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The goal was to marry the look and feel of classic 1960s British sports cars with the quality and reliability of modern Japanese models--and this nimble, fun-to-drive roadster meets it admirably. Though it leans in corners a bit more than did earlier Miatas, the latest version rides marginally better. Its twin-camshaft Four is willing and responsive, if not overly powerful, and the stubby manual shifter is a joy to use.
Alerts
There are 2 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
Most Common Trouble Spots
Common Trouble Spot
Common Trouble Spot
The 2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata has been recalled 2 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years *Redesign year
Worse Better
00
01
02
03
04
05
06*
07
08
09
10
11
12
13
14
15
16*
17
18
Overall Reliability Verdict
NA
NA
NA
Potential Trouble Spots
Engine Major
NA
NA
NA
Engine Minor
NA
NA
NA
Engine Cooling
NA
NA
NA
Transmission Major
NA
NA
NA
Transmission Minor
NA
NA
NA
Drive System
NA
NA
NA
Fuel System
NA
NA
NA
Electric System
NA
NA
NA
Climate System
NA
NA
NA
Suspension
NA
NA
NA
Brakes
NA
NA
NA
Exhaust
NA
NA
NA
Paint/Trim
NA
NA
NA
Body Integrity
NA
NA
NA
Body Hardware
NA
NA
NA
Power Equipment
NA
NA
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
NA
NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for about 500,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2018 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Convertible top

“The top is worn and splitting at the rear window. In fairness though, it is a 13 year old Florida car”

Anonymous, FL (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Base 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Convertible top ripped (while up) because of wind pressure as I was driving at 55 mph & had to be replaced. Not bad, considering I live in Florida, the top was 12 years old, and the car sits outside 6 months of the year”

William S., FL (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl)
Seat belts

“The whole design has been a source of annoyance. The male portion of the buckle is constantly getting wedged between the seat and the door, and the entire assembly is too sensitive to movement”

Anonymous, FL (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Base 1.8-L 4 Cyl)
Windows

“electric windows had to be disassembled, lubed and adjusted to regain normal open and close speed”

Anonymous, OH (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Had to replace both window motors and it was very expensive”

Michael W., GA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Window on drivers side would go down only 1/4 of the way & the complete assembly had to be replaced. Apparently the rubber bushings give out as the car ages”

William S., FL (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

“Replaced the ECM, Immobilizer, spark plugs, plug wires, coils, still having misfire issues”

Daniel T., TX (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel injection system

“We had to replace both electronic modules that control fuel injection. The car would hesitate and cough when accelerated”

Anonymous, ID (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Replaced both o2 sensors”

Anonymous, FL (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Front 02 sensor went bad around 45000 miles”

Anonymous, GA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

“after using car cover for two months it suddenly developed milky white areas indicating the clear coat had failed in those places. An essentially unrepairable situation short of complete repainting”

Anonymous, OH (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Special Edition Trim on car fading very badly”

Michael W., GA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)
Rust

“After 13 years of reliable fun excellent joyful driving, the left side panel requires replacement due to rust or it will not pass inspection. P.S. The convertible vinyl top is starting to craft, but is not leaking”

Anonymous, PA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Radio

“Radio completely stopped working. I replaced it with an aftermarket stereo”

Paul J., TX (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Runs the battery down and the clock runs very fast”

Daniel T., TX (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)
Display screen difficult to see

“cant see display of stations”

Anonymous, TN (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Cruise control

“With the cruise control on, when the car downshifts for a hill or grade, it will not upshift for a long time afterwards, even when on the downhill side”

Anonymous, KY (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Base 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Cruise control and radio volume goes does sporadically. I think due to faulty speed sensor”

Val B., GA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine knock or ping

“WATER WAS LEAKING THROUGH THE SPARK PLUG OF CYLINDER 1 CAUSING SERIOUS MIS-FIRING”

Anonymous, PA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)
Oil leaks

“Noticed oil on parking pavement”

