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MINI Cooper Care & Maintenance

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  • 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.
  • 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: 3,455
    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?
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    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.
  • 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.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    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.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,455
    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.
  • shark715shark715 Posts: 380
    What model year and model is your car? Are you talking about the hooting noise that many owners hear from their clutches when starting off on an incline with a cold clutch?
  • shark715shark715 Posts: 380
    We have owned a number of BMW products, including three mini coopers. As is the case with most domestic and imported vehicle manufacturers, they maintain several parts distribution centers Around the country so they can quickly provide any dealer with a part that the dealer might not have in stock. But it sounds like they may not keep parts that they rarely have a call for. For example, someone I know needed to have the diesel engine completely replaced on their BMW x5. They had to wait about 10 days for the engine to be shipped in from Germany. But in their case the vehicle was under warranty, and their dealer had already provided a loaner car.
  • ihitcowsihitcows Posts: 45
    edited July 2013
    2013. Probably. But I don't think that would matter much, really. I gave them seven chances to find it.
    It happens whether or not the clutch is cold.
    It sounds a lot like this:
  • ihitcowsihitcows Posts: 45
    *It's a 2012. Typo. Heh.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,455
    Personally, I wouldn't consider an entire engine replacement an everyday occurrence, so it wouldn't surprise me at all it it took a similar amount of time for the same repair in a diesel Ford or Chevy PU.

    I would expect a higher volume gasoline engine to take at least a week.

    My daughter's 09 Nissan Versa had he CVT in it replaced at 49K miles, and it took the dealership a week to get a new unit in and install it. I thought that was a reasonable time frame for such a task.
  • I just purchased a 2005 Mini Cooper hard top and so far the only issue has been that the vanity mirror keeps fallling off of the passenger sun visor. It also seems like the vanity mirrors are pretty much impossible to use because they wont stay open even when they are not broken.

    Has anybody else had this issue or looked into replacing these altogether with something from a different company or vehicle? It's a little thing but it would be nice to be able to have all the parts in my new mini be functional.

    Thanks!

    Also if anybody has any tips for a new mini owner let me know! My new mini is coming up on 90k miles.
  • zeenzeen Posts: 390
    edited August 2013
    The buttons stopped working. I replaced the key battery. Still doesnt work. Problem started after battery ran down and car was jumped. Any advice on what to check? Key works fine manually and I followed the instructions to initialize the key. I have an 04 mini
  • Mercifully my mini was a lease and is now long gone, I have made many posts here about what a quality wise piece of junk the car was. To which I got many replies that others didn't have the same issues and the problem must have been isolated or mine.

    Well 6 years after ridding myself of the mini and the shake & jerk CVT transmission vindication is mine as I recieved a class action settlement notice to be reembursed on any money spent on repairing the transmission. Of course mini denies any wrong doing
  • #MINIisMurder

    I've given up. Godspeed.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,623

    @MrShift@Edmunds said: 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.

    Mr. Shift: Given this, do you regret buying your 1st Gen Mini? Do you wish you'd bought new so you would have had a warranty? In other words, how does your experience factor into the new vs. used debate. Finally, what do you think of the new 3rd Gen Mini from what you've read? Sounds quite good to me. Much faster acceleration with the standard engine + larger interior, while still posting c. 5-10% higher mpg numbers. And yet the price is only slightly higher. In other words, more and better car for about the same money, which seems to show that BMW wants to accelerate sales significantly. We'd be interested to hear your analysis of Mini in the market now, with a special eye to the topic of this thread about whether reliability has gotten better for the brand. Thanks in advance.

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