MINI Cooper Care & Maintenance

Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
Routine care and maintenance keeps your MINI going longer! Share your maintenance schedule and ask questions here.


  • bikerider1bikerider1 Member Posts: 12
    I am finally ready to place my order for an S and I have a question. Is anyone using synthetic oil such as Mobile One? I live in Vegas and would like to know if this is a wise choice given our 100 degree plus heat. Dan
  • rayt2rayt2 Member Posts: 1,208
    The Mini comes from the factory equipped with Castrol Synthetic motor oil and that or Mobil 1 is suggested by Mini for oil changes. Your Mini comes with 3yr/36k free maintenance and the oil/filter changes are @10k intervals under factory recommendation. No more worries!
    Motor on......

    Ray T
  • ontheroadagainontheroadagain Member Posts: 44
    I've read a great deal about how people take care of their MINIs...

    What do you all use and do you have any suggestions for your basic, lazy, person who doesn't want to get into too much "detail"?

    I've heard of Autoglym, Meguiars, Mother's, etc. but they all seem very much geared to the nonlazy types.

  • rochamboerochamboe Member Posts: 1
    I have owned my Cooper S for about a month now and have roughly 2700 miles on it. My question is regarding the changing of the oil and filter.

    I am aware that the car uses synthetic oil which is recommended by MINI to be changed every 10,000 miles at its time of scheduled maintenance. I admit that I am not very familiar with the unique qualities of synthetic oil, having been a "normal" motor oil user for the life of my previous car, but despite the improved quality of the synthetic oil I have my doubts about leaving it in for 10,000 miles (these doubts have been reiterated one-hundred fold by my dad, a serious car guy who has been taking care of his own cars and, needless to say, changing his own oil in 3,000 to 6,000 mile intervals his whole life). Even if the oil itself doesn't break down as quickly, it still collects as much dirt and grime as the old-fashioned kind. Isn't this dirt which builds up in the oil still going to put unneccesary wear on the engine sooner than the 10,000 mile boundary? Are there any other MINI owners out there who change their oil at shorter intervals and/or would recommend doing so?

    Thank you!
  • rayt2rayt2 Member Posts: 1,208
    Mini will not change your oil for first service any sooner than the 10k mark under their maintenance schedule. Then after that its by the countdown clock built in to their computer which calculates for your drivng conditions. If you want it done sooner you'll have to pay for it. I personally felt the same as your dad initially and was of the "old school" thought too with oil changes, I did them every 3 to 5k on my cars, not anymore. The new synthetic oils are incredible and so much better than the ole dino juice oils. BMW's, Corvettes and many others now come standard with them from factory for a reason, their superior performance which has been time tested.
    Tell Dad times change with better products.
    I do however change the oil in my Mini after every 15k, that to me is enough miles, my countdown clock says I can still go another 2 to 4k but I draw the line there.
    I have 56k on my 03 Cooper and have done 2 of the 4 oil changes in its life myself so far with no issues.
    Take advantage of the syntech oils and delay your changes until recommended intervals, then take dad out to lunch with the money saved.

  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,514
    Are the Mini engines big oil consumers. With such long oil change intervals, have you found that you have to top up the oil several times between oil changes?
  • rayt2rayt2 Member Posts: 1,208
    If you have a heavy foot (like me) yes I have had to add a 1/2 qt in between the 15000 mile oil changes intervals. I would not consider that heavy oil consumption by no means, but think of all the fun I'm having driving the daylights outta this car. Drive it like ya stole it ! :shades: Mileage also drops 30 to 33 mpg with a heavier foot. 56k and counting..........

    Ray T.
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,514
    You're right. 1/2 quart in 15,000 miles ain't bad at all1
  • whimsicalbunnywhimsicalbunny Member Posts: 2
    The little register on my mini says - 9400. Am i to wait until it gets to 10,000 to take it in? How will i know?
    I feel so clueless about this stuff... help! :) :P
  • rayt2rayt2 Member Posts: 1,208
    That means you have 9400 miles to go till the oil needs changing (it's a "countdown" clock). As stated before Mini does first oil change at 10k there after within 600 miles of the countdown clock run out. That's why you may see your next oil change done with 18k on the last change. It's based on how you drive. I commute 100 miles a day which is relatively easy miles on an engine compared to stop & go city driving which would shorten the oil change interavals.

    Ray T. :shades:
  • whimsicalbunnywhimsicalbunny Member Posts: 2
    Thanks Ray...
    I guess the thing that confuses me is that it keeps increasing. Like it says -9400 but last week it was at -9000. It makes me thing im over my 9400. Will it be very obvious when it hits the number when its time to change?

