Miata Noises, Squeaks, & Sounds
Below is a list of some of the most important parts of the Miata.
Click on one to find out more about what makes noise in that part of
WHEELS, & RELATED NOISES
Question: I get a lot of squeaking from my brakes, what can
Some noise is common with semi-metallic brake pads. Be certain to use
new brake hardware (clips and springs) when replacing brake pads.
Changing to a different brand or compound of pads may help.
A vibrating noise may be caused by calipers not sliding properly on
the mounting brackets. Be certain that caliper pins are lubricated well
and the calipers slide on the pins. An ample supply of anti-seize
compound is recommended. If the car has been in any kind of accident
(including bumping into a curb) check for bent hubs, rims, etc.
On braking in the wet there can be a loss of braking and some noise
related to this problem. Newer Mazda pads have reduced this problem.
Look at the color of your pads, green are older and blue are newer
(both have the same part number so ordering new pads is not easy).
We usually put high temperature anti-seize on the back of the pad. New
hardware might help you too. There are also several "goos"
that are marketed as anti-squeal that work pretty well, although we
don't see this problem much on Miatas.
Question: One of the wheels on the left side of my car makes
a click/popping sound on right turns. The frequency of the sound goes
up with wheel speed. It reminds me of a bad CV joint, but the sound
seems to come from the left front.
There is a splash plate protecting the brake rotor. Mine was clicking
the first year I had the car and the dealer fixed it at an oil change.
It made the noise at a slow speed down gravel driveways.
I lost a bolt on my front sway bar a few months back. It made noises
on turns and when I hit bumps. It might just be loose.
Question: Every time I turn the steering wheel to far to the
left or right, a loud knock occurs from the front. This same knock also
occurs while going over bumps. One mechanic told me it was nothing -
his brother's Miata had the same thing. My shocks are fine, no leaks,
The control arm bushing could be dirty or worn and needs cleaning or
replacement. In my Miata, the bushing itself was in good shape and
required no replacement. The mechanic cleaned both the right and the
left bushing. I paid for no parts.
Question: I have a tapping noise coming from the engine
after startup or hard driving.
Mazda has issued several service bulletins on this problem. Consult
your dealer for more information on these bulletins. Remedies range
from switching oil weights (see A2) to changing to newer lifters with
larger oil passages (see A3). These items can be fixed under the Mazda
warranty if your car is new enough to still be in the warranty period.
Most lifter noise is cured by switching weights of oil. Mazda
recommends trying 5W30 oil first. Some Miata owners report switching to
a heavier oil like 20W50 to stop the noise. additionally, some owners
report switching to a synthetic oil such as Amsoil or Redline to
alleviate the noises.
When lifter noise is not cured by switching oil weights another option
is available. Mazda has valve lifters with larger oil passages. These
lifters will solve the noise problem. Note that changing the lifters is
not a simple task. Consult your dealer or a reputable mechanic before
doing this procedure yourself.
Question: Recently, I've been noticing a regular ping-type
noise from the car when I get underway in the morning and evening. I
think it's coming from the engine, and it seems to occur when I'm
accelerating. I tried some high octane (92) gas, and it didn't seem to
have any effect. This is a single, difficult to hear, ping occurring at
2-3 Hz. The ping goes away when the engine warms up. I'm running
10W-30. It has been quite cold (10-20 F) when I leave in the morning.
Any ideas out there?
You're probably hearing the hydraulic valve adjusters, which are low
on pressure due to the cold and thick oil. Going to 5W30 or a synthetic
5W30 (or 50) will help your car to quieten down.
Question: When my Miata is cold, it has a chattering sound
coming from the right front as it accelerates in first gear. It doesn't
last long and doesn't seem to do it after a couple of times. Has anyone
else heard this?
I had this same problem with my '96 Miata. My Miata dealer was able to
isolate the problem to a vibrating purge control valve in the emissions
system of the car. This valve is located in the right section
(passenger side) of the engine compartment.
Question: My car has been worrying me with a high-pitch
"squeal" lately. It's correlated to the RPM of the engine,
and is coming from the engine compartment. It doesn't sound as rough
and as loud as I'd expect a loose belt on the Miata to be, and
furthermore it doesn't get louder during accelleration. It sounds like
a water pump that's about to go out, but before I jump to conclusions
I'd figure I'd see if anyone has any other thoughts.
One possibility is the A/C compressor belt.
