Proper Maintenance

I may be coming into a 1990 Mazda Miata convertible 5 Sp. 38k in millage. It was last registered in 2006.I’m thinking a total tune-up. Tires? Brakes? What do I need done to get in perfect running order. and what are the possible costs?


Oil and filter change
Transmission fluid change
Brake fluid flush
New tires (the old ones will be dry rotted)
New coolant (drain the radiator and the block)
Radiator cap
Thermostat (they get sluggish, and yours is over 20 years old)
Timing belt kit (the belt is over 20 years old and may be rotten, due to age)
Have a coolant pressure test performed to make sure there are no leaks
Take a good look at the accessory drive belts to make sure they’re not rotten or glazed
Have the brake system thoroughly inspected (take off all tires and measure all brakes)
New battery (batteries last 4-6 years)
New wiper blades (the rubber has rotted by now)

Have the mechanic drive the car for several miles (including on the freeway and bad roads to really get a feel for the car). Bad shocks, warped rotors, bad bushings, etc. will make themselves known on this test drive)

Tell the mechanic to put the car on a lift (or at least 4 jackstands) and really go over the car with a fine toothed comb

So an old car that was not driven much, and has been sitting for 7 years. Wow! Not good.

First, I recommend you have this towed to a shop or a good place to work on it, not driven. The gas is likely to be very bad and may ruin the injectors, and the oil is very bad.

Fluids need to be changed, including oil, tranny fluid (manual or automatic), brake fluid, coolant. At a shop, that’s probably $300. DIY, $50. Drain the gas tank (free if you DIY) and use fresh.

Check hoses and belts. Some or all will most likely need to be replaced. Possible $500 to have a shop replace all, half that to DIY.

Plugs may be ok. Pull all four to check and replace if needed. $50 done yourself (very easy).

Brakes are probably ok but it’s easy to pull the wheels and check.

Lubricate the chassis ($20 at a shop).

On a 1990, you probably have a cap and rotor. I would replace that along with plugs and wires. Pull the serpintine belt off and make sure nothing is seized.