How Long Do Mazda MX-5 Miata Last? (12 Important Facts)

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a small, 2-seater roadster that first hit the streets in 1989.

It’s a hugely popular choice thanks to its affordability, joyful handling and the sense of freedom drivers get as they cruise with the top down.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the MX-5 Miata’s average lifespan.

Here is the short answer to how long the Mazda MX-5 Miata lasts:

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a reliable and robust sports car that can last between 200,000 to 300,000 miles on average when properly maintained and driven conservatively. Based on driving 15,000 miles per year, you can expect the MX-5 Miata to last 13 to 20 years before requiring uneconomical repairs.

How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Mazda MX-5 Miata?

The MX-5 Miata has been around long enough that we can make a fairly accurate prediction of its lifespan.

And it should come as no surprise that these cars are built to last, a recent reliability survey from Consumer Reports pegged Mazda as the 2nd most reliable car manufacturer out of 28 brands.

On average most MX-5 models will typically last in the region of 200,000 – 300,000 miles, depending on ownership habits and to some extent luck.

In reality, there’s no exact timeframe how long any car will last and you’ll even find MX-5 owners with over 300,000 miles on the clock.

You can keep any car on the road for as long as you’re willing to pay for repairs, but there comes a point when the cost of repairs outweighs the value of the vehicle – this is usually when the engine fails or despite repairs, the car remains problematic.

On the used car website Car Gurus, you’ll find no shortage of MX-5 Miatas with well over 150,000 miles and still going strong.

The longevity of any car is ultimately decided by the owner, primarily how well they maintain and look after it and their driving habits.

Sure, these cars are designed for spirited driving but keep in mind that being too harsh with the gas and brake pedals can be hard on any vehicle.

To get the most life from your MX-5 Miata be sure to:

  • Drive sensibly
  • Change the oil at the recommended intervals
  • Stay up to date with routine maintenance
  • Replace the timing belt at 60,000 and 120,000 miles
  • Keep the car clean to help keep rust at bay

The Mazda MX-5 Miata comes with a transferable 3-year/36,000-mile New-Vehicle Limited Warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty.

Did you know: The Mazda MX-5 is just another name for the classic Mazda Miata. These days, the car’s official name is a combination of the two: the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

What Problems Do Mazda MX-5 Miata Have?

The MX-5 Miata is a great little car but it’s not without flaws.

Airbag Problems

On Car Problem Zoo, a site dedicated to owner feedback, the most commonly reported problem for the Miata is airbag-related.

A number of owners have reported that their airbags did not deploy – however, this issue has mostly been reported on models pre-2010.

Transmission Problems

A common complaint about 2016 – 2019 MX-5 Miata’s is due to its transmission.

Mazda is issued a recall for certain models due to an electrical problem that could cause the car to suddenly lose power and potentially result in a crash.

In total, more than 14,000 cars were affected.

Here’s one owner’s experience:

“When accelerating from a traffic light the transmission stopped working and I lost acceleration in a busy road. This is the second time this has happened in a busy intersection.”

Road Noise

Some owners have complained that during long drives the road noise inside the cabin can be quite noisy and even fatiguing.

This is to be somewhat expected from such a light roadster.

What is High Mileage for a Mazda MX-5 Miata?

A Mazda MX-5 Miata with over 100,000 miles is considered high mileage. Although the car may still have plenty of life left, it will have incurred some degree of wear and tear and will be in need of repairs or replacement parts sooner rather than later.

Purchasing a high-mileage Mazda MX-5 Miata can be a great investment, but it really depends on how well the previous owner(s) looked after it.

A well-kept Miata with over 100,000 miles will be a better option than one with 70,000 miles that had many owners and was treated like a formula one car.

If you’re buying a used Mazda MX-5 Miata, consider the following:

  1. Maintenance history. Make sure the car had its routine servicing done and the owner can provide proof, ideally at a Mazda dealership or a reputable mechanic.
  2. Check for rust and damage. Rust is a problem that will spread, make sure to check under the car too. Any damage or scratches will be an indicator of how the car was treated.
  3. Number of previous owners. As a general rule, less is better – more owners usually means more wear-and-tear.
  4. How long you are planning on keeping the car. If it’s for a long time, evaluate whether the short-term savings outweigh spending extra on something more reliable.
  5. Examine the interior. The condition of the interior tells the story of how well the car was maintained and cared for.

