Miata that decides not to run sometimes

I have a wonderful 2000 Miata. I have had no problems, drive this all year long (live in the south) and keep up with the maintenance. The problem I am starting to have, which is very sporadic, is the darn thing does not want to turn on. When I engage the clutch and turn the ignition – nothing. Not even a click. Electrical works – radio, lights, instrument panel. I will attempt this for a few times, let it wait about 5 minutes, try again – and then it starts like normal. This has happened once a couple of months ago, with no recurrence. Then it happened a few days ago, at the grocery store. This can be annoying, and I am concerned that it will begin to happen more frequently – and decide not to start at all. Any suggestions? I can’t recreate on demand, so it is difficult to diagnose.


It sounds like either a corroded or intermittant connection (usually these are at the battery terminals of the other ends of those cables…generally the ground cable) or an intermittant starter solenoid. To find out if it’s an intermittant starter solenoid without tearing anything apart you may have to wait until it gets worse, but you can always clean and retighten your battery cables.

It never hurts to get the battery and charging system checked too. Parts stores will do this for free, and there’s an off chance that you’re battery has grown old and tired…like I have.

There is a safety switch that locks out the starting circuit until you step all the way down on the clutch. It’s probably out of adjustment. And, you should check to be sure there are no floor mats piled up blocking the pedal from going all the way down.

Does your Miata have a name? My great grandfather had a tractor he named Calvin Coolidge because it would “choose not to run.”