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Should we buy this warranty for our Mazda?
May 30, 2012 9:19 PM   Subscribe

We are buying a 2002 Mazda Protege5! It is a cute little hatchback with 40,000 miles on it. The Carfax is clean. Should we buy the dealership's powertrain warranty?

The Toyota dealership at which we found this car offers a 2-year/24,000 mile powertrain warranty (covering mechanical problems with the engine, axle assembly, and automatic transmission) for $940.

Have you owned a Protege of this vintage, or similar Mazda? What was your maintenance experience like? Given the problems we are most likely to experience in the near future, do you think we should go for the warranty?
posted by treefort to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know about the Protoge5 specifically, but a car that has made it to 40k miles should make it to 60k miles, even an American car (which the Protoge5 isn't). I wouldn't expect that car to need much in the way of powertrain work until it hits 120k miles. Even then, I'd expect minor maintenance that costs under $600.

Unless a lot of people report powertrain issues with their Mazda5s, I'd avoid that warranty.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:24 PM on May 30, 2012


Goto place for this kind of information: TrueDelta, or Consumer Reports.

In my view that is a very expensive warranty given the coverage.
posted by jet_silver at 9:25 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a 2003 Mazda Protege, now with 115k miles. I've had to get a lot of mechanical stuff on it fixed over the years but the transmission, engine, and axles have never needed any work.
posted by phoenixy at 9:52 PM on May 30, 2012


There is essentially zero chance you will end up saving money by buying that warranty. Any car built in the last 15 years will not require powertrain repairs under 100k miles, none the less 64k miles.

A thing to keep in mind when approaching these things is that if the warranty "made sense" (ie, the expected money saved from the warranty was more than the cost of the warranty), the dealership would not sell it.
posted by saeculorum at 9:58 PM on May 30, 2012


I just got my 2004 vintage car serviced for $500, and it came with an automatic 10000 km warranty. Seems to me that I got a far far better deal, since I got actual new oil and spark plugs and the like as well.

or in other words, no, don't buy the insurance, the dealer is just trying to pad their commission.
posted by wilful at 10:00 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


No.
posted by TonyRobots at 10:15 PM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


That is a super fun car to drive... I still miss ours. I'd vote no on the warranty too, but they tend to rust horribly, so keep an eye on that.
posted by tatiana131 at 10:41 PM on May 30, 2012


I have a 2003 and have only had routine maintenance since I got it new (battery, tired, brakes, headlights, oil changes)
posted by kbuxton at 11:14 PM on May 30, 2012


As another point of anecdata, I've a 2001 Protege 5 with 120k miles on it. I haven't had to do anything to it aside from normal maintenance.
posted by mollweide at 4:49 AM on May 31, 2012


I had a 2003 for a while, and that thing went though headlights like no other car I've ever seen. Literally 1 every 5-6 months, both sides. I had a friend with the same model, and he had the same problem. As a comparison, I have had my Honda Civic now for almost 5 years and have never had to replace a headlight.

But other than that and the pricey tires (the "performance" wheel size made snow tires prohibitively expensive), I loved that Protege5!
posted by Maarika at 5:13 AM on May 31, 2012


Not for that price. If you can weasel them into giving you 4 years/ 60,000 miles for $940, it might be worth it. If there is no deductible. The axles might go bad in two years on that age of a car, but those only cost $200 a piece (if you are paying full freight at the dealership), and engine and transmission tragedies should be long off.

I had a 2003 for a while, and that thing went though headlights like no other car I've ever seen. Literally 1 every 5-6 months, both sides. I had a friend with the same model, and he had the same problem. As a comparison, I have had my Honda Civic now for almost 5 years and have never had to replace a headlight.

Aftermarket light bulbs. They suck. I don't know what magic they put into the factory lightbulbs, but my experience is that they last forever. And once you have to replace one, it is at least a yearly chore.
posted by gjc at 5:30 AM on May 31, 2012


I recommend contacting the after-market warranty company directly. The dealers charge quite a bit on those warranties. You can buy them directly from the company and save yourself the mark-up.

