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MINI Cooper Care & Maintenance

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Comments

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited April 2012
    I don't have a Countryman, so I can't speak about many of the items you listed, with one exception.... Squeaks and rattles.

    Squeaks and rattles are not acceptable in any decently made modern auto, and especially in an upscale auto.

    Any dealer than can't sufficiently remedy a "duplicate-able" noise isn't much of a dealer, IMO.

    My wife's 05 Mini convertible does have the occasional rattle/pop/squeak associated on cars with soft tops, but for a car approaching 70K miles and 7 years of age, it's incredibly quiet. The AC works as well today as the day she drove it off the lot.

    I've found BMW is somewhat limited as to which bluetooth formats/phones it supports, but you should be able to get a list of supported phones from the Mini website or dealer. I do know some Android phones are supported, just not the specifics.

    http://www.miniusa.com/bluetooth/phones_new.html

    Every manufacturer is going to support iPhones.

    Earlier model Minis definitely had cooling fan issues and leaking/weeping hoses, but I don't know about the later generation models. Same goes for the upper-right-top motor mount.
  • ejo1ejo1 Posts: 7
    Our 2006 MC (R50) with 68K miles on it developed a coolant leak. We had coolant problems while under warranty and they were "fixed" twice by the dealer. Somehow this does not show up at the current Mini Dealer (we bought the car new from at that time the only dealer in the State) which is closer by than the original one. At Our last major checkup we were told that we again had a coolant leak and that we needed a REDESIGNED Thermostat Housing because the original is faulty. The dealer cost is astronomical for such a job. ($350 plus) I decided to do it my self but I'm unable to find the REDESIGNED housing. Maybe I have to go to the dealer and pay top price. :cry:

    Does anybody know where I can find this NEW housing so I can attack the job myself. (BMW/MINI P/N would be greatly appreciated)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,273
    I think minimania.com has it. You should call them to confirm that it's the improved housing:

    http://new.minimania.com/web/Item/NME7616/InvDetail.cfm

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    You might also try realoem.com.

    Good luck!
  • Mr. Shiftright wrote: "Subarus are generally very boring and they have had their issues, too, let me tell you. Been there, done that."

    Have to disagree with you here. I just got a 2007 Cooper S convertible and gave my daughter my 2002 (first year they were available here) Impreza WRX.

    It was a beast. When the turbocharger kicked in, you bruised your kidneys. Cornered well for its size and ZERO PROBLEMS. Had one recall. Needed one battery in 10 years and let me know in the garage one winter when it cranked over slowly. Except for recall, it only saw the dealer for routine maintenance.
  • I just purchased a 2006 Mini Cooper S Convertible and on the steering wheel there is a telephone but the manual does not explain how to pair up your phone can anyone help with this?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,273
    That's because you didn't get the 2.5L Subaru engine, which was very prone to head gasket failure.

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  • kandrivekandrive Posts: 19
    I have a 2012 Mini Cooper Countryman and don't know much about the earlier models but on the radio controls, there's a "mode" button. I selected this choice (out of a few others, like "Aux", "Satellite", "Radio", etc.) which shows up on the radio readout screen - "Phone" being one of them. That's how I paired my android phone to my Mini. Mini Connected is a different set up and I have the standard.

    One of the best Mini forums/sites I've found is North American Motoring. There are lots of posts about this issue for your year of Mini. Check them out, ask a question and I'm sure many 2006 owners will be able to hook you up.

    Good luck! (By the way, I absolutely ADORE my Mini - one of the best cars I've ever owned! Can't ever wait to get behind the wheel everyday - the handling is fantastic!)
  • It is my understanding that the phone features only work in European cars and have no functionality in the US. So it depends on where you are driving.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Dunno about the 2006 models.

    My wife has a 2005 Mini convertible with the phone controls on the steering wheel, but they're only for "show". There isn't any Bluetooth functionality in her car. The buttons do nothing...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,273
    I think you need to have the Mini module installed to make those buttons work--so if you didn't order that when new, you probably can't use the buttons. I have heard that people do buy bluetooth kits, like from Parrot, but I haven't seen an installation so don't know what's involved.

    You can be sure that if you buy the module from MINI, it'll cost an arm and a leg and a head. :P

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  • Hello I am looking to buy a new mini cooper countryman BUT my dad has been telling there are a lot of problems with the car and with mini also. I right now have a Volkswagen TDI Jetta that has so many problems i want a new car. I when to look at them this weekend they drive like a Volkswagen bug. But what concerns me is what i have been reading about them Care & Maintenance of the car. I'm not looking to have to spend 2 to 5,000 to keep the car up-keep.

