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As many 124 Spider owners (as well as Mazda MX-5 owners) have later realized, many dealers* seem to be skipping just about everything on their pre-delivery checklists, other than removing the obvious plastic protection wrap from the seats and body.
Be aware of the following items that are supposed to be addressed during dealer pre-delivery…
Wheels are shipped to the Mazda factory with the tires already installed and inflated to the maximum rated pressure, which is 51 psi, so that:
- the beads will seat properly into the double hump profile of the rim, to minimize the chance of bead seat dislodgement, even when the inflation pressure is lower than the operating pressure
- tire disfigurement (flat spots) is minimized during the long boat ride overseas, while strapped to the deck of the ship and while parked in storage lots for long durations
- any faults in the rim castings, tires and/or tire valves might be revealed, should the pressure not be retained during the build process
The dealer is supposed to deflate the pressure to around 29 psi as part of their pre-delivery tasks, and customers going for test rides hopefully aren’t driving vehicles that still have 51 psi in the tires, as this will have a very negative effect on the expected ride quality.
If you have a tire pressure gauge, it is easy to deal with over-inflated tires as many gauges have a small nub built-in designed to depress the valve stem and allow excess air to escape.
Be advised though, that 29 psi might not be sufficient for highway driving, if cargo and occupants weigh close to (or more than) 340 pounds, which is the stated weight limit on the B-pillar tire placard. Wish this had been made clearer somehow, before we took all of those long weekend trips. Read this article for details.
And if they haven’t deflated the tires, then they also didn’t reset the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System), so you can expect that (loud) alarm to sound within a couple hundred miles. Here’s the procedure for doing that, after you’ve verified that the (cold) tire pressure is set to the B-pillar placard pressure (29 psi) on all four tires (note that this only applies to the Classica & Lusso; the Abarth should reset itself).
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS):
Classica & Lusso uses ABS algorithms; no actual wheel sensors
Reset TPMS system:
Hold TPMS button until beep, and lamp has flashed twice
If your vehicle came with the Navigation option, the dealer should have installed the SD card, but most buyers are finding the packaging in the either the armrest cubby, or the cubby between the seats in the rear bulkhead (that’s our “glove box”) after they arrive home, wondering why their Infotainment system informed them that “your 124 Spider is not equipped with Navigation”. The 3″ x 5″ ziplock bag containing the SD card in yet another smaller ziplock bag, will be labelled “NAVTEQ MAPS” and may also have the Mopar Part # 68366118AA label attached. You’ll find instructions on how to install the SD card here.
Another clue that the dealers aren’t following instructions is when you find a bag (as shown below) containing two chassis plugs in your glove box or trunk…
Installing these plugs are also part of pre-delivery. They aren’t installed at the factory, because I’m told that the holes serve as both production line fixture locators in the factory, as well as vehicle tie-down locations during transport. The latter seems questionable. since photos I’ve seen of the vehicles being prepped to be driven off of the transport boat show them tied down to the deck via the front and rear tow-eye bolts.
Your vehicle does not need to be raised off of the ground to install the plugs. By using a mirror along the under-body in the vicinity under the B-pillars (rear of the door opening), and using this photo as a guide, you should be able to find the two oblong holes that these plugs are intended for.
Removing the front and rear (steel) tie-down hooks from the grille and rear fascia access locations seems to be carried out pretty consistently, but what they do with them is another story. My guess is that the dealers are instructed to give the customer the front hook (stow it near the tire service kit in the trunk), in case you wish to use it as a tow-hook (perhaps to a flatbed tow-truck driver to facilitate winching your vehicle onto the truck) or a tie-down hook. I don’t know what happens to the rear hooks (which are shorter), but it is usually not needed by the consumer anyways, since the front hook fits either location. I’m again guessing that they are recycled, and this is probably why they tend not to end up in the vehicles by the time customers get them.
If you find a package that looks like this (shown below) in one of your storage compartments, it is a cover that the dealer was supposed to insert into the access hole in the the front grille, after the front tie-down hook is removed.
The Abarth’s wheel rims are painted with a glossy gun metal finish, and then a protective shipment film wrap is applied > that the dealer is supposed to remove! If the dealer forgot to remove, the finish will eventually appear to be “peeling”.