    Again...Thanks for helping the clueless chick in the cutest car ever ;)
  • rayt2rayt2 Member Posts: 1,208
    Are you sure your looking at the countdown clock on display or your odometer mileage ? Maybe they set yours to count up but I don't think so.

    Read thru your manual and get aquainted with your new car, there are a lot of helpful miniizzums they go over as to how it all works...............

    Ray T. :shades:
  • mikeinstwmikeinstw Member Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a 1967 Mini S Cooper, Mark II. It has been sitting in a warehouse for 31 years ! If any one has some ideas as to what I should be doing to get it driving again please contact me. So far I have only drained the fluids. I'm not even sure what type of oil to use.
    The car has 12,389 miles on it and is in excellent condition, but has not been on the road since 1974.
    I would appreciate any advise you can give me,
    Thanks, mike in stw
  • jfljfl Member Posts: 1,396

    Congrats on your "new" acquisition. There are lots of books available on Mini restoration. Also, you can check out this website.:

    Good luck,

  • hdsmittyhdsmitty Member Posts: 1
    A sales person told me the MINI base model will run fine on regular unleaded. I can't confirm this on the websites I've checked. Anyone have experience with this or have some reliable information. My fear is he was just telling me what he thought I wanted to hear to sell a car.

  • mcallamcalla Member Posts: 1
    Two questions for you Ray. Do you know how to reset the counter and where do you get the correct wrench for removing the oil filter?

    Thanks for any help you may be able to provide.

  • minitechminitech Member Posts: 11
    Minis already have Castrol synthetic 5w30 in it.
  • minitechminitech Member Posts: 11
    First make sure you use 5w30 synthetic oil. It comes with castrol from the factory. The size of the oil filter housing is a 36mm. Using as shallow a socket as possible will help. Make sure you just loosen it to just past the gasket AND DO NOT REMOVE THE FILTER CAP UNTIL YOU DRAIN THE OIL. This will save you a very large mess to clean up off your car and garage. There is no reason to reset your counter as it will mess with your service maintenance plan. You can get the socket from a snap-on dealer or sears. Hope this helps a little.
  • minitechminitech Member Posts: 11
    Hes correct. It is actually a recommendation to run low octane fuel, as it burns faster than high octane fuel, if your vehicle tends to act like its going to die at idle. The reasoning for this is a purge valve(part of fuel evaporation emissions system) situation that creates a small vacuum leak thats not recognized by the DME(computer). So, all that said, yes its ok to run regular. And if your car runs funny at idle, there you go too.
  • mjn810mjn810 Member Posts: 2
    We just purchased a razor bluetooth enabled cell phone. Our salesman told us our 2006 cooper S was bluetooth enabled. Can anyone tell us how to get the phone working with the car radio.
  • rbell1rbell1 Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone know where a good place for body work is in the Hollywood area. I had a fender bender and my front bumper is pretty scratched up. It's one of those repairs that I will get vastly different quotes from place to place.
  • minitechminitech Member Posts: 11 can go back to mini dealer and tell the salesman that he is on crack!! The Mini is not factory equiped with a Bluetooth kit. There is a dealer installed kit available though. You can see it on dealership website under accessories..not cheap but it works. Dont expect crystal clear quality, but if you are used to any bluetooth product you know what I mean.

    If by chance I am the one on crack by telling you that your car does not have bluetooth already..
    goto settings on phone..connections..bluetooth..set up..find before hitting find me. You have to get car bluetooth into pairing mode. The dealer kit(which is what Im used to) goes like this..options..setup..pairing. Something like that. read manual..thats right off top of my head so if Im a little off..sue me. Now hit find me on phone-will tell you discoverable for 60 sec. on phone hit back..handsfree-phone will look for a should link. Minis are good about bluetooth link, unlike BMWs. once it has found device pair to it and there you go...if i left something wont work..keep trying. read manual. but i think i got everything.. good luck
    but i think your salesman is on crack...
  • macdpjmacdpj Member Posts: 1
    I purchased a mini 2005 in June of 2005. One month after owning the car it completely died in the middle of a busy bridge. I was stopped and tried to accelerate and it started sputtering and jerking then died. It was towed to the dealership where they said they solved the problem. It then occurred two other times with trips back to the garage. Since then I find it very jerky and, as someone mentioned, feels like it's about to die in idle. I've only used premium gas as the owners manual recommends this but the guys at the dealership did mention to use lower octane gas. Has anyone had this experience with their mini and does anyone know what is the cause because the guys at the mini garage don't seem to know.
  • esquaredesquared Member Posts: 2
    Don't know if this has been addressed else where, but I just bought a 2006 Mini S Convertible (WHICH I LOVE). Mini doesn't seem to recommend one product over another to care for my ragtop. Anyone have good recommendations? Its my first convertible (second Mini) and unfortunately I don't have covered parking so this is an issue.

