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MINI Cooper Care & Maintenance

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  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    How to change oil: Drive Mini to local Mini dealer. Hand over key. Cut off your right arm and left leg. Promise to name your first born after the service adviser. Sit in waiting area for an hour and enjoy a complimentary cup of coffee. :P ;)
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    The oil filter is a replaceable paper cartridge located towards the top side of the engine, in the rear. If I remember correctly, it takes a 36 mm socket to remove the enclosure holding the paper element.

    You can buy a replacement filter element at any NAPA store or Auto Zone, and the element should come with a replacement o-ring, which you should lightly lubricate before installing.

    Be aware, however, that many BMW service techs think the BMW factory recommended oil change intervals on the Mini are a joke, even with synthetic oil. Most techs I know recommend a change at least every 7500 miles using synthetic oil. None recommend non-synthetic oils.

    Before BMW started offering its "all service included" policy, it recommended much more frequent oil changes. Good luck!
  • rlmiller9rlmiller9 Posts: 48
    Our Sienna has one of the 'new' paper refill ones. It was not hard to change, just a little different the first time.
    I am told by my older co workers that this is the way they all use to be years ago.

    There are lots of resources on the web for this kind of thing, not so much here at Edmunds. I did the rear brakes on my 05 with this link.
    http://www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/showthread.php?t=43438&highlight=bra- ke+pads
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    "Before BMW started offering its "all service included" policy, it recommended much more frequent oil changes.'

    You can interpret that in 2 different ways though: Was BMW gouging its customers previously with redundant oil changes, or are they saving money now to the detriment of engine health?
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    "Before BMW started offering its "all service included" policy, it recommended much more frequent oil changes.'

    You can interpret that in 2 different ways though: Was BMW gouging its customers previously with redundant oil changes, or are they saving money now to the detriment of engine health?


    From the mechanics I have spoken with about this, as well as from my own personal experience in restoring automobiles...the answer would be option "B". Even the Roundel Magazine mechanic's page suggest much more frequent oil changes than recommended by BMW.

    Of course, by the time damage is determined...no warranty.

    And, since many, many owners drive BMW's as status symbols, mileage is quite often not very high...so many owners will never see the problem.

    On my wife's Mini, a factory oil change with filter and synthetic oil is about $80.00...a cheap insurance policy if there ever was one...
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    'On my wife's Mini, a factory oil change with filter and synthetic oil is about $80.00..'

    It costs me about $100 up here in Canada. I had the oil changed at about 9,500km even though the computer said it was good for another 9,000km. Ours is leased so maybe I was a fool for spending the extra $$, but I figure what the heck, and there is always a chance we may buy it out at the end of the lease. Probably not likely, but you never know!
  • eashleyeashley Posts: 8
    I change mine every 5,000 miles , which may be excessive, but I am old school. Too much cold weather short haul stuff going on with me, why take a chance. I intend to own and enjoy for the long haul. During warranty period i paid extra for the out of sequence changes. Insurance.
  • My 2003 mini cooper has started having the same problem. Have you found a solution, other than replacing the fan? I am not mechanically inclined and am trying to avoid another costly trip to the dealership.
  • mymemnimymemni Posts: 6
    I agonized about taking it to the dealer so I messed around under the hood for awhile and took the relay out and tapped on it and also tapped on the fan motor and now it miraculously works fine, some contact must have been stuck. I don't know how long it will work, it may just postpone the inevitable, but for now I'm go to go. If I were you I would take it to a good garage before going to the dealer and explain what I've told you..........good luck
  • matt14matt14 Posts: 6
    I have an '06 with 2 tone sport seats. It's my understanding the seats are "real" leather, but my guess is the main part of the two tone (seat and back) are leather while the rest is fake leather. What part is leather and what do I use to clean and protect it? I assume you don't use the same thing on both leather and fake leather.
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,018
    A newswire reporter would like to speak with owners of the Mini Cooper. If you are an owner, please respond to ctalati@edmunds.com with your daytime contact information no later than Friday, July 18th.

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • coupahcoupah Posts: 18
    Matt,
    On most (leather) seats, the part you sit on, is leather. For economic reasons, the "other parts' are synthetic. Hard to tell, far as I can see.
    Of course, big-buck cars are ALL leather...
  • I have a couple questions for you about extending the warranty on my Mini and wonder if you have ever considered or dealt with any of this.
    Even if you have not, I would appreciate your thoughts. My 2005 Mini maintenance and mechanical warranties (two separate agreements) are up in March 2009.

