The timing belt tensioner spring for my 1999 Protege is priced at $8. However, it cannot be purchased separately from the tensioner bearing which costs $185.
As a result it is not normally replaced, or recommended for replacement by Mazda, during the scheduled 60k mile timing belt replacement. So even if you folow the Mazda maintenance schedule recommendation and have the timing belt replaced at 60k miles as I did, you can still end up with a dead car and a large ($936) repair/towing bill because the $8 spring broke. A part that could have and should have been replaced at the same time as the timing belt. A complaint letter to Mazda will get you a meaningless form letter in return that does not even address the complaint.
Do newer or other model Mazdas have this same maintenance problem?
I don't know and don't care because I will never buy another Mazda.
Review about: Mazda Car.