Pierre R., NS (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Hydraulics (clutch master or slave cylinder)

“clutch master and slave were replaced”

Jo S., NC (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Base 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“replaced both master and slave cylinder. But this is the only real problems with car over the 15 years”

Anonymous, TN (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Cylinder head

“SEE PREVIOUS COMMENTS. THE CYLINDERS HAD TO BE DRAINED AND AIR DRIED AND REPLACING OF IGNITION CABLES”

Anonymous, PA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

“Weather stripping around top of windows, and repeated problem with vinyl convertible top latches”

Estelle K., OR (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Electronic ignition

“Failure of the Cam Position Sensor caused the car to die in the middle of freeway traffic. This is the 3rd ignition failure on this car, leaving my wife stranded each time”

Anonymous, CA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Base 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

Compare 2002 Models

No Data Available
Recalls
PROVIDED BY
EXTERIOR LIGHTING
Mar 23 2006
WITHOUT THE AMBER REFLECTORS, THE VEHICLE WILL BE POORLY ILLUMINATED, POSSIBLY RESULTING IN A VEHICLE CRASH WITHOUT WARNING.
Summary:
CERTAIN PRO-A MOTORS CORNER LAMPS, TURN SIGNALS, AND HEADLIGHTS SOLD AS REPLACEMENT LAMPS FOR USE ON CERTAIN PASSENGER VEHICLES LISTED ABOVE. SOME COMBINATION LAMPS THAT ARE NOT EQUIPPED WITH AMBER SIDE REFLECTORS FAIL TO CONFORM TO FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 108, LAMPS, REFLECTIVE DEVICES, AND ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT.
What should you do:
PRO-A MOTORS WILL NOTIFY OWNERS AND OFFER TO REPURCHASE THE LAMPS. THE RECALL BEGAN ON APRIL 3, 2006. OWNERS MAY CONTACT PRO-A MOTORS AT 323-838-2988.
For more information:
THIS RECALL ONLY PERTAINS TO PRO-A MOTORS AFTERMARKET LAMPS AND HAS NO RELATION TO ANY ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT INSTALLED ON THE LISTED PASSENGER VEHICLES.FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE LAMP MODEL NUMBERS, CLICK ON DOCUMENT SEARCH AND VIEW DOCUMENT TITLED "LAMP MODEL NUMBERS."CUSTOMERS MAY CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153); OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 06E026000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 61944
EXTERIOR LIGHTING:FOG LIGHTS
Jun 05 2003
SHOULD THIS OCCUR, THE BULB SOCKET AND THE HARNESS CAN DROP INSIDE THE BUMPER AND POSSIBLY BUT RARELY, THE HEAT GENERATED BY THE BULB CAN CAUSE THE BUMPER TO BURN.
Summary:
ON CERTAIN MINI VANS AND PASSENGER VEHICLES, THE SOCKET HOLDER IN THE FOG LIGHTS IS INSTALLED IN THE LAMP CASING USING PRESSURE. DURING OPERATION OF THE FOG LIGHT, THE HEAT FROM THE BULB CAN EXPAND THE SOCKET HOLDER. THE EXPANSION CAN FORCE THE SOCKET HOLDER REARWARD. AFTER REPEATEDLY BEING SUBJECT TO THIS EXPANSION, IF THE FOG LIGHT IS ALSO SUBJECTED TO VIBRATION DURING VEHICLE OPERATION, THE SOCKET HOLDER WITH THE BULB HOLDER AND THE WIRING HARNESS MAY SEPARATE FROM THE FOG LIGHT CASING.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL INSTALL A SPRING TO PREVENT THE SOCKET HOLDER FROM SEPARATING FROM THE LAMP CASE. OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN ON JULY 14, 2003. OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT MAZDA AT 1-800-222-5500.
For more information:
MAZDA RECALL NO. 1103F.CUSTOMERS CAN ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 03V206000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 64000
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