    If someone can please help me on this thank you
  • Really, only you can make that call. Some info that may help you...

    a. my opinion is that forums for a particular make are very helpful. True, you'll have problems over-reported a bit (comparing percent of people who join a forum to research a problem they may be having, versus percent who join just to say things are swell). But by reading them, you'll get a feel for the various trouble spots and know what to expect. A very active one is North American Motoring, you can google for the actual site.

    b. saying "MINIs have a lot of problems" is like saying New York has a lot of crime: it depends. Distilling the common things: the Countryman model had a thermostat / temp sensor issue at first that caused a lot of warranty work. New ones have the new unit. Countryman models also had some trouble with peeling chrome trimwork, again repaired under warranty but a PITA if you had one, of course. MINIs, not Countryman models, had a timing chain / tensioner problem with the 2007-2008 models that wasn't helped by those first years of 15,000 mile oil changes (and people thereby not even checking their oil level). Again, much warranty work to remedy, and some not, unfortunately. MINI made production revisions, of course.

    c. All that said, there are many who report "normal" ownership...routine maintenance and no problems otherwise, replacing parts that wear out like tires and brake pads, etc.

    d. You voiced a concern about spending "2 to 5,000 to keep the car up-keep" but didn't say over how long a span. MINI includes 3 year, 36.000 mile maintenance in the price of the new car. Many owners choose to pay for an "extra" oil change in-between scheduled ones (originally 15,000 miles, now 10,000 miles apart). MINI "major" services are scheduled at 30,000 mile intervals, can range from $450-850 for this service, from what I've read. If you plan on owning the car for a while, these services would add up.

    e. Most people purchase these for their unique performance and driving qualities, and they're full of expensive German-engineered stuff that makes them that way. You can save a bundle by doing your own maintenance, of course, of all these moving parts. But (in my opinion) they won't ever be the appliance-like vehicle you might get with a Rav4 or CR-V (to name a couple of alternatives that are roughly similar in size/shape/utility). I own a MINI, and love driving it. My eyes are open that I'll need to maintain it, and repair/replace things that wear out that are complicated and more expensive than normal, really just like any other German-engineered car. I am capable of most normal maintenance, so that helped my decision.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    I agree with your assessment.

    A Mini will cost more than a Corolla to maintain, but then again, a Mini isn't a Corolla.

    My wife has a 2005 non-S convertible, over 70K miles, and no significant issues.

    She loves the car today as much as the first day she got it.

    Every make and model has its issues and weak points. The thing I learned with buying a BMW product it to NOT purchase the first year run of a model. Typically, BMW products run in 6-7 year life cycles, with mid-cycle refreshes. By the time the series has hit its third year production run, they're pretty solid vehicles.
  • I agree with what others posted but wanted to add that, for 2012, the "S" models have had some issues with recalls but not the "Base" models (like I have). But, because of the warranties, people are having a great experience with MINI/BMW service and it hasn't been a huge deal.

    When we decided on the Base Countryman, we knew that the "S" models had more problems (plus they were a lot more $$), so we chose the Base. I've said it here before, and I'll say it again - this car has been absolutely awesome, is faster than people give "Justa's" credit for and a blast to drive. The handling can't be beat, even with run-flats. I drove every comparable car out there and nothing came close to the joy I felt being behind the wheel of my Mini, plus I get all the cargo room I need, safety features, 34 mpg and comfortable passengers to boot. Yes, I'm a fan of the MINI Countryman ... yes, I am.
  • Hi, I just found your forum and need some help with my 2003 Mini. IO am a teacher, don't understand what is going on with my Mini, and I need help. I asked my mechanic if I need to replace the transmission oil, and he said that this car doesn't need it.
    I replaced the clutch a year ago. Now a new serious problem and my mechanic can't diagnose it, he is sending me to the dealer and i am in panic. About a week ago I started having problems with power when in 1st and 2nd gear, the car wasn't responding, going 6 miles an hour. Today my mechanic did a scan and can't find a problem. I drove back home *Unsafely because every time I stop and put on first the car struggles to move). After a 10 minute drive the car was overheating badly. Please tell me it is something easy, thanks.
  • Hi, I don't have a definitive answer. You mentioned overheating...MINIs have a coolant sensor that's tied into the engine management software, so that may be part of the issue. Your check engine light is on? Your MINI dealer will have equipment to read the code(s) that the monitoring system should be storing to help diagnose the problem.

