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The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a popular two-seat sports car that has been around for over three decades. Unfortunately, while the vehicle is known for its fun driving experience, it’s not immune to problems. Despite Mazda’s reputation for building reliable cars, there are a few issues that real owners have reported. In this article, we will discuss three common Mazda MX-5 Miata problems that owners have reported and offer some tips on how to avoid or address these issues.

Mazda Miata Lifter Tick

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Gray
2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF | Mazda

A lifter tick is one of the most common problems that Mazda MX-5 Miata owners report. According to RepairPal, this ticking noise is often caused by problems with the hydraulic lifters and can be made worse by infrequent oil changes. The issue mainly appears in cars from 1990 to 1997. Over time, the lifters can wear down and lose their ability to properly open and close the engine’s valves, leading to the ticking noise.

However, the good news is that this problem can often be fixed in a few ways. The easiest way is to put a small amount of automatic transmission fluid in the engine oil, run the car for a few minutes, and then do a complete oil change. The ATF has detergents that will clean the dirty oil out of the lifters and “unstick” them. If you’re experiencing a lifter tick in your Mazda MX-5 Miata and a clean oil change doesn’t fix it, you may need to replace the lifters.

MX-5 Miata fuel filler check engine light

2014 Mazda Miata Club Red
2014 Mazda Miata Club | Mazda

Another common issue Mazda MX-5 Miata owners reported is the check engine light coming on due to problems with the fuel filler pipe. RepairPal notes that the 2006-2014 MX-5 Miatas has improperly made threads on the fuel filler pipe. The improper threading can cause the check engine light to come on.

This problem can be particularly frustrating for owners because the check engine light may not indicate any other issues with the car. However, it can still cause concerns about the vehicle’s overall health. If you’re experiencing this issue, having a mechanic check your fuel filler pipe to prevent further problems with the check engine light is essential.

Restricted EGR system on Miata

1995 Mazda Miata green
1995 Mazda Miata | Getty Images

A restricted EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) system is another issue that Mazda MX-5 Miata owners have reported. The restricted EGR system can cause the check engine light to come on, leading to poor engine performance. These issues include reduced power and decreased fuel efficiency. The EGR system recirculates exhaust gases into the engine to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency.

When the EGR system becomes restricted, it can prevent the proper amount of exhaust gases from entering the engine. The issues are reported for the 1999 to 2003, 2009, and 2010 model years. Therefore, it’s important to have a mechanic check the EGR system to ensure it’s functioning correctly. In addition, it will need to be cleaned or replaced with any components causing the restriction.

Are Mazda MX-5 Miatas reliable?

In conclusion, while the Mazda MX-5 Miata is a fun and exciting car, it is not immune to problems. Real owners have reported several issues that can affect the car’s performance and overall health. The lifter tick, fuel filler check engine light, and restricted EGR system are three common issues that have been reported.

However, there are solutions to these problems. Doing things like regular oil changes, replacing faulty components, and having a mechanic check the EGR system. By taking the appropriate steps to address these issues, Mazda MX-5 Miata owners can continue to enjoy their cars and have a great driving experience.


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