Mini Coopers are great and lovable cars. And we know how much you love yours. We are here to provide the mechanical love under the hood that your Mini deserves. Jason knows Mini Cooper’s like the back of his hand, having worked almost exclusively on them for a number of years.
All of the usual service items are easily taken care of here at Service Course, oil and other fluid changes, spark plugs, air filters etc. But Mini Coopers are unique cars, with their own unique set of problems. Our experience with Mini Coopers allows quick diagnosis of the issue/s at hand, accurate time-frame for repair completion, and fair pricing for the repairs required. And of course, as with all vehicles that enter our workshop, your Mini will leave having felt the love and attention to detail that it deserves. Here are a few common problems that we’ve encountered with Mini’s and their required remedies:
Rough Running Engine, Check Engine Light, Misfiring Engine(07′-Current Models)
Mini began using a direction injection engine system in 2007, which has a number of benefits to the engine’s operation, including increased fuel efficiency and higher power output. Fuel is injected directly into the cylinders, rather that having it injected into the intake runners and then pushed into the cylinders through the intake valves. While the benefits of the direct injection style are great, the downside is that the engine valves are not constantly being cleaned as a byproduct of injecting the air/fuel mixture into the cylinders. This leads to a build-up of carbon on the valves that needs to be manually cleaned. We use a media blaster, and walnut shell as to achieve this cleaning process to get the valves back to proper operation. Carbon build-up will usually become a problem about every 40,000 miles or so, so the carbon cleaning process can either be done as a preventative maintenance item around that mileage, or can be performed when the misfires start to occur.
Steering Wheel Jumping During Braking
Everyone knows that the roads around Decatur, and Atlanta are not in the best shape. Potholes, bumps, cracks and the endless number of speed bumps leads to extra wear on suspension components. One of those components that is very common to wear out are the control arm bushings. These rubber bushings are great at doing their job of allowing the suspension control arm to articulate, while keeping the arm in the correct plane in accordance with Mini’s factory specifications. Once the rubber in the bushing gets worn, the control arm will start to move back and forth in addition to it’s proper up and down motion. This extra motion can be felt through the steering wheel during braking, and while going over bumps. Eventually worn bushings will start to create a knocking sound when going over bumps if not replaced soon enough, and will cause additional wear on your tires because the wheel is no longer being kept in correct alignment with the vehicle.
Cooper S Model Turbo Lines
We recommend more frequent oil changes than what Mini recommends for these vehicles(more on that below). One issue that occurs with the turbo charged S model cars is dirty oil “coking” up turbo oil feed lines. Turbos are lubricated with engine oil, the oil is pumped into the turbo through the feed line, and once used in the turbo, is returned to the engine through the oil return line. Each time old and dirty oil is fed through these lines a tiny amount of residue is left behind and over time this builds up and will restrict the flow of oil through the line, eventually starving the turbo of oil, causing premature failure of the turbo. Two remedies for this are the change the oil more often, and make sure that the lines are in good condition. Replacing the lines before they can cause a problem for the turbo is imperative.
Timing Chain Problems
Timing chain issues can crop up on Mini Cooper’s as a result of low oil levels, and/or infrequent oil changes(see below for oil change advice). The timing chain tensioner on the Mini engine is hydraulically operated by the engine oil of the vehicle. Dirty, or lack of oil can stop the tensioner from applying the correct tension to the timing chain. This lack of tension can cause the chain to stretch prematurely, and can also allow the chain to slap and knock the plastic timing chain guides, which are designed to have the chain run over them smoothly when the chain is at the correct tensioner. This slapping can cause damage to the timing guides, which usually ends up with pieces of the guides in the oil pan with the opportunity for those pieces to be picked up and attempted to be passed through the oil system creating oil pressure and lack of oil flow problems for the engine.
The Usual Maintenance/Repairs
A lot of the usual maintenance and repair items will occur on your Mini throughout it’s life. Cooling system repairs including leaking water pumps, inoperative thermostats, oil leaks from oil cooler seals, filter stand gaskets, valve cover gaskets and clutch replacements are among the kind of tasks that we undertake on all vehicles regularly on these tasks will need to be undertaken on your Mini at some point throughout your ownership of it.
What You Can Do
The one item that we cannot encourage Mini owners enough to do, is change your oil more frequently than the manufacturer recommends. We recommend changing the oil every 6,000 miles. It will really prevent a lot of issues and help your Mini be running smooth and problem free for a much longer period of time. And as always with all vehicles, keeping up with regular maintenance items, fluids and filters will always help your Mini run smoothly.
As always, we work by appointment here at Service Course, you can call us at (678) 705-9284 to make an appointment, or click though here to request an appointment online.