How Long Does the Mazda MX-5 Miata Last Compared to Similar Car Models?

In this section, we’ll look at some of the Mazda MX-5 Miata’s closest competitors and see how they stack up in terms of durability and repair costs.

Mazda MX-5 Miata vs. BMW Z4

The BMW Z4 roadster is a slick roadster offering impressive acceleration and handling.

The BMW Z4 can last 200,000 miles or 13 years, less than what is expected of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. 

Mazda MX-5 MiataBMW Z4
RepairPal Reliability Rating4.0/5.03.0/5.0
RepairPal Reliability Ranking 8th / 21
Subcompact Cars
14th / 17
Luxury Compact Cars
Average Annual Repair Cost $429$895
Kelley Blue Book Reliability Score4.7/5.05.0/5.0
JD Power Quality & Reliability ScoreNANA

Deciding between these two cars will likely come down to your budget as the Z4 starts at around $50k while the MX-5 Miata starts at $28K.

The Z4 is praised for its hushed cabin although for the driving purists, it’s only available in automatic.

Related: How Long Do BMW Z4 Last?

Mazda MX-5 Miata vs. Toyota Supra

The Toyota Supra made a return from a 17-year hiatus and went back into production in March 2019.

The Toyota Supra is expected last a long time based on Toyota’s track record, we expect a well-kept Supra to last 200,000 – 300,000 miles on average.

Mazda MX-5 MiataToyota Supra
RepairPal Reliability Rating4.0/5.0NA
RepairPal Reliability Ranking 8th / 21
Subcompact Cars
NA
Average Annual Repair Cost $429$495
Kelley Blue Book Reliability Score4.7/5.04.2/5.0
JD Power Quality & Reliability ScoreNA61/100

If you’re on a tight budget the MX-5 Miata is the better choice.

The Supra boasts a mega turbocharged inline-six but some critics complain the car is hard to see out of.

Mazda MX-5 Miata vs. Fiat 124 Spider

The Fiat 124 Spider has a very distinctive style although it was sadly discontinued for the 2021 model year.

The Fiat 124 Spider can last 200,000 – 250,000 miles or 13 – 17 years, slightly less than what is expected of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. 

Mazda MX-5 MiataFiat 124 Spider
RepairPal Reliability Rating4.0/5.0NA
RepairPal Reliability Ranking 8th / 21Subcompact CarsNA
Subcompact Cars
Average Annual Repair Cost $429$550
Kelley Blue Book Reliability Score4.7/5.04.9/5.0
JD Power Quality & Reliability ScoreNANA

The MX-5 Miata and 124 Spider are closely matched in nearly every department, in fact both cars come out of the same factory in Japan.

Choosing between the two will come down to personal preference although the Miata is often the top pick when the two are compared by auto critics.

Comparison Chart

Mazda MX-5 MiataBMW Z4Toyota SupraFiat 124 Spider
Annual Repair Cost$429$895$495$550
Reliability Rating4.0/5.03.0/5.0NANA
KBB Consumer Rating4.7/5.05.0/5.04.2/5.04.9/5.0
J.D. Power RatingNA NA 61/100NA
Lifespan (miles)200k-300k200k200k-300k200k-250k

Is the Mazda MX-5 Miata Reliable?

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has received impressive reliability ratings from auto-critics and owners alike. If you’re looking for an affordable, reliable roadster then the Miata MX-5 should be high up on your list.

No car is perfect and you’ll find the odd ower complaint here and there but generally speaking, these cars are tough and built to last.

The MX-5 Miata has received the following reliability scores:

  • Consumer Report gave the Mazda MX-5 Miata an average reliability score of 4.7/5.0
  • Repair Pal gave the MX-5 Miata a reliability score of 4.0 / 5.0

Here’s what a couple of owners had to say:

“My 94 Miata has 300k miles and hasn’t had any problems other than a little overheating for the first time today but that because it’s 110 outside”

“My MX5 mk2.5 (2003 model) 1.6 ragtop has 188,000 miles on her clock and is still running well. She does long and short journeys winter and summer and has just developed a bit of rust”

“Change the oil, dont let the coolant leak and drive “normal”. Replace the timing belt at 60k and 120k and the Miata is very capable of 300,000 miles.”

Source: Car Gurus

As with longevity, the reliability of your Mazda MX-5 Miata will also depend on keeping up to date with the service schedule and adopting good driving habits.

