Honestly, if you had a motor and two transmissions go out in 156,000 miles I would question your driving habits, not blame an auto manufacturer. Plus, if you have to spend a penny on a car other than scheduled maintenance, something isn't right. Its just a matter of what goes out on a vehicle. I've spent less on two Chevys than what was spent on one Mazda.
Or I should say as I forgot to add in my last entry. If you have to spend a penny on a vehicle, other than scheduled maintenance with in the first 100,000 theres something not right. Things should atleast 100,000. Plus people say imports are better than American. Well I disagree. Imports are just as crappy if not more. Atleast American, you can work on them.
I will agree with you that working on a '95 Mazda Protege using ramps or jack stands can be mental and physical agony. The engine compartment is very cramped, just like with many modern American and Japanese cars. Care to check out the engine bay on our 2001 GM minivan (Olds/Chevy/Pontiac-all made in the same manufacturing plant)? It is much worse than the Protege.
As far as reliability, the Protege gets it mostly right. The engine, manual transmission, cooling system, paint, and most switch gear (power windows, turn stalks, etc.) works well and is durable. I have 205K miles and the engine is still strong and I am on the original clutch! This is even after frequent towing of a 400 lb. ATV on a 4x8 utility trailer since 60K miles. Mobile One in the gearbox helps.
I have had many of the part failures you mention like A/C compressor at 7 years, muffler around 100K (replaced with better after-market version), cracked exhaust manifold at around 100K, EGR valve at 150K, O2 sensor at around 80K, and rubber air intake snorkel around 150K. Except for the A/C and preventative timing belt/water pump changes, I have performed all of the repairs myself.
I get about 120K miles out of my brake pads, so it's all how you drive.
Timing belts, spark plug wires, distributor cap/rotor are all just normal maintenance items on the majority of overhead cam/inline 4 cylinder engines.
I won't bore you with all the major component failures our 2001 GM minivan has had since we purchased it new. Let's just say it makes the Protege look superb in comparison.
I have a 95 Protege with 130K miles on it. The thing runs very well, and still manages to get close to 40mpg! It's decently comfortable, handles pretty well, and is a great bang for the buck. Sure, routine things had to be replaced, but the car never left me stranded, and still purrs like a kitten.
American cars are getting much better nowadays. But in the mid 90's they were still crappy. I had a '96 Ford Taurus that was constantly in the shop for mysterious diseases that the dealer couldn't seem to figure out. I also had a '95 Pontiac Grand Prix whose tranny went out at 50K. And all those squeaks and rattles! My Protege remains quiet to this day.
I have a Mazda Protege and I have 340,000 kms on it... and not a hitch...
HINT #1 Change the timing belt after 200,000 kms and clean the mass air flow.
Well, my 95 Protege goes without any problems whatsoever. I do work on it myself, and just completed a tune up. Very straight forward. The thing still gets close to 40mpg, on regular (far cry from my Audi, as well as reliability, but we won't go there).
American cars have come a long way, but around '95 they were mostly junky. I've had a brand new '94 Ford Explorer, which had numerous problems, as well as a '96 Taurus with similar number of issues. Maybe GM's better, I don't know. But I will never buy Ford products again!
L O L Domestic better than Japanese. Don't be a tard. and the shaking of the car on decel and constant pads... IT MEANS YOUR ROTOORS ARE WARPED fix it prob over.
Yeah, I've got to agree with the previous comment. Mazda's inline engines from the mid 90's are crap. I've worked on them all. But Mazda's rotary design especially the 13B in the FC3 is pure genius. I think you might've got stuck with a lemon. Proteges are great little runners if well maintained. Yes, have to replace CV joints before the 90k interval is unfortunate, but could be due too many factors. Personally, I've owned both domestics (Silverado, Blazer, a Mustang 5-0, and an Escort) as well as imports like Civics, Accords, and my first car a 1996 Protege DX. There's ups and downs of both.
I've had a 1995 Mazda Protege DX since 1994. I've had a few issues with it but overall is the best car I've ever owned. My husband has done all of the routine maintenance on it and it has 130,000 miles on it. It is very dependable and has taken us several thousand miles in the last 3 years on hurricane evacuations.
I'm very happy with my car and agree with some of the other statements that have been made on this website: It's all in the way the car is driven and maintenanced.
This vehicle is being abused. Period. You have problems changing plugs? That's strange because they're right on top of the engine; barely have to bend over to get at them. Your whole post doesn't ring true; my Protege is pushing 350KM and still going strong.
I have a 1995 Protege and like my car. Apart from needing to change parts as required, it has not had any major problems. The car is in great working order and I have 160,000 odd miles on it.
My brakes don't wear out like yours do - but like someone else said - driving habits make a difference to brakes.
BTW American cars DO NOT last as long. They might be great for the first so many years, but then you need major work done on them.
Face it.. Cars now days suck to work on!! Blame it on the tree huggers! Emissions?? Big deal!!
Yeah. It is a big deal. Mowing the lawn for one hour causes as much pollution as driving a car for 10 hours. Emission controls are worth it.
Original post said "a scanner for it to read the trouble codes from the computer"
Though this is a year old post, I'd like to know where such a scanner can be obtained, since all I've been able to find begin with 1996 only! I'd really like to have this scanner if the first poster would part with it. Or anyone else... email me at walford (at) dbtech.net. Thanks.
Then you have OBDI, not OBDII. First go to a auto parts store and ask them to scan it for you or to help you scan it with their scanner. It won't cost you a dime.
Then learn about OBDI code reading. There are blinking patterns that give you the codes without a scanner. Google it.