Question about 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata

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I am simply trying to find out the octane rating I need for my 1999 Mazda Miata. I just purchased it and have no owners manual.

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Mazda says it recommends premium and it will idle smoother on premium and have more power. The economy being tight and gas prices high people want to economize. The 1.8 will run well on regular 89 octane, but may ping on hard acceleration at first until the knock sensor picks this up and the computer retards the timing a bit. I have even run 3/4 tank E85 + 1/4 tank premium with only a slight power deficiency and reduced mpg. That was only an experiment to see how it would run if the government increased ethanol percentages in pump gas, which they are rumored to do. It suffered no ill effects but I don't recommend it for daily use, in an emergency perhaps.

Posted on Jun 05, 2011

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Thanks for using FixYa and welcome to the site. You can use 89, but you are better off using 92.

Posted on Apr 06, 2011

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  • Richard Hale
    Richard Hale Apr 06, 2011

    Anytime you have a high performance car as you do, you want to use the best for the best performance possible.

  • m3dcoe Apr 06, 2011

    If I've done my research correctly then VVT didn't come to the 1.8L engine until 2001. If I were to advance the timing then uping the octane rating of the gas i use would make sense but at stock I don't see any added benifit. I've only had it a week and haven't gotten a chance to drive it since but I did see on line that advancing the timing to 14 degrees BTDC really improve the torque so I am thinking about it. Probably should drive it stock for a while.

  • Richard Hale
    Richard Hale Apr 06, 2011

    In all honesty, there is not much difference between 87 and 92, but there is. Being what gas cost, I would even consider 87. It just all depends on the use of the car. If it is driven everyday for work, school, ect., use 87. If you want better performance, that is where it comes into effect. I would use 89 or higher. What you say is correct. For stock, 87. For performance, use 89 or higher. I would keep it to stock level just because gas is going to continue to rise. Anyway, you have a good car and engine. Enjoy and best wishes.

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