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Mazda MX-5 Miata (2005 and earlier)



  • lafk, for the amount of money you are looking to spend you should be able to find a nice, clean miata that will reward you with many years of driving fun.
    The miata is a fairly bulletproof little car, but ANY high mileage car is going to require a little extra care. The parts and service for these cars are reasonable and will not eat you out of house and home, but have the car checked out by a mechanic you trust BEFORE buying, there are a lot of good used miatas out there, so don't settle for a car with problems.
    You mention that you will be using this car for work and putting a lot of milage on it. The mileage is not a bad thing, you can get 200k miles from a miata engine, but if you a looking for a long distance commuter car, with a comfortable ride, lots of room, quiet,etc. you may be disappointed in the miata. If, however, you are looking for a car that loves to be driven hard, and is a TON of fun the is no better choice than miata.
    As far as the car being a collectable goes, I would not count on it any time soon. There have been about 500,000 miatas built, so it is not a rare car. Maybe 20 years from now a nice miata may be worth something, but no time soon. If you buy a miata, buy it to DRIVE it, not store it in a garage and hope its dollar value increases, its value increases by putting you in a good mood every time you get behind the wheel.
    Of course, all of the above is just my opinion. Good luck in your search!
  • There really should be an FAQ in this forum discussion.
    For much information on anything Miata, please point your browser to . It is an enthusiast website and you can find virtually anything Miata there.
  • lafklafk Posts: 3
    I have some other questions. How do the miata's handle in the rain and snow? Are they prone to rust as they age? Around what year range is in my price range of $5-6,00?

    thanks again for the advice. any other input is greatly appreciated.

  • I was shopping for quite a while for Miatas in that range and for the most part you will only find 1990s for less than $6000 (assuming you want a fairly clean, reasonable mileage car). I had decided to stick to 1992s and newer just to avoid the crankshaft issue. But anything decent in a '92 will be at least $7000. I don't think we should get into the crankshaft issue here. If you are not aware of it, go to as karl suggested where it's discussed in detail.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,504
    I really don't think you can find (easily) a really tight clean Miata for $5,000 anymore. If you want a very clean well-maintained car with decent mileage (under 100K) you'll need to spend around $7,500.

    Weak points are shocks, spark plug wires and maybe some rattling window channels. They are good tough cars and will last as long as any car made today bar none. Watch out if the top is worn, these aren't cheap to replace.

    A car with a hardtop is worth more, figure an extra $500.

    I just saw a 1991 Special Edition (British green with tan leather, special wheels and stereo, hardtop, fancy interior trim, etc)that I could have bargained down to around $7,100. Not "cheap" for a '91, but fully loaded, 90K miles (about average)and a very clean, solid car. And no, I'm not telling you where as I may buy it myself.

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  • Edmund's road test of the 2001 Miata is now available. Here's the direct link to First Drive: 2001 Mazda Miata, by Liz Kim. Let us know what you think.

    Happy Motoring. ;-)

    Pocahontas Host
  • the changes are subtle but nice, they really pay attention to detail. For all the changes that extra 155 hp really wasn't even neccessary. This is gonna be a loooong winter...
  • After reading the following in the first drive report, I don't know what parts of the article to believe:

    "...weight ratio is now a perfect 50/50 as a result of having moved the battery to the rear, rather than the 52/48 front-bias of the 2000 model." (It's been there since the 1990 model)

    "...six-speed gearbox...adds a hefty 155 pounds ..." (155 pounds over the 5-speed? Maybe the tranny weighs 155 pounds, but I doubt that it's 155 pounds more than the 5-speed)
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    I seriously doubt the tranny even weighs 155lb. I've never had the tranny out of a miata, but the physically larger tranny in my Impreza weighs about 85lb and it contains a center and front differential!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,504
    I dropped one on my foot once and it's fairly heavy, but I didn't think to weigh it at the time.

