. Inside the doors, on the lower outside corners, there is tons of rust - more than on my 1993 Mazda 323!!
I have been toying with the idea of going back to the dealership, has anyone had any success with warranty?
Mazda is now fixing all the rust on my car under warranty. I hope this solves this issue.
My 2003 Protege is rusting very badly in the rear quarter panels, so I've been checking out other Mazdas I see on the road. Most every one I see is rusting in the same place. The dealer & manufacturer of course have been no help whatsoever.
I have a 2003 Protege LX with 157,000km, and all I have is a few rusty stone chips and a little rusty spot where I scraped against an Explorer. This car is driven in Ontario, Canada and has seen road salt every winter since new. I recommend people take the proper action by having the car either washed regularly or get it oil sprayed. My 2 cents is to use common sense and look after these things before they start!