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Make an estimate on how long my car will last

HI everyone,

I am interested in knowing approximately how long my car will last for, in order to determine how much money to invest in it.

Its a 2000 mazda protege 1.6L with 250,000km


typical rust patches around the wheel wheels

Did black undercoating past few years.


Lots of carbon buildup on the valve guide—> should I seafoam?

Installed new timing belt at 240700 (never installed water pump)

Power steering pump squeals when I am taking the corner:

Exhaust is good : no leaks , runs relatively quiet.


I am a very soft driver --> I accelerate slow and brake softly…I dont put unnecessary stress on the car.


Feel free to ask whatever other questions you want

Until some jerk blows a red light and plows into the side of the vehicle.

Not long!

Or? You never drive the vehicle.



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That oil has been NEGLECTED!!! That valve cover is sludged big time. Start changing your oil A LOT more frequently and it will last. Otherwise it won’t.


I had and loved a 1.6 Mazda 323 that I drove throughout my teen years. You could say my driving style was… Zoom-Zoom.
Anyways, I had that car floored every time I accelerated, and that thing never gave me the slightest of problems until I did a 4 speed to 5 speed swap (tore a CV axle seal didn’t notice, ran it out of trans fluid). Rock solid little car.

Oh, actually I did have to replace the front motor mount a few times.

^ That is more important than driving like a grandma. I only run high quality synthetic oil in my car.

A quarter of a million kilometers, 19 years old, and the engine sludged all to hell.

My estimate is New Year’s Eve. Maybe.


After reading that and seeing the pictures you posted I suggest you invest no money in the car, not even oil changes, and only keep the fuel tank half full. Replace light bulbs and wiper blades as needed for safety or to avoid tickets. If you blow out a tire, replace just that one with a used tire. If you fail a required emissions or safety inspection, tow the car to the junkyard.

At 18 years and 150,000 miles the car has already surpassed its estimated useful life if it had proper maintenance and no body issues, so you’re already on borrowed time. But with rust patches on the body and engine sludge like you show, I would drive it as is until it quits.

If money grew on trees I would advise you not to spend any of it on this car.

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Don’t buy it any green banannas.

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Not even oil changes? Seriously? Are you TRYING to hasten this car’s demise?

Seriously, while I wouldn’t invest a ton of money into keeping this clunker running, I would do at least the minimal maintenance and replace anything needed for safety such as brake pads, light bulbs, wiper blades, etc. You do have a recent timing belt, so you don’t have to worry about that again.

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The OP isn’t changing the oil now, Why start ? It will just break all that sludge loose and start plugging up everything.

Damaged dust boot, leaking strut, needs replacement right now.

Looks like someone barbecued a pig in there. You are extremely lucky it runs at all.

Here is the amount of money you should put in it - $0.00

A friend of my wife had this same car. Unfortunately last year it was totalled in a collision, but it still ran like new due to diligent maintenance. The friend is a nurse and is used to caring for everything.

She promptly bought a new Mazda3, the successor to the Protégé.

Aside from the inevitable rust around the rear fenders, these are very tough little cars. You can start by having frequent oil changes as recommended and hope for the best.

Body work is a waste of time and money; I would just plug up any holes with Bondo and paint over them.

Or spend much money on maintenance from the looks of things. The timing belt is supposed to be replaced every 60k miles or 100k Kilometers, the water pump is supposed to be replaced at that time too. If you waited until 240700 kim and still didn’t bother to replace the water pump, that’s gross negligence. Continuing the theme, the mess under the valve cover suggests that the oil hasn’t been changed nearly as often as it should’ve been, and for the rust you can see there’s about 200% more that you can’t see.

This car has been severely neglected, I wouldn’t count on it giving you years of trouble free service. I’d be looking for a replacement right now if I were you.

I would at least change the oil, even with the cheapest store brand meeting specs. Besides that, don’t put any major money into this.

I think this is the vehicle the OP installed power windows in and then had a thread about how to cover the window crank holes. If so lets hope on the next vehicle they pay more attention to the care and feeding of the vehicle.

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Those aren’t valve guides and that’s not carbon. Clean up as much of that mess as you can, being careful not to let any of the crud block any of the oil return holes, then change the oil. You can try SeaFoam as per the directions on the can to help clean up the innards a bit more.

But like the others, I am not optimistic about the long-term prospects for this car. You can’t undo years of neglect short of replacement of the engine, etc.