Buying my first MX5, what should I look out for (mk3)

I’m new to MX5’s, I’m looking at a Mk3 tomorrow. '08 plate, 40k miles. What should I look for? Any advice appreciated.

Bar for the obvious i;e start stop steer…don’t look how shiny it is look under it we’re you won’t look …more so around the back end for rust they will all have rust but how bad does it look sills hard to tell because of plastic covers …but plenty of advice will come up soon so you will get used to the word rust…its a mx5

Body wise look at the return lip on the rear wheel arches for rust blisters and around the side repeaters on the front wings. Look at the bonnet leading edge for lacquer peel on top and underneath. Same again under the boot lid around the number plate lights more so for corrosion, it probably will have there.
Check under the car for corrosion, especially down where the rear part of the sill meets the lower wheel arch and under the car at that point. Some of that will be covered with arch liner. Whilst down there check the overall rustiness (or not) of the rear subframe, some can look nasty with rust but maybe solid.
The general condition of the tyres (any car really) but I like them all to match with a decent brand on there. Any mismatched tells you maybe the previous owner wasn’t really that bothered in that department. Some dealer cars may just bung any tyre on to sell the car, those things can be changed though.
Check the engine has the correct oil level, most important and of course the service history.
Make sure the inside is dry, leaks can occur, wet carpets a tell tale sign of course.
Test drive, it stops goes and steering feels good are basics and there are no unusual noises. Don’t buy the first one you see/test drive, I usually have to take a step back if unsure and have a think, sleep on it so to speak.


Perfect, actually going to print this as a checklist

Try the Web addresses below for starters and there are also numerous YouTube videos on the subject ;

Also check out the MoT on the Internet and look for advisories listed.

Hope that helps


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Great, understood, thanks

It does help, thanks Russ

And as I explained above in my post, check out this poorly rusted Mk3 here below. Also not highlighted in the video you’ll see the bare wheel arch, no liner, at the base of the inner arch you’ll get to see the hole where one of the liner grommets fit, it’s at this point rust occurs. Under the car at that point where the arch meets the sill can rust and rot out too, look at any potential purchase there but more difficult with the liner in place of course.

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Thanks again. I made and printed a checklist mainly using your suggestions and some other web sites and bought an MX5. It’s mint. Very happy, Thanks again.


Congratulations on finding one, we just need pictures now

A bit late, but have a look for the factory chassis number security stickers on the major panels. From memory, the main ones to look for:
Open the hood and check the top of both front wings and front panel, back of the doors, rear wings (located at the back of both door shuts) and inside boot lid. I think there are others. These will show if the car has had panels replaced at some time. These stickers can’t be replicated, apparently.