2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Post-Sandstorm Filter Swap
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on April 4, 2016
You already know that our 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata got caught in an immense sandstorm. If there were such a thing as a Fujita hurricane ranking scale for sandstorms, this event would have fallen slightly closer to the Mad Max end of the spectrum that stretches from mere Dust Devil to full-on Fury Road.
I later examined the air filter and decided it might be a good idea to install a new one. The interior smelled of dust and desert, so I thought about a new cabin air filter — if the ND had one.
But the owner's manual made no mention of one, even in the maintenance schedule. The internet seemed to suggest the NC had one because of its tight-sealing power retractable hard top option, and with a new 2017 Miata RF retractable fastback version just announced it seemed that this logic might extend to the ND, too. I called a Mazda engineer I know — in charge of suspension, admittedly — but he wasn't sure.
So I asked about a cabin air filter when I bought a new air filter ($20.11, with tax) at my local Mazda dealer. I peeked over the parts-guy's shoulder as he scanned through the online version of the microfiche. Nothing came up. It seems there is no such thing.
Back home, the air filter swap was painlessly simple, with just two clips and two tabs holding the clamshell air box together. I had the old filter out and posed next to the new one in no time at all.
It didn't look that bad, but I kept thinking back to the sand grains I'd seen on the filter when I took it out for a peek a few days earlier.
So I rapped it hard against the ground a few times. Quite a lot of grit came out and sullied the clean white paint on the garage floor. Yeah, changing our Miata's air filter was a good idea.
The new filter slipped back in as easy as you please. This is about the easiest car maintenance task I can imagine.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 8,366 miles