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NA Miata Common Problems and Solutions

When it comes to roadsters, few cars can match the iconic status and pure driving pleasure of the Mazda Miata MX-5. The first-generation NA Miata holds a special place in the hearts of automotive enthusiasts. Its timeless design and nimble handling continue to captivate drivers, but like any aging vehicle, it’s not without its quirks. In this article, we’ll delve into the common problems that NA Miata owners might encounter and provide practical solutions.

CarbonMiata Long-Tail Trunk Spoiler For Miata NA/Mk1

CarbonMiata Long-Tail Trunk Spoiler For Miata NA/Mk1

1. The Mysterious Misfire: Why Does My Engine Stumble?

Problem: Miata engines can sometimes develop a misfire, causing uneven idling and a lack of power.

Solution: A misfire often results from worn spark plugs or ignition wires. Replace them regularly to keep your engine purring.

2. The Roof Dilemma: Why Won’t My Convertible Top Cooperate?

Problem: The convertible top can be a source of frustration, refusing to go up or down as expected.

Solution: Lubricate the moving parts and ensure there are no obstructions in the mechanism. Regular maintenance is key.

3. The Rusty Dilemma: When Corrosion Creeps In

Problem: NA Miatas are susceptible to rust, particularly around the wheel arches and sills.

Solution: Prevent rust with proper maintenance and rustproofing. Regularly clean and wax your Miata to protect the paint and body.

4. The Leaky Miata: Where’s That Water Coming From?

Problem: Water leaks into the cabin during rain, often through the soft top.

Solution: Check the soft top seals and make sure they’re in good condition. A replacement might be necessary.

5. The Aging Interior: Cracked Dashboards and Faded Seats

Problem: The NA Miata’s interior can show signs of wear and tear, with cracked dashboards and faded upholstery.

Solution: Invest in quality seat covers and consider dash restoration kits to keep your Miata’s interior looking fresh.

6. The Spongy Brakes: Why Don’t My Brakes Feel Right?

Problem: Over time, brake pedals can feel spongy due to air in the brake lines.

Solution: Bleed the brake system to remove air bubbles and ensure proper braking performance.

7. The Electrical Gremlins: Why Do My Lights Flicker?

Problem: Electrical issues like flickering headlights or malfunctioning taillights can occur.

Solution: Check the wiring and replace damaged components. An electrical diagnostic may be necessary if issues persist.

8. The Cooling Conundrum: Why Is My Miata Overheating?

Problem: Overheating can be a concern, especially in warmer climates or during track days.

Solution: Ensure the cooling system is functioning optimally. Regularly flush the coolant and check for leaks.

9. The Whining Transmission: Can I Silence It?

Problem: The transmission might produce an audible whine during gear changes.

Solution: The noise is usually benign but may be reduced by using high-quality transmission fluid.

10. The Classic Clutch Concern: Why Is It Slipping?

Problem: Clutch slippage can happen over time and affect your Miata’s performance.

Solution: Replace the clutch assembly and consider an upgrade for improved performance.


While the NA Miata is a joy to drive, it’s not exempt from common problems. Regular maintenance and a keen eye for emerging issues will keep your Miata in top shape. Now, let’s answer the initial question: Is the NA Miata still a reliable sports car? The answer is a resounding “yes” when you’re equipped with the knowledge to address these common problems and keep your beloved roadster running smoothly.

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CarbonMiata Long-Tail Trunk Spoiler For Miata NA/Mk1

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Is the NA Miata still a good buy for a used sports car? A1. Absolutely! The NA Miata remains a great choice due to its timeless design and driving experience.

Q2. Are these common problems expensive to fix? A2. Many common NA Miata problems have cost-effective solutions, especially if you can do some of the repairs yourself.

Q3. How often should I change the spark plugs? A3. It’s recommended to change spark plugs every 30,000 miles or as per your maintenance schedule.

Q4. Can I prevent soft top leaks? A4. Regularly inspect and clean the soft top, keeping seals in good condition to prevent leaks.

Q5. Is rust a deal-breaker for NA Miatas? A5. No, rust can be managed with proper care and maintenance.

With these solutions in mind, you can enjoy your NA Miata for years to come.

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