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The Miata is a fun-to-drive, low-slung little roadster, with pinpoint handling, instant power delivery, and a crisp manual gearbox. Excellent fuel economy is an extra bonus. While it remains very tight, the cabin has grown a little more livable over the years. The ride is surprisingly tolerable, but cabin noise can grow wearying on long cruises.

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
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 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

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

Display screen goes blank

“Problem was intermittent”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“On a random basis the display screen for the stereo would go blank”

David T., KS (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
CD player

“On fall pre-storage prep the 6 CD changer would not eject 4 of the discs. In the spring Mazda removed the player, but could not repair locally. Am awaiting return of the repaired unit while the dash has a gaping hole where the player used to be”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Radio

“Screen display on radio (station, volume, time, etc.) goes blank at times. Dealer said car is out of warranty and it would cost me $1,200.00 to replace the unit. I then contacted Mazda and told them this should not happen after only 18,000 miles even though the car is 5 years old. They claimed this is not an issue they have a history of and denied my request for a free or reduced cost replacement”

Todd L., FL (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

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

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

“Squecks around retractable hard top”

Patti B., TX (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“This has the retractable hard top. When closed, it makes some clunks that are not present when top is down. Also odd clicks that seem to be around the dash. Mildly annoying”

Michael G., CA (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“AT 40MPH I HEAR WHISTLING FROM LEFT FRONT WINDOW”

Marshall C., ME (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Unsure 2.0-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

Headlights

“Power supply for the advanced headlight system failed and needed to be replaced (under warrantee)”

Elliott-Pam G., VT (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Warning lights

“Hand brake light comes on intermittently. Hand brake is not engaged!”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Emergency brake warning light illuminates intermittently and the AM radio reception shorts out. Short in cable bundle behind the dash is suspected”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

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.

What Owners Say

Shocks or struts

“Rear wheels would hop around corner on a bump. Shock/struts were weak and needed replacement”

Steven L., NJ (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2.0-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

Ignition switch

“Car would not start the day after I bought it Had it towed to my local repair shop and a major fuse had blown Cost about $100 Dealer said he would remburse me but it would take a while so I get an oil change and pin stripping on the Miata Looks cool”

J O., FL (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2.0-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

Rough shifting

“shfting improper and clutch assembly change upon inspection”

Michel B., QC (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

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

What Owners Say

Squeaking

“After four times having the car serviced to repair the brake squeaking, we have just learned to live with it”

Barbara L., CA (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

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

“Cracks holes needs replacement”

Anonymous, MI (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Climate System

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

Engine Minor

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

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.

Paint/Trim

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

Drive System

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

Engine Cooling

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

Exhaust

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

Engine Major

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

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