- Question: I recently purchased a Cold-Air Induction system
and ever since then whenever I have the air on the car starts making a
rattling sound when I accelerate. I spoke with another person who has a
Cold-Air Induction and he said that his does the same thing with the
air on. Has anyone else had this problem with their Cold-Air Induction
When you reroute the hood rod it lies very close to the support bar
for the corner of the air box. After I installed mine it rattled
against this support bar. I took a 6" piece of 3/4" silicon
tubing, sliced it the long direction. I wrapped it around the hood rod
in the location that was hitting the support bar and secured it into
place with plastic ties. This cured the rattling problem that I was
Question: I have a strange whining noise coming from the engine bay.
Check the electric fan.
Question: I have an intermittent noise that appears to come
from the upper region of the trunk, right behind the passenger's seat.
The noise sounds like a tapping or rattling sound that begins when the
engine is started and the car is not moving. It stops instantly when
the engine is turned off. At speed, the sound either goes away or is
masked by road noise. It seems to be worse when the weather is cold and
gets a little quieter when the car is at operating temperature. It
gradually got worse, until it was happening all the time, even when the
car is warm.
This one is surprising. It was a clogged fuel filter. Using a screw
driver as a "listening rod", the sound can be isolated to the
fuel lines running under the car. Changing out the fuel filter
eliminated the tapping/rattling sound! Rod's Mazda Miata Enthusiast's
Shop Manual has an excellent procedure for this.
Question: For a while, I've had an intermittent squeaking
occuring anywhere from 15-40mph. It didn't seem to change with speed or
movement (bumps, turns, etc). Some days the car was absolutely quiet,
while other days you could hear me coming from a block away. Every time
I was at the dealer they couldn't hear the noise.
I finally found a shop that not only heard the strange noise my car
has been making, but actually found the source! They decided to
investigate the rear, and once they got a closer look at the car they
found the source.... the U joints!! The only problem is that Mazda
doesn't sell just the U joints, you have to buy the whole driveshaft!!
For about $300 you can replace two $20 joints... The shop did find a
previously experienced driveshaft for about half the cost.
I had this same squeaking noise or maybe it was more of a squealing
noise. I took it to a local Mazda service center and within 5 minutes
they had fixed the problem. It turns out that the seals or gaskets
around the U-joints tend to dry out. All they did was spray a dry
lubricant on the front and rear joints and no noise. I've had to
reapply the spray once myself since.
Question: I have a metallic buzz at 3500 RPM (or 3 - 4000
RPM) coming from somewhere under the car, what could it be?
- Caution! Several people have had dealers
insist (erroneously) the buzzing was caused by either the differential
or the transmission. After the tranny and diff work, in each case, the
noise was still there - after days of unnecessary work! If your dealer
insists the noise is from either of these two spots take the car to another
shop for a second opinion. One person reports there is a Mazda fix for
a noisy reverse idler gear, but no one seems to have ever heard of this....
The noise could be as simple as small rocks trapped in the heat shields
around the exhaust system. Put the car securely on ramps or jack stands
and inspect the shields. Small rocks can be pried out of the shields.
When done, crimp the shields to keep this from happening again.
A mechanic should be able to
do this in under 30 minutes and charge no more than about $45.
The heat shield above the exhaust header (manifold) may have a crack
in it. If the car is under warranty see your dealer for a replacement.
If not under warranty either replace the shield with a new one or
simply remove the shield. Removing the shield will result in increased
under-hood temperatures, but should not affect performance.
The heat shield around the exhaust pipe has a broken spot weld or has
a crack. If the car is under warranty see your dealer for a
replacement. If not under warranty you have several options: use a 2
7/8" hose clamp around the suspect section of heat shield, remove
the pipe and have the shield rewelded to the pipe, or buy a new section
The heat shield around the catalytic converter has a broken spot weld
or has a crack. If the car is under warranty see your dealer for a
replacement. If not under warranty you have several options: use a hose
clamp around the suspect section of heat shield, remove the cat and
have the shield rewelded to the cat, or buy a new cat. Note that the
studs on the cat are subject to breakage upon removal and require
either replacing the studs or the cat!
The heat shield around the muffler under the trunk has a broken spot
weld or has a crack. If the car is under warranty see your dealer for a
replacement. If not under warranty you have several options: remove the
shield (not recommended) or buy a new shield.
