Protege 2002 ignition issue?

03-06-2008, 11:19 AM
My 2002 Mazda Protege has had problems starting recently and the problem seems to be getting worse as time goes on. When I put the key in and crank it, I get all the electrical devices working (radio, lights, seatbelt alarm, dash lights, etc.) but the car won't turn over, just a click and nothing.

If I let it set for a second, or play with various things like shifting into neutral and back to park, turning on the headlights, rocking the car, letting it roll a few feet, turning the alarm on then off, or plain repeating the cranking at 5 second intervals, it will start eventually (sometimes 2nd crank, sometimes 20th). I mention all those various things because at one point or another I thought I had zeroed in on what would help the car start. But I'm convinced it's either a time issue or I simply have no idea what to look for.

It's odd that I have power, and the car starts eventually, but almost never on the first try now. I had the car serviced maybe a month ago and they found nothing, but the problem was on the wane then.

Just now when I drove to work I had another idea for a test. When I got to work, I turned it off, waited 15 seconds, then tried to crank it once. It didn't start. It seems like if it was an alternator or battery issue all of my above troubleshooting would have found it by now.

Is my ignition going?

Thanks for any help!

Doug Tatham
03-07-2008, 04:55 PM
Does it sound like the engine is turning sluggishly when you crank it? If so, the battery is probably dying or your cables need cleaning. Have an autoparts store check your charging system. If it's cranking quickly, but just not getting gas it could be your fuel pump. Usually when the fuel pump goes you feel a sluggishness when accelerating. Have you changed your spark plugs in the last 30k miles? You may want to take one out and see if it has a lot of buildup on it.
My bet would be on either the cables are the battery.

03-07-2008, 06:47 PM
No, it makes no sound at all when I try to start it, just the click.
And the last 3 times I tried to start it, it worked first time. I'm not sure what the variable is, it's bizarre.

03-08-2008, 12:29 PM
If you haven't had the battery tested that would be my next step. Sounds like it may be bad or you have some loose cables.


03-10-2008, 03:51 PM
If the battery was bad or the cables were loose, wouldn't it prevent any of the cars accessories from starting? When the car doesn't start, everything else still works-lights, radio, power windows, everything. Or does the ignition have it's own dedicated cabling from the battery? The battery was replaced about a year ago too.

Could it be a fuse thing?

Doug Tatham
03-10-2008, 04:04 PM
The cable could be loose where it connects to the starter. Also, most accessories work fine even if the battery is too weak to start the car. The fact that it will suddenly start after a few tries says that there may be a problem with the ignition switch. I would check out the starter as well. Try disconnecting the starter and put a multimeter on it. Have someone try the key several times to ensure that you always get shot of power.

11-05-2009, 10:09 PM
Might be your Starter Solenoid. It can be replaced on its own, or you can replace to whole starter. I dont think its your battery. But if your getting 12.50 volts without cranking it, thats a good sign the battery is ok. But you might have a cell going bad to where there is no cranking power or its weak.
Starter Solenoid is most likely.

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