1991 Mazda Miata MX-5 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1991 Mazda Miata MX-5 as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

Misfires under load (acceleration) can be caused by spark plug wires arcing to the cylinder head in the spark plug wells. Water in the spark plug wells can also cause the same problem so careful diagnosis is needed.

A loud ticking noise (hydraulic valve lifter noise) may be heard from the top of the engine, particularly when the engine is still cold. The noise may occur more frequently on higher mileage vehicles; Hydraulic valve lash adjusters may need to be replaced to correct this issue. Following the maintenance schedule for oil changes will also help prevent a recurrence of the noise.

The engine may idle roughly or stall when it's cold because the oil pump pressure relief plunger is sticking. Failure is usually due to wear and it causes excessive oil pressure to pump up the hydraulic valve lifters keeping the valves from closing completely, which results in a loss of compression. The oil pump will need to be replaced in this case.

Failure of the valve cover gasket can allow engine oil to leak onto the spark plug wires and damage them. The engine will run poorly (misfire) if the spark plug wires fail.