    A dedicated MINI forum like "north american motoring" might also have more info for you. Good luck!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,273
    Are you anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area? I can send you to an independent MINI shop that knows what they are doing.

    If you've lost power AND are overheating, this suggests to me a failure of the coil packs---the car is not running on all cylinders OR is running very very lean--either one could cause an overheat.

    I'm surprised there are no codes, but if that's the case, then it's back to good ol' step by step diagnostics. First thing might be to test for spark in all four cylinders, then if that's okay, to test fuel pressure.

    I don't think this is a disaster, but it could be as simple as a fuel pump or clogged fuel filter (neither will throw a code) or a more complex electrical issue.

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  • Hi all,

    I am looking into purchasing a used 2010 Mini Cooper Hardtop S with automatic transmission and 11,000 miles (clean carfax and originally made overseas in Germany) for $21K in CA and I've been coming across mixed sentiment on what it is like to own a Mini. I personally love the performance and how it handles but my main concern is the reliability such as maintenance costs, reliability, cost of ownership, etc. I just recently graduated and this will be my first car purchase so I want to make sure it is worth the investment. I have a few questions and would appreciate any and all feedback - thanks in advance!

    1) I've been reading that Mini has made progressive steps to fix known bugs/faults in earlier models. Are there any known issues with the 2010 Mini Cooper S that I should be aware of?

    2) What is the average cost of ownership per year after the 36K warranty is up? The factory warranty on the used car I'm looking at is up in 1 year so I need to figure out whether getting an extended warranty is my best bet even though it's not cheap, a whopping $2400 to be exact! However, considering my lack of knowledge about cars/mechanics - I don't mind investing in the peace of mind. An alternative would be to find a local independent shop that works on Mini's but how does the cost of services from these types of shops compare with the dealers? If it's not a significant difference, I will probably opt to get the extended warranty but open to suggestions.

    3) I read that Mini owners should get oil changes every 7,500 miles and have also read a typical oil change can range anywhere from $70-140?! I'm getting off of a lease on a Honda Accord and an oil change is ~$30 so it will be a big difference.

    4) Finally, after assessing my unique situation - would it make more sense to lease a new 2013 model (non-Sport)? I think they have a deal going on where it's $0 down, $250/month for 36-mo lease. I'm weighing my options and not really sure what the pros and cons are to buy/lease a car.

    Any experience, knowledge, advice is appreciated!

    - Recent college grad
  • Hi, just some opinions after being in the MINI world for the past coupla years that started with my research to purchase my 2012 MINI Cooper S.

    1) MINI changed to the new model (R56) in 2007. Many of those 2007-2008 cars had issues with the timing chain tensioner that was ultimately remedied. Of things you'll read about, that's likely the most common you'll find, along with the early design high-pressure fuel pump, again later models don't seem to have this as a common failure. Some early clutch failures were reported, but you're looking at an automatic. Earlier Gen1 MINIs (2002-2006 hardtops) had a CVT automatic that was problematic, again not an issue with a 2010.

    2) Average annual maintenance is hard to establish, depends on the miles you drive. If you're able to lease, I'm assuming your annual driving isn't too far out of the "norm", 12-15k miles per year or fewer. Extended warranty is good peace of mind (I chose to purchase it for mine, since I'm planning long ownership) *and* find a good independent shop, as their costs are typically much lower. Since you're not working on the car yourself, both are good ideas. Longer term MINI ownership includes recommended coolant changes, brake fluid changes, that can get pricey at the dealer, less so at an independent shop. Overall, my opinion is that MINIs will require more care than a typical Honda or Toyota; that's balanced by the driving experience that they provide that is unique to them.

    3) Oil changes at 7500 miles are pretty common practice. MINI actually called for 15k mile changes originally, many felt that was far too long (MINI recently [3/2012] backed this up to 10k miles between changes). They take 4.x qts of synthetic oil at $8 per qt or so (unless you find a sale) and use a $13 oil filter, so parts/materials alone are $50'sh. Add a bit of labor so $70 isn't too bad, actually. There's nothing very special about a MINI oil change otherwise: drain the sump, change the filter, refill.

    4) Your situation (you don't drive an excessive amount, and don't perform your own maintenance) may lend itself to leasing. Within the terms of the lease, you'd have a fixed cost and needn't allow for unexpected out of pocket repairs and maintenance. MINI warranties 4yrs/50k miles, and includes maintenance for 3/36. You could decide, in that time, how *your* MINI has treated you, and decide to keep it long term, or return for something else.

