intermittently refuses to start.


Asked by Sep 24, 2013 at 02:40 PM about the 2006 Mazda MAZDA5 Sport

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

About a year ago my 2002 mazda Protege 5 began to intermittently refuse to start.
When you turn the key it sounds like it will start, but it doesn't. At some point (a few
hours or a day), it will start just fine. There is no rhyme to this. It isn't ALWAYS after
sitting idle a while, or ALWAYS after running for a while. It just happens when it
happens. No reason. The only consistent thing I can report is that when this happens,
it happens AFTER the following has occurred:

The Check Engine light is ALWAYS on. It has been on for the last 80,000 miles. BUT,
before this problem each time, the Engine Light begins to FLASH. Prior to the flashing I
can feel the car lose power. When this happens even if I push the accelerator to the
floor, I get no more power and no more speed. The flashing will sometimes only last a
short while and then stop. Sometimes, however, the flashing lasts a long time. If I have
to cut the car off during the time the light is flashing THAT is when it won’t start up
again. It is probably important to note that sometimes it WILL start when the flashing is
going on.

I have had it in and out of the shop. They drive it all over town a couple of days and
when it starts fine each time they get in it, they return it to me and say I have to wait
until it is doing it again before they can help me. Since there is no way of knowing
when or if it will do it again, I cannot have it there when it is "doing it". Even it it won't
start and I called them to come to me, there is nothing that says it won't start up just
fine in 10 minutes.

Last week the timing belt broke and I took it to Mazda. They charged me $1000 to fix
that and when I asked them about my intermittent starting problem they basically told
me that it would be a trial and error thing to find the problem. I am a student and I work
part time. That $1000 was all the money I have. I cannot afford for them to trial and
error my car.

The shop manager did, however, tell me that the mechanics who work on the old
Mazdas told him that in in the past they have seen this problem and it stops when they
replace the coils and wires. My local mechanic laughed when I told him that and say,
"Well, that is odd".

So, what are your thoughts on replacing the coils and wires? I need my car. Me and
my child are riding around never knowing if the car will start when we get back to it, and
I need some help that isn't about somebody making a buck off of me. I am buck-less
right now!

2 Answers

Iambobby Bee

Check your TPS

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

It is 100% your coils. I've had the same exact problem and replaced the coils and its perfect now. If you have a little extra cash, replace your spark plugs, and both ignition coils. If you wanna go a little cheaper, just change your ignition coils.I got mine from advanced auto for only like $40 for one coil. What happens is that one coil goes bad, and it makes the cylinders misfire/ not work at all. So when that check engine light starts flashing that means the coil shut down and you're only running on 2 out of the 4 cylinders hence the power loss. If you really want to be cheap, you can replace 1 coil and see if the check engine light goes off. if it does then that was the only coil bad, if not then switch the coil with the other one and check it again. if it doesn't go off then replace both coils. Let me know if you need more help. Email:

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