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Mazda Miata

I’m considering buying a 1999 miata with 110,000 miles. The car drives well and appears to be well taken care, however, does anyone know if there are future issues lurking on this type of car at this mileage?

Impossible to say, is it a 5 spd manual trans? or auto?

The car is 10 years old and has 110K miles so lots of things can go wrong. In general the Miata is a good solid car. The more you can determine the maintenance history the better.

A mechanic can inspect the brakes, suspension, engine, drivetrain, and steering gear to determine if any parts are worn to the point of needing replacement.

The Miata has proven to be a very reliable car. Do you know the maintenance history of this vehicle? If the maintenance has been performed according to the manufacturer’s schedule that’s a good sign. If there’s no maintenance history it’s a gamble. It is, after all, a sports car, and may have been driven hard.

I’d want to know if the timing belt has been replaced, and I wouldn’t take anyone’s word for it without a receipt to back it up. If there’s no receipt you must assume the car needs a new timing belt NOW.

Adjust your offer accordingly.

It’s a 5 spd and I plan to have my mechanic go over it, I was just wondering about inherent problems associated with this car

thanks for the tip about the timing belt, I should probably look at the owner’s manual and ask the owner what has or hasn’t been done

From what I have read, and what friends who own Miatas have told me is that the car is reliable. However, according to my wife, the Miata is a car for wimps, because its reliability record is too good. Real men aren’t afraid to get out of their cars and push them off the highway when they break down. Real men spend their week-ends trying to get their cars to run right. You’ll miss out on all this fun with a Mazda Miata. You should be looking for an old British roadster or a Fiat. (I would really like to have a Miata, but I am too big to fit in the car comfortably).

well, the car is primarily for my wife, we decided on a convertible to replace our motorcycles since we’re getting older and a car has certain advantages over a touring bike, you can tell your wife I have several “manly” vehicles that require my regular attention

I’ve owned and driven several Miatas (as well as Fiat and Alfa Spyders) and was a member of the Peak-to-Peak Miata club here in Colorado. A very nice driver as stock and a fun track car in spec Miata races.

As with any used car, maintenance history and inspection are the most important. Miatas are just as reliable as most Japanese cars. They tend to be second (or third) cars rather than daily commuters – fewer miles, better drivers and maintenance. Key areas to look at include: timing belt, brakes, shocks, clutch, engine, trans and diff oils as well as condition of the top.

NADA trade-in is $5,200, add a bit if it comes with the hard top. I would not pay more in today’s economy as this is a very common car on the used market.

Hope this helps,

Great reliable cars…Good info here, plenty more over here:

Make sure someone checks the condition of the top, as it may be time to be replaced. If you do it yourself (It took me three days, but it turned out just fine,) it is not all that expensive. It helps if you are like 17 - 25 years old, young and flexible. :slight_smile:

Good Luck I loved mine and it was almost problem free.

thanks, this is a very helpful site, almost addictive

what do you recommend looking for as far as wear? it looked quite good with no obvious tears or stains, the locks worked quite well and the top went up and down easily. I did notice a bit of deterioration of some kind of rubber seal around the overlapping fabric around the back window, should I be concerned about that?

They changed the design of the top shortly after I replaced mine so I don’t know what that rubber seal thing may be. Sorry I can’t help you there.

that’s okay, but what do you think I should look for as far as the condition of the top goes?

I think you got the top “covered” in your above post.

Look at the overall condition: look for signs of fading, graying, or cracking. Check to make sure there is a “softness” of the weatherstripping. The fabric should pull taught when latched. Look at the seams, again should not be much fraying. It basically is like any piece of fabric, does it look like a new jacket or one that is worn too thin?

Is it the original top? The quality of a replacement job is in the fit and finish. No loose ends, seams, or major wrinkle in the fabric once its latches, does the top open and close easy…no binding of the bows.

Last time I had a top professionally replaced it was about $800 parts and labor.

I’ve bought two Miatas over the years. In my experience you can find very low mileage examples for not too much more money than well used ones. Be patient. People use these cars two ways - either as commuters that get some serious miles and show worn seats and carpets, etc., or as weekend toys that get very few miles and are generally very clean.

They just are not too expensive to begin with, and so they are pretty cheap used, and the range of prices is tight. It definitely pays to use Craigslist to find a clean, low mileage copy.

You can probably find a better one than that with a little looking around. Miatas are common as dirt–keep looking for one with lower mileage.