2016 ND Gearbox Issue

  1. My model of MX-5 is: ND 2016
  2. I’m based near: Essex
  3. I’m looking for technical help or recommendations on: Gearbox

Second try! I have a 2016 ND 1.5 SportNav. I’ve seen previous posts on here about gearbox issues and apologise for resurrecting what may be an old problem. However, it’s new to me. Since getting my 2016 ND 1.5 SportNav a year ago I’ve had a niggling issue with the gearbox when engaging 1st or reverse gear, and when changing from 1st to 2nd and 3rd to 2nd. It’s stiff, notchy or changes with a crunch. I’ve just had a 5 year service with a Mazda main dealer and the gearbox oil was changed as part of that service. The problem has since got worse. Contacted the main dealer and their response was, basically, tough. We’ve done nothing wrong and if you want us to look into it it’ll cost you. Shocking. Looking at the MX5 owners manual they specify the use of Mazda gear oil and warn of stiff gear change if anything else is used. Explained this to the Mazda main dealer and, again, they fobbed me off. I’m convinced they’ve used the wrong oil but there’s no way I can prove it. Is anyone else having low gear change issues with their early ND’s? If so, any thoughts, ideas or recommendations on how to resolve the issue? I love the car and may just have to live with the annoying gearbox issue but it would be nice if I could get it sorted. Many thanks.

Those symptoms are not uncommon of the gearboxes unfortunately, i use 75w/140 in mine which some argue gives the gearbox better protection but does make changes stiffer when cold but as soon as its warmed up (after a couple of minutes of use) it becomes slightly smoother than the Mazda oil i find. I had an ongoing 6 month argument with Mazda and had to visit 3 different dealerships to get my gearbox replaced and that’s under the 3 year warranty, given my experience under warranty i’m sorry to say i can’t see you getting any help outside of it.

Paul Roddison is very experienced with this, he has a ‘special brew’ gearbox oil which can help.

Sounds like you need an expert also. Is it difficult to engage gears with the engine off?

If it’s not,.it might actually be a clutch problem, I.e. dragging not.disengaging. Might need clutch fluid bleeding first?


Usually the invoice will itemise exactly which oil has been supplied so have a look there and see exactly what it says.

Maybe even worth trying an additive like LiquiMoly MoS2 molybdenum disulphide.

Put some better oil in it, end of story. You may be surprised to know that any dealership does not know its ar se from it’s elbow when it comes to aftermarket fixes for problems caused by Mazda.
If you want some let me know.

We’re all ready to look to the gearbox as the culprit now we know about the TSB’s and some failures.

If you’re having trouble engaging 1st and reverse, presumably from a standstill, there might be a bit of clutch drag.

Not to say it isn’t the gearbox, but the clutch is commonly implicated in what you describe (not specifically in relation to MX-5’s).

Hi all, and many thanks for your helpful replies. It’s given me a couple of things to get checked out and I did wonder about the clutch. I’m still convinced the Mazda main dealer, who also happen to have a Ford and Kia franchise, just bunged in a “generic” gear oil that they use for all vehicles and fobbed me off. The next thing is to find a decent mechanic in the Essex area who I can trust to check the clutch and change the gear oil with my specified grade. Cheers all.

Yep I would get the clutch fluid changed and bled, the slave cylinder might be leaking, and this might cause clutch drag and then the gear selection issues you have.

I wouldn’t get too hung up on this approved Mazda gearbox oil. I reckon it’s just 75w/90 with and additive like molybdenum in it.

I reckon Mazda Europe don’t import it as it’s nothing we can’t get here.

Allan Doodes, Bulphan Service Station, is our own North Thames region wizard for all your MX5 motoring needs and is a club member.

*You can contact Allan on 01375 891418