After crawling all over and under the car, I isolated my loud buzz
(tinny rattle) at 3000 RPM. It came from the heat shield just below the
header heat shield. It was designed with an open joint running parallel
to the pipe on the drivers side. Long screwdriver fit under each side
at the top quite nicely. I pried both outward gently about 1/8 to 1/4
of an inch. Cheapest and easiest fix I've ever had, once I found it.
On the '99 Miata, there is a service bulletin regarding the engine
harness vibrating against the power plant frame. This is fixed
by using tie wraps to secure the harness to the frame. See the service
Question: My Miata started making a loud rattling noise that
was really noticable when I shifted. I'd push in on the clutch and the
rattle/buzz would be loud and then immediately tail off as the RPMs
came down. I discovered something in the exhaust system near the
muffler was making the noise. I first thought maybe I had the
heatshield rattle that has been discussed so much, but now it looks
like part of the exhause pipe is resting on the trackbar in the back.
Either the trackbar has shifted up or the exhaust system has come loose
and down a bit (there wasn't a lot of clearance there in the first
Check to see that the rubber doughnut exhaust hangers are in good
shape. There should be three or four from the cat back. If they have
stretched or broken it would allow the exhaust to sit lower and contact
the suspension parts. The doughnuts probably cost in the $3-4 range and
they simply slide onto pegs on the exhaust and body.
Question: When my foot is on the throttle a strange tapping
sound comes from what sounds like (from the pilot's seat) the right
front wheel. However it only happens when the car is under power. If I
lift my foot off the gas, the sound stops. If I put the clutch in and
let the car coast out of gear, the sound stops. But put my foot back on
the pedal and nudge it the tiniest bit, and the sound returns. The
frequency of the "tapping" doesn't change either. Whether I'm
crawling along in first or cruising on the highway, the number of taps
per minute seems to be pretty constant.
I've heard back from my dealer that they've located the problem with
the tapping noise. It appears that the diaphragm on the 3 way valve on
the exhaust system was leaking and needs to be replaced. Apparently
this is minor surgery which can be completed in less than an hour.
Question: When I turn the wheel all the way left or right,
then back up or go forward, I get a thump, thump, thump from the right
rear. Almost feels as if theres a foreign object lodged in the tread.
None there, and it does not happen if the steering wheel is not turned
all the way to the stop. Any clues?
I HAD THIS NOISE!!! Going forward or backward, the thumping came from
the right rear, and only when the wheel was cranked hard to the left or
hard to the right. What had happened was that the muffler (Jackson
exhaust in my case) had slipped loose from the rubber doo-hickey that
suspends it from the car body. The thumping noise was the tailpipe
banging against the side of the hole that's cut out for it. To fix it,
I slipped the rods back into their rubber housings, then bought some
rubber tubing and some tiny hose clamps. I cut the rubber tubing to
1/4" wide pieces and slipped them over the rods on either side of
the rubber suspension piece. Then I slipped a tiny screw type hose
clamp over the tubing and clamped it down. The exhaust and tailpipe are
now FIRMLY held in place. This also works for you owners of aftermarket
exhausts which tend to slide to the left or right of center.
Question: Are there any special techniques that might be
used for isolating problematic exhaust noises?
A rubber mallet tapping on the exhaust system creates a vibration
similar to that while the car changes RPM, thus causing a wide range of
frequency changes in the exhaust system. Work your way down the exhaust
system, tapping as you go, and isolating the problem becomes much
easier. Detection of strange noises you have not yet heard is possible
Question: When the clutch is out, there is a small but
noticeable high pitched continuous squeak. This is true whether I am in
gear or just sitting in neutral. The interesting part is, if I depress
the clutch 1/4", just a tiny bit of pressure, the squeak goes
away! Is something awful about to happen? Am I going to be shot thru
the ass with bits of clutch shrapnel?
You might try putting a little grease on the end of the push-rod that
moves a lever to your clutch-plate. Put your Miata on jacks, get under
the transmission/clutch, and have someone push the clutch pedal in and
out. You'll see the rod and lever move. Smear a little lithium-based
grease around the point where they contact each other.
Yes, but the quick fix is not permanent. Mine is no longer able to be
quieted that way, although it does take the worst of it away and no
longer sets my teeth on edge. When the noise came back after the
"quick fix" had been applied to mine, I tried lubricating it
No lubricant I could find worked at all, until I asked the dealer -
they suggested motorcycle chain lube. I tried that and it did make a
difference. It stays in place much better than other lubricants. The
problem apparently is not just the end of the clutch slave rod, but the
clutch actuating arm itself eventually starts to squeak on its pivot.