    I am considering extending either, or both, warranties for another 2 years. They are separate decisions, and are priced separately, so I want to know what you have done or think I should do.

    Maintenance warranty covers all routine stuff like oil changes ($200 if bot separately), alignment ($200), tune ups at major milestones ($800), wiper replacement ($100), convertble top alignment ($200), etc. To extend the warranty unitl March 2011, it will cost me $1995.

    Mechanical warranty covers everything except the exhaust system, such as engine failure, brakes, transmission, clutch, etc, and that's another $2095.

    Where I put about 6k miles per year on vehicle, I figure things are going to wear out slower than the avereage car. But the routine maintenance will still need to be performed. So, I'm thinking of skipping the mechanical and going with the maint warranty extension. What do you think?

    Your thoughts?
  • If your tranny goes it will be about 6 big ones and there are not any independant shops that can do it. With the shody history of this model I would (shop but) get all the warranty you can afford.
  • I have 40K miles on my factory tires. I live in Minnesota in the snow and cold. I am looking for a set of tires for my Mini Cooper S that are not run flats and that will provide all around good performance with good traction. Does anyone have a recommendation on a tire?

    Thank you!
  • The more often the better.. this is a quote from a Carb bible or possible an engine builders bible. it is about how often to change oil. This should help others assuming they read this frequently.." You can never change your engine oil too frequently. The more you do it, the longer the engine will last. The whole debate about exactly when you change your oil is somewhat of a grey area. Manufacturers tell you every 10,000 miles or so. Your mate with a classic car tells you every 3,000 miles. Ole' Bob with the bad breath who drives a truck tells you he's never once changed the oil in his car. Fact is, large quantities of water are produced by the normal combustion process and, depending on engine wear, some of it gets into the crank case. If you have a good crank case breathing system it gets removed from there PDQ, but even so, in cold weather a lot of condensation will take place. This is bad enough in itself, since water is not noted for its lubrication qualities in an engine, but even worse, that water dissolves any nitrates formed during the combustion process. If my memory of chemistry serves me right, that leaves you with a mixture of Nitric (HNO3) and Nitrous (HNO2) acid circulating round your engine! So not only do you suffer a high rate of wear at start-up and when the engine is cold, you suffer a high rate of subsequent corrosion during normal running or even when stationary.
    The point I'm trying to make is that the optimum time for changing oil ought to be related to a number of factors, of which distance travelled is probably one of the least important in most cases. Here is my selection in rough order of importance:

    1.Number of cold starts (more condensation in a cold engine)
    2.Ambient temperature (how long before warm enough to stop serious condensation)
    3.Effectiveness of crank case scavenging (more of that anon)
    4.State of wear of the engine (piston blow-by multiplies the problem)
    5.Accuracy of carburation during warm-up period (extra [non-permissible content removed] produced)
    6.Distance travelled (well, lets get that one out of the way)
    If you were clever (or anal) enough, you could probably come up with a really clever formula incorporating all those factors. However, I would give 1, 2, and 3 equal top weighting. Items 1 to 3 have to be taken together since a given number of "cold" starts in the Dakar in summer is not the same as an equal number conducted in Fargo in January. The effect in either case will be modified by how much gas gets past the pistons. What we are really after is the severity and duration of the initial condensation period. All other things being equal, that will give you how much condensate will be produced and I would suggest that more than anything else determines when the oil should be dumped" :) In short even conventional oil last a good while if you have ideal conditions. Synthetic definately flows better and lasts longer no doubt. The article also pointed to a BMW enthusiast site talking about how some of them are having sludge problems. So If you are going to keep your MINI forever Change it often, IF it is a lease or if you know you are going to trade it in use manufacturers/dealers recommendations
  • The problem you described was a few months ago, but I hope you remember everything that happened. I have a 2003 Cooper S, and I'm having the exact same problem with the ever-running radiator fan. I really don't want to spend about 600 bucks, but I have almost no technical ability when it comes to fixing cars. Could you explain what you mean as far as the relays and contacts? Did your "temp" solution work, and if so, for how long? Thanks.
  • I took my car to my local shade tree mechanic who tapped on a relay that goes to the fan, where that relay was, I haven't a clue. if I were you I would go to your local garage and describe the problem and tell him what happened to mine, any halfway mechanic should be able to figure out what relay it is, meanwhile you can just disconnect the neg battery cable (which is kind of a pain in the butt everytime you stop) Sorry I'm not much help, oh, and by the way, mine has been working fine ever since, must have just been stuck
    good luck
  • I bought an 08 Cooper and when the light came on at 10000 miles I called to have the oil changed which is what the salesman said. The service manager said I could wait until it reached 18000 miles before I had to change it. Is this right? :confuse:
  • I am debating 50/50 if I want to get the Sunroof/Moonroof option.
    What's holding me back from getting this option is that there is a screen (and it slides I think) under the roof/glass, not a solid piece blocking the total sunlight from the driver.
    A couple things about the screen instead of a solid piece:
    - does it cause the unacceptable heat in the car on a high-temperature day ( like 75 degrees or above). I live in San Jose (South Bay Area of CA) ?
    - does it bother the driver occasionally/frequently because the constant sunlight coming the glass/roof into the car ? or that through-light is minimal enough that it does not bother driver on most Sunny days.
    Please give some advice- Thanks much!
    Mini Lover ( near future!)
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    'A couple things about the screen instead of a solid piece:
    - does it cause the unacceptable heat in the car on a high-temperature day ( like 75 degrees or above). I live in San Jose (South Bay Area of CA) ?
    - does it bother the driver occasionally/frequently because the constant sunlight coming the glass/roof into the car ? or that through-light is minimal enough that it does not bother driver on most Sunny days."

