30th Nov 2005, 01:27

A lot of times that check engine light will come on as a result of the 02 sensor, which could mean a catalytic converter problem. The one thing that you always have to remember when the converter is the problem is that Cats' don't die... They get murdered. A dirty air filter, faulty pcv, or any kind of engine miss fire <----I hear a lot about these cars having a rough idle, will turn the check engine light on, and possible ruin he converter. I do not own one a protege, but I am looking to buy, so I just thought I might try to shed some light on what sounds like some common problems.

6th Jan 2006, 14:11


I own a 97 protege LX for more than an year now. The engine light has been on since then, but it doesn't seem to be a major problem I have put on more than 18000 miles in an yr, bought it with high mileage and putting on so many miles is great. but repairs are normally expensive, but I do drive long distances with out any trouble, have driven back and forth to California and Newmexcio!

But I would rather go for something better when I can afford!!!


1st Feb 2006, 15:08

To the person who wrote the last comment, I am considering a 97 with 240,000 kilometers on it, how much life do you think this car will have left in it?

23rd Dec 2006, 11:27

I own a 1997 Mazda Protege LX with 85k miles on it and a 1996 Protege LX with 180k miles on it. Bought both of them used, one from a dealer (at 23k) and one from a friend (at 150k). Despite the difference in their mileage, they seem to wear out the same parts at the same time. For instance, in the past year and a half, I replaced both air conditioners (and one died again after a year), had to put new door locks on both cars, and now within a month, both cars have had their "check engine" lights come on and remain on. One problem (in the '97) was traced to the motherboard, which had a small short due to a spilled drink (Warning! the circuit board is under the dash right behind the drink holder! Who designed that???), but that was discovered only AFTER the dealer replaced the oxygen sensor for the THIRD time since I bought the car, trying to fix the diagnostic flag. Since the car cannot pass inspection with the light on, and its inspection was due that month, I had no choice, but to replace both items. Pricey! ($1500 for a new motherboard!!! I got one used) Now I find that the older car needs a new solenoid in its transmission to fix ITS engine light, and its inspection month is December, so again, I'm pretty stuck. Having two cars of the same type allows me to predict that pretty soon, I'll be replacing the same solenoid in the '97 soon too! Seems there's a bit of planned obsolescence going on here...

3rd May 2009, 00:00

I love my Protege. Yes the few repairs after about 150k miles can be a bit pricey, but after that it seems to be smooth sailing.

I am sitting at almost 200,000 miles, and haven't had a problem since 150k.

I have a performance exhaust, cold air, aftermarket fuel pressure regulator, and a lowering kit and get almost 60mpg.

Fast, sporty, and economical. I can't think of a better car.

18th Jul 2011, 20:22

I have owned a 2000 Pontiac Sunfire SE since 2003, and have replaced a water pump, a radiator, and the clutch, and it still hums. Very quiet, smooth motor. 204,123 miles, and a 45 year lady totaled me. So sad, RIP.

Now I have a 1997 Mazda Protege, and it has fouled plugs and a noisy exhaust.

25th Jul 2011, 11:12

Hi, I am really interested in the upgrades you have done to the engine. I have a '98 1.5L Protege with 160000 miles, and as things need replacing, I would like to check on potential upgrades. Could you provide the details?

Thanks in advance: and are those imperial gallons that give you these amazing miles?

19th Aug 2011, 16:16

The Mazda Protege is NOT the way to go! Please listen to me. My husband has a '97 model, and all he ever does is put a lot of money into it, oil leaks, head gasket problem, brakes, belt, and so much more! Please for your sake do NOT buy this car! It stinks!!!

27th Sep 2011, 20:39

I agree, I have random engine codes, barometric pressure sensor malfunction check again after a few weeks on no battery charge, and now have shift position sensor malfunction. Replaced a cracked exhaust manifold. The car runs great when cold, but when it warms up, I get an engine light and the idle is rough and wants to do 200rpm, and when I shift from drive to park, the idle drops. I am out of ideas on this, and yes PARTS ARE $$$$$$

I would take a Pontiac Sunfire any day. I had one with 202,000 miles, and have only replaced a water pump and battery. Bought it at 115000 miles, and got a new car because it was high mileage but ran smooth. Wish I still had it.

Can anyone help me with this Mazda?

28th Sep 2011, 10:53

Go to '98 Mazda Protege, "A lovely runner" and see how I dealt with the CEL and rough idling at low cost on the principle of "don't replace, clean and reuse!"

The barometric pressure sensor circuit or EGR boost sensor circuit is very common, and is often caused by a plugged nipple at the back of the intake manifold.

In addition I found this in my research:


6th Nov 2011, 21:53

On the Mazda, I found the plug with the boost controller, but now I have a problem with the idle sitting at 450rpms. I guess this was fine, but the car would start bouncing from 380-650 RPM, and now it runs rough and has carbon fouled plugs. What could this be?

7th Nov 2011, 15:53

I didn't have that situation on my Protege. Could you tell more about the carbon fouling? What color is it? All Haynes manuals have a color page near the back of the book that helps reading plugs. Do you have a CEL? Which code? At this point I couldn't tell if it is rich or lean condition or oil fouling.

Obviously, you need to change plugs, wires, cap and rotor to get decent spark. If that doesn't restore the spark, you need to change the coil pack too.

I would also give it a "Seafoam" treatment. I go out of town to do this, so I won't get in trouble with my neighbors.

10th Nov 2011, 02:24

I have a 97 Mazda Protege LX five speed, and have had it for 3 years, and haven't had to fix or replace anything, and I treat this car like crap LOL. I go mudding in it, and race it all the time, and there's nothing wrong with it yet, and it has 212000 miles on it.

10th Nov 2011, 14:54

Maybe the previous owner had it all fixed up prior to selling, lucky you!

28th Dec 2011, 10:26

I have recently purchased a 1997 Mazda Protege from the original owner.

I bought it looking very rough, having been in 3 significant accidents.

The car had 204,000 miles and ran great.

I paid 300 dollars for the vehicle and drove it home with the following repairs having been done prior to my purchase:

New clutch.

New timing belt.

New snow tires (360 dollars worth).

New radiator... (a result of the accidents).

New water pump.

I have since replaced front brake pads, air filter, and installed a whole host of matching colored junk yard parts.

This car delivers exceptional gas mileage, functions wonderfully, and has been perpetually reliable.

Still running on original struts, CV joints, head gasket and wheel bearings. This particular Mazda has been an amazing example of Japanese design and build technique.

Other than the check engine light staying on, I have no complaints.

I highly recommend these cars, and will be looking for another one for my daughter to drive.

15th Jul 2015, 18:27

It has about 200000 left in it.

17th Sep 2015, 18:29

1996 Protege original owner. LX with 5-speed. Three or four clutches, one radiator, check engine light stays on but the shop was unable to pinpoint problem, and now having battery/charging light issues. 275000 miles and gets 35-36 MPG day-in, day-out. Now my work beater, at least 55 miles a day every week. Thought about buying a newer car, but it has been so reliable.