Reliability Compared to Other Small Cars

ModelReliability 
Toyota Yaris4.5 / 5.0
Toyota Prius C4.5 / 5.0
Mazda24.5 / 5.0
Honda Fit4.5 / 5.0
Hyundai Accent4.5 / 5.0
Kia Rio4.5 / 5.0
Mitsubishi Mirage4.5 / 5.0
Mazda MX-5 Miata4.0 / 5.0
Nissan Versa4.0 / 5.0
Chevrolet Spark4.0 / 5.0
Nissan Versa Note4.0 / 5.0
Honda CR-Z4.0 / 5.0
Chevrolet Aveo4.0 / 5.0
Chevrolet Sonic4.0 / 5.0
Ford Fiesta4.0 / 5.0
Smart Fortwo4.0 / 5.0
Nissan Cube3.5 / 5.0
Fiat 5003.5 / 5.0
Mini Cooper Countryman3.5 / 5.0
Subaru BRZ3.0 / 5.0
Mini Cooper3.0 / 5.0
Avg. Subcompact Car4.0

The Best and Worst Years for the Mazda MX-5 Miata

We’ve done some digging to find the best and worst model years for the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Worst Model Year

The worst model years for the Mazda MX-5 Miata are from 1999 to 2002.

These model years received a number of complaints about the brakes not working properly in the rain.

Some owners even reported that the brakes had no effect until the rotors were dry.

Here’s what one owner had to say:

Brakes fail in the rain! When it is raining the brake surfaces get covered in water and the pads are to small to sufficiently squeeze the water off and out to allow immediate braking. This has resulted in several close calls and should be addressed as a safety hazard.

Another bad year for the MX-5 Miata was 2016, this was due to transmission problems that affected certain models.

The problems were electrical related and could cause the car to suddenly lose power and potentially result in a crash – Mazda issued a recall for this.

Best Model Year

The best model years for the Mazda MX-5 Miata are from 2017 onwards.

These models have received the fewest complaints and have the best scores for reliability.

The newest car models are generally the best as we’re dealing with machines, not fine wines – they are continually improving.

The latest MX-5 Miatas have the latest tech and innovations – for example, the 2022 model utilizes a new feature called Kinematic Posture Control.

This is designed to sharpen handling by applying small amounts of brake pressure on the inner rear wheel during cornering.

Mazda claims this significantly reduces body roll and bolsters stability. 

What About Recalls for These Models?

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has had a total of 8 recall campaigns since 2006.

You can check if your Mazda MX-5 Miata has been subjected to a recall campaign by entering your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on Mazdas recall site or the NHTSA recall database.

It is important to note that recalls are manufacturing faults repaired at no charge for the consumer.

Here is the total number of recall campaigns for every model year of the Mazda MX-5 Miata:

  • 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 0
  • 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 0
  • 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 0
  • 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 2
  • 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 2
  • 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 1
  • 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 2
  • 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 0
  • 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 0
  • 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 0
  • 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 0 
  • 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 0
  • 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 0
  • 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 0
  • 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 0
  • 2007 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 0
  • 2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 1

Mazda MX-5 Miata Model Year List

First Generation (1989 – 1998)

  • 1989 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 1991 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 1992 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 1993 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 1995 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 1998 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Second Generation (1999 – 2004)

  • 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2000 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2001 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2003 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2004 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Third Generation (2005 – 2015)

  • 2005 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2007 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Fourth Generation (2016 – Present)

  • 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Are Mazda MX-5 Miata Expensive to Maintain?

According to RepairPal a Mazda MX-5 Miata will cost an average of $429 per year in repairs and maintenance. This is lower than the average of $456 for the small car segment and less than the average for all vehicles across different segments, which is estimated at $652.

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is one of the most affordable sports cars to own and maintain, this is thanks to its excellent reliability record and the affordability of Mazda parts and labor.

