18th Jan 2002, 12:53

I have a 96' Protege 1.8 LX (purchased used) and have had more than anyone's share of problems.

The check engine light came on and only Mazda has the equipment to verify. The problem was a defective ECU!!! A used one cost me $250. I installed it myself to save money since just the diagnostics test at Mazda was $90.

The front brakes are finished. When I bought the car they were at 30% (used) and I only did 15 000 km on them.

The car has many squeeks and rattles, they become annoying.

Also the largest problem to date is that when driving at a constant velocity for a small period of time, the engine seem to "hesitate" as if it were about to stall. No mechanic, including those at Mazda, knows what the problem is. Since it does not do it all the time, it is near impossible to diagnose! (if anyone has a valid theory, please leave a note).

On the positive end, the car is a nice driver's car. Good handling, acceleration and a general fun to drive vehicle. I guess I got the one assembled by the guys with the name-tag marked "in training".

26th Jun 2002, 00:30

What exactly is meant by the "front right drive shaft?" There is only one drive shaft on, well, MOST cars, and it exists dead in the middle of the body (neither left nor right) Do you mean the front right AXLE?? I'm interested to know since my girlfriend gets her used '99 LX in 2 days, and I just had to replace my front axles on my '93 ranger, which was very pricy (even though I did it myself).

27th Jun 2002, 18:30

I have had many problems with my 1996 as well. The brakes have been replaced every 30k miles. I just spend $1200 repairing the engine because the #1 and #4 cylinders had no compression. I was told that this is also common for the car, and to make sure that the compression is tested every time it is tuned up.

I like the car, and hate to get rid of it, but I can't afford to dump any more money into it. For two years, I have taken it to too many different repair shops because of a constant vibration when in gear. No one seems to be able to tell me what this is. It now vibrates so badly that I can watch the passenger seat shake when I am stopped.

I hope other people have had more luck.

16th Jul 2002, 17:46

I have a 96LX with almost 130,000 miles on it and I love it. At around 70,000 I replaced the brake pads and shoes and will probably need to do it again in a few months. Also the EGR valve needed replacing at around 80,000 miles, but other that that the car has been great.

20th Jan 2003, 22:25

I, too, have had a boat load of problems with my 96 Protege. I can relate about the brakes having to be replaced every year. I can also relate about the A/C Compressor needing replacing around 70K miles, only my A/C clutch went out too. In addition I have number of small things just fall apart like the auto lock switch falling into the door, the check engine light coming on and then going off without any reason at all, and little pieces of plastic breaking off the seats or trunk or wherever.

I also have gotten into a couple of front end collisions and the car crumples like a piece of tin foil. Understandably, this is a good thing and I feel completely safe in the car, but just bumping into someone at 3 mph can cause over a thousand dollars in repairs. So if you're a bad driver, don't get this car.

I do like the car though. It's fun to drive. It's comfortable and spacious.

12th Jun 2003, 08:30

I'm sad. Some old lady blew a stop sign at 30mph and killed my car. My Mazda had 111,000 miles on it and it was running fine. The only problems I have had with the car is brakes and exhaust. The brakes needed repaired often and the exhaust system was pricey to fix. Parts of the tail pipe rusted severely in a few different spots. Everything else was typical maintenence. The car never left me stranded and anything that needed to be fixed, I was able to do when I had time (not an emergency). I enjoyed the ride, and when the car was hit and totaled, I walked away. However, it didn't take much to do extensive body damage. RIP little Mazda!

19th Jun 2003, 15:52

My brakes are just fine I have gone 45k and it is still has got 40-50% in the front. My first set of brakes went 65k until it ruined my calipers which was my stupid mistake.

25th Jun 2003, 16:59

I have a '96 Protege LX with 107,000 miles. I do replace my brakes once a year. Yes, the exhaust was replaced to. The car creeks in cold weather. The only real problem I've had is my M.A.P. sensor. Check engine light comes on every once in awhile. I had it replaced (M.A.P. Sensor) under warranty, and out of warranty. Still no fix. Buy the way it is expensive,$250. It idles rough like its going to stall in gear, but never does. Finally, if I punch the throttle to merge into traffic, the (AUTO) transmission seems to slam back into gear. I hope this isn't a bad sign, otherwise it shifts fine.


2nd Mar 2004, 19:11

Well, I purchased a 96 Protege myself and my brakes have gone out twice in a year. The reason for that is because of the overdrive, your brakes will wear out sooner than normal. Also, My cars idle is so bad, I feel like I'm in a diesel truck. It gave out on me recently. It just felt like wanting to turn off at every stop or light. Mechanics say they can't diagnose it because the ecu is out. If someone has similar problems and has fixed them or has knowledge of this problem please email me at ramnailz@aol.com. thank you.

31st Mar 2004, 20:12

My 96 Mazda Protege LX has overall been great. But I have some of the problems others listed. The brakes and exhaust have to be replaced every year, the check engine light comes on all the time in the summer, the exhaust manifold went on it once.

10th Apr 2004, 15:35

My girlfriend bought a 96 protege with 60,000 miles on it two years ago. After replacing the driver side wheel-bearing, the left side start going bad. I was wondering if it was just her car, or if there was just something about the protege. However, I went ahead and put Intrax 1.8" lowering springs and new struts on the car and we've not had too much problem out of the suspension. (The only thing I really don't like about the car, other than the passenger side power window getting stuck and the power door switch not wanting to stay set, is the drums in the back. I don't understand why they didn't put disk brakes all the way around) We at first bought 16" wheels, but had to go with the 15" white motege racing wheels b/c we couldn't get enough clearance with a 50 series tire (too many pot-holes in this area for anything lower profile). The manual transmission is what is giving us problems now. Her 1st-4th gears work fine, but it won't go into reverse or fifth. I see these sets are connected to different rods, but does anyone have any ideas what may be the problem. The car looks sweet after the new dark blue paint job with the white wheels and white pin stripe and she loves the thing. I just don't want to have to pay $1500 for a new transmission. So any help would be appreciated.