Is it worth repairing rust on MK3 with 2 months left on MOT or should I sell?

  1. My model of MX-5 is: 1.8 Sport MK3 (2006)
  2. I’m based near: Manchester
  3. I’m looking for technical help or recommendations on: whether it is worth me paying to repair rust on the underbody of my car. I’m a female owner (only mentioning this to make everyone aware, as I am not mechanically minded or able to carry out my own repairs). I have had my hard top MK 3 Sport for 6 years in which time I have had very few issues. The car has been kept outside and driven daily but rust started appearing around the wheel arches which I had “tidied up” and painted. 2 years ago it failed its MOT due to rust underneath so I spent £500 having welding done (along with tidying the whee arches)as the near rear subframe and offside rear suspension arm was excessively corroded.

The car passed following the repairs with no advisories and also passed last year but with the advisory that “all underbody panels starting to corrode.” The mechanic who did the test said that he had purposely not “tapped hard” so as not to actually create any holes! He advised that I sell it. That was nearly a year ago and due to COVID and the massive hike in the price of second hand cars I am now stuck with whether I should pay for repairs or buy another car (a Volkswagon Golf circa 110k miles at £8k). My mazda has done 115000 miles. I would rather keep the car and not shell out 8k for another car but is it worth it? How much would it cost to fix all of the rust? How much would it be worth as it is now and would anyone even consider it with the advisory that it has and less than 2 months MOT left? Should I pay for someone to look at what needs doing prior to the MOT or just get the MOT done a month early to see what it fails on specifically? Any trusted MX-5 specialists that could do this work near the Manchester area or take a realistic look? Opinions and advice would be much appreciated

don’t get it MOTd as if it fails you won’t be able to drive it until it’s fixed


You’ll get nothing for it with a short MOT

Bit of a trek but club members and very trusted


They are just off the M6 at Newcastle under lyme

Ring first and ask them to inspect it

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Consider just how long you can keep it on life support for 8 grand ?
You say you love it and don’t wanna get rid…
Food for thought perhaps…


Greetings :handshake:

From Female NB 2.5 [2005] 1.8 Icon Owner [Just Over 46,144 Miles]
Ditto…Unable to Carry Out Complex Repairs Myself
Second Owner from March 2007

MOT Fail June 2022 [Corrosion]
Prior Corrosion Work Carried Out Pre-Pandemic 2019 - Different Area of Vehicle [After Which She Was Garaged for the First Time Since I Got Her]

Second in Queue for Further Welding with CS Haynes [Fortunately I Live Reasonably Close]
MX5 Owners Club Members Get 10% Discount on Works with CS Haynes
BUT There is a Post Pandemic Queue for Welding
And They are So Much in Catch-Up and Demand - They Now Charge for Assessment [Refundable if You Do the Works With Them]


I Decided to Go for Repairs & Renovation rather than an Unknown Secondhand Vehicle

For the Following Reasons

  • Owned her since she was 18 Months Old [History: Personal & Mechanical etc]

  • Best Car I’ve Ever Owned [Aged 64 yrs…That’s Me…Not the MX5]

  • Relatively Low Mileage for a 17 Yr Old Vehicle

  • Prosterity…Preserving Older Models of the MX5 out of Love rather than How Much She’s Worth - Now or in Future

Hope This Helps :thinking:

Kindest :smiley:


Bear in mind any proper repairs will take time, and you will need alternative transport. Mine took 3 months to get the sills done. The increase in prices might well force people to hang on to cars, and get them repaired.

The caveat is that on some NCs, rust can be extensive, and a never ending task to chase down.

Or take it to We Buy Any Car, and hope they don’t look underneath

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Thanks so much for your comments so far - really helpful and has given me alot to think about. Unfortunately I don’t really have the luxury of waiting a few months to have repairs done as I do rely ony car on a regular basis. So not sure travelling the distance to Staffs is realistic but will have a think. There is a chance that my car gets through an MOT but at the same time the advisory would still be the same. Either way I need to have it looked at first.


Have a look at a company called Yorkshire car restorations they have a YouTube channel and I take my mk3 to these guy’s highly recommend

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Without an MoT it’ll be very difficult to sell. Get a price from We Buy Any Car, they’ll buy it provided it has some MoT left, even just a few weeks. They’ll quote you a reasonable price on line but be prepared for that to come down a bit on inspection. Generally, as long as the interior and bodywork look ok they don’t tend to look any further.
By your description of the rust issues underneath this could be very expensive to put right, probably more than the car is worth. Your best bet is We Buy Any Car.

