P71 SuperDork
Feb. 28, 2010 10:15 a.m.

Well Audra and I have put over 1,000 miles on the Miata all ready, we love it! The only concern we've run in to is that she has difficulty getting those pretty little chrome latches on the outside to work, especially when you have to hold them out while closing the door to lock it. Is there any way I can loosen them up or lube them?

Lugnut HalfDork
Feb. 28, 2010 11:09 a.m.

LS1 swap.

Er, wait, no. People on the Miata board talk about some magical graphite lubricant, but I did this on my old car and I just used WD40. The handles loosened right up and I don't think I ever had to spray them again.

Keith SuperDork
Feb. 28, 2010 11:14 a.m.

Is the problem that they don't move easily or that they have too much slop?

P71 SuperDork
Feb. 28, 2010 1:50 p.m.

Don't move easily. Her hands have some issues too, so the looser I can get them the better.

pigeon HalfDork
Feb. 28, 2010 2:41 p.m.

Easy answer - don't lock it, especially if the hardtop is off. The convertible top offers no security and leaving it unlocked will hopefully deter top slashing by losers who are looking for loose change. In the almost 3 years I owned my '96 I don't think I ever locked it, and I usually parked it everywhere with the top down unless it was raining or snowing. I had the internal trunk release disconnected so anything of value went there, the only secure place in a Miata.

P71 SuperDork
Feb. 28, 2010 3:07 p.m.

Couple of problems with that pigeon... First, Audra is a high school teacher. If it wasn't for the splined lugnuts AND wheel locks the RoTa's would be gone already. Also, we have the hardtop and have been leaving it on.

It's not the locking that's the problem, it's just plain operation of the door handle. Also, we don't have a trunk key (or passenger door key) yet.

Keith SuperDork
Feb. 28, 2010 5:45 p.m.

The handle works the usual mechanism inside the door. Pop off the inner door panel and lube all of the various hinge points. I'd go with lithium inside, graphite for anything that will be exposed to weather so you don't have to worry about it trapping dirt.

And I lock mine. Well, the ones that have locks anyhow.

peter New Reader
Feb. 28, 2010 6:19 p.m.

my solution to the "hold the handle open while slamming the locked door" problem is to close the unlocked door first, then lock it with the key. also helps prevent locking keys inside car. one fewer times to operate those pesky miniature "handles".

GregTivo HalfDork
Feb. 28, 2010 6:25 p.m.

In reply to peter:

I always lock the car from the outside. It never even occurred to me to hold the handle in the open position while closing the door.

P71 SuperDork
Feb. 28, 2010 6:30 p.m.

In reply to GregTivo:

I grew up with AMC's so it's the first thing I did on both the 7 and the Miata... I'm kinda sad the P71 doesn't do it.

GregTivo HalfDork
Feb. 28, 2010 6:36 p.m.

In reply to P71:

I never bothered to lock the AMC I owned (granted it was a 33 year old Gremlin)

P71 SuperDork
Feb. 28, 2010 6:43 p.m.

Dad drove a 1970 Mark Donohue Javelin when I was in middle/elementary school (first a Black on Black 360/Auto, then a Red/White/Blue Trans Am look-alike with a 400+HP 360/Auto combo) and occasionally picked me up in the AMX (68 390/4-Speed, 11.2's in the 1/4) to impress a teacher. Ours were worth locking (except the 69 Ambassador 290 4-door that I got to drive in high school )

My Hornet is unlocked... for now.

Keith SuperDork
March 1, 2010 12:01 a.m.

BTW, you can modify the Miata locks to be "slam locks": http://www.miata.net/garage/doorlock.html

Mazda changed the spec later, I forget when. The NB has slam locks.

If you do lock the keys inside with the soft top up and you have the original NA zippered top, you can get inside pretty darn quick without doing any damage or using any tools. For extra credit (and using tools), you can even retrieve the keys that have been locked in the trunk with a disabled trunk release without damaging the car. Not that I've done both of these or anything

bluej HalfDork
March 1, 2010 5:57 a.m.

In reply to Keith:

i knew it. FM salvage = chop shop.

Keith SuperDork
March 1, 2010 11:03 a.m.

It's a supply and demand issue. We simply can't get enough cars.

We tried using big pickups to run Miatas off the road to get some "donors". But that's too close to normal traffic behavior, so it didn't work. So we had to come up with something else...

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