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  • If you dropped a transmission on your foot, I'm surprised your nickname isn't "Gimpy".
  • I don't think there is a difference of 155 lbs between the 5 and the 6 speed.
    Probably the difference is a 5 speed equiped base and a 6 speed equiped loaded LS>
  • I just put a deposit on a 1997 M Edition Miata. It has 15,650 miles on it. It was previously owned by a woman that only drove it occasionally. It seems to be in terrific shape, and is the nice green color with tan top and tan leather seats. The dealer is asking 15,780 for it. That's about 500 higher than KBB value, but it is hard to find these, what do you folks think??? I put 500 down for them to hold it, will call credit union on monday. Please give me your opinions...
  • I just looked up KBB @ Carpoint: $16,015! Even if they were asking 16,500 and it's in excellent condition as you say why don't you own it already? I test drove a 2000 Miata and didn't buy because I couldn't get my hands on an M Edition especially the British Racing Green look alike. If you're not going to buy it then tell ME the name of the dealership...
  • OK, thats a deal. If I decide against buying it I will Email you with the name and location of the dealer so you can check it out for yourself. Thanks for the advice, I'll let you know what I decide on Monday! It really is in nice shape. The only things I noticed were the cruise control not working (they said they would fix it) and I asked them to align it, the steering wheel was a little bit off center. It has wood trim on the inside, headrest speakers, AM-FM, CD, Tape, nice wheels (which I will probably replace with minilites if I get it) and whatever else came with the M in 1997. Well, I'm still thinking it over in my mind... Thanks again...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,504
    Are you sure they pressed the button on the dashboard for the cruise control? Many people make the mistake of just trying to turn the stalk knob.

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  • Yup, I tried it and the salesman tried it. I hope they have it sorted out by the time I'm ready to pick it up.
  • Well, I did it! I will be picking up my "new" 1997 Miata on Thursday! I got a great loan from my credit union (7.5%, 60 mos.) and have the insurance all lined up. I can't wait! I'm thinking of a few mods already, although I will probably keep it stock for a while to see how I like it.
    1. Minilite 15x6.5 wheels
    2. Roll Bar for SCCA competition
    3. Grill Guard
    4. Who knows....
    Does anyone have any experience with Minilites on a Miata? I really like the 1960's British roadster look they give, but I wonder if they are going to be heaver or lighter than the stock M edition wheels (which I read are about 14.5 lbs. each).
    I can't wait for Thursday, looks like I'll be doing some driving this weekend!
  • Just enjoyed an experience which I'll never forget yesterday. I had the rare privilege of being able to run my '00SE on the Lemans course at the Homestead Speedway!!

    I was "squeezed" into a final group of show cars which were to ride around the oval track at the open house which was being held at the track. I only wish I could remember the fella's name who was so kind to me. I thought we would be cruising around the main oval......what a surprise!

    After getting onto pit road and lining up behind a M3 pace car (PC) (they wouldn't turn you loose for obvious reasons), the PC took a sharp left just after the pit road ended and I found myself chasing him through the hairpin turns of the Lemans course, a 2.6 mile trip of total exhilaration!

    I'll confess, my Miata couldn't keep up with the M3. The car had much more power for the straightaways, and the driver had obviously run this course many times. This was my first.

    Lap 1 - he really had a big lead on me, and I'm sure he wasn't pushing his car. I was thrown for a real loop, as I hadn't planned to do any running of my car like this for some time. However.....approaching turn 5 on the inside course, I decided to give her all I could. Downshifting to accelerate coming out of the right turn, I could feel her start to drift left on me. A very slight easing of the throttle brought her quickly back in line. After racing thru turn 6 the inside track opened up onto the main oval's back straightaway just before turn 3. We went thru turns 3 & 4, racing down the front straightaway. PC had probably a 3 second lead at the finish line. Instead of continuing around the main oval, PC slowed, turned hard left and we were into lap 2 of the Lemans course.

    This time I knew the layout, and could honestly hold my own with the PC thru the course. PC got ahead of me on the straights, but I was catching up on the turns. When we came out of the last turn onto the oval, I was probably only a second behind him.

    I thought he was holding steady into turn 3 on the oval, then he just took off. I tried, but needed another 50 hp to catch him. I came past pit road at 85 in 5th gear, wanting to use the engine to help brake for the left onto the infield portion. Everyone on pit road was watching me as I went past (I hope it was due to the looks of my car) - what a thrill!