    I really enjoy my MINI...for me, there's nothing else like it. Hope this was helpful!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,273
    I would add to those excellent comments that a MINI is not a cheap small car--so the maintenance costs are every bit the same as a 3 series BMW. Parts are expensive, and not every shop will work on them. You really do need to team up with a specialized independent shop that knows MINIs once your warranty is up. If you rely on the dealership or a chain store after the warranty, you won't be happy I don't think, with the repair costs, or in the case of the chain stores, with what they do to your MINI.

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  • mm90mm90 Posts: 1
    I don't know what I have done to upset the gods, but I felt like I walked right into vicious left hook when I took my car to service at the dealership.

    I have a 2008 Mini Convertible that is in fine condition. It has done 80K miles (with no major issues), so it was due for Inspection II service. The price quote was $900, which made me almost choke when I heard that price. Is that really a fair price?

    On top of that there were so many other repairs apparently urgently that it made me dizzy: fuel injection service ($240), coolant exchange ($240), trunk/hood switch replacement ($200) and Power steering return hose ($450). Those additional repairs came to $1130, bringing the total to $2K. They gave me a token discount of $100.

    They also wanted to fix my radiator for $1100 and change 2 tires for another $650, but by the time they mentioned it, somehow I found the strength to whisper: "Stop! No more!"

    Have I been ripped off? Is $900 for inspection II really fair? Are all those additional "urgent" repairs they threw in really necessary and priced fairly?

    I feel like I’ve been duped and like a fool.

    It would make me feel much better if someone could honestly tell me that I’m overreacting and that the dealership treated me fairly.

    Any advice on how to negotiate a lower bill with the dealer if I'm being overcharged would be most appreciated.

    Thanks for your comments.
  • shark715shark715 Posts: 380
    It certainly sounds like you were ripped off. According to your service manual, what items are supposed to be done with inspection II? We used to own a mini similar to yours, but I cannot remember the specifics of the maintenance schedule. We now own a new 2013 countryman, but the maintenance schedule is completely different.

    I can comment on the fuel injection service. While the dealership may tell you that they recommend it, it's just like asking your barber if you need a haircut. First of all, if it was needed as preventative maintenance it would be listed on the maintenance schedule in your owners manual, which is not. And even if your fuel injectors were dirty and the work was needed, it's easy to find a local garage that would do the same job for under $100. Same thing with the coolant exchange. You can be sure they made a huge profit on these two jobs.

    With the switch replacement, it's not clear from your post which switch they replaced, but why was it urgent? I assume it was a switch that turns on the lights inside the car or the trunk or under the hood. On this item, it sounds like you could've taken your time to have the repair done and shopped around for a better price.

    What did they want to fix on your radiator? And I can tell you for sure that $325 per tire is an absolute rip off.

    Please let us know which dealer this was so the rest of us can avoid these crooks.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited May 2013
    I have a 2008 Mini Convertible that is in fine condition. It has done 80K miles (with no major issues), so it was due for Inspection II service. The price quote was $900, which made me almost choke when I heard that price. Is that really a fair price?


    I have a 2005 1st generation Mini convertible, and yours is a 2nd generation, so my Bentley manual doesn't tell me what all is covered in your Inspection II service. I would ask the SA exactly what is done in the Inspection II they wanted to perform on your car.

    You should also have a service schedule in your owner's manual packet that describes in detail both Inspection I and II tasks.

    On top of that there were so many other repairs apparently urgently that it made me dizzy: fuel injection service ($240), coolant exchange ($240), trunk/hood switch replacement ($200) and Power steering return hose ($450). Those additional repairs came to $1130, bringing the total to $2K. They gave me a token discount of $100.

    IIRC, BMW claims coolant is a "lifetime" fluid (its described as such in my 2007 Z4 and 2010 328i). You didn't say, but was your power steering system leaking? I ask, because I did have the power steering return hose replaced in my Mini at around 60K miles. Was there a problem with the trunk/hood switch? Why did it need replacement?

    In my opinion, the SA is "selling" you service not required or recommended by BMW/Mini.

    They also wanted to fix my radiator for $1100 and change 2 tires for another $650, but by the time they mentioned it, somehow I found the strength to whisper: "Stop! No more!"

    What was the radiator issue? Was it leaking? The tires may indeed need replacing, but you would be hard pressed to find a more expensive place to purchase tires than the dealer.

    Have I been ripped off? Is $900 for inspection II really fair? Are all those additional "urgent" repairs they threw in really necessary and priced fairly?

