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Sewing machine sound, Mazda Protege, 1996

I own a 1996 Mazda Protégé with 128,000 miles with about 5000 miles usuage per year, in town driving. Mechanic diagnosed the problem as an engine intake boot split. He repaired it temporarily and said the part was hard to find. The sound went away I found the part almost instantly being available on the internet for about 25 dollars. He also said that I should junk the car. It runs fine but has cosmetic issues. The mechanic is a local respected business.

I cannot afford another vehicle right now and so junking it is not an option. Is he right? Any other thoughts?

A split in the intake boot will cause a lean condition for the air/fuel ratio; in reference to another question you posted. The car doesn’t have a huge amount of miles on it so you should be fine. The older vehicles get the harder parts can be to get if you need them but there should be no real big problem with that on your model. Older cars normally require more service so your costs to keep the car running may go up over time but it should be less cost than having to make new car payments every month. I would say as long as the car is safe for you to drive you should be okay until you can afford something newer and better.

For what reason did he say you should junk the car?

mechanic is dead wrong

Mazda dealers stock the intake boot . . . many of them have it in stock

I know this for a fact, because we had a 1997 Protege until earlier this year

If your mechanic plays stupid, get the part off the internet

Just out of curiosity . . . does the car start fine?

No extended cranking?

Our Protege was also ugly, mostly due to burnt up paint, but it was reliable

The goal is to drive the car long enough, so that you can save money for something newer and better

You read my mind, db4690 and Cougar. The car starts fine with no extended cranking. I just want to deal with what needs to be done to keep it running safetly till student loans are paid in about 2 years. How it looks is of no concern to me right now.

To the same Mountain Bike: The reason he said I should junk the car is because it will cost 1500 to replace the front end assembly because that is where two turn signals are located and they cannot be reattached to make them work, which I question because my handiman did it about a year ago when I hit the edge of the garage door frame. Says the car is worth only about 1000 dollars.

Thankyou all for your responses!


Glad to hear that your car starts just fine

The reason I was asking is this . . . that generation Mazda engine often had problems starting, because it needed a valve adjustment

Not that I’m on your mechanic’s side, but your car is probably only worth a grand in its present condition

Even if it looked awesome, you’d probably not get 2000

Those Proteges have never held their value like Corollas and Civics. Years ago, I bought a 1997 Protege, for precisely that reason. It was much more affordable than a Corolla of the same year

I agree on the mechanic’s statement of value of the car. Not looking to sell it right now, just get it safely usuable without too much expense. Thanks for your thoughts.