Warning signs on low mileage 2012 Mx5


An mx5 is a car I’ve wanted to own for a bit now and the right opportunity has presented itself. I’ve found a 2012 mx5 in pristine condition with only 16,000 miles. Given the low mileage I’m wondering what kinds of potential issues I should be looking out for e.g sticking brake pistons.

Any advice would be massively appreciated thank you

Definitely sticky brakes if it’s not been used much. I would do all the usual checks that needed including checking for rust in the vulnerable areas. Although very low mileage it could had bits and bobs of rust appearing. I always check tyres and alloys first, gives you an idea what the owner driver was/is like. At that sort of mileage are they original tyres (hope not) are they matching if they’ve been changed.
Finally is it a private sale or a dealer? whilst not essential on such an age car service history, can you see any evidence of it being well looked after.

Thanks for the response Mick. It’s an independent mx5 dealer so his business is these cars. I asked him about the brakes and he said that they’re good (obviously he’s trying to sell me the car so would say good things but he acknowledged this). The previous owner was a garage tech or something so it’s been taken good care of, as part of this they applied a wax undercoat occasionally it seems as this was mentioned on the MOT notes. Not original tyres, replaced with Falken tyres which apparently come stock with Porsches now? Not certain on the service history all being there but all the signs so far say this car has been well looked after. I’ve contacted a local mechanic to give it a once over for £70 since, while I’ve tinkered with my current car a bit with my Grandad, I don’t know what exactly to look for and it worth the price for the peace of mind in my eyes.

Thanks again for your detailed response

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Corrosion would be my only real concern. It’s good you are getting a trusted mechanic to look it over. £70 well spent. If your car is PRHT make sure the mechanism works smoothly and the paint on the roof is sound. Happy zooming!

Have a look at the mot history. Check the MOT history of a vehicle - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If the service history is not available and you do purchase the car it would be good practice to replace the following:
Engine oil and filter
Air filter
Gearbox oil
Differential oil
Brake fluid and bleed clutch at the same time

Check plugs

Then you will know what to do and when in future years.

I just had the same situation when buying mine, I forgave a couple of faults because the fundamentals appeared to be good and correct.

Main things are check generally for any car is written evidence or physical evidence of maintenance (oil colour and consistency, coolant colour, brake fluid colour), rusty/pitted or grooved out brake discs from lengthy lay ups, the condition of the tyres or their age, not just tread depth but in between for cracking and uneven tyre wear etc. Tyres should be stamped with the production date as per this photo, week and year of production eg 33/19. Anything older than 5 years that’s showing their age you should consider replacing and factoring in the cost.

For info I’ve just sourced good quality discs and ebc pads all round for around 250 but you can get basic replacements for less. Tyres come in around 350 for a decent quality set fitted.

Usual things like accident damage and mismatched paint, interior wear on steering wheel/shifter/pedals/seat bolsters, operation of all electrics etc. Knocking, noisy or bouncy suspension, imprecise steering or tracking, oil leaks, clutch operation and gearbox feel/notchiness or noise from the drive train generally.

I also paid particular attention to the places advised by members on here - paint bubbling on hardtop decks (common problem which I accepted), roof condition and operation, under the rear of the car for rust other than surface which is to be expected, up behind the rear bumper, behind the front wheels and in the front and inside lip of the rear arches.

Also any rubber seals around the roof and windows and check the carpets and smell/feel for any evidence of water ingress behind the seats and in the driver and passenger footwell where your feet sit. Lift the carpet in the boot and check for rust on the boot floor and also under the boot lid lip where the number plate lights are. Headlights also seem to suffer quite badly if exposed to uv but this is easily sorted DIY or by a decent bodyshop and should be inexpensive.

Those are just the things I looked for - I don’t profess to know all that much about the mx5 but having had many cars and had a play with it they’re a quite simple car that seems pretty well engineered aside from the common things people have mentioned. :+1:

UV as well as rust can wreak havoc over 11 years if it’s been kept outside. If it’s been a garage queen only used on dry days, it should be great. But not many people use them like that.

I think the Mazda rust warranty may
be 12 years but requires a FMSH. Never heard of anyone claiming, as it’s quite specific.

While you have the wheels off and are bleeding the brakes it makes sense to clean and lubrucate the brake caliper slider pins and also to clean and re-lubricate the pad carrier contact points. Also have a look at the caliper piston seals and if they are OK then a smear of Rubber Grease on the dust cover will not come amiss.

3 years paint and body “rust”, 12 years perforation. And that’s only the shiny bits.

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