    Unfortunately, that was the end of it. PC slowed to a stop at the turn. After pulling back into the infield parking lot, I thanked the PC driver. He told me the oval was just too boring for our cars, and I again thanked him.

    I wish he could read this, and know how much I appreciated what he did. I really hope each of you can one day get the same thrill I did yesterday - the Miata is perfect for such a track.

    Jim M.
  • .... It makes me smile just thinking about it.

  • what we've been talking about, Jim. Ain't it great! It's what the M5s made for. Now, if we can get Shifty to get all of us together for some driving lessons...?

    Take care.
    Joe W>
  • It's great that you're planning to take your new car to the track but make sure that's really what you want to do because the consensus around here is that adding a roll bar will severely hurt your resale value.
    Also, what is a grille guard? I thought that is what the housewives put on their SUVs in case they run into some thick brush on their way to the mall.
  • Grill guard...On they have a mesh screen that fits in the opening underneath, the screen is there to protect the radiator from rocks and things impacting it. You have to remove the tie down hooks from the front of the car to install it, but everyone recommends doing that anyway because a careless tow truck driver can severely mess up the front of your car if he hooks onto them.

    You're probably right about the roll bar, I'll wait a while to do that anyway. Someday this car will be in SCCA competition, but not until I spend a few days up at Lime Rock at the Skip Barber School.

    Two weeks ago at the Watkins Glen vintage festival really got me hooked, I just hope I am racing before my Miata qualifies for vintage status!!!!
  • Sounds like a great plan. I wish I had time to do something more interesting with my car than drive back and forth to work and kid's soccer games. I suspect once you get out on the track, resale value will be the last thing on your mind.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,504
    I like Redline products, and I'm glad to hear they work well on the Miata. Keep in mind, though, that not all transmissions tolerate these special oils, so check around before you dump them in certain cars.

    As for the plug wires, this has been a weak point on Miatas in the past, so that sounds like a good move, too.

    I can't say about this "high flow air filter" business--that sounds pricey and ineffectual unless there is some kind of actual intake manifold modification.

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  • Installed Redline MT90 transmission fluid in my '99 about 2 weeks ago.

    Noticeable, but not huge, improvement in shift quality. Improvement wasn't apparent until 100+ miles with a lot of shifting.

    I suspect that it takes many shifts to completely eliminate the factory lube from the synchronizers. Yes, the transmission was hot when I drained it.
  • On the subject of "special oils", does anyone have any experience using synthetics in the Miata - engine, manual tranny & rear end?

    Secondly, I noted in the '00SE owners manual that there is no definite replacement interval listed for engine coolant. Any thoughts?

    Jim M.
  • I put Mobil 1 gear lube in the tranny and diff of mine with about ~1700 miles on the clock. Both the diff and tranny have magnetic plugs. The shop I take it to (not the dealer, but Hurst Imports) is nice and wraps a little teflon tape on the plug before reinstalling. No weeping.

    Is there a noticeable change? No. A little more piece of mind? Yes. But getting them changed is the key.
  • I reviewed some pics posted by Hanuka (sp.) at's garage topic regarding the changing of oils on the Miata. Engine oil and differential I have done on other vehicles before - no problem.

    The manual trans is a new on for me (always owned an auto before). It appears there are two plugs, one for drain and one for fill. Simple enough. However, the end the pics show the removal of the shifter boot and the replacement of oil around the shifter. Is this another part of the manual trans. oil replacement?

    Lastly, there is reference to the Miata Enthusiast's Manual. Is anyone else familiar with this maintenance guidebook, and where it can be purchased?

    Jim M.
  • Hi,
    Just to let you know, there does exist such a Miata that you want. In June of '99, we purchased a used 1994 base Miata with alot of miles (100K) for $5500. It was and still is in excellent condition. We have added stuff to it as the months have gone by, as well as many more miles. We presently have 122,000 miles on our little red '94, and it shows no sign of slowing down. I don't see any problems with buying a used Miata with high miles on it, as it has proven itself to us. I also feel that you can find one, just like we did. We were were looking for the '94 & up due to some new things added in '94. It was a super deal, purchased from a private party, and we couldn't be happier. Good luck in your hunt. Let us know what you find.
    See our car here:
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