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MINI Cooper Care & Maintenance



  • Yes, from Moss Mini (
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,447
    Got the site!

  • chknltlchknltl Posts: 2
    Many years ago I drove a 60's Mini and loved it. Easy to repair, utilitarian and tons of fun at SCCA also stood in good stead when a group of us began restoring British post-WWII cars.
    I'm finally in a position to own a modern Mini Cooper and wanted to know if anyone has experience or knowledge regarding the annualized normal repair costs for the Cooper.

    In my reading I understand there have been problems with some of the older models (new on the market/ first year woes). Also, I live in snow country and want advice on driving in the winter gushruts--how does it do? (I believe it is rear-wheel drive.)

    We have only one dealer here (a drawback) and pending warranties on the car, I'd have the car repaired by a trusted mechanic. Can he get parts and does he have to have dedicated tools?

  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,641
    The car is a FWD, not rwd, and it should do fine in snow as long as we aren't talking about drifting or rutted snow that is higher than the car's ground clearance. Naturally dedicated snow tires on all 4 wheels would be best.

    There are quite a few special tools required to work on MINIs so I would think there are some repairs your mechanic is simply not equipped to do---but he should be able to do most maintenance items by buying just a few special wrenches, etc.

    What you want to avoid is the early cars with base engine (non supercharged) and the CVT transmission. If you get a well-cared for Cooper S with the 6 speed automatic and supercharger, or the 2nd Generation 2006+ turbo Cooper with stick or automatic, you're ahead of the game.

    For the supercharged cars, watch out for:

    1. deformed upper shock towers ( you can buy a brace for this)
    2. power steering fan shield (replace plastic shield with aluminum one)
    3. the "Chewbacca Noise", which is a screech early MINIs make when you let up off the clutch in first gear with a cold engine. This is due to a glazed flywheel and does not harm anything--it's just annoying. To repair, one must replace the flywheel and clutch, which is $$$
    4. Avoid cars with run-flat tires if you can, or plan to replace them---they are brutally hard-riding and very noisy.
    5. Buy an accessory cup holder that fits on the console rail on the passenger side
    6. Buy an aftermarket arm rest for the doors
    7. Buy an aftermarket arm rest for between the seats

    You can find many parts for these cars through and
  • chknltlchknltl Posts: 2
    Thank you very much for your information.
    I've worked on too many superchargers (one French, two German and one British--which I think was a blower) which, while great when they work and are probably much more reliable now (?), are also customarily in itsy-bitsy spaces ensconced in too hard to get to places and are also $$$ to repair.
    I'll probably be looking at an auto base model. Love to have a stick but I have one dead knee and the other doesn't feel well so clutching too tough in heavy traffic.
    Nice to know they are FWD--hate 4 wheel and all wheel too quirky. High snow drifts are never an option--(i.e. drive something else, stupid).

    Again, thanks for the reply and I feel well equipped to face the prospect and happy possibility!
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,641
    Okay! Now for the base engine, you want 2007 models on up---you do NOT want a base engine 2002-2006. That's some kind of Brazilian/Chrysler thingie---a rough piece of work indeed.
  • iangariangar Posts: 1
    Is it wise to purchase the extended warranties offered on the Mini Cooper S 2011. One is Mechnical Failure Service Contract $1399 and the other is Mini Maintenance $1595. I purchased the car on Saturday and am not comfortable with the extended packages, which I can cancel. Many thanks. Bonnie
  • katyknockkatyknock Posts: 3
    I have a 2006 Mini Cooper and live in the Chicagoland area. I love my car and can't think of anything I'd like better except the amount of time I've spent at the dealership getting things fixed during warranty and now within the first year after warranty.

    How does one classify if they got a lemon? How many repairs should there be in the 1st 5 years?


    Under Warranty
    Air Conditioning
    Door lock mechanicsm
    Oxygen sensor (twice) - This does have a lifetime warranty now.
    Low tire pressure indicator set - it didn't work the first flat I got, I'm not sure it works now, the tire has to be completely without air before it comes on!

    After Warranty
    $250 for an oil change! Does this mean the $70 oil change at my local mechanic is really not quality? What could possibly be the difference?

    Brakes finally needed attention at 48,000 miles, but should the rotors really need to be replaced. I know I live in the midwest but I grew up in Wisconsin and drove cars for 6 - 7 years (not purchased new) and never had to have more than the rotors resurfaced!

    Reattachment of trim that came loose
    Windshield replacement

    It seems like I've beat up my car, but I haven't! I actually love it! Did I just get a lemon of a mini? I'm have such bad luck, but when it's not one of these items, it seems I wouldn't trade it for much less than another BMW or Mercedes.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,641
    edited July 2011
    You know it seems typical German level of quality---spotty at best, but nothing disastrous. In a 5 year span the only item you mention that really suprises me is the AC; otherwise, glitches like locks, trim falling off, electrical faults---that's very MINI, and I wouldn't call it a "lemon".

    By all means have a private garage do your oil changes, as long as they know how (it's a cannister type filter, and you also have to replace the oil drain plug each time) and the type of oil (synthetic).