The dealer knew of no permanent fix.
It may be the throwout bearing. Try A1, if the noise continues check
the throwout bearing. Note that removal of the tranny is required to
change the bearing. If this is necessary it is wise to inspect the
clutch, pilot bearing, and rear main engine seal.
DOORS AND ROCKER PANELS
Question: I have noticed an annoying rattle apparently
coming from inside the passenger door. Sounds like a loose piece of
metal/bolt/rod or the like.
After close inspection with a friend's help, we worked out that the
rattle originated in the door's hinge. I used a generous portion of
wheel bearing grease (probably should have used white lithium lube, but
was in a hurry before going on a long trip).
Check parts inside door (lock mechanisms, window regulator). Remove
door panel and vapor barrier. Inspect and lubricate suspect parts with
white lithium grease. Reinstall panels.
Question: I have noticed a vibration in the passenger door
of my Miata. I thought for a while that my vibration was in my
speakers, but alas, it happened with the radio off. It consistently
vibrates from 2200 - 2300 rpm whether the car is moving or not.
I discovered that it occurred worst when the window was all the way
up. I took the door panel off, revved the car to 2100 rpm and started
reaching over and sticking my hand on parts of the door, but nothing I
touched seemed to affect the vibration. After a little tinkering, I
discovered that I could just tap on the metal part of the door and hear
a rattle. I kept tapping until I zeroed in on it. It was the spring in
the window regulator. Right behind the window operator handle is a coil
spring like the one on the recoil of the pull rope on a lawn mower. At
2100 rpm it was vibrating against its enclosure. I didn't take the
spring out, but after some trouble and loosening bolts on the window
guide I was able to get the operator mechanism exposed through one of
the access holes. I opened the plastic cover of the operator mechanism
being very careful not to let the spring jump out (I hate when that
happens). I was able to get it open wide enough to add some grease in
the body of the mechanism.
Question: There's water sloshing around - I can't find where
its coming from!
Its a common problem to end up with water in your rocker panels. There
are drain holes that sometimes get clogged which you need to check
periodically and keep clear. Check where the jack hooks to the frame
rail. (You can find it in you owners manual if your not sure.) Each
side of where the jack hits the frame rail is where the drain holes for
the rocker panel are located. There is a front and rear location for
the jack. Use an open paper clip and wiggle it around until the drain
- Question: What about window squeals? My window
reaalllly sqqqeeeeeeeeeeeeals when it's being lowered.
Use white lithium grease in the window rails.
- Question: My electric window has developed a jitter
and squeak when being raised and/or lowered. The Mazda dealer sprayed some
lube down it, which worked for about a day. Any more permanent way to deal
Give the rubber seal in the window channel (by the vent window) a thorough
lubrication of Meguiar's #40 rubber cleaner.
- Question: My window rattles
only when completely down.
The frame holding the corner window may be loose...with the power window
completely down this window frame became loose without the power window
holding it somewhat in place. One bolt directly below the window frame inside
the door may be loose.
- Question: I have a squeak coming from the front
of the car. It might be from the engine compartment, but I'm not sure.
This could be the famous "hood squeak". My solution was to buy
these little stick-on carpet pads that go on the leg bottoms of chairs.
I trimmed them a bit to make them thinner and put them right above my
hood rubbers. The squeak is gone.
I discovered freeplay in the one of the hood's hinges. I went to Home
Depot and bought a roll of weatherstripping for home doors (sticky on
one side). It's about 1/4 inch thick or so and about 3/4 inches wide.
I cut one inch long strips. Then I opened the hood and stuck one strip
at a time a couple inches in front of the hinge on the flat part of the
metal where the hood is closed on to. I then closed the hood and kept
adding more strips on top of one another (raising the level of foam) until
when the hood closed, it would compress the foam. Drive the car around
and if it still rattles at the hinge, add a couple more sticky strips
to raise level of foam.
To fix the problem, I unbolted the rattling hinge from the hood and placed
2 pieces of 1/4" thick stripping approximately 1" long on the
hinge and the hood, then bolted the hinge back onto the hood. The stripping
is sandwiched between the hood and the hinge. No rattle, problem solved.
Total time was 5 minutes.
