What should be done to 2001 Mazda 626?

Hi folks,

Back in 2002, I bought my mother a 2001 Mazda 626 4-cyl Auto with about 12k miles. Fast forward to today and it has 32k miles on it. Needless to say it sits a lot in the hot texas sun. When I bought it I already knew the transmission was weak in that model so the dealer added a transmission cooler under warranty.

Only basic maintenance has been done such as oil changes, transmission fluid flush, radiator flush, brake fluid flush and new tires a few years ago.

What should I look for? Timing belt, suspension components, steering? What are some big safety related items to take care of? I live out of the country and don’t see/drive the car very often but I’m planning a trip in a couple of weeks and want to take care of the car.


Check your owner’s manual but the timing belt in this engine probably needs replacement. Timing belts are changed due to mileage or age. The tires will probably need replacement as well. I suggest that you take the 626 to a good independent mechanic and have him inspect the vehicle thoroughly. Heat takes it toll on many different components.

The good news for the OP is that his engine is not of the interference design, meaning that when the timing belt snaps, it will not cause engine damage.

The bad news is that the timing belt is now approximately 4 years overdue for replacement on the basis of elapsed time. And, in a very hot climate, elapsed time is just as important–if not more important–to the life of the timing belt than odometer mileage is.

For reasons that I will never figure out, most people seem to envision mechanical breakdowns taking place in their driveway, or in some other convenient location. Unfortunately, that timing belt is much more likely to snap when you are driving at high speed in the midst of 18 wheelers, or when traversing a RR crossing, or when driving through a dodgy section of town, or on a deserted country road late at night. (Translation: When it snaps–with no warning whatsoever–it could have serious consequences for you and your passengers)

Get the timing belt changed, along with the water pump, the serpentine belt, and all belt tensioners. Also, have your mechanic check the condition of the radiator hoses and the heater hoses, as they are also likely to be dried-out & deteriorated from the extreme heat in your area.