* Based on what I’m reading in the forums (which may in-fact be exaggerated, since positive experiences may be less likely to get reported) and based on my personal experience.
The only pre-delivery task (of those mentioned in this article) that my dealer performed, was deflating the tires (they put green valve cover caps on to indicate that they then re-inflated the tires with Nitrogen @ 29 psi), which I presume they planned on charging the purchaser for, as a dealer add-on whenever they can get away with it. Unless you are driving a Formula One race car, don’t fall for this one! Here’s a sticker from someone else that was purchasing a 124 Spider Lusso from a questionable dealer (they got it waived)…
As another Spider forum member stated…
“Anyone who pays $299 to have 100% nitrogen in their tires (as opposed to 78% nitrogen which is normal in atmospheric air), has rocks in their head. It’s the most ridiculous scam I’ve ever come across.”
that are either incorrectly described, or omitted from your owner’s manual:
The forward viewing obstruction caused by the rear-view mirror in it’s factory installed position, especially if you are a taller individual. The Homelink mirror is even larger making the blind spot even worse. It may not occur to you get the mirror out of your forward line-of-sight by pushing the mirror all the way up at the pivot point closest to the windshield (which most people don’t realize exists) until the top of it touches the header, and then adjusting the swivel at the other oft-used pivot point (which the ladies are constantly adjusting as they check their makeup) for proper viewing behind your vehicle (it is also very helpful in viewing rearward over the top of the wind deflector rather than through it). Ohhhh, what a difference that makes!
The passenger power window may be inoperable from both the driver’s and passenger’s switches. The likely cause of this is that the power window lock switch has probably been accidentally enabled (it will be in the slightly depressed position). Simply tap it again for normal window operation 😉
This tip has saved more than one reader a wasted trip to their dealer. The feature (intended for child-proofing 4-door vehicles) is pretty useless in our 2-door cars, but the switch module is used across a wide variety of Mazda vehicles.
Three other windows items to note:
1) In order for the automatic window operations to function properly, they need to learn where the upper and lower limits are by being initialized. Read more about this here.
2) You’ll have about 40 seconds to operate your windows after shutting down your vehicle, before the switches are disabled – as long as neither door has been opened.
3) Also, get in the habit of not starting the vehicle as the door is being closed, as that will interrupt the auto-close function of the window.
If you have an automatic transmission, stopping the engine while in Neutral rather than Park will keep your radio + USB ports on, and is the maneuver to remember when you wish to remain in the vehicle and continue listening to your radio/streaming audio, simply slipping it into Park after the engine has shutdown. Again, you’ll actually be in ACC mode rather than in OFF mode, and this gives you up to 25 minutes more time before the CMU turns itself off, but this can be extended by tapping the brake pedal once prior to that timeout, for another 25 minutes.
There is an actual (emergency) key hidden in your fob(s) that will open/lock your driver door and the storage cubby (without the fob, you won’t be able to disable the alarm or start your vehicle though). I’ll bet the dealer doesn’t show you that (or how to release it using the button on the rear side) though…
Another key item to note:
Get in the habit of storing your key fob(s) away from the vehicle. Not just line-of-sight either, but in distance. Unlike old-school key fobs that only communicated with the car when you pushed a button, the closer the fob is to the car when not in use, it is rumored that the key fob battery will die quicker (I don’t know if this has ever been proven though), as the fob is always communicating with the car, when it is within a certain range. Your keys could be hanging in another room adjacent to the garage (or just above), yet still communicating with the vehicle. If the fob is close enough in proximity:
- you will prevent your vehicle from going into deep-sleep mode, which will cause the vehicle battery to discharge at a quicker rate
- an intruder may be able to unlock the vehicle, gaining access to your Homelink buttons (garage door) and the trunk release
- and if one key fob is left within the vehicle, they’ll be able to start it up, and drive away, as if it is theirs
After turning your car off, you may hear a humming sound and wonder what that is. An electric auxiliary pump mounted on the left-front wheel well (under the liner), insures proper cool-down of the turbo bearings by circulating coolant through it after the engine is stopped, and it usually shuts itself off within 10 minutes. Additionally, if the coolant temperature is above 223º F, the radiator fan will also run after the (hot) engine is stopped to aid in bringing the coolant temperature down quicker.