  • eashleyeashley Member Posts: 8
    I change oil and filter every 5,000 miles, have 45,000 miles on my '03 Cooper, no problems whatsoever. Call it peace of mind insurance. I also drive lots of short-haul trips in Maine winter weather, so I figure that in to the stress quotient too.
  • frenchdriverfrenchdriver Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone have any problems with noisy wheel bearings?

  • mhenderson1mhenderson1 Member Posts: 164
    After reviewing many MINI sites, one convertible care product that came up was called "303 Aerospace Convertible Top Care Kit". I found one site selling this product for at least around $21. I don't know the site address offhand, but you can google it, and type in "Superior Car Care". I also heard that "Leatherique" which is also sold by them, is a good solution for your leather or vinyl. I ordered some and I will tell you how well it works in the next few days. I also heard that BMW sells a solution for convertible tops as well. I believe they wanted at least $18 for the top cleaner only, and $69 for the entire kit.
  • esquaredesquared Member Posts: 2
    thanks very much for this. I will try this out this weekend and see what happens.


  • mmitch09mmitch09 Member Posts: 1
    Hi I have a question. My MINI's warranty recently expired and I want to do my own maintenance. My only question what do I need to do? I already have changed my own oil, but what else should I be doing. I know normal cars have certain times to change coolant and other things but the MINI is very different than your average car. So if you could offer some advice or a place to find that information I would be grateful. -mmitch09 :P
  • jackel142jackel142 Member Posts: 47
    I had spent the past 20 years as a service & parts manager for Mercedes Benz, and for Acura. I left the business a year ago due to the constant deception the company was forcing us to feed to the customers.
    Mercedes Benz came up with the 10,000 mile oil change back in late 97, the reason they did, was to lower the cost per mile of maintance of the car. The tests they performed were using european grade oil (not available in the US). When the cars began to "use" oil, We were told to tell the customers that it is "normal" and that anything less than 1 quart per 650 miles is within spec. THIS IS A JOKE! You try telling a customer who has spent $100,000 on a car that they need to add a quart of oil every 600 miles.
    The MB's also have up to a 8 quart oil pan. If you don't change your oil every 3000-5000 miles, you will have long term problems!
  • bfromholdbfromhold Member Posts: 38
    Well, I ordered my 2006 Mini Cooper S today with all the packages offered (Sport, Premium, Cold Weather, and Convenience) not to mention all the chrome upgrades on the interior & exterior, chrono pack, park distance control, rear fog light, 8-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, English panther leather, etc... Yikes! $ $ $

    My question is should I also purchase the extended warranty & maintenance? I've been averaging about 18,000 miles a year on my current Honda Civic EX (& I ended up replacing the transmission at only 74,000 miles!!$$). Do you think it's worth the extra $2169 for a 6 yr./100,000 mile mechanical warranty (and a $100 deductible) and $550 for the 4 yr/50,000 mile extended maintenance? Keep in mind I'll have 36,000 miles on my car in 2 years. How many of you Mini owners bought either one of these? Has it paid off in the long run? What all does it cover?

    Thanks in advanced for any input
  • bfromholdbfromhold Member Posts: 38

    Wow! First, it's good to know there's some honest people out there like you. I too am a little skeptical to wait 15,000 miles to change the oil/filter. It seems too long for ANY type of oil (synthetic or not). Anybody out there with 80,000+ miles on your Mini without having to add oil?

