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MINI Cooper Care & Maintenance



  • 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.

    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: 44,404
    I think has it. You should call them to confirm that it's the improved housing:


  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    You might also try

    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: 44,404
    That's because you didn't get the 2.5L Subaru engine, which was very prone to head gasket failure.


  • 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: 44,404
    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


  • 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: 44,404
    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.


  • 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!
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