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Let Miata Master guide you on how to restore your MX-5

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Photo: Mazda

Keeping a car on the road is not some kind of black magic, nor is it complicated science. It’s just a matter of tackling a few projects in order of importance, but specifically order may cause confusion. True to the spirit of the passion mantra, “Miata is always the answer,” this is a videotapes from the experts at Flyin’ Miata to help you.

Based on Keith Tanner In this video, here’s what you should do when buying one “new” used car, or at least one use Miata that’s new to you. Tanner outlines four basic areas to look out for: the suspension, the mechanical side of things (the powertrain), the interior and, of course, the cleaning.

On the surface, these may seem like common sense, but machine maintenance more or less eclipses the other three in practical application for about 99% of owners. Appearance is also a big deal, but mostly when it comes to exterior looks, but focusing on the Miata’s suspension and interior should make the little roadster feel better than new.

theuspension is where you will feel the most significant difference. So, Tanner mentions that you should be on the lookout for any leaks or creaks that could indicate something is amiss. And the first thing to do to learn about these things is to go get Miata straight.

Tanner says factory alignment is not an exact science, and on an older car like the Mazda MX-5 (NA), the alignment could be past its expiration date. Furthermore, when the shop is doing the alignment, it is easy for mechanics and technicians to spot anything that could be wrong in the suspension. If any of your car’s shock absorbers are blown out, alignment will make them easy to spot.

Of course, paying attention to things like the engine idle or brake performance are important too, but focusing on the suspension buys the biggest “new car” bang for the buck. Consider that alignment, then, as the gateway drug to a suspension refresh, which will make the Miata feel better to drive than most any upgrades that add horsepower. In other words, worry about the handling first, and power second.

Well, maybe worry about power third because a better alternative, and pressing runner-up to the suspension would be paying attention to your Mazda’s interior. Sure, sorting out the exterior will give your Miata a boost to its self esteem, but inner beauty is a noble goal. And as the driver or owner you’ll be spending most of the time inside the actual car.

One quick easy way to refresh that aging interior, per Tanner, is to throw in a new steering wheel. Not only will the shiny new leather draw your attention immediately, it’ll feel better and respond well to that refreshed suspension. Also, a car’s steering wheel can monopolize its sight lines in the cabin, so it really should be the first to be replaced.

I’m only glossing over what Tanner goes into detail on in the video, so make sure to sit through all eighteen minutes. The wisdom applies to many other older cars, too. It’s a damn good instructional video that will teach you “how to turn it into a pretty decent little driver into […] a very, very nice little car.”

How to make your Miata “new to you” (used) better! (Live FM)


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