NC 50K Servicing Advice

Hi all,

Recently purchased a 2lt 2012 NC which has just rolled over on 50k miles and from the last service history, done late 2017 at 43k miles (had been stored and only driven a few thousand miles until i purchased the car), it is now in need of a decent service.

Question i have, being completely new to NC’s/MX5’s - should i stick to the usual interim service (local dealers offered this when getting quotes), which i believe is oil & filter + brake fluid change + diff. oil at 50k; or would it be better to opt for a full service (inc plugs + gearbox oil + air filter etc)?

I suspect i’m being a little OTT/paranoid with the latter and it’d probably put the whole servicing timeline out but my thinking is that it had been sitting for a fair while and a specialist giving it a complete once over as well as not knowing exactly the work carried out previously, would offer a little ‘peace of mind’.

Much appreciated for any advice :slight_smile:

HI, I’ve just serviced my (new to me) NC. 2006 and just 65k so ripe for the full service thing. Don’t really trust garages so I do all my own work then at least I know whats been done and whats been used.

Everything was straightforward and cost about £120 all in. Plugs are stupidly expensive but only need changing at 60k, fluids are easy enough if you can get underneath. Air filter is very easy.

Is it any better - nope. But I know what its had done and when it needs doing again. For for peace of mind yes it was worth doing. I suspect the cost from an indy would be at least double my cost.

I’ve just got an MX5 NC too, and was contemplating doing the oil change and brake fluid myself.

The oil filter looks tricky to get off, did you remove the old one okay?

easy as anything else. Chain wrench or similar as you’d use on any oil filter. Just put loads of rags underneath to catch the oil spill.

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The MK3 oil filter is not easy to remove, I have done plenty of them. They are a bit difficult to get access to and there is a little small bore copper pipe there that can get caught. If you did not see it that is not good.

Therefore be careful.

To the original poster, I would agree with the dealer, do the next service as in the order advised in the service schedule published in the owners handbook.

I’ve struggled with the NC oil filter at times. I’ve always approached it from the left side of the car and had the rear under panel [the one with 4 10mm bolts] removed. I recently had cause to get under the front of the car and the other under panel had to be removed [the one with the 5 12mm bolts] and there was the filter. I felt like such an idiot. Yes the sub frame was still a bit in the way but the filter was easy to get to and I could get a filter tool and ratchet on there no problems.

A slight caveat to this is that I have a very high lift floor jack [upto 85cm] which I use on the central jacking point and then support the car with axle stands on the sides. If you only have a low lift jack that can barely get the wheels off the ground then access is a bit crap

Chain wrench is not much use with the NC filter, due to its location. Take off the plate under the engine and use a filter wrench that clamps on the end of the casing from underneath with an extension bar on a socket set ratchet wrench. I use a Bergen 3034. Be prepared for plenty of leakage as it comes off.


Or a 3 claw filter wrench. The motorbike one would be more suitable, it closes down better on the smaller dia filters.

I think you are quite right to think in terms of changing engine, gearbox and diff oils. Also air filter, brake fluid, and potentially power steering fluid too. Plugs might not be a bad idea as well, but make sure you get the correct replacements. A full coolant change is also worth considering (and easy to do because the rad has a convenient drain plug that’s readily accessible without taking of the undershield), although last time I did it on one of my Mk3s it was a bit tricky to get rid of an airlock.

If you do everything at your kind of mileage you will then have total peace of mind and can then plan your future servicing regime based on a solid base.

One further thing that I’d probably consider doing is changing brake pads and maybe discs too. And cheapo and cheerful tyres, even with a decent amount of tread, can thoroughly spoil your driving experience.

Much appreciated everyone :+1: Seems to be one all for interim vs full/major service.

@grumpy2, i did originally think about servicing it myself, as you say it’s about half the price of a specialist (and shockingly a quarter of what a local dealer quoted for a major :confused:). But being completely new to MX5’s i was thinking it might be easier for someone that knows them to do it all and generally give the A-OK that it’s mechanically sound. Plus they might spot other, or potential, issues that I would probably over look.

@plip1953, that was my thinking especially as a specialist like Sam Goodwin (bit of a trek but seem to get recommended) quote a similar price for a full service to what my local dealer charges for the 50k interim.
Discs, and pads whilst at it, certainly were on my list to do but that’s something i’d be happy doing myself as parts aren’t too badly priced.

Question to those that do self-service - what do you do in terms of service record keeping in case of future car sale? I assume keep receipts, maybe date-stamped pictures and a little note within the service book?

One of the not so obvious benefits of using someone who knows what they’re doing is that they can look at the fluids that come out and form a pretty accurate assessment of whether things were due, overdue or a real problem (ie with lots of metal particles floating about!!).

perhaps I should add that Ive done many oil changes and that the filter certainly isn’t the worst I’ve done by a long way. And yes I removed the lower trays and the chain wrench fits easily. Oh and yes I have a mid rise car lift so access is pretty good. (without damaging other bits and bobs)

OP, if you are not confident then an indy would be best.

On my 06 Plate now with 52k I have recently done:

Engine oil + filter
Gearbox oil (plus turret)
Did oil
Plugs (NGK)
Air filter (pipercross)

The biggest change was in the gearbox (5spd) so much slicker now and filter (you can feel the variable cam kick in).

For all my servicing I keep all the receipts for parts bought. I produce a service sheet [bit of a grand name for something made in word] with the reg/mileage and date on and list the items that were installed/replaced and other jobs done. I note at the end of each entry when & where the items replaced were bought and reciprocate on the receipts by writing the date they were installed. Looks like:

10th September 2019
Mileage 69135

• Fitted new thermostat [Opie oils 5/3/2019] & replaced coolant with FL22 [MX5parts 9/9/2019]
• Replaced coolant header tank with Davefab version [Moss Europe 9/9/2019]
• Replaced power steering fluid [Euro Car parts 6/9/2019]

Hope that’s useful

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I do much the same as above, keep every receipt of parts fitted to the car. If it relates to service items I note on the receipt when fitted and the mileage.
My car has never seen a garage/dealer for work except for a full suspension change which I considered necessary for specialist fit and set up.