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MINI Cooper Steering and Suspension Questions

MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,637
This topic is for discussion of problems, concern and component failures related to the MINI's steering system, including the steering column, steering rack, and power steering pump
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Comments

  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Lately, at various, but random, times (but it seems more so when car is cold) when I turn the steering wheel, I can "feel" a tiny little "click". Hard to describe, but almost feels like a little slippage between joints, like sometimes you get with your knee or elbow joints. Lubrication issue?
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Google "Mini steering wheel clicking" and you'll get more info. The problem is as you describe - a slight notchiness in the steering that seems worse in cold weather. Some people think it's the steering column and there have been some replacements. Later models seem to have the problem a lot less.

    This has been the only warranty repair I've had on my 2004 - they replaced the steering rack because of a hydraulic leak and that reduced the issue but it's still just barely there in cold weather backing out of the garage. Drive a mile or two and it's gone. I'm about to leave warranty and am unsure whether to have them take another run at it.

    - Mark
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    But is it a safety concern if you ignored it? Right now it's more of a slight annoyance since, as you've described, after about 5 - 10 minutes, it's gone. Would it get worse over time?

    Thanks!
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I've never heard of a safety concern and I would think the symptoms would be a lot more severe if there was something seriously wrong. Mine hasn't gotten any worse in two years; in fact, I think the problem has diminished.

    I still may have them look at it before the warranty expires... I'm sorta waiting for colder weather to see how it does. Right now in the current weather, I have to work to notice the problem, so if I'm having trouble, you can imagine that the dealer is ging to have trouble feeling it, especially after having driven 20 miles to the dealership.

    - Mark
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    "...waiting for colder weather to see how it does."

    Good idea! Or else I would likely get the "could not duplicate problem" response! I'd need to bring it in within the next couple of months for an oil change anyway. It'd be a good time to ask them to check it out then. :)
  • This topic covers the MINI suspension system, and any questions or comments you have about it. This might include problems with struts/shocks, unusual noises, erratic tracking or handling, or alignment issues.
  • I am going to buy a mini and having a hard time really knowing the difference between the sport suspension and the one that comes standard, I love a strong ride, but I heard you can get a little beat up with the sport. Any info will help, I dont want to regret my choice. thanks....Dan Faust :confuse:
  • I think the "problem" is with the sport suspension coupled to the Run Flat Tires. I've only driven the pre 2007 cars with sport suspension and Run Flats, and yes, the ride is extremely harsh. You should definitely test drive one with sports suspension before making up your mind, either used or new. If you can avoid or replace the RFTs, I'd do that as well.
  • Hi...I am about to buy a mini cooper and if I want dynamic stability control, I will have to custom order it - i.e., wait for 4-6 weeks, because the dealers don't have anything with my specifications in their inventory.

    I want to know what your thoughts are on the MINI's dynamic stability control and whether it's a good feature to have in the car (more importantly, worth waiting for 2 months? ).

    Thanks in advance for your responses.
  • Seems to me that because the car handles so well, and is so sure-footed, that if you have some skill behind the wheel, you wouldn't need it on a car like this. I always envision SC as more appropriate for large sedans or SUVs.

    You have to get pretty frisky to bend a MINI out of shape in the first place on the road.
  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    Seems to me that because the car handles so well, and is so sure-footed, that if you have some skill behind the wheel, you wouldn't need it on a car like this. I always envision SC as more appropriate for large sedans or SUVs.
    You have to get pretty frisky to bend a MINI out of shape in the first place on the road.

    I think stability control is for bad weather and severe rain or snow not just driving around in the dry.
    I don't know if it can be fully shutoff. But if it can then I'd get it since I live in a snowbelt state and it might be helpful and if not would increase the resale.
    Waiting 4-6 weeks for a unit is pretty much the way it works no matter what you want. This is one of my gripes with them.
    Mini dealers don't really seem to want to trade with other dealers for stock.
  • Yes I guess it would depend on the weather in your area and your level of confidence. No argument there.

    I'm not ordering it on my new MINI based on the above.

    Keep in mind of course that stability control can only do so much for you if you are skidding out of control. There's the laws of physics to contend with, too. SC makes corrections to the car's path but these are not dramatic.
  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    I'm not ordering it on my new MINI based on the above.

    Are you saying that it can't be 100% disabled?

    Keep in mind of course that stability control can only do so much for you if you are skidding out of control. There's the laws of physics to contend with, too. SC makes corrections to the car's path but these are not dramatic.

    Yeah if you go into a corner too hot nothing is going to help you, no matter what you are driving. I had a pic of an M1 Abrams Tank where the driver was too fast and ended up with the entire Tank nose down resting on the front Gun!
    But except in snow I'd turn it off, sometimes the cars sensors are more sensitive than my butt. :D
    I think it's standard on the Sport Package but I could be wrong.
    Nope, I just checked it's standard on the Sport Package.
    Considering what you get it's well worth it. :shades:
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    I thought DSC is now standard on every Mini, other than the Cooper Classic?
  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    I thought DSC is now standard on every Mini, other than the Cooper Classic?

    I think it's now the law but I'm not certain. or sure soon it will be mandatory in all cars.

    Still if you go into a corner with too much speed DSC will not help you at all. DSC only prevents you from accelerating too much and possibly braking if the yaw angle gets bent out of shape but overcook it into a corner and you'll be in trouble before you can say "trouble".
  • You only get it if you order the Sport package; otherwise it's an option you can add separately as well. It's not standard from what I can see.
  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    You only get it if you order the Sport package; otherwise it's an option you can add separately as well. It's not standard from what I can see.

    I think it's 2009 when Stability control becomes mandatory on all cars. I think I read that somewhere. I'm not 100% certain tho.
  • Gee I hope not. I'd hate that.
  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    ESC Mandatory in 2012!

    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/portal/site/nhtsa/menuitem.012c081c5966f0ca3253ab10cba0- 46a0/

    Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Electronic Stability Control Systems
    As part of a comprehensive plan for reducing the serious risk of rollover crashes and the risk of death and serious injury in those crashes, this rule establishes Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 126 to require electronic stability control (ESC) systems on passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,536 Kg (10,000 pounds) or less. ESC systems use automatic computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to assist the driver in maintaining control in critical driving situations. NHTSA estimates ESC will reduce single-vehicle crashes of passenger cars by 34% and single vehicle crashes of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) by 59%, with a much greater reduction of rollover crashes. NHTSA estimates ESC would save 5,300 to 9,600 lives and prevent 156,000 to 238,000 injuries in all types of crashes annually once all light vehicles on the road are equipped with ESC.
  • Interesting. One would have to be pretty crazy or might inept to roll over a MINI, but I guess you could skid off an embankment or something like that. However, if in fact DSC would reduce single passenger crashes by 59% (!!!--quite a claim!), one couldn't argue against it.

    As long as I can turn it off, I"m okay with "mandatory". But if it starts driving my car, and I can't turn it off completely, I'm not buying that car, no way.
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