Don't forget the hood latch. If it isn't greased, it tends to create a
*very* difficult to track squeak.
- Question: I had an irritating problem with a
rattle or thump which occured when hitting even smaller bumps. It appeared
to come from behind the right side of the dash or from the right door. I was
unable to find any problem in those areas.
I had a friend sit in the passanger seat to try to localize the problem.
At one point, he reached out the side and pushed down on the back corner
of the hood. The problem stopped as long as he did that. I then loosened
the two bolts on the right side which attach the rear of the hood, and
moved the hood less than 1/16th inch. This eliminated the problem altogether.
I had a similar problem, and my conclusion was that the noise originated
somewhere behind the heating/AC controls on the center dashboard. Then
I read a mailing list thread that the rattling might actually be coming
from the engine compartment. It occured to me that I last had the hood
open about 3 weeks ago and after that the rattling started. Maybe I didn't
put that rod that holds the hood open back in its proper place? That wasn't
it, but in checking it I noticed an electrical connector near the point
where the rod attaches to the frame. It was sort of dangling and when
I tapped it with my finger it made a very familiar rattling noise. So
I pulled it away from the rod hinge point (behind the left front headlight)
and now the rattle is gone!!
- Question: I had a squeak that no one else seems
to have mentioned before. To the driver, it sounded like it came from the
center of the rear deck. It also tended to correspond to suspension movement,
as in [bump] [SQUEAK] [bump] [SQUEAK].
I poked around under the carpet on the rear deck where many wires run
for my stereo and alarm. I looked for things in the trunk that moved.
Finally, I took the protector barrier off of the left side of the trunk;
the one that protects the fuel filler line and hides the driver's side
tunnel in the trunk. My stereo amplifier is mounted rather loosely in
there, and I thought it might be the culprit. Nope. It didn't rattle or
squeak at all.
But, while I was there I noticed two thin black
cables coming from the front of the car to the rear (trunk release &
gas filler door release). I noticed that they rubbed together and against
a lip in the floor of the trunk where they ran. I manually rubbed them
around and they squeaked! So, I adjusted them so that they sat in positions
such that they didn't move around of flex much, even when I touched
and pushed them. They had enough slack to move around a bit for me to
position them so that normal driving forces wouldn't move them. That
solved the problem. I haven't heard any squeaks since.
- Question: I have a passenger side rattle that
sounds like it is coming from the door or the top.
It turned out to be the battery hold-down bracket! It works loose after
a few days and I have to tighten it back down or it makes a terrible racket.
I used to have a terrible metal clank whenever I went over a bump. It
sounded like the top or the passenger's seat. It turned out to be that
the battery bracket had worked its way loose and was knocking around.
I socked it down good and it stopped. But be warned, over the last month
or so I've had a new noise: A loud squeak. It sounded like the passenger's
seatback was squeaking. But when I sat in it and moved around, I couldn't
get it to squeak. Then I thought it was the seatbelt tower or the cockpit
brace. Turns out I should have put two and two together. The battery bracket,
though no longer clanking, was now squeaking! I backed the screws off
and got a clank AND a squeak! So I'm going to rig up an insulated bracket.
I'm thinking of using strong rubber strips around it to keep it from clanking
while leaving it loose enough to not squeak. What a pain! So if you've
got a squeaking or clanking passenger's seat area, check your battery
bracket!It turned out to be the battery hold-down bracket! It works loose
after a few days and I have to tighten it back down or it makes a terrible
- Question: I have a squeak coming from the passenger
Easiest fix is to get a passenger!
Miata Club of America recommends two fixes: pin the seat back to the carpeting
on the rear deck or recline the seat slightly and slide the seat back
against the rear deck.
One owner reports that pushing the against the rear deck caused the squeak!
In this case, slide the seat forward about one inch.
- I have found the squeak to be caused by a cover
plate on the axis of the seat. Opening the passenger door, one can see
the side of the passenger seat. If you look down, one will see the lever
for the backrest adjustment. To the left of that is a cover that covers
the axis of the seat. Take the seat out and unscrew a couple of screws
to take this axis cover off. On the cover I found a scratches right dead
center of the circle of the cover. I lubed the sucker and found tranqulity
from this squeak.
- Question: With a post 1994 car, when a leather
seat is all the way back (for a tall driver/passenger) the leather vibrates
against the rubber/plastic brace causing a squeek and marking the back of
Either move the seat forward or put a small cloth between the seat and
bar. I made a cloth tube I could put on with velcro.
