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Tidbits

Removing Bumper Dimples


After driving my newly purchased 91 miata for almost a year I have always hated the two indents that have been left on the front bumper by someone making contact with whatever. I am currently replacing a lot of things, shocks, springs, clutch, bushings... and in the process removed the bumper cover. I have a sign business and working with vinyl I always have a heat gun around to bring a distorted, stretched piece of vinyl back to it original shape. I brought it home and heated my bumper cover from the inside and with a little pressure from the back side the bumper reclaimed its original form. I am very happy with the results. Mine was pushed in pretty bad so I am left with scratches on the paint. I haven't heard of anyone trying this so I hope it is helpful to someone since I see photos of Miatas with this same problem. I don't know if a hair dryer would get hot enough. I had to use a glove to be able to touch it.

(Thanks to Jim Marazita)

Quick boot


In Florida, showers come and go and putting the OEM boot on is a chore. Here is a quick solution. Went to auto store, bought some cheap tan auto carpet in a roll. I cut a piece to fit from the back of the ledge (at the trunk side) about 3 feet long and wide enough to cover the exposed top interior.

I put stick-on velcro, the pointy side, not fuzzy, along the rear section and plugged it down. It folds over nicely along the ledge with the top up. When I put the top down, I simply fold out and as I collapse the top fold the forward edging under one of the folds. It's firm enough that wind won't dislodge it and supple enough to easily use. By the way, I use a folded soft beach towel on my plastic rear window to keep plastic from meeting plastic.

This may not be the most beautiful solution, but is great for daily up/down ops.

(Thanks to Bob Collins)

Sticky Dash


The dashboards on the LE's were painted black and in the heat they become "sticky". Rather than replace them you can remove the paint and have a nice looking dash. The dash will be the color of the interior. For example, my 1993 LE has the red interior and I removed the "sticky" black paint to reveal the red dash. A tan interior will have a tan dash under the black paint. It will make the limited more limited and save a lot of money and prevent another dash from getting "sticky" in the heat! (Thanks to Kevin Ferguson)

Adjust your top latches


There is an 'L' shaped arm that grabs the bracket on the top of the windshield and secures the top to the
windshield. Between the sides of the 'L' shaped arm is an adjustable hex nut about ¾ inch long with a plastic shield or guard on it.

Gently push the guard towards the front of the car until it pops off the hex nut. The plastic guard is attached to and will pivot around the elbow of the 'L' shaped arm. Turn the hex nut one way or the other to tighten or loosen the tension on the latch. Snap the plastic guard back into place and it's done.

Note: Tightening should be done ONLY to the extent necessary to secure the top (or stop the rattling), as overtightening can snap the brackets mounted to the top of the windshield frame.
Turn an ashtray into a cupholder

Simply turn it upside down loosening the four little screws, removing the lid/door and replacing it backwards (i.e., door at rear of ashtray). Then retighten screws and you have a holder that will take a 600ml coke bottle very securely . The bottle actually clicks into place as if it were made to fit. :-) Takes about 5 min and is fully reversible. (Thanks to Peter Tosi)

Replacement for 2001 Fog Lamp


The Miata fog lamp replacement for the 2001 Miata is rather pricey ($214.00).

Well if you go to Ford and ask for Mercury Marauder fogs, you can get them for about $65.00. It is the same lamp. Comes as a complete unit. Lens, Bulb, and Casing. (Thanks to Rob Burton.)

Last ditch effort fix for window zipper


I used some Automotive Goop around the lining, held it together for 24 hours with some clips, and it has held through rain, snow, etc. Excellent stuff. (Thanks to Eddie Mikell.)

Transmission noise insulation


Go to your local craft store and get some 2" thick foam. Remove the center console and carefully cut the foam to fit inside the console, thereby padding it from the carpet. This reportedly results in much improved sound insulation.

Faster throttle response


If you have a slight lag between stepping on the gas pedal and the engine spinning up, you may need to take up the slack in your throttle cable. The adjustment is simple - about 5 minutes. Instructions here.

Droopy air vents on your dash?


Most of the time, you can just press on the center of the vent and the vent will snug up enough to keep it from drooping. Another solution is to remove the vents and disassemble them, then add a half inch by half inch piece of electrical tape to the rear half of each "eye ball" and reassemble them.

Droopy air vents II


Get dime sized "light duty felt blankets" (thin stick on felt pads), point the eyeball down as far as it goes, and stick the felt pad to bottom of the vent cup. The felt side is covered by the eyball when pointed anywhere but straight down. Voila, fixed!

Clean the bottom of the top!


This is especially important for people with tan tops: When washing your top, wedge the sponge down between the body of the car and the bottom of the top. Moisture can collect down there, and you'd be amazed at the black funk that comes out when you do clean it. This is a great way to nip mildew in the bud, before you have a nasty two-tone top.

Loose change?


If you're like us, you probably keep a lot of little items in your center console and a handful of change in your ashtray for tolls booths and parking meters. If you're like us, it probably drives you nuts when all that junk starts rattling every time you drive over rough roads.

Simple solution: Pick up a square of black self-stick-backed felt from your local hardware store or fabric store. Line the inside of the ashtray and the console storage area. Much quieter and it doesn't look bad either!

Careful with your soft top


With the coming cold weather (at least in our part of the world), don't forget to heed the warnings in the Miata Owner's Manual about your soft top: Don't raise or lower the top when the temperature drops below 41º F (5º C). The top material is a synthetic which loses some of its resiliency at low temperature and can be damaged if it is flexed.

Also, be especially careful with your plastic rear window. The last person we knew who thought a quick way to clear snow off the rear window would be to give it a smack from the inside sorely regretted that decision when he got the bill for his new window.

Reduce Wind Buffeting


A simple way to reduce wind buffeting while driving your Miata is to raise only the passenger's side window. This changes the aerodynamics of things so you actually feel less wind than if the driver's window alone or if both windows are raised. And if your passenger doesn't know about this, they'll be doing you a favor when they raise their window to keep a bit warmer!

If your trunk lid won't stay raised


You can adjust the tension. The lid tension is determined by the position of the tensioning bars at the rear of the trunk. There are three "settings", and the Miata comes from the factory preset to the middle setting. You can get a tad more tension by switching to the higher setting. To change the tension, you need to use a long screwdriver to move the tension spring on the left side of the trunk to the other position. Be careful! The springs are under high tension!

When was the last time you cleaned your headlights?


It sounds so simple, but how often do you really remember to hit that black button right smack in the middle of the console to raise the headlights before you wash the car? They can get pretty groty. While you're at it, go around your car and check to be sure all your bulbs work. Especially the brake lights!

When was the last time you checked the air in your spare tire?


The Miata spare tire is much smaller than a regular tire. As a result, it requires a much higher pressure to hold the weight of the car. Higher pressure tires tend to lose pressure fairly rapidly. The spare should be pumped to 65psi or it will be too flat to drive on!

Check the air in your spare once a month!

When was the last time you checked your center brake light?


The center brake light, being mounted on the trunk lid, is subject to much higher shock impulses than any other bulb on your Miata. As a result, the filament tends to have a much shorter life.

Be sure to check your lights regularly!