Is is safe to drive my 2001 protege (107K) to Florida

04-15-2010, 12:18 PM
Hi Everyone,

I am having a difficult time making this decision whether its safe to drive my Mazda protege (clocked 107K miles already) from Dallas to Florida (~1350 Miles)? Actually, I am relocating next week and was thinking of driving there instead of shipping the car as shipping is costly and also with many hassles, not to mention the pain of not having your car for about 2 weeks.

The car runs great, and its well maintained. I always had this one small issue that the transmission (automatic) seems to be a little jerky when it shifts from 1st to 2nd gear. I have shown it to mechanics but they say its normal which I don't agree to. But other than that, it runs great and gives excellent mpg.

Please advice, if its safe to do so.

Thanks a lot.

04-15-2010, 03:14 PM
The car runs great, and its well maintained...

there's your answer... it's good to go!

was the timing belt taken care of? i'd do an oil change before and after the trek if everything else about the car is OK

04-15-2010, 05:26 PM
Thanks for your response & helpful tips. I'll take care of these things for sure, before I leave. Any hints on the transmission thing I mentioned (i.e. jerky when changing from 1st to 2nd gear), why its caused or if its normal (as per 2 different mechanics).

Thanks !!!

04-15-2010, 10:20 PM
i dont know about the transmissions of ford/mazdas... but did you check the fluid? color? smell?

here's a nice link about that:

so the condition of the fluid is your best indicator if the transmission is ok

in terms of the mileage, i only threw in if the timing belt was changed at the recommended interval... if the shop is going to do it, they'll highly recommend a water pump change on top of it since it's right there (it'll be a costly job if you don't DIY)

i'm personally 5K over the change interval of my nissan quest minivan (same as mercury villager) and i need to get my timing belt/water pump changed as well, but that's another story
PS: i'm gonna refer you to a better forum, if it's allowed:

looks like you love this car and want to keep it for a long time; here's the forum you want to browse around in!

have fun learning more about your vehicle!

04-19-2010, 03:58 PM
Thanks... I got the timing belt and Water pump replaced this weekend... Also got Oil & coolant changed. He changed only the timing belt & water pump but said that its not required to change the other timing belt related components like the tensioner etc... Is it OK ? It did cost me about 500 bucks for the whole job.

04-20-2010, 07:44 AM
wait a minute... you said earlier that you have this vehicle well maintained... i dunno if you're following your owner's manual for preventative maintenance

at that mileage, did you change the platinum-tipped spark plugs as well?

most vehicles that's taken care of can go the distance without any hiccups... my relative drove from FL to NJ and back last week in a minivan with an airbed in the back for a quick nap in between stops...

did the shop do a complimentary check of other systems as well? your brake pads OK?
if you told the service writer/advisor that you did that job to prepare for your trip to FL, he would have done a quick check after they did your timing belt/water pump job

I'm a DIYer and do my checks on the driveway (heck, i'm performing front and rear brake jobs on a relative's car this weekend)

that price seems right for the amount of work they did (now it's good for another 100,ooo miles) i guess they already inspected the outer accessory belts and hoses when they changed the coolant/water pump/ timing belt...

as for the transmission fluid: how was the color/smell? if it was recently change and it's still light pink in color with no burnt smell to it... i guess it's fine according to the other links and mazda owner's website forums

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