Just know that the warranty is for a major failure, not regular maintanance. So you'll still be doing belts, hoses, brakes, etc.

If the price seems right, then go for it. If not, not. For what the dealer is charging, I'd give it a miss.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:17 AM on May 31, 2012


Just as another "anec-data" point, we have a 2003 Mazda Protege5 with 126,000 miles. We bought the car with 89,000 miles. We replaced the timing belt and water pump around 118,000 because we were getting ready to go on a long trip and I figured I might as well get that done (Mazda's recommendation on timing belt replacement is 120,000 miles). I had to replace the hose to the air cleaner box because mechanics before me hadn't been disconnecting the hose from the box when replacing the air filter and the hose had torn. It was about $30. I have replaced the headlights, but we have a small child and this don't drive much at night and haven't had to replace them again.

I might try to replace the clutch this Summer or Fall. It hasn't gone out on me yet, but we are getting to the mileage where it probably needs doing.

Terrific car! I think it's a great blend of sportiness and practicality. I hope to keep mine for a really long time. One other poster mentioned rust. We don't have any rust on the car, but that poster is in Calgary, Alberta, while I am in Charlotte, NC.
posted by Slothrop at 7:11 AM on May 31, 2012


Oh yeah, tires are apparently an unusual size, but if you call around to different tire places, you can still get the tires for around $90 each. I have Kumho Ecsta tires installed. I found that if you get a quote over the phone, they will sometimes give you a price break to get you to come to their store...
posted by Slothrop at 7:13 AM on May 31, 2012


Thank your for all your wonderful answers! I believe we are now firmly in the "no" camp on this warranty, and I am even more excited than I was before about our new car.
posted by treefort at 7:20 AM on May 31, 2012


Wow, I'm amazed you found one with 40k on it. I was happy to find a 2003 Protege5 with 40k on it in 2005! It's now got 100k on it. Great car, holds a lot more than it looks like it should, and holds up very well. The only work that's been done on it is normal maintenance, including brakes, tires, and the aforementioned headlights, which are a huge hassle.

The tires are relatively expensive and unlikely to be stocked as widely as more common sizes, so if you need new tires in a hurry, you may be limited in store options. The headlights are difficult to change even though my hands are pretty small. In winter (don't have a garage) I'll often pay to make someone else do it since it's even worse with cold hands.
posted by asperity at 9:39 AM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just coming in to add for posterity that anything and everything involved in a car deal is negotiable and that includes the price of the warranty/service contract (and usually the interest rate on the loan unless it is a factory promotion on a new car).
posted by VTX at 10:08 AM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just as another "anec-data" point, we have a 2003 Mazda Protege5 with 126,000 miles. We bought the car with 89,000 miles. We replaced the timing belt and water pump around 118,000 because we were getting ready to go on a long trip and I figured I might as well get that done (Mazda's recommendation on timing belt replacement is 120,000 miles). I had to replace the hose to the air cleaner box because mechanics before me hadn't been disconnecting the hose from the box when replacing the air filter and the hose had torn. It was about $30. I have replaced the headlights, but we have a small child and this don't drive much at night and haven't had to replace them again.

Whoa. Except that we've had ours since it was new this is us. Had the same problem with the intake hose becoming brittle - easy cheap fix. Did timing belt proactively at 115.

Our goes through headlights like crazy too, but I've noticed less often now that we also have small children and drive less at night.

The only remotely non-standard thing I've had to replace was one of the o2 sensors at around 105k. Check engine light came on and showed very specific code indicating o2 sensor. Bought on amazon. Replaced in 5 minutes with one wrench.

That is seriously low mileage for that car.

Also it seems pretty safe, as we've sadly been in several low-moderate speed accidents in ours that have not caused totable damage.
posted by Big_B at 12:07 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


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