- Question: I have a scratching/squeaking noise
from my instrument cluster.
I believe someone else mentioned that the clear plastic had come unglued
and was able to vibrate against the black plastic hood. The hood is attached
via two screws from underneath, and a collection of clips around the perimeter.
It may help to use a wide flat-blade screwdriver to help pry the edges
loose (be careful not to scratch it). Once it is loose, you have to bend
it to just short of the breaking point to get it over the tabs on the
bottom where the screws attach.
I discovered that (at least in my case), the clear
plastic panel was firmly attached to the instrument cluster casing.
It is not attached to the removable hood. Around the inside perimeter
of the hood, there are a number of little rectangular pieces of fuzzy
material whose purpose is to hold the hood firmly against the instrument
panel without allowing for any plastic-on-plastic rubbing. One of the
pieces had come unglued and had slipped out of position. If you lose
the piece, you could probably substitute something else, like felt or
scotch foamy double stick tape. I reglued it into place, replaced the
hood, and now everything fits tight.
- Question: Has anyone else out there had problems
with the speedometer making noise? I have this problem only on cold mornings
when she has been sitting all night. It only makes the noise when I get above
about 40 MPH - no noise at the slower speeds. It only happens in the winter
and only in the morning when it's the coldest. The noise is the of the sort
that sounds like a cable rubbing against something. I don't know if the speedometer
uses a metal cable or not, but that's what I think it is.
Just like a motorcycle control cable, the speedometer cable may need some
lubrication occasionally. Per the directions in the shop manual, remove
the instrument module containing the speed/tach/etc. Very gently roll
the module towards the steering wheel to expose the speedo cable's white
plastic connection to the back of the speedo head itself. Depress the
small release tab and remove the cable from the speedo.
Use a commercial product made for the motorcycle
market called Dri-Slide. This is a graphite-molybdenum disulfide compound
that goes on wet and then the liquid vehicle dries up to leave a non-sticky,
very slick DRY lubricant on the cable. DO NOT use oil !! The Dri-Slide
container uses a long, thin "hypodermic-style" wand to allow
you to accurately direct the material into the correct location. Be
careful not to catch the end of the wand on anything and spring it back.
The resulting "twang" will spray black lubricant all over
everything !!! The resulting stains will be permanent.
CENTER CONSOLE AND DASHBOARD
- Question: Over the past three years, my Miata
has developed the most annoying "creak-groan" kind of noise coming
from the center of the dashboard. I could make the dash make that sound by
pressing down on the lower right-rear corner of the dashboard center piece,
just in front of the center console (the plastic thing that the gear shift
lever emerges from).
So here is how to fix it. First remove the center console. Pull out the
eyeball vents: I had good success using the method suggested in the shop
manual by feeding string thru the vents and pulling out; the vents came
out no problem. Now unscrew the screws holding down the center dashboard
and pull it off, disconnecting the hazard switch harness. On the back
side of the center dashboard piece, you'll notice little pieces of tape
stuck along the outside edges where the it touches the dashboard proper.
These pieces of tape are sticky on one side, fuzzy on the other, and I
assume that their function is to cushion the dashboard center against
the dashboard proper, thereby preventing that nasty "creak-groan"
noise. On my car, I noticed that several of these pieces of tape had moved
slightly off the edge, so now that plastic was rubbing against plastic
when the car flexed. I pulled off all the tape from the outside edge and
replaced it with scotch foamy double stick tape, which was about twice
as thick as the original tape. Then, put it all back together and no creaking
noise!. Took about one hour.
- Question: I just fixed a noise which was originating
from beneath the steering wheel. The noise, which was a kind of clicking/creaking
sound was coming from the metal panel which is attached to the lowest part
of the dash (the 'apron' at your knees), and covers the steering column. Two
screws at the bottom fasten this piece to the dash and "ears" slide
onto the plastic dash apron, holding the top of the metal panel in place.
Every time the car encountered bumps the lower "apron" part of the
dash moves slightly up and down. This movement causes the metal part to rub
slightly on the plastic and creates the noise.
The fix is to make the apron more stiff. An easy, quick way to do this
is to hold the apron up (putting a little tension on the plastic part).
