18th Jul 2008, 12:08

We drove our '98 Mazda Protege LX off the lot with 15 miles on it, and have had extremely good luck with it. It was originally my wife's car, but when the kids came and the gas prices went up, we got a larger vehicle for her, and I gave up my truck and used the Protege to commute to work.

Just turned 200K miles today!

The CEL has been on due to the O2 sensor for over a year, but the car still runs great and I still average more than 31 MPG all highway. I'll replace the O2 sensor so the code clears, and it will pass inspection, but from past experience I know the CEL will be back by the end of the month.

Oh well, I can live with it for another year... hopefully!

8th Aug 2008, 17:28

I own a 99 Protege with 100K miles. The car works well and I have been driving it with the check engine light on for a couple years now. The real problem came around 80K, I had to replace the cat converter after the car was struggling to accelerate between 3-4 RPMs. also changed a belt that broke. The light then remained on from then on.

Now, this might sound crazy but my mechanic does it and it works for me.. I live in NY and its the same you can't pass inspection if the light is on.. my mechanic resets the light, (ask your mechanic?) and it stays off for about 150 miles, but before you take it for inspection you must drive the car at least 41 miles., The light does come back on eventually but this has been my method for the last 2 years!

One time I only drove it 39 miles thinking it was no big deal and I failed inspection! I drove it around the block a few times and went back and it passed.. the dudes inspecting were laughing and only made me pay $12 bucks for the 2nd time instead of paying another $37.. weird but this works!

15th Sep 2008, 12:33

I have a 2000 Protege with about 101,000 miles on it, and the only problem with it is that it either struggles to shift into 3rd and 4th gear, or it will just stay in 2nd, and I don't know what it is... can someone help me with this?

15th Oct 2008, 19:52

I just bought a Mazda Protege year 99... everything is great but my radio does not seem to work... my uncle suggested that it needs a code to work? Do any of ya know this code?

13th Nov 2008, 23:26

I have had a 2000 Mazda Protege DX 5 speed since it was brand new. During my drive off the lot at mile number 2 on the car, the check engine light came on and has been on ever since. I had it checked and they said it was a mass air flow sensor, but the real problem wasn't the MAP sensor, it was a pin hole in the exhaust.

I have 156,000 miles on the car now, and have only had to replace the alternator belt and the radio since it was new. I hope the check engine light doesn't ever need to warn me of something important, because it doesn't ever go off.

But now I am having issues with an oil leak. I had the car in to a shop and they told me it was leaking from the seals, and they would have to replace the timing belt and seals in order to fix the leak. Total estimated cost is $1200 far more than the car is valued at. I had it checked at about a 130k and I have been putting 2 quarts of oil in every 500-800 miles since. The rear end of the car is covered in oil and is sure to ruin anyones clothes that gets within feet or the car. I'm curious what will happen if I just keep pumping oil in to it every time the oil light comes on. Surely at some point all that oil pouring out of the timing belt cover is going to cause timing belt issues. I am aware that I should have replaced the timing belt by now already, but at this point I am having trouble justifying spending the $1200 to fix a car worth no more than a $1k. Does this seem like a reasonable amount of money to replace the seals and timing belt on this car?

I would sure love to take this car past 250k miles but I am afraid its days are numbered if I don't fix the leak and replace the belt. Also, is this an interference engine? Will I bend the valves if I run it till the belt breaks? If anyone has any suggestions my email is justin.palesotti@clubmarketing.com

26th Nov 2008, 22:33

I own a 99 Mazda Protege LX, great car, and really good on gas! I bought this car about 6 months ago with only 97 000km! I'm Canadian, so I don't know what that is in miles. But I do know its been pretty reliable so far, no major repairs (just small things), aside from the rear shocks having to be changed. Anyway, just a question for some of you, how is it that I have the LX model which is supposed to have a 1.6 liter engine and mine has a 1.8. No biggy, not complaining, just wondering how come? Since I've read the 1.8 liter engine went into the ES model only... Does this mean the engine specs are basically what is in the ES model? (more horsepower, torque etc)..

4th Dec 2008, 19:47

Quick response to the above - some of the LX's in Canada (Roadmaster Edition) had 1.8l engines, and the larger (10.?" brakes), but the basic 14"rims. LX's in the US had the 1.6. So if you look at US parts websites, and even some Cdn parts retailers, you may want to make sure they know you have a 1.8L.

The 1.8L is a reliable Mazda "FP" engine, that is holding up well for me at least - 220 000 km's so far (only current issue is valve lash - make sure you get this checked when you should in the recommended maintenance schedule). It is not a maintenance free car, but reliable, and handles really well.

23rd Feb 2009, 13:53

I have my 98 manual Protege ES sinse new. It has been fine.

Few previous problems (after 100K miles) A/C clutch and couple metal pieces of exhaust burned out - nothing serious.

Also, the car started to go low on idle RPMs. Found a hole in air intake tube and fixed it with filler and duct tape - problem solved. At same time (and this is about 135K miles) noticed drop in fuel efficiency. Replaced front O2 sensor (lucky to find one OEM DENSO on eBay for $35!!!) Fuel efficiency was corrected.

NOW. The check engine came on at about 147K. The code is P0420 and it points to 3 different things. The car runs great. The check engine then went off and on 3-4 times. When the light is ON the fuel efficiency drops. The drop is about 2mpg.

Not sure what to do. Will try to put my old O2 sensor back in and see. I really want this car to go for one more year, then it can die. As I said, it runs great.

May be the best solution is to go to corrupt mechanic, pay $100 to pass the inspection and the end of story.