Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

1998 Mazda Protege DX; Starting Issues

My problem:

After moving my car into the shade in the morning with no problems my old reliable plastic death trap no longer wants to start.

When I turn the key to the Accessory position everything looks fine. All the appropriate lights flash, radio turns on, A/C fan will blow. When turning the key to the star position everything goes dead with absolutely no sound what so ever, not even a click or series of clicks that I have heard when the battery is run down.

Now after unsuccessfully trying to start the car and allowing the key to return to the Accessory position the internal lights that normally turn on, light up. Oddly my CD player makes a grinding sound like its going to shoot CD’s at me.

Next odd thing is when I start to play with the head lights. The running lights will turn on fine but when I try to turn on the headlights everything goes dead, including the running lights that turn on when the headlights are on, and a really fast clicking sound starts until I turn off the head lights.

I made a half assed effort to clean the battery post/terminal connectors and charge the battery without any luck. FYI, the posts/connectors barely had any corrosion.

I do not have any equipment to check the voltage of the battery or do a load check.

I am not sure if this would be a battery problem or some issue with the electrical system. So I have not tried to replace the battery yet.

For the most part I would just like some ideas as to what could be the problem so I have something more to tell a mechanic besides “Duh… It don’t work no moe’.”

Though if it turns out there are more trouble shooting things that I can do on my own that would be great.


What you describe sounds to me like a dead battery, and if it’s truly dead it won’t take a charge. How old is the batttery?

Can you start the car with jumper cables?

Most auto parts stores will test the battery and the charging system free. Assuming you can get the car, or the battery, to a parts store.

Stop guessing and have the battery load tested. Then you’ll know.

Battery isn’t more than a few years old.

When I first found my car dead lined yesterday I hooked my battery up to a battery charger. I used the “jump start” function and when that didn’t seem to do anything I switched it to the “fast charge” setting for an hour. Trying to start my car after letting it charge for an hour didn’t change any of the odd things that I described in the original post. Haven’t had the chance to jump the battery from another vehicle yet.

I have been diligent in parking in the shade when possible as the temps locally have been in the triple digits.

My main concern was with all of the other “quirks” that I listed in the original post. I was curious if the quirks may be an indicator that my 12 year old vehicle with 200k+ miles was having some other issues besides the battery. I have had my battery take a dive before but I have never noticed my car behaving in the same way as I noticed yesterday when my battery wasn’t working properly.

Thanks for the response Mcparadise.

Heat is very hard on batteries.

How are the connections at the OTHER end of the battery cables?

I’ll have time to check the cables in a few days.

I had the battery checked at a parts store. They told me that it tested fine and the sticker on the battery shows it being less than a year old. So much for the quick fix.

Thanks again.


I tried to look at the “other” end of the battery cables but it just looks like the cables are all spliced together and disappear into the dark nether regions of the car. So I have no idea how things look at the other end of the battery cables

On the positive side, after taking a look at the connectors at the battery end of the cables I cleaned the battery cable where it attaches to the battery connector (after removing the connector from the cable). Now my plastic death trap is running again.

Now if only I could find where the oil leak is coming from I’d be set.

Thanks again for the help Mcparadise.