    I know of someone with a GTI who used synthetic oil the past 5 years, and now it's burning oil (and blue smoke out the exhaust) at only 82,000 miles! Makes me wonder what I should do with the Mini I'll be getting in a few months. A friend of mine has a Mini S and he changes it himself at the halfway mark (7,500 miles).
  • idajidaj Member Posts: 2
    Hello! I am a new MINI owner as of about 45 days ago. I am not going to be doing any oil changes myself...but I want to make sure the only place I have to take it locally (Goodyear) knows what to use. When I called them today they had never done an oil change on a MINI. I told her I wanted Castrol Synthetic and she wanted to know what type I needed? I was unsure. My car says "MINI recommends Castrol" and, of course, 5w/30. I have an 03 MINI (not S) and I want to treat it like the diamond it is. Any suggestions? :)
  • idajidaj Member Posts: 2
    Also, I went outside and checked my "Service" light and it says 10000 miles. Does it always say 10000 miles? I checked the oil and it actually looks like it could use a little. Trust my MINI or trust habit and go ahead and get a change, just to be safe?? :confuse:
  • gretsch6120gretsch6120 Member Posts: 48
    My wife and I test drove the 2007 VW Rabbit and 06 Mini Cooper over the weekend -- each had a very solid and stable feel. Still think the mini is a little bit small for luggage and other stuff (any experiences?) but the gas mileage is better than the Rabbit.

    What has your experience on up keep been like? How expensive are brakes for instance? 15k, 30k, 60k Check ups?

    When have the little guys started needing repairs?

    I realize its going to differ somewhat but I would like to get an idea if the mini is nothing more than an expensive to repair BMW in disguise. :confuse:

    So come'on! Talk me into one. ;)
    Appreciate it. I'm interested, my wife thinks I'll get creamed by an SUV.
  • joeminijoemini Member Posts: 4
    Hi all,
    I am a new member to the forums. Here is the issue I have with my MC. (2004 MC 43,700 miles) I changed the oil yesterday and I tried to reset the oil service interval timer using the note
    I found on When I started, the display showed
    oil service and 2675 miles. I don't really know what i did and now the display shows inspection and 15,500 miles. I don't know how to get the display back to the oil service interval.
    I also read on another site that there are some 20 or more tests and indicators you can get into when you try to reset the countdown timer.
    I also have a copy of the Bentley Service Manual but it is not very helpful.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • gretsch6120gretsch6120 Member Posts: 48
    Concord, CA Mini/BMW dealer said brakes are around $700 to change. The first pair however, will be changed during the 50,000 mile free maintenance which is good. Your first expense would be the 60,000 check-up. Mini is not that cheap o a car to own -- check out the ownership per mile here on edmunds.

    My wife and I drove all the Mini styles and the VW Rabbit. Mini was simply too small in my eyes -- not too small for me persay, but for the other vehicles driving around me everyday on the highway. For close to $30,000 I want to feel safe which I didn't in the Mini. Heck of a lot of fun though and add-ons galour.

    VW were axxholes at best. (but this is just my experience with this one dealer) Communication was a nightmare -- and I was seriously thinking about buying a Rabbit or GTI but a single conversation took place which I will never forget... I told the sales man I wouldn't purchase from his dealership due to the way I was treated and ignored. He replied with something like, 'Like I care. There isn't any money is those cars anyway. (Meaning comp for him) Oh, and see ya in the repair station. Hehehe.' Yep he laughed after that last comment.

    Must say, it has tarnished my VW outlook a bit and eluded too much to VWs past service issues. Though I must also say I still think the Rabbit and GTI are cool looking cars and handle really well.

    I decided to stick with my G35 Coupe for the time being -- it's been good to me.

    For the record if I was back in Europe I would be all over the Mini for the fun.
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,514
    Funny you mentioned brake service. I was just going to ask what is the "normal" mileage a set of pads should last for the Mini. I realize it depends on driving habit and the type of driving. Our Mini's worn pad dash warning light just came on, and it's barely got 17,000 miles on the odo. :surprise: Now, mind you, we do almost all urban, stop and go, driving with our Mini, but still, 17,000 miles? :sick: :confuse:

    And yes, our dealer quoted us about $600 CAD to service both front and rear. He said that the front rotors are always replaced with every pad replacement, due to the ulta-thin rotors used in the Mini. Plus, the sensors for the dash warning light also have to be replaced.
  • gretsch6120gretsch6120 Member Posts: 48
    >>> He said that the front rotors are always replaced with every pad replacement, due to the ulta-thin rotors used in the Mini.

    Wow. Must admit I'm shocked. I knew the Mini is not a cheap car to own but that's insane.

    By the way -- my G35 Coupe also had to have the brakes changed around 17-20k. I don't drive like a racer either.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,502
    600 CAD is only what 500 bucks USD?

    So 250 an axle for rotors and pads.

    Sounds about right to me from a dealer.
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,514
    The service rep swore that's the going rate. In fact, he said it is not uncommon nowadays to see complete brake jobs going for $1K or more. For me, the painful part to swallow was that the pads only lasted 17,000 miles. If they lasted 35k-45k miles, then it would have been less painful.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,502
    Brake jobs on a Range Rover are about 700 bucks USD an axle and will most likely only last 20,000 miles.

