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2003 Mazda Protege Problems and Repair Histories

193 TrueDelta members own a 2003 Mazda Protege. 95 of these members (49.2%) have reported repairs for their car. A total of 290 repairs to 2003 Mazda Proteges--an average of 1.5 per vehicle--have been reported.

See our lemon odds and nada odds page for more details. To see how frequently 2003 Mazda Protege problems occur, check out our car reliability stats.

Want to read about specific problems behind these stats? Jump to the 2003 Mazda Protege problem descriptions below.

Don't infer 2003 Mazda Protege problem frequency from what you see on this page. Many lucky owners have had no repairs, and their cars are not shown.

Percentage of 2003 Mazda Protege repairs by problem area

34% of the 2003 Mazda Protege repairs were to the engine, 1% to the transmission, 14% to the brakes, 27% to the suspension, 13% to the electrical or air-conditioning systems, 9% to the body and trim, and 2% to other areas of the vehicle.

Chart based on 290 repairs.

2003 Mazda Protege repair cost distribution

Of the 2003 Mazda Protege repairs that were not covered by warranty and were not do-it-yourself repairs, 18% cost less than $100, 53% between $100 and $499, 17% between $500 and $999, 9% between $1000 and $2499, and 2% more than $2500.

Chart based on 172 repair trips. The repair cost chart excludes repairs made under warranty, do-it-yourself repairs, and repair trips that include maintenance.
Non-members can see only ten 2003 Mazda Protege problems and repair histories. Log in or join us to see them all.
Repair costs are in local units.

2003 Mazda Protege5 4dr Wagon

130-horsepower 2.0L I4 5-speed manual FWD

Mazda Protege5 in Georgia, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
2500 replaced motor with one that has 20000 miles on it., it was a cracked head that led to all this. 
82000 3300 Bought the car, found out that it had a blown head gasket. To replace the gasket was going to cost 1100 bucks. It also needed a new clutch and pressure plate. Which was going to be another 500 bucks plus parts on top of that leaving the totol cost around 
84000 169 3 Blown motor mounts, replaced them with upgraded ones from AWR 
 
Mazda Protege5 in Georgia, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
Jan 2007    
40 RF wheel bearing howling loudly. Repladed DIY. 
65000 30 Both low beam halogen headlight bulbs burned out. Metal spring clip broke while changing bulb, replacement only available from dealer. 
79000 150 RF outer wheel bearing was making very loud noise. I removed carrier myself, but could not replace bearing as I do not own a press, so I took it to a shop where they replaced the bearing. I reinstalled carrier. 
96000 25 Replaced front brake pads. 
112000 120 Previously replaced front wheel saddle bearing repair did not last- either I did not properly tighten the spindle bolt (not likely, but could have happened) or the part was defective. 
144000 50 RF wheel bearing was very noisy. Had replaced it twice already; the real problem was the hub/bearing carrier had worn and allowed the bearing to become cocked slightly- which in turn caused the bearing to fail prematurely. Replaced hub. 
169000 10 Replace low-beam head light. Seems to be a problem area with these cars; I've replaced the head lights three times, and have heard of other owners having similar problems. 
177000  
Mazda Protege5 in Michigan, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
0 Rear ABS sensor replaced under warranty. 
38000 0 Headlight out, replaced bulb. 
48000 0 Finish flaking off wheels. New wheels ordered. Wrong wheels ordered, so not installed. Will have to go back. 
49000 0 Wheels finally replaced. Extra trip required so Mazda could approve use of polished wheels like those that originally came on the car. I had these swapped for regular painted alloys at time of purchase. 
57500 80 One low-beam headlight went out, then a few days later the other one went out. Very difficult to access and remove the bulbs, which no parts shop seems to stock. So I had the dealer do it. 
62000 280 Front left wheel bearing replaced after started making a loud noise during even the slightest turns over 20 MPH. 
76000 440 Pads and rotors all four wheels. 
77000 5 Repaired rust around the rear wheel openings and along the lower inner seam of the driver's door. 
83000 80 Both headlights replaced, second time they've both failed within days of each other. 
84000 398 Another wheel bearing. Intake air tube developed a crack, perhaps when I replaced the air filter. Caused the engine to run lean, setting off the CEL. Shop suspected this was a common problem, since the part was readily available. 
86000 410 Alternator bearing seized up, snapping the accessory belt. Replaced alternator and belts. 
92000 575 Repaired rust around rear wheel openings and on the lower inside surface of the driver's door. 
93000 335 Front left wheel bearing replaced again after two years and 26,000 miles. 
95000 580 Right rear stabilizer bar link broke. Replaced both links. Shop found worn control arm bushings. Replaced both front control arms. But clunk I've been noticing in the front end is still there. 
98300 258 Replaced another wheel bearing, about a year old. Also replaced end links on front stabilizer bar. Clunk gone, handling tighter. 
105000 1000 Pulsation in brake pedal. Turned front rotors, replaced rear pads and rotors. 
108000 93 Pulled over by police because one headlight was out. They were last replaced about 20 months ago, and then 20 months before that. Originals lasted five years. What gives? And why now $30 a bulb? 
111300 15 Right rear power door lock hasn't worked in months. With the weather warmer, removed door panel, opened up lock actuator, and found broken plastic gear and travel slide. Purchased this piece on eBay for $14. 
115000 0 Removed rust from three fenders and welds under hood, treated areas with rust converter, touched-up. Had to remove a few inches of flange from the forward edge of the left rear wheel opening. Not a complete repair. 
115000  
Mazda Protege5 in Massachusetts, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
Sep 2006 68000    
70000 250 The A/C fan switch was malfunctioning. 
 

