Mx 5 mark4 rf purchase used gearbox issues?

Hi all , thinking if purchasing an early 1.5 or 2.0 RF , does anyone know does the gearbox issues that affected mk4 soft tops, affect the RF model also on UK cars ?thanks

Hi, I would assume that whatever problems exist would affect both cars equally?

Apparently it affects both soft tops and RF’s. Owners forums will highlight every fault known and probably make the issues appear more widespread than they really are. Not saying that it won’t happen to your new pride and joy but I suspect the failure rate is a small percentage. I could be completely wrong; mine is a 2016 model and has been OK…so far. My fingers have never been so firmly crossed as they are now.

I had a 2017 RF the issues I had which was enough to sell it was as the weather got cold and I don’t mean freezing the gear change was the worst I have owned in any car …and this was a garaged car…it went back to mazda on many accasions and even the dealers agreed it was bad it took about 20 mins before the oil got hot enough for the gear change to get back to normal …in the end the dealers put it in the hands of mazda who refused to do anything about it calling it a caralistic of the car …I called it a nightmare of a car and not what I expected of a 30k car in the end given other issues I had I gave up dropped it the brought a mk3 2.0 that is a pleasure to drive …

Thanks Phil , feels like a late MK3 sport Tec or the like might be a better purchase ,they say the RF doesn’t give u that full top down experience , that and the gearbox issues steers me towards mk 3 coupe , hard to find a nice one as youngest cars will be 7yrs soon thanks again for your thoughts

To be honest the cold gearbox affecting the gearchange issue (if you can really call it an issue) was worse on my Mk3 than either of my ND’s. Did the dealer not suggest a different oil for the gearbox? The actual gearbox failures were relatively rare in road cars and mainly affected cars used for motorsport events where the cars get thrashed in 1st and 2nd gears such as Autocross/Autotests. It also mainly affected the 2.0 litre cars which produce higher torque than the 1.5 litre cars.


The dealer did say change the oil but because it was a mazda warranty issue mazda would not give the go ahead for it to be changed and to change it your self would invalidate the warranty and as they had other issues with the gear box although I had no other issues not worth it to say gear change was bad when cold would be a gross understatement …I had many discutions with mazda direct to no avail when you pay best part of 30k for a car you don’t expect you can only drive it comfortable on warm days the only corse I had was small claims court …and I could not be bothered…so why did I buy another mx5 …simple it was cheap and I did not have to deal with mazda plus as much as I liked the RF in most things … the mk3 feels just as good to drive and not as cramped

That does sound like very poor customer aftersales service. An oil change when you have the facilities a Mazda Dealer has should only be a 1/2 hour job at the most. I just can’t imagine a properly functioning gearbox being that stiff. I don’t think that it is an endemic problem but a problem associated with that particular example of the car. Mazda and the dealer should have sorted it out between them. Poor show!

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Hi Phil
I have had two Mark 4,first one being a ND1 2015 model and gearbox was okay no stiffness at all,i now have a 2019 ND2 that also is perfect gear change i have heard some seem to have this problem it does seem down to individual cars ,allround the ND2 seems a better sorted car than the ND1,have done 15000 miles so far,not used much this year due to Covid.

All best Simon

I think a lot was based around the 2017 the first batch of the RF maybe it was a bit of a rush to get them launched ? I know of a lot of people who don’t seem to have any problems but when you do mazda are a nightmare to give you a clue my mate brought a kia 2013 at the time I brought my RF he still as his and althoght he has had a problem with it there was no hassle involved in getting it sorted and his was a good 10k cheaper you can only speak from personal experience …

If you take a car for a drive you’ll be able to notice it more or less immediately, as mentioned above 1.5 cars are less affected than earlier 2.0 There have been something like 5+ revisions of the gearbox each one addressing different aspects of the issue it seems. Ironically this is where buying a used car would be better than buying new. Used you can take for a test drive, new not possible. My mk3 had a dreadful gearchange when I bought it but it turned out to be a badly adjusted clutch pedal which has probably been there all it’s life (and 96,000 miles!) I suspect previous owners just put up with it, there’s even a receipt for a new clutch being fitting 20k ago. Ironically all it took was 15 minutes upside down in the footwall with a 10mm spanner and it’s like a different car!

Anyway back to the mk4, test drive a car and make sure the owner/garage lets you do it from cold. It’ll either be bad or not. Unless you intend to track the car hard I doubt it will get much worse during your ownership on a car that could be up to 5 years old now - it would have happened already.