How deal with a Mazda Miata or Fiat Spider flat tire.

How To Plan For A Flat Tire In a Mazda Miata or Fiat 124 Spider

The Mazda Miata and Fiat 124 Spider are unusual in that they have no spare tire and also do not have run flat tires. So what’s the plan if one gets a flat?

The Mazda Miata and Fiat 124 Spider don’t have any spare tire and are not equipped with run-flat tires. There is a very questionable repair kit included in the car, but as we will explain, using it may not be a practical solution.

Where Did The Spare Go?
Almost every automobile in America still has some sort of flat tire plan, but AAA reported in 2015 that a third of new cars don't have any kind of spare.. Yes, automakers are stealing our spare tires and even compact spare tires claiming it is for the benefit of lower weight and fuel economy. This is baloney. Cars with nine heavy speakers and an audio amplifier the size of a window air conditioner have no legitimate claim to a true dedication to weight savings. Some car makers, like BMW for example, have turned to run-flats as a way to get rid of spare tires (and maybe to make more money at dealerships on more expensive tires). There are various valid opinions on run-flat tires, but we give them a thumbs-down based on our real-world experience with them. On the upside, run flats at least offer a sound plan for getting home with a simple puncture.

The Miata and Fiat 124 Spider Repair Kit
Open the trunk of a new 2016 or 2017 Miata or Spider and inside is a small pump and a can of gunk that gets injected into the tire to seal it. On the prior generation Miatas that ran from 2006 through 2015, the kit was a joke. The can of gunk was to be gravity-fed into the valve of the tire after the valve stem was removed. Imagine trying to remove and replace a valve stem the size of a fingernail clipping outside in the snow, at night, on a busy highway. At least the new kits don’t require that step! Except in Mexico, where for some odd reason, Mazda still uses that older kit design.

The new kit may work in ideal situations, but it requires that the can of gunk be connected to the tire, then the can separately connects to the little baby pump, which you plug into your power outlet in the car, and then the process starts. Let’s face facts: a can of Fix A Flat is a much more sensible option and uses the same basic idea, but with one connection and one step. What makes it an even better solution is it is cheap, and you can replace the can annually to ensure it has not turned to a solid inside. Do you think that can of Mazda or Fiat gunk liquid is going to work in nine years? How about in 15? Will the gunk still be a liquid when it is below zero degrees and the car has been sitting cold-soaked for a week? (More on Page 2)

Are Flat Tires Really a Problem?
Being former owners and lucky testers of Miatas and Fiat 124 Spiders, we carry our own kit to deal with flats. Why? Because as owners we had multiple flats in Miatas and learned the hard way that even if one can find a tire store or dealer nearby, they are usually closed on weekends and holidays, which are the best days to be out and about in a Miata or Spider!

What To Put In Your Kit
Our kit includes the can of Fix a Flat and a simple plug tool for punctures. It also includes a AAA membership. AAA has bailed us out many times and the folks they send are often knowledgeable and helpful (and good with a tire a tire iron). Even if we planned to try our own fix we might make a call to AAA just in case it all goes wrong. Hopefully not as wrong as Mazda’s manual suggests it might. It states “Ingesting tire sealant is harmful…” Who’d have guessed?

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Comments

Removing spare tires was the worst decision auto-makers have ever made. Their recommended procedure for a flat tire is to pull over and call a tow truck. That is crazy ridiculous. In my BMW I ended up buying a spare tire kit and leaving it in the truck. Run flats cost twice as much and most tire shops won't even patch simple leaks. I sold the BMW and vowed to never buy a car that doesn't have a spare tire. Its not something most people consider when buying a car since until recently it was givin that every car had a spare.
Duh, read the warnings on the Fix-a-flat can. You CAN'T store it in a hot car trunk since it may explode and it won't work if the can is cold. Torque News: how many people are you going to kill?
Always good to follow the Mfg's recommendations, regardless of how overzealous. You may notice if you look closely at the image that the fix a flat is sitting on top of a bag.
Having a spare is irrelevant considering you can't use the pitiful manufacturer's lug wrench to break loose the nuts after they were installed with an air wrench. I always carry a "t" lug wrench in the event of a flat.
Absolutely right. I prefer a "breaker bar" ratchet with a socket because they are easier to store. There is no spare anyway in this car, and one will not fit into the trunk area (tried it). You make a good point though, that one needs a plan. In other cars, my plan for lug nut removal is AAA first, and the wrench if they are for some reason not available.
I've had two punctures in the many miles I've driven my MX5. I've never used the "goo". One was a slow leaker and I managed to have a shop repair it (it should be patched from the inside). The other was also slow, but because they were about to be replaced soon, I repaired it with the typical plug kit. This worked fine for my 17 inch rims. But beware of super low profile tires as there wont be enough room to insert the plug tool!
I've had two punctures in the many miles I've driven my MX5. I've never used the "goo". One was a slow leaker and I managed to have a shop repair it (it should be patched from the inside). The other was also slow, but because they were about to be replaced soon, I repaired it with the typical plug kit. This worked fine for my 17 inch rims. But beware of super low profile tires as there wont be enough room to insert the plug tool!