Rust on Mk3 - more help for a newbie please!

Hi all, I’m trying hard to buy my first MX5! Saw a 2013 Sport at a dealership this am. Low miles, looked good at first glance, but I was a bit scared off by rust. Not sure if I’m being over cautious but thoughts would be greatly appreciated. The first pics show one of the wheels-all were similar. Next underneath the rear bumper. Next where the sills meet rear wheel arches. Finally a tiny bit of blistering just visible next to side indicator. All help greatly appreciated!

Nothing out of the ordinary on an 8 year old car.

Brake discs are a consumer item and do rust, regular use helps keep them in condition, they do need to be replaced periodically and are not expensive.

Corrosion near the side repeater also quite common and not difficult to resolve.

Surface rust underneath again quite easy to treat.

Check around the inside of the wheel arches, look under the plastic cover at the lip if you can, this is where perforations can (not massively common) can appear.

You should not see rust like that on a 2013 car. I can’t figure out where the last photos are of, inside the boot? Definitely a walk away car. Other than around the number plate lights you should find no signs of corrosion at that age. Better still look for a car that has been fully rust proofed.

I think it depends quite a lot where the car has lived, I’ve seen plenty of MX-5’s of similar age like this in North Scotland.


Thanks. The last pics are of the underside between the bumper and exhaust.

Wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole, carry on your search there are better ones out there. My brother has had his 2006 2.0 sport for ten years. Mot’d last week and even the tester came and spoke to him.
Has this been garaged? Yes.
Your car is good for at least another ten years. Thanks he said, chuffed to bits.

They are out there and always check mot history out too.

All the best in your search.

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The pics you show I know all the areas except the last one, guessing it shows partially the heat shield above the back box.
Heat shield looks very rusty if it is that, other areas in the pics I would say aren’t too bad at all. Those pics under the rear bumper the rust is on crash bar, surface stuff really, it’s made of really thick metal but not much paint protection.
The alloys will clean up ok but the finish in places is bubbling.
Not much to worry about but depends how much they are asking and what mileage its done?
I would do further checks, as mentioned earlier under the boot lid around the number plate lights (lift the boot lid) better if it’s a soft top as it has an aluminium boot lid the PRHT model is steel. It will have paint bubbling around there, not seen many that haven’t.
Check the rear wheel arch, the return lip, that area rusts may be signs of paint bubbling like around the indicator. The rear chassis rails can catch the rust too, that’s the parts each side that the back box hangs off so check there.

As pointed out by other post the NC is gonna rust in those areas,

Pic is my 2006 nc1, the black line is where you need to check (sorry my editing is poor) inner arch to sill.

Mine had holes on both sides approx golf ball size … cut out and plate welded in.

the rest of the sill in pic had a couple of passes with mouse sander to remove ONLY surface rust and she’s almost 16 yrs old.

Like others have pointed out …plenty on sale.

Thanks for all of the helpful responses. The car is in fact just 7 years old (Feb 2014, sorry for my typo). I’ll definitely give this one a miss.

Definitely made the right decision. I wouldn’t have touched that either. Ideally you want one that has been garaged & if possible only used in the summer months. They do exist! It’s the salt in the winter months that does the worst damage as regards rust.

I found another car, this one from September 2014. It’s a long way from home so the dealer took some pics for me to save a wasted journey. These are taken mainly around the exhaust. I think most of them just show a bit of muck, but there is clearly some rust and I’m not savvy enough to know how severe it is. This seems a really good carimage image image image image image image image so I might arrange an engineer inspection. All comments gratefully received. Thanks!

It’s about rust and how much would you expect to find on a 6-7 year old car.
In my eyes that’s about par for the course as rust goes.
If that dealer was sending me pics of a car he wants to sell I wouldn’t even bother going to look. Reason, not even bothered to clean the muck off. I know it’s mainly under the car but I can see it up the sills too.:-1:

Where are you based ?

I’m in Leeds. The car is in Carlisle.

I travelled from Northumberland to Derby… Net Cars in Ilkstone (find via Google)

At the time (October 20) he had a few 5’s in, although non now.

However he told me at the time, guys in the trade would often inform him of available decent motors as he himself is a fan and owner.

Might be worth dropping him a line to maybe help you source one ?

Thanks for the tip.

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Thanks for the response. If that rust is par for the course, i.e. to be expected, then I’m not too worried. The car hasn’t yet been valeted, so I’m not too bothered about the muck underneath. If you wanted a 14 plate at what seems a decent price, would you buy this one?
Thanks again

I checked out an MX-5 for a forum member at that premises. Let’s just say it wasn’t as described.
You must have had a better experience with them.

At Ilkeston?

Couldnt fault them.
As I was to travel down by train I had explained I wouldn’t be best pleased if it wasn’t as he described bearing in mind my ticket was one way :grimacing:

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