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Miata FAQ

Q: What kind of tires should I buy?

A: This is highly subjective, and it depends on what kind of Miata you have, what kind of driving you do, and what your budget is. No, you cannot find a tire for $60 each that will make you fly down the Dragon ahead of the sport bikes and still give you 40,000 miles of service. What you need depends on your goals for your car. Feel free to post up to the forum and give the details of how hard you drive, your wheel size, and your typical use of the vehicle and we’ll give you way more information than you probably wanted. We’ve shaken down and abused pretty much everything from highway touring tires to the stickiest racing slicks. Learn from our experience and mistakes.

That being said, many of us have found that the Goodyear Eagle F1 GSD3 is an outstanding and well-rounded tire for the Miata. It grips very nicely in the dry, does quite well in the rain, wears decently, is fine in the winters of Chattanooga, and looks aggressive. It is, however, a bit pricey. It’s not the answer to everything, but it’s the choice of many (if not most) in the club for their everyday tire.

Here is some new information with some help from Grassroots Motorsports magazine (updated 6/15/08):

Grassroots Motor Sports just ran a test on five budget tires with some surprising results. They compared five tires to the new Bridgestone RE-01Rs, using it as the benchmark for dry performance (best lap time was 39.89 seconds and very consistent, as you would expect from the current king of the street tire autocross classes).
Of the five budget tires tested, the all-season Falken ZE-912 turned in the absolute fastest lap at 40.57 seconds but got very greasy after about five laps and caused a spin. The second fastest tire, the Yokohama SDrive managed a 40.58 time (might as well be as fast) and remained consistent over all the laps. GRM praised the turn-in feel, overall response and lack of road noise.
They used their project Miata for the testing with 195/50-15 as the size.
So there’s a couple of tires to add to the Miata-friendly list. It looks like the big list is as follows:
–> Goodyear F1 GS-D3 for almost-ultimate dry grip and ultimate wet grip. Good comfort.
–> Toyo T1S for good dry grip and almost ultimate wet grip. Good comfort.
–> Bridgestone RE-01R for ultimate dry grip and pretty good rain grip in warm weather. Stiff riding. (The new Dunlop Direzza Star Spec Z1 may unseat the RE-01R as king, but has very limited sizes right now – it’s a more MX-5 friendly tire for that reason.)
–> Falken Azenis and Hankook RS-Z212 for almost-ultimate dry grip and okay rain grip in warm weather. Stiff riding.
–> Yokohama SDrive for excellent dry grip and pretty good rain grip in warm weather. Stiffer, but still decent comfort.
–> Falken Ziex ZE 912 as the all-weather tire of choice. Really good dry and wet grip, though maybe not the tire of choice for multiple back-to-back Dragon runs. Good comfort. If you need winter help (including a little snow), this is your choice, especially at the price.
Q: Where do I get an alignment?

A: Goodyear: Express Tire & Auto Center on Highway 58. Ask for Carl (or Karl…I’m not sure that we’ve ever figured out which it is). He’s the best alignment guy in town, and we’ve managed to wrangle them into giving us a $10 club discount because we’re there so much. If you need help knowing how to get your car aligned, we’ll be happy to suggest custom numbers for you depending on your driving habits. Carl doesn’t charge extra for custom work.
Q: What shops do you trust for repair work?

A: See our home page for a current list with contact information. Our club does regular tech days, however, where we handle normal maintenance and minor modifications. We can even help you do timing belts or a clutch slave cylinder if you’re desperate, give us enough notice, and we like you.

Q: Help! Somebody ran over me. What’s a good body shop?

A: If you are paying for it, give Sequoyah Collision Restoration in Soddy Daisy a call. 423-332-1800. They are pretty talented and will do exactly what you pay them for. If you want the car just to be made drivable again, they’ll do it on the cheap. If you want it straight, they’ll be happy to take your money and will do a fine job with it. If the insurance company is paying for it (i.e., price is no object), you might try Reddick Auto Body or Vinson Village Body Shop. They’re not cheap, but they’re usually considered two of the best in town.
Q: Where do I get my windows tinted?

A: Try Marty over at Oasis Glass Tinting. 423-892-7604. Grant Auto Trim also does a fine job. 423-266-3772.
Q: Where do I buy parts?

A: Give Brandon (A.K.A. “Tigger”) a call at Gray Epperson Automotive. Phil Thach, one of our founding members, has negotiated a great deal on parts. Tell them you’re a Scenic City Miatas member and you’ll get parts at cost plus 20% (which is better than you can get even from the famous Trussville Mazda, normally, and is usually also cheaper than what we racers can get through Mazdaspeed).
Q: I want to buy a new Miata. Where should I go?

A: Call Phil Thach at Gray Epperson Automotive. Not only is he one of our founding members, he’s been the owner of three Miatas so far and knows them inside and out. His passion for the car came before his job selling them, and he knows his stuff.

Q: Where can I buy paint (including custom paint) for my Miata?
A: You can buy paint from Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes. The address is 4301 Founders Way, Chattanooga, TN 37416. Call 423-855-0557 and ask for Mike, he is an SCM member.

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