ModelAvg. Annual 
Repair Cost
Frequency of
Unscheduled
Repairs (per year)
Probability of
Severe Repairs
Toyota Yaris$3330.46%
Toyota Prius C$3830.47%
Mazda2$4490.37%
Honda Fit$3900.48%
Hyundai Accent$4440.28%
Kia Rio$4340.29%
Mitsubishi Mirage$4570.19%
Mazda MX-5 Miata$4290.310%
Nissan Versa$4560.410%
Chevrolet Spark$4340.312%
Nissan Versa Note$4450.312%
Honda CR-Z$4300.3312%
Chevrolet Aveo$6160.211%
Chevrolet Sonic$5360.411%
Ford Fiesta$5520.412%
Smart Fortwo$7510.38%
Nissan Cube$4710.317%
Fiat 500$5220.217%
Mini Cooper Countryman$8800.611%
Subaru BRZ$6720.3318%
Mini Cooper$8460.613%
Avg. Subcompact Car$4560.311%

How Long Do the Brakes Last?

Mazda MX-5 Miata brake pads will typically last between 30,000 and 60,000 miles. This can vary widely and depends mostly on your style of driving and the traffic conditions you normally drive in.

  • You can expect your brakes to wear out sooner if you frequently stop and accelerate in rush-hour traffic or are harsh with the brake pedal.
  • Brake pad replacement, which includes parts and labor, can cost anywhere between $200 and $400.
  • Full and complete stops from a high speed are the #1 cause of premature brake pad wear.

Related: How Long Do Porsche Boxster Last? (12 Important Facts)

How Long Do the Tires Last?

The Mazda MX-5 Miata’s stock tires usually last around 40,000 to 50,000 miles or 3 to 5 years. However, they can wear out much sooner. This depends on various factors, such as driving habits, climate, and road conditions.

  • Rotate tires every 5,000 miles to ensure even wear.
  • Check your tire pressure every few weeks to make sure they’re at the correct tire pressure.
  • Have a mechanic or tire shop check your wheel alignment every 6 months.

How Long Do Mazda MX-5 Miata Engines Last?

The Mazda MX-5 Miata comes with a 2.0-liter,  16-valve, inline-4 engine, which should last at least 200,000 miles with regular oil changes and proper maintenance.

How Long Do Mazda MX-5 Miata Batteries Last?

The Mazda MX-5 Miata 12V battery should last between 3 – 5 years. A vehicle’s battery life varies depending on many factors such as climate, driving habits, and battery type, among many others.

  1. Keep your battery tightly fastened: The vibrations of your car can loosen the connections, potentially resulting in short circuits and internal damage.
  2. Limit short rides: Quick car rides prevent the battery from fully charging.
  3. Storage: Keep your Mazda MX-5 Miata stored indoors to protect it from extreme temperature changes.
  4. Control Corrosion: Clean the terminals (toothbrush dipped in baking soda and water mixture) and keep them free from build-up.

How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?

The spark plugs on a Mazda MX-5 Miata should last approximately 100,000 miles. Spark plugs are usually inspected every time you take your car in for routine maintenance.

Signs of a fouled spark plug include:

  • Reduced gas mileage
  • Lack of acceleration
  • Rough idling
  • Hard starts
  • Engine misfires

What About Insurance Costs?

The average cost of full comprehensive coverage for a Mazda MX-5 Miata is $1,312 per year or around $109 per month. 

Insurance costs can vary from person to person; be sure to shop around to find the best potential deal for your Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Mazda MX-5 Miata

  • Although it’s a sports car, try to drive as “normal” as possible, this will help keep wear and tear to a minimum.
  • Have the car washed regularly to keep rust at bay, especially after exposure to rain and road salt.
  • Keep your Miata stored in a garage to protect it from the elements and bird droppings that can ruin the paintwork.
  • Familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual to learn the location of important components, what your vehicle needs and in what quantities, and to understand the symbols and dashboard warning lights.
  • If your Miata needs repairs done, have them carried out asap to prevent thme from turning into bigger problems.

Sources

  1. https://repairpal.com/reliability/mazda/mx-5-miata 
  2. https://www.kbb.com/mazda/mx-5-miata/ 
  3. https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2021/mazda/mx-5-miata 
  4. https://www.consumerreports.org/cars/mazda/mx-5-miata/ 
  5. https://www.carcomplaints.com/Mazda/MX-5_Miata/ 
  6. https://www.carproblemzoo.com/mazda/mx5/ 
  7. https://www.cars.com/research/mazda-mx_5_miata/recalls/ 
  8. https://repairpal.com/estimator/mazda/mx-5-miata/brake-pad-replacement-cost 
  9. https://insuraviz.com/vehicles/mazda/mazda-mx-5-miata-insurance/ 
  10. www.cargurus.com