Winterizing Miata


i’m moving from berkeley to chicago and am not parting with my '93 Miata. i plan to drive it only in decent weather, but while it is in the garage, what do i need to do to prepare it for the shock of the cold? eg., antifreeze, gas tank stuff, tires,


Your Miata is a machine. It will not be shocked by the cold. You will. Its sensors will tell the fuel injection system to add a bit more gas to the fuel-air mixture until the engine warms up, but that’s about it. Sure it’ll need antifreeze, but you already have that in the radiator, don’t you? You will want to check it for the amount of protection it has, and you may need to add some. If it’s been over three years since you changed it, you should drain and refill the system with a fresh batch. Use distilled water for best corrosion protection of the cooling system. Tires? How long do you intend to let this car sit, days, weeks or months at a time? If they’re round when you park it, pump them up to round again when you take it out. Check your door decal or owner’s manual for exact inflation pressures.


It should already have anti-freeze in it. You should ALWAYS have a combination of 50% anti-freze and 50% distilled water in the cooling system, winter, summer, spring and fall. You can have the anti-freeze tested to see how well it protects against freezing. If the cooling system hasn’t been flushed and refilled lately this might be a good time to do it.

If you won’t be driving the car for an extended period, adding fuel stabilizer to the gas tank is a good idea. It will prevent the gas from getting stale. Fill the tank before extended periods of non-use.

If you are going to drive when there is snow on the ground, you may want to invest in a set of FOUR winter tires. Without them the Miata may not go very far. With them you have a fighting chance of getting where you need to go. You will also have to learn how to drive in snow. Practice this is a large, empty parking lot before you venture out onto the roads with traffic.

Cars, even Miatas, are designed to be driven in all climates. You will discover that there are lots of Miatas in Chicago, and probably some owners who drive them year-round.


Having had a Miata in Ohio winters, I would suggest you don’t need to do anything. If you plan to drive it when there is snow on the ground, I suggest four real winter (not all season) tyres. The Miata does not need them more than other cars, but any car should have them in the snow.

I had the removable hard top for mine. It made it nice and cozy in the winter and quieter too.

I have to add one point. If you are plan on not driving it all winter, you can safely cancel your collision insurance and save big $$. You also will want to take a few more actions as noted above to help protect it for the long non use like fuel stabilizer and battery care. If it were mine, I would be driving it a lot so that would not apply.