You can do this with your hand to confirm that this is the source of the
noise. I used a short length of insulated, small gauge wire to apply the
tension in a more permanent way. Just slightly loosen the two screws holding
the metal cover and attach a loop on one screw. The wire can be placed
between the metal panel and the plastic dash so it can't be seen. Run
the free end of the wire over the steering column and back down to the
other screw in the metal panel. Loop the wire around that screw, same
as the other one, hiding the wire from sight. Lift the panel a bit to
put some tension on it and pull the wire tight. Twist the wire around
itself to fix it in place and tighten both screws. The wire should be
taut and the apron and panel are braced by the tension. Trim any excess
wire and enjoy the quiet.
I found that the rattle caused by a loose steering wheel cover located
on the dash just in front of the drivers knees is a result of the cover
not being replaced correctly. The top of the plastic cover has two taps
that must be slipped under the dash component above it. There are two
spring clips that must be adjusted to ensure that there is proper tension
so that the top portion of the cover will not rattle. A careful inspection
of the cover, clips and tabs will make obvious how the cover is supposed
to fit into the main dash. After installing the top part of the cover
correctly, reinstall the two screws at the bottom and the job is complete.
The other fixes that have been mentioned (requiring a wire strung over
the steering column) may work but are unnecessary if the plastic cover
is reinstalled correctly.
- Question: Several folks on the list have commented
on a mysterious dash rattle that shows up between 2000 -2400 RPM. After having
the same really annoying rattle for the past year, and trying all the usual
cures ( banging on the dash, stuffing foam rubber between all the electrical
connections, etc.) I set aside three days and decided to completely disassemble
the dash to find and cure the rattle. Actually, I found three surprising sources.
The most annoying rattle was a slight hum (or vibration) that occurred
consistently at 2100 RPM or when the car was revved through the 1800-2500
RPM range. After completely tearing apart and taking out the dash, I found
that this rattle was caused by the almost complete disintegration of the
rubber grommet that surrounds the outermost hot water pipe that runs to
the heater through the firewall. The grommet was destroyed on the inside,
therefore giving the appearance when you are under the hood that it is
still functional. However, revving the car to 2100 rpm revealed that the
water pipe vibrated happily at that frequency and set up quite a din on
the firewall. This grommet is only $2.65 at the local Mazda dealer and
is easily replaced from within the engine compartment (I.e. you don't
need to tear apart the dash).
A secondary rattle was coming from a surprising source: the air bag diagnostic
module and back-up battery. After going through the dash thoroughly and
being generally impressed with Mazda's efforts to reduce squeaks and rattles,
I was quite shocked at the mounting brackets and construction of the air
bag components. The air bag diagnostic module and backup battery on my
'92 Miata are mounted on two metal brackets that are bolted straight to
the firewall framework. There are no rubber isolation washers or other
vibration isolators, so the vibration of the car is passed straight to
the diagnostic module and back-up battery. This usually wouldn't be a
big deal if these components were mounted securely. However, these components
(which are housed in bright blue plastic housings), are basically slipped
onto 3-prongs of the metal support brackets. That's it: no mounting screws,
locks, etc. The back-up battery is even suspended on only one side. Since
the metal brackets slide on 3 prongs into the plastic case and since the
brackets are mounted to the firewall all of the vibration is transmitted
into the plastic cases. I found that both the diagnostic module and back-up
battery cases had broken from around the bracket prongs and were each
held on by only one prong in each case. Metal rubbing plastic is not a
pretty sound or sight. I was able to fix both cases with the application
of liberal amounts of industrial strength epoxy, plus I built a couple
of simple brackets to help secure the components to the main mounting
brackets. I also used some small rubber washers on the two mounting points
for the metal brackets on the firewall to help cut-down on the transmitted
vibration. The only problem with this fix is that you have to take out
( at a minimum) the steering column. Also be sure to disconnect the air
bag correctly before you start playing with the back-up battery. The Miata
enthusiast's manual was my guidebook.
A smaller rattle that I had localized to the instrument panel turned out
to be interesting. On the back of the instrument panel facing (the big
black outside trim), there are four prongs that hold on some rubber sheets
that help reduce squeaks from the steering column (I think). On these
four (plastic) prongs, are metal "clinger" washers; the kind
that have four teeth that don't come off. Anyhow, in disassembling the
dashboard, I found on of these washers (with it's prong clenched in it's
little teeth) loose in the hollow part of the dashboard trim.
- Question: I have a squeak coming from behind
the radio/stereo system in the console.
