9th Nov 2008, 20:51


I bought a used Mazda Protege5 about 2 months ago. It had approx. 62000 miles on it. It is a manual transmission. Overall it runs great, but recently I've noticed some things that are concerning me.

1) In the morning, when I first start the engine, it sounds really loud for about a second or two and then calms down and sounds normal. However, a few weeks ago, I noticed that immediately after starting the car a puff of thick, almost bluish smoke comes out of the exhaust and just hangs in the air until its blown away and dissipates. It only happens once in the day, at the initial start-up. After that, when I restart the car, the engine isn't overly loud and there isn't any bluish smoke. Does anyone know why this is happening, and if I should bring it in?

2) I'm hearing different noises, some like faint helicoptering sounds and some like what would best be described as rattling, but it's very very faint. It sounds internal but I'm wondering if I'm just making something out of nothing. Any thoughts?

Any help would be seriously, greatly appreciated!

12th Nov 2008, 13:19

I bought a 2003 Mazda protege 5 last October in laser blue. I was in love with the car at first but now after just over a year of ownership it's becoming a serious money pit. the main issues I've noticed is that it has horrible sway bar links, brakes and wheel bearings. My car just had all these items repaired at various shops with a total bill of $2500.00 all of which are starting to cause problems again. My 88 corolla GTS was basically falling apart and I've never had to dump as much money into it as I do my Mazda. Don't get me wrong, I love the styling, the handling and the performance of the p5 but I'm seriously considering trading it in.

5th Jan 2009, 16:02

Hi Guys. I am in Canada. I am currently driving a 2003 Mazda Protege5 which I bought 3 years ago. There is a really annoying problem about my car. When I stopped at the traffic light, the engine suddenly turning off and I have to shift to P and restart the engine. Do you guys have any similar problem like me? If you guys know the answer, could you email me at jjnly@hotmail.com? I am really really appreciate your help! Thanks!

18th Jan 2009, 23:34

I bought my 2003 Protege 5 new. It has been an exceptional car with no major problems. I do agree that the car does have a high amount of road noise. But my car has 87,000 miles on it now and is still running strong and looks fantastic. I found the original tires to be unacceptable as far as road noise. I changed to Michelin and have been satisfied ever since. The P5 is a great car and I am looking forward to my next Mazda.

26th Jan 2009, 16:04

I have a 2002 P5 with 226k miles on it. Bought it brand new. Nothing in the car has failed outside of reasonable expectations. Brake pads, headlights, tires, etc. are wearable items that last for a good amount of time. As of today, front brake rotors will need replacing soon, front driver window sticks sometimes (need to clean switch contacts), and air intake hose has a tear in it ($60 part). Overall, I am extremely pleased with my P5. BTW, just replace the stock tires with 205/60s and forget about the original size. I typically get 50k miles out of a set of tires.

2nd Feb 2009, 16:23

Response to 9th Nov 2008, 20:51

Check with a Mazda dealer to make sure it went in for the engine recall. The butterfly valve in the air intake has loose screws that can get sucked into the engine. The precursor failure is your engine flutters at idle. It may even stall.

Back in 2004 I managed to suck the screw into my engine. I wasn’t too happy about it at the time, but it was all covered under warranty. Later that month there was a recall on that exact problem.

Other problems I saw from earlier posts

A few people were complaining that their car was eating brakes and tires. I have 78k on mine and in total I have had to put 4 tires on it, and have never had to replace the brakes. (I engine break a lot, and replace the tires in sets of 2.)

The rear struts are shot, but that is because of my misuse of the car. I’m a geologist, and it doesn’t make a great field work car ;-)

For normal driving on paved roads this car is a very good car. It is mechanically sound as long as you maintain it. I have abused mine for 4 years, and have very little to complain about. If I were to mistreat an American made car like this one I would be walking by now.


I forgot the car has a weak starter if it gets below about -15 degrees F. If you switch to synthetic motor oil in the winter the car will start better, and the starter will struggle less.

It will eat headlights (low beam). Don’t bother to buy expensive ones or you’ll just be mad.

3rd Feb 2009, 10:49

Protege 5 has issues with brakes - not just normal wear issues.

I was told by dealer service tech that the emergency brake has a flaw in the design, such that it causes the rear caliper to stick and so grind the pad and rotor. I can't be sure that this is the design, but my experience has been that using the e-brake has been a problem, and I stay off of it now.

I have had to replace the brakes at least 4 times in 110,000 miles, including 2 sets of calipers. This is the only major flaw I have had with the car - the rest has been fine.

The only other issue is a nuisance - using the defrost / defog setting for the AC can only take in outside air, and not recirculate internal air. This is annoying in the winter months, in traffic (sucking in other people's exhaust).

6th Feb 2009, 10:00

I recently bought a 2003 MP5 with light front-end damage from a tow company's auction for $2000. Though I have no way of knowing how the maintenance was conducted under the previous owner, I have done all I can to ensure a good start for mine. I had to replace the front clip and one headlight, but the interior was perfect, and a look under the hood revealed my great fortune: chipped engine with a Mazda issue turbocharger, all in exceptional condition with less than 116,000 miles. My guess is that if the previous owner added those upgrades, he wasn't driving it like a papaw, and it STILL has the original tires, brakes, and clutch. It sat still out in the elements in an impound yard from December of 2007 to November of 2008, when I purchased it, and the paint is still as shiny as the day it rolled out of the showroom. (and once I jumped off the dead battery, she ran like a song.) How's THAT for Mazda reliability??

I'm extremely pleased, and I wish I'd bought one of these years ago!!