definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,070 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Mazda Protege engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Mazda Protege Owner Comments

problem #13

Jan 112010


  • 100,000 miles


My 03 Protege has vics screws falling out and all issues that comes with it. My car has been parked in the driveway untouched because I cannot afford to pay for the repairs due to how many times my car has had issues and cannot pass emissions. So I have to turn my tags in within the month because Mazda wont recognize the issue being their recall since my VIN is out of their window for cars being defective. I don't understand why if so many people are having the same problem; why those months when we have the same parts" Mazda claims its the torque but obviously its the screws falling out including the butterflies. Why was the torque different those 3 months? if Mazda is saying the recall is due to the torque being wrong and the screws are falling out then why are so many vehicles that are in and out of the VIN number needed to be required for free repair? why are so many vehicles being checked and mechanics finding screws and butterflies in other areas other than where they should be? if the recall is due to torque, then why are you replacing the original screws" if torque is the case why not just use the correct torque usage, you know the torque that's in my car! why are Proteges with the vins out of the recall window having the same corrective action when they go to get the repair and get the same parts when they had the correct torque in the first place! its clear this recall isn't about torque, this is about it the recall part being faulty no matter what torque was used. Wouldn't it have been more cost effective and easier for you just to use the required torque rather than new parts since you say. Mazda doesn't take this seriously and fix their faulty part. We need help!

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #12

Oct 212011

Protege 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
The car suffered a failure of the intake manifold whereby the screws inside the intake had come loose and caused damage to the engine. It is unclear at this time if my car is covered under the current recall 3005 C.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #11

Aug 242011

Protege 4-cyl

  • 56,197 miles
The tightening torque of the screws used for mounting the intake manifold shutter valve loosened and fell out (1 into the spark plugs and caused damage to plugs and coils).caused misfiring, affecting the exhaust emissions. There was a recall in 2006 but not for my car's VIN - but my car had the exact problem from that recall. Waiting to see if Mazda will honor this recall and pay for repairs/parts.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #10

Mar 012011


  • miles


2003 Mazda Protege. Consumer states electrical problems with vehicle and several other concerns the consumer stated the lights stayed on and the alarm would sound intermittently. The dealer replaced the electrical module. The consumer also stated the engine overheated due to a water pump leak and leaking radiator, the battery was replaced several times, the vehicle was out of alignment, and the consumer had to purchase three sets of tires.

- San Marcos, CA, USA

problem #9

Jul 302009


  • 79,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mazda Protege 5. while idling the engine, it misfired and two of the cylinders did not make a connection. An authorized technician removed a screw from the cylinder within the engine at his own expense. The technician also stated that the intake manifold was losing screws and affecting the cylinders. The manufacturer offered no assistance. The current mileage was 83,000 and the failure mileage was approximately 79,000.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #8

Apr 102009


  • 72,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mazda speed Protege. While driving 20 mph, the vehicle began to shake severely when the contact released the accelerator pedal. He experienced difficulty steering and controlling the vehicle. He took the vehicle to a dealer and was informed that the variable tumble control system shutter valve became stuck in the closed position. The failure prevented air from entering the vehicle. Through online research, he discovered a recall for the same failure on the regular Mazda Protege. The manufacturer stated that the Mazda speed Protege had no recalls. The failure mileage was 72,000 and current mileage was 75,000.

- Wauwatosa, WI, USA

problem #7

May 172007

Protege 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mazda protÉGÉ. the contact stated that the check engine light illuminated. The mechanic checked the codes and stated that the engine misfired. The current mileage was 84,000 and failure mileage was 80,000.

- Bethany Beach, DE, USA

problem #6

Mar 072006

Protege 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 62,000 miles
My engine failed causing a sudden loss of power. I was able to pull over safely. My car required about $1,000 worth of repairs, using used parts, and I have permanent engine damage that will ultimately shorten the life of my engine. The root cause of the engine failure was due to loose screws located in the air intake manifold, that allowed for a baffle or butterfly valve to break and enter my engine. This very same problem was recalled by Mazda for vehicles made from March of 2003 to July of 2003, mine was manufactured in February of 2003, and therefore was not recalled. I know of at least three other people who also have experienced this very same issue who have not been included in the recall. I have had two separate Mazda service managers confirm this was the same problem as the recall - loose screws in air intake manifold. I need this investigated to determine if more cars should be recalled.

- Harwinton, CT, USA

problem #5

Dec 012004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 715 miles
The vehicle stalled on a continuous basis. The dealer was not able to duplicate the problem. There was also a noise in the front of the vehicle when the accelerator was applied.

- Pompano Beach, FL, USA

problem #4

Dec 162003

Protege 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
Intermittently while driving at any speed vehicle stalled. This problem occurred six times since December of 2003. Dealer examined the vehicle, and could not find what the problem was.

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #3

Mar 112004

Protege 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles


Engine has a very bad hesitation during exceleration, both from a standing and roilling start. Hesitation is bad enough to cause vehicle control problems durring the winter when driving on snow or during rainy conditions. Engine has already had the PCM module reprogramed as per outstanding service bulletin this fixed the engine missing under same circumstance but does not correct the hesitation. Dealer has looked at the vehicle 2 times and cannot find or fix the problem.

- Erie, CO, USA

problem #2

Mar 122004

Protege 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,400 miles
2003 Mazda Protege 5 stalled when trying to accelarate from a stop light. This has happened twice already. Both times I was able to restart the car without problems. The dealer can't duplicate problem, and can't figure out what is causing the the problem.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #1

Jan 012004

Protege 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,600 miles
There's a knocking sound coming from the engine when started in the morning.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

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