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Further Sound Advice from Other Members :+1:

It’s a real Dilemma :exploding_head:

I Forced Myself to ‘Brainstorm Alternative Solutions’ using ‘Cost/Benefit Analysis’ [Not Always to do with Finance]…Pros/Cons [Helps Take the Emotion Out of Decision Making]

e.g. Car Hire whilst Bullit in ‘Dry Dock’
Part Exchange for Newer Vehicle [Monthly Installments]

Bullit has previously Passed her MOTs with ‘Corrosion Advisory’. However, this time I knew she would Fail due to Specialist [CS Haynes] and Non-Specialist [Chap who does her MOTs] assessments

It’s a Pain in the Backside to be on Shank’s Pony especially if you’ve got Mobility Issues
Quite Apart From Keeping the Battery Charged Whilst She Waits for Welding

Fortunately…Tesco Deliver and there is a Pharmacy within Walking Distance

Anyway…Only You Can Decide…I Don’t Envy You as I’ve Recently Been Through the Process Myself :upside_down_face:

Meanwhile…We’d Love to Hear How You Get On When the Dust Settles :crossed_fingers: :hugs:

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you can MOT up to 1month before the old one runs out. You would then have a month to deliberate further. At least then, you would know what you are dealing with.


I think I’d find a local MOT station that would do a “pre MOT” check to see what it would fail on should you put it through a test and then see how bad things are/aren’t.


This! If you have a year on the MOT and you take it for fresh one at 6 months, and it fails, you lose it all. No takey backsies!

The one month thing is to do with being able to add on, you can MOT one month early and have 13 months MOT. Any earlier than a month and it’s just refreshed for a year.

This is one area where any dangerous faults found on an MOT will produce a real problem. In theory the repairs will need to be carried out before the car can be driven off the garage premises, unless on a trailer. We had this situation with my old VW Golf which failed in such a way but luckily my other half just jumped it and drove it five miles home with one or two ATS staff half heartedly trying to stop her, bless them:-)
My advice is a careful check of the vehicle, pre-MOT, by someone qualified or at least competent, to best avoid this kind of situation. My situation would have been wholly avoided, as usual, if I had taken my own advice.


Pretty sure a pre-MOT check wouldn’t guarantee a pass, which it comes to assessing rust. The OP’s mechanic already knows there are crunchy bits he’d daren’t prod.

Sell the car as is.
Get car assessed, patched, pass MOT with hopefully few issues, sell immediately.

Basic, ugly repairs, might be up to £500. They might last to the next MOT, where there will be more rust repairs. Will these repairs add £500 to the value. Maybe.

With a months MOT, Webuyanycar says they might give you £1800. In reality it will be less than that

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It depends what it fails on, but in this case, maybe too much of a risk

### Driving a vehicle that’s failed

You can take your vehicle away if:

**** your current MOT certificate is still valid***
**** no ‘dangerous’ problems were listed in the MOT***

Otherwise, you’ll need to get it repaired before you can drive.

If you can take your vehicle away, it must still meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness at all times.

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My Local Non-Specialist Chap Who’s Been Doing Bullits’ Services/Non-Welding Repairs & MOTs Since 2018

on the Day of the Fail [Actual Date of Expiration of MOT Cert] said

“You Have Until Midnight to Legally Drive Her”

I Clarified “Except to a Place of Repair for Works and Re-Test?”

[Which Will Be With Specialist CS Haynes…Hopefully 19th or 26th September :crossed_fingers:
Other Side of Town]

He Confirmed

MOT says ‘Major’ Corrosion


More Than His Jobs Worth & Reputation !!!


Just a Thought…Do You Cover Manchester as We’ve Sent the Poster to Specialists in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Yorkshire so far

Must Be an MX5 Specialist in Welding Closer to Her ??

Incorrect with the exception of a dangerous fail

Your current MOT is still valid
Even the secretary of transport cant remove a valid MOT once its issued
As said thou a dangerous defect can put the car unfit for the road even thou an MOT is still valid
Hence why the VOSA road side checks can put a vehicle off the road but again only with dangerous defects
Major defects and lower the car can still be used until the MOT certificate runs out .

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No i’m South West Midlands, but have been in the club 22 years, and know quite a few places.
Bitter experience has taught me to travel to an expert, not someone who thinks he can do the job.
i would rather travel and get a good job by someone who knows what they are doing. Hence my gearbox was fixed by Roddisons Sheffield) and my mapping done by Autotronix(Laughton en le morthen- just south of Sheffield)

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