    Not sure why the rotors need replacing! Are they warped or something? If the dealer told you this, get a second opinion at an independent shop. Most any shop that works on BMWs should be able to do most maitenance things on a MINI. Brakes are considered expendable items and really shouldn't be thought of as a "defect".

    Host & Owner of a 2003 Mini Cooper S
  • gbwickergbwicker Posts: 1
    edited November 2011
    I have a 2003 MINI Cooper S 6-speed with 160k miles. Had the oil changed 2 days ago at my regular shop, and now the fan stays on (or comes back on) after I turn off the engine. Usually, it goes off and stays off if I start the car and turn it back off.

    I've read that that is nothing to worry about, but the temp gauge is indicating that the car is running hot after a short 5 - 6 mile drive in 50 degree weather. I popped the hood, and see or feel no indication that the engine is overheating.

    Any ideas on what could be going on? Could any of this be related to the oil change?

    I'm in a remote location about 100 miles away from a dealership and about 200 miles away from my hometown mechanic, and of course I have to drive home tomorrow (Sunday) and can't call either of them.

    Extend my trip by a day, or take a chance and drive home tomorrow?
  • I think you are low on coolant. Add some water to the coolant reservoir if you don't have spare coolant lying around--it's okay to add water but no more than say a quart.

    If you ARE low on coolant, the thermostat housing is always suspect on this year MINI--it's a slow drip so hard to spot. Usually you can only see if after you pressure test the cooling system.

    the temp gauge on these MINIS show "hot" if there's low coolant, even if the engine isn't overheating. It's a bizarre system but that's what they do.
  • I'm purchasing a 2012 mini S cooper within the next few days, any recommendations on upgrading from the standard 3yr/36k maintenance to the 6yr/100k maintenance deal? most of my driving is to and from work which is about 36 freeway miles round trip and inner city driving......any suggestions........Also any advice on the Tire 'N Wheel protection program, sounds like a good deal but not sure how often I'll go through the run flats......anyone now the price of this program, the dealership won't quote me this over the phone or email.
  • Well on the First Generation MINIs you couldn't miss making out big time on an extended warranty but I think the newer cars are a great deal better. So it really depends on a) how long do you plan to keep the car and b) have you compared the cost of the extended warranty vs. the likely costs up to 100K? Also you have to read carefully about what is *excluded* from the 100K extension. These extensions are rarely equal to the original warranty--but I haven't read the MINI extension. It's a good question to ask.

    As for run flats, they, too are getting better but I think you'll probably dispose of them after the first set runs out.
  • I love my Mini and am not sure about the extended warranty being offered now. I will share what I have heard and know. I have heard the run flats are not smooth riding tires, you may want to save the $ with them and just opt for a tire protection plan - mine was about 500 for 5 years and I used my $500 worth on tire issues. - Note that the tires are not available everywhere and may have to be special ordered even at

    My car was hit from behind in the 1st year I had it, the next summer my air conditioning was found to have a cracked line (after I had settled for having the car repaired) and it was covered. The big thing I think the extended warranty may be good for is if it covers maintenance. My dealer charges about 250 for an oil change. Lord only knows what else might cost. I have had the thermostat replaced and the oxygen sensors twice.

    I spent much of my first few years with the car in the shop - not completely due to the model, I truly love my car but check what the extension covers, you may find it worth it!
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,447
    $250 for an oil change?

    You have been getting raped!

    My local MINI dealer does a. Full oil/filter change, fluid check, even washes and vacuums the car for less than $90.
  • Katyknock, thank you very much for responding and the advice. What year did you purchase the tire protection plan (Tire'N Wheel I believe its called). I Believe I purchased this package for a very high amount and thinking of canceling it...1149.00 for 5 years....yikes.

    Also the dealer informed me that with these run flat tires, if one were to take them off the original wheel and place them on a new wheel, one runs the risk of decreasing the life of the tire. Is this true???
  • I live in South Korea where parts for my 2008 Mini S is double the price. Would like to order parts online. Anyone know what goes into the dealer scheduled oil change maintenance? I believe it is not just the synoil. Oil filter...interior air filter?
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,447
    If the wheel width is the same, then what you were told is absolutely false.

    If someone told you tire wear would increase, I would ask for evidence showing such additional wear as well as which tire company makes that claim.
  • I pay $130 for a complete 7500 mile service, which includes oil and filter (synthetic oil + OEM filter), tire rotation, diagnostic check with the scanner (to see what's up in there, if anything), safety inspection, check & tighten stem to stern, and a road test and report. Yes, I could change the oil myself for probably $30 bucks, but I don't have a lift or a sophisticated scan tool (one that reads all the systems). Also I really trust the people who work on the car. They've spotted a few issues that could have gotten worse (like the notorious leaking thermostat housing).
  • I'd love to know where you live and who you're dealer is when you say $90 for an oil change on your Mini. My dealer mentioned over $300 to do my oil change and I've been trying to figure out where to go. I don't trust those cheapo places (had a '00 New Beatle turbo that EZ Lube screwed me over on a few times). Any ideas how to get that $90 oil change? Limited time to figure out how to do to it myself and it's overdue.
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