When I disassembled the center plastic piece around the stereo I discovered
that the top bracket was broken off. It is the metal bracket which is
held on with the screws hidden by the eyeball vents in the center of the
dash. I suspect the original owner had some kind of service performed
by someone unfamiliar with the proper disassembly proceedures, and they
tried to pull off the plastic cover without pulling out the eyeball vents
and removing the 2 screws.
- Question: I am a Miata enthusiast who found
your page on squeaks and rattles in the Miata. I wanted to let you know that
I used the advice you gave about the center part of the dash creaking. Mine
was making a similar noise when pushing on the lower right hand part of the
center dash, just as described on your page. But my problem ended up being
a little different than the ones currently found on the noises page.
I disassembled the center console and dash as prescribed in the instructions.
I have to say it is a bit disconcerting pulling those eyeball vents out!
I thought I was going to break something! Anyway, my noise, as it turned
out, was not from the lack of fuzzy padding on the top of the center dash,
but from the right side of the radio rubbing against the surrounding plastic
of the dash. It took me a couple reassemblies and repeats to find this,
but I put a piece of foam tape on the 1/2 centimeter portion that was
rubbing and the problem was fixed. Unfortunately you can see the foam
tape between the radio unit and the dash, but a little black ink on the
foam should clear that up.
- Question: I get an annoying buzz which seems
to be transmitted to the car interior through the gear shift lever. It doesn't
seem to be associated with power on/off, any particular speed or rev range
and doesn't go away if I hold the lever. I've checked the usual causes such
as loose trim or screws under the gear shift boot and cracked/vibrating exhaust
I had a similar vibration which was cured by lubing the ball at the bottom
of the shifter.
- Question: There is buzzing coming from my glove
compartment area. Does anyone know what the cause might be, and more importantly,
how to fix it?
I had a buzz there shortly after installing my Moss interior lights. I
had removed the glove compartment for the install and put it back in not
quite the right spot. It's kind of tricky to get it right, but easy to
mess around with. There are two hinges at the bottom screwed on with Phillips
screws. Just loosen the screws, move it a bit, and tighten them back.
(Of course it could also be any of the 10,000,000 wires in that general
- Question: Periodic high-pitched beeps can be
heard in some cars when the AC is on and the top up.
Replacement of the A/C valve under the dash fixes the problem.
- Question: There seems to be a squeak coming
from my top.
The first thing to check is whether the latches at the windshield header
are tight. If you look at the arm that attaches to the windshield header,
you will see a flap that can be opened on the bottom. This covers a six-sided
barrel adjuster. Use this to tighten the latch - it won't take much. One-sixth
of a turn is often enough. If you adjust things too tightly, you'll probably
bend something expensive. It will be a little harder to latch the roof,
but well within reason. If you have to really push, it's too tight.
If tightening the latches doesn't work, lube the joints of the frame with
silicone grease or silicone spray.
- Question: The soft top squeaks when the top
Use the top boot to secure the top in the down position. Be certain to
properly attach the straps on the underside of the boot to the top frame.
- Question: I am having trouble getting a tight
fit with my hard top and get excessive wind noise and whistling. Any suggestions?
You can adjust the latches (all four if necessary) via the same method
used to adjust the soft top latches.
- Question: The past winter when I used my hardtop,
the hardtop rattled a lot in the latch area.
The reason I have the rattle is probably because I removed three out of
four latches when I installed the lighted mirror and RB roll bar and never
got them re-aligned correctly. I guess I just have to tune the latches
a little more.
- Question: This noise has annoyed me for some
time. It comes from the back with the hardtop on and occurs when I pass a
bump, like the softtop rattling against the hardtop.
After some surveillance with a friend in the passenger seat, I discovered
it was the chrome box that goes over the Frankenstein bolts. There are
two bolts securing a U-shape that can be adjusted to fit the F-bolts.
Just open the chrome box with a phillips screwdriver and adjust the U-shape
tightening the 2 bolts.
- Question: I have a rattle coming from behind
the driver's left ear. It sounds very light and fast, like a blown speaker,
but it happens even when the speakers are off.
It turned out to be the bracket/harness for the hard top defroster. There
was a little plastic piece that was loose enough to rattle like crazy.
I fixed it with a small elastic.
This page was originally created by Alex M. Postpischil
(Thanks for the great work!). Special thanks also goes out to the dozens of
people who have contributed to this page.
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24 February, 2009