How to Drain Antifreeze on a 1998 Mazda Protege

By Justin Cupler , last updated March 13, 2012
In the 1990 model year, Mazda released a new compact vehicle, the Protege, which essentially was a four-door model of the maker’s existing entry-level vehicle, the 323. The 1998 Protege, three years after officially replaced the 323, came standard with a 92-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. A 50-50 mixture of ethylene glycol-based coolant and water kept the 1.5-liter engine at an acceptable operating temperature. Mazda recommends draining and refilling the coolant on the 1998 Protege every 45,000 miles.


  1. Allow the Protege to sit until the engine is cool to the touch. Unscrew the radiator cap and check the rubber seal on the underside of cap for defects, including cracks, breaks, dry rot or excessive age. If any defects exist, replace the radiator cap with a new one.
  2. Chock the car's rear wheels. Lift the front of the Protege with a floor jack and slide jack stands under its subframe. Lower the vehicle onto the jack stands.
  3. Crawl under the front of the vehicle and find the radiator drain plug on the lower, passenger’s side of the radiator. Position a drain pan under the drain plug and turn the drain plug a full turn counterclockwise with a Phillips or flat-head screwdriver, depending on the style of plug, to start the flow of coolant.
  4. Dump the coolant from the drain pan into a 5-gallon container. Reposition the drain pan under the radiator drain plug.
  5. Fill the radiator with clean water and allow the water to drain from the radiator. Pour the drained water from the pan into the 5-gallon container. Repeat this step until only clean and clear water comes from the radiator.
  6. Tighten the radiator drain plug to between 7 and 10 inch-pounds, using an inch-pound torque wrench and flat-head or Phillips-bit socket.
  7. Raise the Protege off the jack stands and lower it to the ground.

Refilling and Bleeding

  1. Fill a 1-gallon container about halfway with ethylene glycol-based antifreeze – the green antifreeze – which makes two half-full gallon containers of coolant. Fill the containers the rest of the way with clean water to make the 50-50 mixture of coolant and water the Protege requires.
  2. Pour the 50-50 mixed coolant into the radiator until the coolant level reaches the base of the radiator’s filler neck. Open the coolant reservoir and add coolant to it until the level reaches the “Full” mark.
  3. Start the engine and allow it to idle until it reaches operating temperature, roughly halfway up the temperature gauge. If the temperature nears the “Hot” level, shut the engine off, allow the engine to cool, then add more coolant to the reservoir until the level reaches the base of the filler neck, and repeat this step.
  4. Hold the engine's rpm between 2,200 and 2,800 for about five minutes, then allow it to idle. Repeat this step three or four times, monitoring the temperature gauge the entire time.
  5. Shut off the engine and allow it to cool until it is cool to the touch. Remove the radiator cap and check the fluid level. If the level dropped, repeat steps 2 through 5. If the coolant level remained steady, tighten the radiator cap. In total, the Protege has a 1.575-gallon coolant capacity, but the exact amount required to fill your Protege may vary.
  6. Take the old coolant to a local used automotive fluid recycling center. Some auto parts stores take old coolant free of charge.
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