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Used Mazda MX-5 long-term test: report 2

The Mazda MX-5 is a firm favourite with those who want fun in the sun, but what’s a used one like as your only car? We have four months to find out...

LT Mazda MX-5 roof cleaning

The car 2019 Mazda MX-5 2.0 184ps GT Sport Nav+ Run by Max Adams, Used cars reporter

Why it’s here To find out if a two-seater sports car is a help or hindrance in everyday life.

Needs to Provide maximum smiles-per-mile without breaking the bank.

Mileage 2190 List price new (2019) £26,095 Price new with options £26,885 Value now £21,078 Options fitted metallic paint £790 Test economy 38.6mpg Official economy 40.9mpg (WLTP) 

18 August 2020 - hey, mohair needs a wash!

As soon as I started driving my Mazda MX-5, I knew there was something wrong. There was a warning light flashing, after all, but it wouldn’t stay on constantly like the manual said it would. Instead, it simply blinked, at random intervals. How strange.

LT MX-5 pop up bonnet warning

I should explain that this particular warning light is to do with the MX-5’s pop-up bonnet. Ever since the facelifted version of the previous-generation MX-5 debuted, the most low-slung Mazda has been equipped with a pedestrian safety feature that pushes the bonnet upwards in the event of a collision with somebody on foot, in order to cushion any impact with the top of the engine. You see, car bonnets are pretty good at crumpling and absorbing impact energy, whereas solid metal engines are not. 

A trip to a dealer was in order, so I contacted T W White & Sons in Byfleet and booked the MX-5 in for a check-up. Obviously, these days a trip to the dealer requires a little more preparation, so I took my alcohol gel with me and some cleaning wipes, just in case. 

LT Mazda MX-5 at dealership

In the end, I didn’t really need to bring anything because everyone there wore masks and plenty of hand sanitiser was provided. I was only there for about an hour while the technician plugged the car in to check for faults. It turned out to be nothing more noteworthy than a loose connection to one of the rams that push up on the bonnet in an emergency. It was all looked at under warranty and no charge was incurred because the technician was satisfied it hadn’t been caused by me running the car into a raised kerb (or a pedestrian).   

What took longer than having my warning light taken care of was washing its convertible top. I’ve never previously owned a car with a roof you can fold away, so I’ve not had the opportunity to find out how you clean such a thing. I know you can put it through a car wash (a good way to check for leaks on a test drive), but I wanted to find out how to maintain it myself. So I did what anyone else would do in the same situation: I Googled it.

LT Mazda MX-5 roof cleaning

Ideally, when washing a fabric convertible roof you’ll do it on a dry day because it needs a bit of vacuuming first to remove as much grit as possible so you don't end up scrubbing it into the fabric. The kit I ordered from Amazon was a reasonable £18.56 and came with both the cleaner and protector spray, as well as a special sponge to agitate the dirt with.

Since my MX-5 isn’t particularly old, there wasn’t any deeply ingrained muck or algae to be found, but there are still areas where dirt collects, such as where the back of the hood backs up to the boot lid, and I had to drop the roof slightly to get better access to this in order to clean it. Then it was simply a case of thoroughly rising out the suds and allowing the hood to dry. 

LT Mazda MX-5 roof lowered cleaning

Before applying the protector, I made sure to remove any bits of dirt with a lint roller. I then applied an even coating of the protector, making sure to wipe off any excess spray from the windows and paint. Now when it rains, any water beads neatly off of the surface just like a layer of polish would on paintwork. 

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