How to Install the Striker Plates on a Miataby Joan Greylord
Striker plates on a Miata hold down the sides of the optional removable hardtop. They attach to the car's interior side panels and are positioned in front of the seat belt towers. Striker plates are usually sold in kits containing a left plate, a right plate, and screws. This is a moderately challenging do-it-yourself installation if you are comfortable using a grinding tool, drill and cutting tools.
Put the hard top on the Miata, making sure that the rear of the top is positioned correctly on the Frankenstein bolts. Close the front latches that secure the hard top to the windshield. The hard top's side latches should remain open.
Line up the striker below the hard top's open side latch. Hold the striker plate in place and mark the position of the screw holes with a pencil or marker.
Make the screw holes using a grinding tool, or use a 1/8-inch drill. You should be able to see the screw threads for the striker bolts appear as you make the first hole. If you don't see them, stop drilling. Check to make sure that you put the hard top on correctly and that the side latches are in the correct position. Make adjustments to the top, if necessary, then line up the striker with the open side latch and try again.
Hold the striker in place and trace around it to indicate the area on the panel that needs to be hollowed out to accommodate the striker. Trace accurately, and note that the screw holes are not centered as you might expect.
Use a grinding or sanding wheel, or a cutting tool that you can comfortably and safely use, to hollow out the area on the panel. Go slowly as you continue to make the area gradually larger. Check often to see if the striker is fitting flush with the panel and that the screw holes are lining up.
Screw the striker onto the panel with the provided screws. Confirm that the hard top's side latch securely connects with the striker.
- If you don't have a hard top yet, but want to install the strikers, look for positioning guidelines that are etched or molded into the car's plastic panel. If the panel doesn't have the guidelines, remove the panel and look for the guidelines on the back. Also, some striker kits provide a paper template.
Things You'll Need
- Kit with two striker panels and four screws
- Grinding tool
- 1/8-inch drill
- Cutting tool
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Use the correct striker kit for your Miata model year and hard top version. There are two kits available --- one for 1990 to 2002 Miatas and one for 2003 to 2005 Miatas.
Joan Greylord is a marketing communications and feature writer in Illinois. She has been writing professionally since 1980 for the health care industry and high-tech fields. Her articles have appeared in "The Southern Health Magazine," "SI Magazine," and "Cat Fancy Magazine." Greylord especially enjoys writing about new trends in health care and alternative medicine.