For those of you wondering what this slot is for,
you can install the driver’s cupholder here (a pair of them comes with the car, at least in the U.S.), as an alternative to the driver’s side slot behind the armrest (the passenger cupholder only has the one rearward dedicated slot).
In the U.S., with the Advanced Keyless Entry (AKE) option, in addition to the interior trunk release switch (near the hood release lever), our 124 Spiders also gain another switch on the underside overhang of the trunk lid itself in-between the pair of license plate lamps and, if you have the Infotainment system, to the right of the ParkView reverse camera.
For those of us that don’t have the Vehicle Security Alarm System, you may wonder why, what looks like a red alarm system light in your instrument cluster is blinking every 2 seconds, whenever the engine is off. This is normal behavior, and I’m glad to have that feature, since it alerts questionable individuals, even when my top is down, that I may have the factory-installed alarm system (with ultrasonic intrusion detectors) that are currently in armed status, just waiting to be triggered 😉 , when in fact, it is simply the engine immobilizer that is always active when the ignition is OFF.
Although the owner’s manual erroneously states that the passenger airbag lamp should turn itself off after starting your car (and that you should go to the dealer if it doesn’t), it in fact should remain on, unless an adult is occupying that seat. This is an indication that the dashboard airbag will not activate in an accident that could potentially cause more harm than good to an infant or child occupying that seat. Read more regarding the airbag message panel here.
Insure that the radio antenna is screwed in tightly as good static-free radio reception depends on it, plus you don’t want it working loose and falling off. Some dealers have been known to just give it a couple of spins. Read more regarding the antenna here.
Disabling the auto-dim feature of your gauges and Infotainment screen by dialing the brightness control knob to the maximum bright (clockwise) position (indicated by a quiet beep), which will allow you to see the screen during the daytime when your lights are on. More on that in my new dedicated article regarding this subject.
If you have the Bose system, don’t be alarmed if whatever media you have playing (XM, FM, Bluetooth) cuts out for a second while latching/unlatching the top, as a switch in the latch activates the respective “top up” or “top down” audio profile.
There is a stirrup to hold your gasoline cap while refueling that keeps it from swinging in the wind and possibly marring your paint.
Speaking of the fuel door, because of the AKE walk-away feature being ON by default, the doors may lock themselves as you exit the vehicle to refuel (especially for RHD vehicles), and that will prevent you from opening your fuel door as that locks at the same time your doors lock. It can actually be a better experience to simply turn the walk-away feature OFF, which can be:
• inconsistent, especially if the passenger is slow to exit
• inconvenient, especially if you park your car in a private garage
There are access panels to “hidden” soft-sided storage cubbies in the rear bulkhead behind each seat, one of which is perfect for rattle-free storage of your cup holder(s), when not in use. The panels are not hinged, but simply snap into place.
There is a capped 12-volt accessory outlet incorporated into the HVAC fan housing that merits an illustration in the owner’s manual, because the description that Fiat’s professional technical writers have provided will not help you locate it. HINT: You will find it hiding above the top edge of the floor carpeting. It is tied into the ignition switch, so devices plugged into the outlet will turn off when the ignition is turned off. In LHD vehicles it is located above the passenger’s left foot rest and looks like ⇓. In RHD vehicles, it is the inverse in appearance and you’ll find it located above the passenger’s right foot rest.
When using a cordless drill to attach the rear license plate, dealers need to open the trunk to prevent the chuck from rubbing the paint off of the decklid’s bottom edge, as some customers have later discovered (if you find evidence of this, the dealer owes you some body shop work). I also think they are supposed to drill proper-size pilot holes prior to driving in those two large screws, but it is very evident on my car when I later removed the plate to install my own frame, that they just rammed the ¼″ screws into the fascia (at least they installed the plate level though).
There are some personalization options that you’ll need to get familiar with, so that the door locks, headlights and all of the electronic upgrade options, will behave to your liking. Also, to insure that the clock displays the proper time, you’ll find the options in Settings > Clock. “Adjust Time” is disabled when GPS Sync is selected, however you need to select the proper “Time Zone” and “Daylight Saving Time” setting.