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Miata leaf and debris accumulation trap water

there is no filter to deflect leaf and debris accumulating in the wheel wells (and wherever else i don’t know). then when it rains, water is trapped in there, building up and sloshing around when i drive. sometimes, if it gets high enough, it spills in on the passenger side. i keep paying people to remove it, because mazda says it isn’t covered (everything on my all inclusive extended warranty isn’t covered). is there a way i can drill a hole under there without damaging the integrity of the body? what do other miata owners do about it? one guy said don’t park uphill. come on.

I have to confess that I am am somewhat confused by this post.
A “filter” for the wheel wells? I have never seen a filter for wheel wells on any car, and I am at a loss to figure out how/where such a filter would be installed.

Water is "sloshing around in the wheel wells? I am having a hard time visualizing how water could be trapped in the wheel wells, which are open on the bottom.

“Everything on my all inclusive extended warranty isn’t covered.” That statement means that nothing is covered by that warranty. Are you sure that this is the case? If so, I would suggest that you get a refund on that extended warranty that covers nothing!

“Is there a way i can drill a hole under there?” Under where?
The wheel wells are already open on the bottom.

I am beginning to think that you are referring to some area of the car other than the wheel wells, but that is just a guess, based on my confusion about your terminology.

Anyway, taking things at face value, all I can say is that if there is debris in the wheel wells–Why don’t you simply use a high-pressure garden hose to wash the debris out of the area?

VCD, I think the OP is talking about the area between the wheel well and the cabin. In newer vehicles, this drainage area is covered by the cowling. The cowling must be removed to clean it properly.

toni, If you are willing to lie on your back, look up between the backside of the inner wheel well and the cabin, just forward of the door on each side. You should see an opening about 4-8 square inches. Now get a garden hose with a sprayer on jet stream and squirt it directly up this hole. It should knock the debris loose and you will see it coming out at the bottom.

If you are real ambitious, try removing the cowling. On newer cars, you first have to remove the windshield wiper arms at the base. Then open the hood and you should see a bunch of plastic fasteners holding down the plastic cover that goes between the base of the windshield and the engine compartment, this is the cowling.

Then at each bottom corner of the windshield, you will see the drain chute that directs all the water off the top of the car and the windshield down to the ground. You should be able to look down this chute and see the ground, at least after you remove all the debris.

If you have AC and no cabin filter, on the passenger side you will see an opening with a 1-2" high shield around it. You might want to cover this with a piece of window screen to keep debris out of your hvac fan and evaporator. It will be worth the trouble.

Are you shire it is a wheel well? It sounds a lot like the area under the grill in front of the wind screen. I had a Miata and that was a standard problem for them, although other cars often have the same problem.

Look at the area under the grill near the wind screen. Clean that area out. Make sure you get the old rotten leaves etc out of there and that the drains are clear. It is a little bother, but it certainly is not a difficult job. just a couple of minutes.

i’m sorry i was so confusing about where the water is. when you open the doors. you can see accumulated debris in the front inside. i DO try all those things to keep the areas clear, and i thought since i just paid someone to clean it out AGAIN, that would take care of it. and i don’t have a lift and i would have to jack up the miata to get under it. not really easy for a 66 year old woman. and that WAS a joke about the extended warranty, mostly. it seems that although they told me everything was covered, every time i go to the miata dealer, that particular thing, whatever it is, just isn’t part of the coverage. i had a SERIOUS problem one time with the repair guy there who tried to tell me to leave the car and they would take it apart and it would be several days and there was no longer a loaner available and it would be around 400-500 buck, to do the repair on the leaves accumulation. ( i had it done before for around $50 and 20 minutes.) i didn’t bite. took it home. turned out he had already unjammed the stuff trying to figure out the “problem”. he no longer works at miata, thanks to my complaint. i was just upset this time because after i took it in ($42), and took it back (no charge), i still hear water sloshing under the passenger side whenver i turn or brake.

What Is The Model-Year Of This Car ? There Are Different Leaks For Different Miatas. Would It Happen To Fall Within 2006 - 2009 ?

You Are Dealing With A Mazda Dealer ? Have They Ever Mentioned A Mazda Technical Service Bulletin Pertaining To “Water Accumulation In The Footwells” ?

This bulletin is 15 pages (replacing an earlier 10 page one) and includes information for technicians that outlines updating drain assemblies and installing filters, drain valves, etcetera. Apparently newer models come from the factory with these installed.

They do mention drains and leaves and cleaning from underneath using compessed air. I’m just not sure this is the same leak you’re describing. Where exactly are the wheel wells you refer to ? Are you talking about front or rear wheel wells ? These drains appear to be in the area of where your seatbelts anchor near the car’s bottom. I believe that would put it in an area nearer the rear wheels.


i dealt with the miata dealer 3 times before i took it to an independent dealer. not one time did they mention updating anything to prevent a recurrence. i have only seen the debris accumulate ahead of the doors, but when you mentioned the area near the seat belt anchor, that sounds about right in terms of where i hear the water sloshing. my miata is a 2003. it replaced a 2003 that someone crashed into and demolished. funny enough, they were identical, even in color, except for the drain system that i described. the holes were in different places for the two cars. why that is i cannot imagine. but they certainly had the same water problem. the first one was worse than this one.

Has anyone checked the drains right behind where the seatbelt attaches behind the seats? These are pretty well known for getting plugged up and causing water that comes off the top to get into places it shouldn’t be. I’ve also heard of people getting the drain tubes shoved up into the body which also causes problems.

There is a company that sells a brush to clean the drain tubes of debris, it just looks like a long fish tank brush. When I had my Miata I was amazed at how plugged these drains became and how much gunk came out when I cleaned them.

Toni, Is That Correct That You Currently Have A 2003 That Replaced A 2003 ?

Since the drains were in different places between the two cars, I wanted to be sure that is correct.

The bulletin I spoke of pertains to 2006 - 2009 models.

yep, it’s true. a 2003. i was heartbroken when that guy accordioned my first one. the very nice miata sales guy (it helped that i brought him italian bread from south philadelphia) found me an identical one, with a few more bells and whistles, but garage kept and less than 10K miles on it. i was dumbstruck by my good luck. it’s always puzzled us that the drain holes were in different places. this new one’s been hit twice since (never with me in it), always parked. i just keep getting it fixed. i hope, as my last act in life, to toss the keys to someone who will love it as much as i do.
i appreciate everyone’s help on this. i think i have a brush like the one mentioned. and i’ll get my husband cracking on all these suggestions.