    The local MINI dealer did my brakes all the way around at 25,000 miles.
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,514
    "...700 bucks USD an axle..."

    Wow, and Ouch!! :sick:
  • emagersemagers Member Posts: 2
    I misplaced a comment about brakes under lighting and electrical glitches, please read.
  • gretsch6120gretsch6120 Member Posts: 48
    Reminds me of sitting in front of the Mini Rep working out a price on the cooper and options I wanted. Monthly price went out of my preferred zone + they were doing they're best to screw me out of my G35 -- I turned it all down. I was met with a seemingly shocked expression and then told how the average monthly payment for this BMW/Mini dealer was $900 (Bay Area, CA) Though I guess when your car payment is $900 a month, $700 brakes aren't really that bad. :P
  • cct1cct1 Member Posts: 221
    If you're paying that much for brakes, you might as well upgrade to either the JCW brakes or aftermarket brakes, especially if the brakes will no longer be under warranty.
  • wongkidwongkid Member Posts: 23
    Didn't get an owner's manual with my car. Excluding oil changes, what are the other major recommended scheduled service intervals by mileage? Approx dealer cost? Thanks! :confuse:
  • winfredwinfred Member Posts: 11
    I am a owner of 06 mini base convertible.

    I am wondering anyone one can give me an insight about the extended warranty and maintenance.

    I recently inquiry about the warranty to extend in the bay area in CA.

    Do you think it's worth the extra $2985 for a 6 yr./100,000 mile mechanical warranty (and a $50 deductible) and $1595 for the 6 yr/100,000 mile extended maintenance?

    Should I get both or just the maintenance one?

    This is my first car, I never do any oil change or anything else except went through the inspection I. I know it recommended every 10K, but......I am not a car person and no time.

    My friend told me that a oil change plus transmission fluid change and brake pad change should not cost me more than $400-$500. So for the maintenance package which cover inspection III (60K) and IV (90K), basically over charge me additional $500, so it is not worth it? But did I miss something, or this is just a premium that all the charges did it in dealer?

    I am concerned about the convertible top breakdown after the warranty expire, but it that worth $2985? Or if anything happens, it should be the 3K I didn't pay upfront should be sufficient to cover up the fixing cost?

    Thanks for all you advice. I know there were a similar message posted above. But I am still not sure.

    FYI, I am only planning to keep the car maybe additional 4 years if everything goes well, otherwise, if alot of issues that I will switch to a new car. Is that matter? will that extended warranty give a better resell value?
  • wongkidwongkid Member Posts: 23
    Three key factors not mentioned: 1) how many miles do you drive per year, 2) are you an aggressive driver, esp with relation to brakes?, 3) since you are not a car person, I assume you rely on the Mini Dealer for service (vs. a trusted independent shop, which is usually lower cost). MAINTENANCE CONTRACT: I think your $400-$500 service cost is low, especially if brake work is needed. Another forum I visited said brakes can cost up to $500 PER WHEEL because pad replacement usually requires work/replacement of the discs too, depending on how anal your dealer is. Again, your driving style will determine when brakes need work/replacement. Any dealer can give you a cost estimate for the scheduled maintenance and then update your calculations based on mileage per year and your planned ownership time. Also, there is considerable debate within the BMW/Mini enthusiasts community with regards to recommended maintenance/service intervals since BMW started offering "maintenance-included". Skeptics (very knowledgeable ones) say the oil change intervals are too long, EVEN WITH synthetic oils. It is CHEAP insurance to change your oil every 5-7000 miles or so - clean oil is one of the most important factors in long engine life and efficiency. EXTENDED WARRANTY - Most people say these are not worth it, BUT, I own a 2003 S and as much as I love it, it has NOT been the most reliable car and my extended warranty has come in handy. Perhaps 2006 are more reliable, but with that convertible roof mechanism . . . perhaps worth the cost. Extended warranty should also help resale as long as it's a year or more out (in time AND mileage). Good luck.
  • minime5minime5 Member Posts: 41
    What do you guys think? My '03 base Cooper needs new tires, and I currently have the 16" Goodyear Eagle run flats. I need to drive the car the rest of the summer, when I plan on trading it in for a larger car. Obviously, I'm trying to do this as inexpensively as possibly. If I put regular tires on now (and save some $$), what do you think that chances are that a dealership would notice at trade-in time that they're not run flats and that I don't have a spare?
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