    I feel like I’ve been duped and like a fool.

    It would make me feel much better if someone could honestly tell me that I’m overreacting and that the dealership treated me fairly.

    Any advice on how to negotiate a lower bill with the dealer if I'm being overcharged would be most appreciated.


    First of all, unless you're a mechanic, you are dependent on the info given you by the dealership. If you've been lied to, its not something you should see as a failure on your part.

    If you've already approved the work, you're probably on the hook, unless you can prove there were no existing problems with the replaced parts. In any case, I'd ask to speak with the dealership manager and voice my complaints in a clear, calm manner, stating how you feel you were taken advantage of. It may do no good, but its certainly not going to hurt you in any way. I believe I would distance myself from this business as much as possible.
  • pbouliopboulio Posts: 1
    I was wondering if any one has had difficulties with the maintenance of their Mini Cooper due to the fact the Mini Cooper is originally a foreign car and was brought to the US by BMW which is also a foreign car company. I know that my mother has had trouble when fixing her Volkswagen because she had to wait for the new parts to come from Germany. Has anyone experienced this with their Mini Cooper?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,273
    Shouldn't be a problem as Mini parts usually come through the BMW network and there is also a healthy aftermarket for this car.

    The only time I could foresee a parts hang-up is if some trim piece or interior upholstery part breaks on a brand-new 2013 model. Sometimes it takes an automaker a little while to catch up on spare parts manufacture while they are producing an entirely new model.

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  • Hi everybody just wanted some advice on what I should be focusing on to keep my car running smoothly. I have a 2007 Mini Cooper that is nearing 100,000 miles (currently at 93,500) and I am just wondering what kind of maintenance stuff should I be doing to upkeep my machine to avoid any serious problems. Any advice and tips would be great, and if you could include estimate prices that would be great.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,273
    Have you ever had a coolant flush? If not, you're overdue.

    When you have the oil changed, does someone look the car over top to bottom---checking for leaks, brake pad wear, tire wear, worn belts or hoses, worn suspension parts, torn CV joint boots, etc.

    Have you ever had the brake fluid flushed? Also not a bad idea if it's never been done in the last 6 years.

    I'm not sure when your spark plugs are due for change. My Mini is the older supercharged model and so my specs might not be right for your car.

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    I was wondering if any one has had difficulties with the maintenance of their Mini Cooper due to the fact the Mini Cooper is originally a foreign car and was brought to the US by BMW which is also a foreign car company. I know that my mother has had trouble when fixing her Volkswagen because she had to wait for the new parts to come from Germany. Has anyone experienced this with their Mini Cooper?

    Why would it be a problem? Toyotas, Nissans, etc. are also foreign cars but usually have no supply issues, except in rare cases due to weird events, such as tidal waves and earthquakes. We've owned a 2005 Mini convertible since new and never experienced any parts shortage needed for repair completion.

    I'd be surprised if any 1st line automaker selling in the US today would experience supply issues on any model but the most unique, limited production models they sell.
  • ihitcowsihitcows Posts: 45
    edited July 2013
    Heya. I'm about to send this off to BMW North America Customer Relations, and I thought I'd share it here. It's a hoot:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I brought my last MINI into service several times for a squeaking sound made by the clutch that I described as sounding like “a creaky door,” a problem that was attempted to be repaired more than once. The repairs included replacing the throw-out bearing, I believe more than once, and replacing the entire clutch assembly.

    That car was bought back by MINI after that problem, along with a few others, couldn’t be repaired.

    At an arbitration hearing hosted by the BBB AUTO LINE, _____, a west coast MINI representative, said something interesting when he heard that noise in my MINI: he said it was within factory specification.

    He said something that had been considered a problem on my last car, something for which MINI bought the car back after it couldn’t be repaired, was spec.

    _____ also said, upon hearing another noise produced by my clutch, a sound that was unable to be verified seven times by MINI’s factory-certified technicians, that it “happens in my car all the time.” He also used the word “normal” to describe it.
    He was able to experience the condition within a minute or two of getting in my car.

    Other factory-certified MINI technicians were, after seven service visits, unable to verify something that is, as your company puts it, “normal.”

    Is it OK that MINI’s factory-certified technicians can’t verify normal conditions?

    I realize that you stand by your factory-certified technicians. I would, nonetheless, like to know if it’s OK that MINI’s factory-certified technicians can’t verify normal conditions.

    I am, as _____ pointed out, a “loyal” customer. I appreciate your direct response to my question.

    Thanks.
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