    Yes, and sometimes, respectively to your 2 questions. The heat issue is real, especially after parking in the sun for awhile. And the Mini's A/C is not the most powerful unit around!

    The advantage of the mesh screen is that you can open the moonroof, but pull the screen shut. And you'd get the ventilation and extra light, but prevent leaves, cigarette butts and other debris from flying into your car.
  • morgan5morgan5 Posts: 13
    Carlover3,
    I had the same dilemma, I wanted a non-sunroof car, but since I was looking for a used 2006, I pretty much had to choose from what was available. In the end I got a great S with a sunroof. I did two things which addressed your concerns. First, I went to a tinting shop and darkened the roof glass, but it still got pretty warm during the summer here in Virginia Beach. Therefore, I then bought insulated sun shades (I believe it was from Mini Mania, check online catalogs) for the two glass roof panels. They are just like the ones you use to protect a dashboard, but these are sized to fit perfectly in the roof openings. They are held in place by the sliding screen.

    The shades work great, they keep out the heat (or cold), road noise and they are easy to remove and slide behind the driver seat when I want to open up the top. Although I was originally against the sunroof, I am glad I got one. Now that fall is here, there is nothing better than opening up the top during my daily commute.
  • See my post #115 on oil changes if you care about your car.
  • See my post #115 about oil changes if you care about your car.
  • I have owned a 2006 Mini Cooper for just a few months. The other day, the warning lite for a possible flat tire came on. I didn't have a flat but the drivers side door wouldn't open from the inside and now is doing that sporadically. Yesterday the check engine lite came on, but did not come on today. I live in N. Michigan and it had been really cold when I had the door problem. Should I be looking for something else?
  • I am down here in Indy and have the same problem with the door.
    What I have found out the the latch on the out side does not release all the way.
    I have pull the leaver out and it works fine. This only happen when it gets cold and a little wet.
  • I live in Florida where there are only two seasons, hot and hot as hell and I have the same issue with the door. Very frustrating, I have to roll down the window and open it from the outside or use the auto unlock. Been to the dealer once about it but the dealer is 50 miles away and I can not justify taking a day off of work for it.

    bitsies mom I have news for you, you have not purchased a 'high-quality' vehicle.

    Good luck though.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    We have an '07 Cooper and about a month ago the check engine light came on, but went off after about 3 on/off cycles of the ignition. It hasn't come back on, the car drives normal, so I assume whatever condition triggered the light is no longer present. :)
  • shark715shark715 Posts: 380
    We have had a recurring problem opening the passenger side door in our '03 Mini, but it's clearly related to very cold weather. It happens every winter, but only when the temperature gets below 10 degrees. The door cannot be opened from the inside or the outside. I suspect it might have something to do with the power locks, because when you try to open the door from the outside, the handle acts as if the door is locked. Has anyone else here experienced the same issue? Any ideas on how to fix this?
  • My did the same thing......What happens is the handle on the outside does not spring back. If you help it spring back you can get in and out of your car from the inside. I have not tried yet but I am going to use a dry lube and see if that helps.
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