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2003 Mazda Protege5 4dr Wagon

130-horsepower 2.0L I4 4-speed shiftable automatic FWD

Mazda Protege5 in Virginia, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
Jul 2006 28000    
34000 0 Both coil packs were failing, causing rough idle and severe hesitation. Dealer also replaced all four sparkplugs and both ignition wires as a precaution. Failing coil packs are a known problem that affects a small but measurable number of Proteges/Protege 
39000 0 Rattling from engine bay before engine warmed up. The heat shield had come loose. Dealer reattached under owarranty. Car died while idling at a stoplight. CEL stayed on and then turned off when car restarted. Dealer unable to diagnose and no code recorded. No charge. 
 

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2003 Mazda Protege 4dr Sedan

turbocharged 170hp 2.0L I4 5-speed manual FWD

Mazda Protege in Alabama, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
Sep 2006 23000    
30000 0 replace rear sway bar, end links, and bushings 
55300 250 replaced bushing and brackets for rear sway bar 
63000 612 replaced leaking rear struts 
 

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2003 Mazda Protege 4dr Sedan

130-horsepower 2.0L I4 5-speed manual FWD

Mazda Protege in New Mexico, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
Feb 2007 26000    
30000 120 Door lock actuator had internal break 
 

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2003 Mazda Protege 4-door

4-cylinder automatic 2WD

Mazda Protege5 in Massachusetts, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
Feb 2007 68000    
69000 0 Driving to work, car went into first gear and wouldn't shift. Had it towed to used car dealer; they installed (used/junkyard) tranny. Paid by them because it was under warranty that was offered when purchased car. 
 

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2002.5 Mazda Protege5 4dr Wagon

130-horsepower 2.0L I4 5-speed manual FWD

Mazda Protege5 in New York, United States
Date Odometer
(in miles)
Cost Problem/Repair Description
225 Had loose front tie rod ends replaced because of noise. 
55000 385 Replaced the EGR valve for the third time, first out of warranty. also diagnosed creaking noise in rear as worn/loose sway bar end links. Need to be replaced at next visit. 
57000 85 Buzzing/creaking noise noticed in the front when turning steering wheel. Worn end links on front sway bar diagnosed. Also power steering pump may be at end of life. Not fixed this trip because of cost and not an immediate safety issue. 
65000 300 Replaced broken rear sway bar end links. Also flushed power steering fluid system due to unknown contaminant. Regularly required brake service and lube also performed. 
67000 0 Mechanic noticed that front end links are worn/loose and causing front end clunk/creak. Will repair in the future, not a safety issue. 
73000 390 Replaced rear disc brake rotors and pads. This set only had 15k miles on them. The pad slides rust on this car causing excessive wear on rear brakes. This is 4th set of pads/rotors on rear of this car in 70k miles. 
75000 475 Had scraping noise in rear of car after new pads and rotors installed in February. Mechanic discovered that the rear calipers were faulty and had to be replaced. Also had to replace the 3 month old rotors and pads because of premature deterioration.  
75000 225 had to replace front pipe, completely rotted, needed new part, not just a welded repair 
80000 1400 replaced front brake pads and rotors for 2nd time, first was around 60k mi. Front struts replaced - they were badly leaking and had lost most of their rebound capabilities. Was cause severe tire wear. Had car in for tire wear and 2 alignments over past year, but they didn't figure it out til now. Shop performed rear brake maintenance. The rear brake pad/caliper slides had frozen again. Probably top problem with this car. Significant thru the panel rust on both rear wheel arches, causing the rear bumper to lose its connection points to the body. The connector has rusted away, leaving bumper to rattle in the wind. Also other rust ie bottom of all doors 
82000 500 egr valve problem is back,car stalling and running rough. Cel was egr flow insuficient. Cleared that then threw multiple cylinder misfire. 
89000 350 Front outer tie rods replaced, were significantly loose. Also complained of loud whining/gear noise, was diagnosed as bad driver front wheel bearing. I think it is the gear box whining. also had rust check, alignment. 
89000 0 Sold with substantial rust. 

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