Of all the purchasing decisions I have made in my life, choosing the 2001 Protege 5-speed DX has probably been my single best decision. I bought it used with 64k miles; it looks and runs the same after 96k miles. Replaced brakes, shocks and battery when I bought it, timing belt and other belts just now. Nothing else. My two longevity tips: use synthetic oil and hand-wax it. The only issues: The famous digital clock problem expanded to the entire radio, which now fails to operate. More road noise than I'd prefer on the highway. First signs of rust showing near the wheel wells, probably from winter salt.
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