Engin / transmission cutting out while driving


problem just started a a day ago. When I try to cruise at highway speed tachometer shows rpm thats more like its on the 3rd gear rather than 4th. also I noticed when trying to cruise at 40 mph, the engine appears to cut in and out. Tachometer dips (but does not stall) and then recovers and this continues for a couple of cycles until I either speed up or slow down. Dont know if this is the engine related or transmission.

Info about the vehicle: 1997 Mazda protege LX, 1.5L engine. Auto 4 speed transmission. hs 79,000 miles on it. Air filter 5000 miles old, fuel injection system cleaning done 20K miles ago.

Any ideas ?


forgot to mention. Sometimes the car does not start in the morning unless the gas pedal is depressed and held down for a while


Is your ‘Check Engine’ light on? If so, get the codes read by a shop to determine what the problem(s) may be.

But, by your post, I instantly suspect ignition system problems and maybe a transmission problem. It sounds like the car begins to struggle, then kicks out of overdrive.

But, get the codes read first. The ECM in this car is pretty sophisticated, and will pin-point problems in circuits the ECM controls. However, it does not monitor fuel system problems, like pressure or pump efficiency.


actually, no. the check engine light does not come on. but for the large part it seems like the transmission is eager to go into 3rd gear.


do you think it will be OK to wait for the check engine light to come on.