Is my mazda dying?

I have a 96 mazda 626 with 235,000 miles on it. Last time we took it to our mechanic for a tune-up (about 20,000 miles ago) he told me to look for a new vehicle because one cylinder was bad. I decided to drive it till it died and now it stalls often once it warms when it is at an idle. Is it time to junk it?

I would say yes, it is time to junk it.

It is always cheaper to keep a car running than buy a new one, but in most cases, the sacrifice you make in reliability isn’t worth it.

What’s wrong with that one “bad” cylinder? Simply low compression? A bit of oil on the sparkplug?

Chances are good that the stalling can be corrected without getting a new car. If the engine is tired and using some oil it’s possible that the plugs are loading up and failing prematurely…20,000 miles would not be unreasonable, especially if it’s all in-town driving. Perhaps a new set of plugs now and then would be the answer here.

It’s also very possible that the stalling is simply because some ignition component is simply due for changing and has become heat sensitive.

You have an OBDII system on this. You could start by having it checked for stored codes.

I’m gonna guess the compression is low in all cylinders, probably very low in the “bad” cyliinder, and in addition it’s passing oil which is loading up the plugs. Between the misfiring and the low compression it probably just doesn’t have the oomph to keep turning the crank.

I’ll check the plugs - thanks for good ideas!

It is a good time to junk it. It will be costing you a bit more to maintain it as more parts reach the end of their possible lifespan. A 626 is no great loss anyway with that many miles on it.

Along the line of spark plugs, it may be possible to get a “hotter” spark plug for the cylinder that is bad. My first car had an oil consumption problem–one quart every 200 miles. There were plugs that were in a higher heat range that could burn off the oil. If it is possible to get a plug in a higher heat range, this might buy you a little more time.