02 protege5 alignment issues?

I bought an 02 protege5 a couple months ago. It's a 5 speed and has 246 xxx km on it.

It had new tires when I bought it. I've driven it approximately 1900km since I bought it and I'm experiencing excessive tire wear on the front tires. The tire wear is on the inner edge of both front tires and it's about an inch and a half thick line of wear. The rest of the tire is fine, but the inside is almost out of tread already. The steering seems fine. Wheel is straight and the car doesn't veer off on its own. I've jacked the front up and given the tires a wiggle. They get a little play in and out on the top and bottom of the front tires. But it's not much. Very minimal. Maybe a 1/4 - 3/8 inch in and out.

Another thing I noticed is a rotating howling sound when you get the vehicle up to 80km an hour. We thought it was the rear right wheel bearing, but I put a new one in last night and that hasn't fixed the problem. It sounded like that's where it was coming from, but maybe it was both sides, and the sound was just echoing in the vehicle making it difficult to pinpoint.

My questions. Do you think this vehicle just needs an alignment, or is there reason to believe it will need parts to get a proper alignment completed..?

What cost am I looking at for the alignment?

Could the howling sound be due to the front tire wear?

Any help appreciated. Thank you.
Mazda P5
Well if you look under there and see if anything is bent or broken. But every alignment shop is different, call around and check out the prices. It costs me$70 for an alignment.


The Diagram Dude
2002 MP5
If you have worn bearings, ball joints or tie rod ends then an alignment is pointless.

Lift your car and check all those components. A pry bar between the ball joint and control arm can help.
If you have any movement AT ALL on the ball joints then they need to be replaced.
(Rockauto has the entire control arm including the ball joint for cheap.)

The howling may be the other side or even the front bearings.
My whole car was rumbling when my front bearing went out. I couldn't tell what side it was coming from.

Take your car out for another drive and get it up to speed when the howling starts and slowly weave from right to left and back and see if the noise comes and goes.
If it does, there's a good chance its a bearing.
Thanks guys. I'm going to be checking the ball joints and tie rods tomorrow, and probably swapping the new rear bearing onto the other side to see if I can pinpoint the problem. I suspect it's the front bearings at this point. Probably need to be replaced and have an alignment after that.


The Diagram Dude
2002 MP5
Really worn front bearings can introduce some slop in the wheel but all three work together to create a loose wheel.

1/4" of play in the wheel is actually a lot. Toe in for our car is 2mm +/- 4mm.

Replace all your worn out parts before the alignment.

Your car is towing out by quite a bit to wear your tires like that or they are just so sloppy they don't track straight.

PS... Doing front bearings is a huge PITA for our car.
2002 Protege 5/ Manual transmission
I know this is really late. Did you find the cause of your problem? I had similar problem with My P5 that existed from day one with the car except it happend on all four wheels. The inside edge of the each tire would wear severely while the rest of the tires looked good. Problem lasted through many alignments, return trips to dealer, and shops.

At about 200k miles I put new wheels on the car (daughter hit a curb and severely bent one). I couldn't see paying the high cost for a factory wheel so I put a set of aftermarkets on and kept the remaining three wheels. Low and behold, the horrible wear on the inside of the tires stopped and has never returned.

Had the remaining original wheels checked for roundness and found all three of them out of round on just the inside ring.

Latest posts