1998 Mazda 626

I have about 70,000 miles on this car. Because it belonged to my Mother, alot of things have never been done, like the fuel filter being changed. It was recently diagnosed that it needed an $800 part from Mazda. It won’t idle in park, starts shaling and dies. Could this be the fuel filter instead of that expensive part?

How about a description of the “expensive part”? The price tag doesn’t really help us and the part description might help us determine whether or not the dealer is being honest.

I agree with knuckle.  We need to start with the part. Is it by chance a timing belt?  That Mazda appears to not be an interference engine so it will not likely do engine damage, but it is still past due at 10 years, and if it has stretched or worn it may be the cause of the problem.  

While I doubt if it is the fuel filter, if that is an original fuel filter, it certainly need to be changed.  I would guess the plugs and plug wires are also past due.  Any time you have a problem that is not obviously a specific cause, you should start by getting all the past due maintenance items done first

Is there a check engine light illuminated? Fuel filter is a good preventative maintenance item however not essential. While not good practice it got missed until the 200k mark on both my previous vehicles with no ill effects.

It is some kind of idle box that Express Oil said they had to get from Mazda. I will see if I can get the name and get back. Thanks.

Do you really have a place called Express Oil working on your car? Sounds scary to me. As you say, it could be anything but it doesn’t sound like you are at the best place to find out. Sounds too much like Jiffy to me.

It could be like Jiffy Lube. It is like them in that they offer quick services for your car in the southeastern US. I am aware that some JL locations provide poor service, but I use one near my house and have for 10 years. Their service is good; I have no complaints. Oh, it costs too much, but doesn’t everything?

Before I’d pay $800 dollars for a part, I’d get a second opinion. Do you know if they did any testing and checking before they decided it’s an “idle box” (whatever that is). Too many “mechanics” will guess at a part just from a symptom. This isn’t the way it should be done.
What if you went to your doctor and told him your symptoms, and he did no tests; but, he made a diagnosis of some internal fault in your body, and prescribed treatment? Would you wonder why he did no tests, or would you feel comfortable with that approach?
I could name several things to check, and do, before making an $800 diagnosis.

Maybe a trip to the dealer and get the car put on the diagnostic machine. A $70 check could find your problem.

It sounds like it might be the idle air control. I recall that on some vehicles they are pretty expensive to replace. I don’t know if Mazda was one of them. Get a second opinion, get the real name of the part and check the price of the part on line.

The idle air control might well not generate a trouble code.

Maybe a trip to the dealer and get the car put on the diagnostic machine. A $70 check could find your problem.

Do you mean checking for computer error codes? That can be done for free as a lot of auto part stores, like Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts.

That’s the one. I’m taking it today to get the fuel filter replaced, but I can’t pay for the idle thing. I am a single woman and just thought I might get an answer like yours here instead of smart-ass answers like the rest. Thank you so much for your time!

I agree with PDV. As veterans of this board know only too well, many vehicles are damaged weekly by poorly trained employees at quick oil change places who are unable to correctly change oil/transmission fluid/differential oil, etc. The thought of someone at a quick oil change place doing some actual repair work is beyond scary.

I strongly suggest that the OP get a second opinion, and if repairs are necessary, to have them done by a qualified mechanic, rather than by the unskilled labor at a quick oil change place.