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Mazda Protege Reliability by Model Generation

Results are for year ending September 30, 2016. Only successfully completed repairs are currently included in the analysis. Routine maintenance, most wear items, recalls, and problems fixed with just a reflash or warning light reset are not included.
Year and Model Percent of Average  
2001 - 2003 Mazda Protege
35.1428571429% Best 99% Worst
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What Our Members Are Saying about the Reliability And Durability of the Mazda Protege

Mazda Protege Reliability And Durability: Pros
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2003 4dr Wagon 130-horsepower 2.0L I4
5-speed manual FWD
Built on the same assembly line that Mazda originally slated for their up-market line (to compete with Lexus, Infiniti, BMW, etc.) full 2003 Mazda Protege review
2003 4dr Wagon 130-horsepower 2.0L I4
5-speed manual FWD
I looked at reviews on Edmunds and Consumer Reports and the Protege5 got high marks. full 2003 Mazda Protege review
2003 4dr Sedan turbocharged 170hp 2.0L I4
5-speed manual FWD
almost 5 years old and no significant issues. No rattles or squeaks, no rust, nothing falling apart/off. full 2003 Mazda Protege review
2003 4dr Wagon 130-horsepower 2.0L I4
5-speed manual FWD
Very very well screwed together. full 2003 Mazda Protege review
2003 4dr Wagon 130-horsepower 2.0L I4
5-speed manual FWD
Purchased new. Replaced one wheel bearing, timing belt and one set of brake pads in 119,000 miles. No squeaks, no rattles, no loose body parts or other mechanical problems. full 2003 Mazda Protege review
2003 4dr Wagon 130-horsepower 2.0L I4
5-speed manual FWD
no major problems, typical maintenance w/ 85k miles full 2003 Mazda Protege review
2002 4dr Wagon 130-horsepower 2.0L I4
4-speed automatic FWD
I bought my Protege5 wish 50,000 miles and it now has just under 110,000. I have not had a single problem with the car and cannot foresee one occuring anytime soon. I am very happy with the reliability of my car. full 2002 Mazda Protege review
2002 4dr Wagon 130-horsepower 2.0L I4
5-speed manual FWD
My car has needed repairs in the time I've had it, but nothing that a normal 10+ year old car wouldn't routinely need. It has never stranded me or had a part fail that I wasn't expecting. full 2002 Mazda Protege review
2002 4dr Wagon 130-horsepower 2.0L I4
5-speed manual FWD
The car has never stranded me, and seems very well put together. Engine, manual transmission, clutch, and other major components are still working well. Front struts have been replaced, and the radiator (the car does not get driven every day and this is not surprising for an older car that sits for a week or two at a time). I hear complaints about rust from other Protege owners, but after 12 years in Philadelphia, I have just recently seen a little at the bottom of the front doors and one rear wheel well. full 2002 Mazda Protege review
2002 4dr Wagon 140-horsepower 2.0L I4
5-speed manual FWD
With currently 60K miles on the odometer, my Protege5 has not had a single mechanical failure. Should last a long time given proper maintenance. full 2002 Mazda Protege review
Mazda Protege Reliability And Durability: Cons
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2003 4dr Wagon 130-horsepower 2.0L I4
4-speed shiftable automatic FWD
paint is so thin, chips every where and easily, need to lubricate rear piston sliders once a year full 2003 Mazda Protege review
2003 4dr Wagon 130-horsepower 2.0L I4
5-speed manual FWD
This is not a horrible story, but there are some issues. The right front bearing carrier seems to wear out fairly quickly, causing the bearing to get "cocked" inside the carrier and thus wear out, too. A word of advise- if you need to replace the RF bearing, make darn sure the carrier is good, or you will be replacing the bearing again in about 20,000 miles, maybe less. Fortunately, the bearing carrier is the same as on the Protege sedan, so used one are cheap and easy to find. Oddly, too, the low-beam head lights tend to burn out too soon, too- Mr. Karesh, the admin of this site, confirmed he has had to replace the low beams more than twice, too. I can think of no reason for this, but there it is. Otherwise, the car is very reliable. full 2003 Mazda Protege review
2003 4dr Sedan 130-horsepower 2.0L I4
5-speed manual FWD
Random misfires at 50k miles, 5 years old. Ultimately cost $2k to repair. full 2003 Mazda Protege review
2003 4dr Wagon 130-horsepower 2.0L I4
5-speed manual FWD
I bought the car from its first owner in January of 2009 and enjoyed two trouble-free years with nothing but routine maintenance and recommended repairs/replacement due to mileage. This year, however, has been a different story, with several expensive repairs happening in rapid succession. (Blown head-gasket, blown radiator, new timing belt, new motor mounts, new suspension, new cam positioning sensor, window regulator on driver's side.) We're waiting to see if these repairs do it for awhile. If so, we'll be driving this car for many more years, Lord willing. full 2003 Mazda Protege review
2003 4dr Wagon 130-horsepower 2.0L I4
5-speed manual FWD
Most of the car holds up very well. But where the roads are salted the rear wheel openings start to rust after about five years. full 2003 Mazda Protege review