Miata Convertible Top Instructions

by Joan Greylord

Taking good care of your Miata convertible top is one of the best ways to preserve the value and appearance of your car. Manually raising and lowering the Miata convertible soft top is easy, but you must take steps in specific order to ensure that the top itself and the back window do not get damaged. Also, you can raise and lower the new Miata power retractable hard top with the push of a button, but there’s one right way to do it.

Lowering a Miata Convertible Top

Roll down both windows. Unlock the latches that secure the top to the top of the windshield. The 1990 to 2005 Miatas will have two latches, one top left and one top right. All models 2006 and newer have a single latch located in the center where the top meets the windshield. Unzip the vinyl back window, if your Miata has one. It’s important to unzip the vinyl window after you unlatch the top because it relieves the tension on the zipper and you are less likely to break the zipper. If you have a top with a glass window, it will fold automatically with the top. Fold back the convertible top and close the latches (1990 to 2005). For 2006 and newer models, fold back the "Z-fold" design convertible top, which will automatically store itself behind the seats, flush with the trunk and lock it into place. It does not take up any trunk space. Snap on the boot, a custom cover that protects the folded convertible top from dirt (1990 to 2005 models). The boot also protects the exposed part of the folded top from sun damage. If you don’t have a boot, you can still drive your Miata top down without it. The soft tops on Miata models 2006 to 2010 do not require a boot.

Raising a Miata Convertible Top

Roll down both windows. Open the latches on the folded top (1990 to 2005). Raise the folded top and bring the front of the top to meet the top of the windshield. Zip up the vinyl window, if your Miata has one. Pull the top tight against the top of the windshield. Lock the latches on either side of the windshield. Roll up the windows. Unlock and raise the "Z-fold" top so that the front of the top meets the top of the windshield (2006 and newer). Lock the latch in the center of the top of the windshield. Roll up the windows.

Miata Power Retractable Hard Top

It takes just 12 seconds to raise or lower the Miata power retractable hard top, which was introduced with the 2007 model. Start the car or turn the key to auxiliary power. Make sure the transmission is in Park. Safety features will not allow you to raise or lower the convertible top if the vehicle is moving or if it is in any other gear but Park. Unlock the latch in the center of the top of the windshield. Press and hold the button with the “top down” symbol located above the radio in the center of the dash. The windows will lower automatically. You must press and hold the button during the entire time the top is being lowered or else the mechanical process will be interrupted. Wait until you hear a long beep before releasing the button. The top should be safely stowed away in an area behind the seats and protected by a rear-deck cover. The stored hard top does not take up any trunk space. To raise the top, push the button with the “top up” symbol. Again, press and hold the button until you hear a long beep to indicate that the mechanical process of raising the top has been completed. Lock the middle latch to secure the top to the windshield.

Tips and Warnings

Never raise or lower a Miata soft convertible top or power retractable hard top in temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) or lower. For all Miata models, lower the top slowly and gently to avoid damage to the top hardware and the back window. The latches can be adjusted on both soft convertible tops and power retractable hard tops. If your top is leaking, rattling or making other noises, ask your Miata dealer or trusted mechanic if the latches need adjusting.

About the Author

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.