Would it be stupid to try to put ac in a 96 Mazda Miata?

Hi, I am in the market for a miata found one with 82, 000 miles, good condition for $4000…great looks but the glitch is there’s no ac… I live in N’ville, summers are pretty warm but the rest of the year is great, Summer

If you really need AC, I would keep shopping. Personally, I don’t think AC is a priority in a convertible (but I don’t live in TN). I suspect adding AC to this car would be costly.

I’ve installed a lot of A/C units in Asian cars but have not done one on a Miata. If you get the factory kit they’re usually pretty cut and dried.

Are you planning on doing all or part of the install yourself?

That was what I thought too…I don’t think the old MG’s had ac and we had one growing up, I don’t remember it being too uncomfortable. Thanks for the reply! Summer

I definitely need to have someone install it, but if the cost is going to be an extra 1,000 or so I just might as well hold out for a Miata with factory installed ac, what do you think? thank you for your reply! Summer

It will be more than a grand no doubt.
Wild guessing, I would say a complete kit would probably be in the 1300-1500 dollar range. Add labor, refrigerant, etc. and you’re getting up there in cost.

Well, if I’m going to add that much money to the car I’d like to “trick it out” lol! Thanks for the info, Summer

Find one with A/C from the factory. I have never been impressed by those “factory kits” in our two previous Civic’s.

I can only say the the OEM AC in my Minta was fine. I would not buy one without it. I would suspect third party units would be more of a crap shoot.

Where you live you should be able to find a shop with lots of experience on AC. I would not want someone who does Ford 150’s lawn mowers and AC work to do it.

Just an addendum here. Many of those aftermarket or 3rd party A/C kits are the same ones the factory uses.

I have not worked for dealers in about 10 years but it was very prevalent on imported cars to install the A/C units at the port when they were delivered to the U.S.

Many of those perceived “factory A/Cs” were actually installed at the port using 2-man teams. One guy under the hood and one under the dash.

Over the years I have only seen one add-on A/C unit problem and that was with a Subaru. This was a real odd unit that was not cooling as it should. No amount of evacuation, recharging, etc. would help. The odd part was it took one can of refrigerant; unusual for a Subaru.
I discovered the condenser was “half-size” (about as large as 2 sheets of copy paper) and the evaporator was also half-sized (about as big as a baseball cap).
It’s the only one I’ve ever seen like that and no idea where it came from as the port did not use them.

If the system is properly installed the add-ons work as well and are as reliable as a genuine factory installed unit.

Then to find out that the electrical system could not handle the load so you have to spend more to upgrade it…

Just get preinstalled A/C.