hi folks. i'm pretty new to this site, so go easy on me.
i've been saving up and planning on buying a cooper later this spring/summer. it's an amazing looking car and fits the bill in almost every way for my needs. however, reading the "faults and fixes" posts here and similar posts on minicooperonline is giving me cold feet. i believe that , first and foremost, a new car should be safe reliable transportation. hearing about mini owners and 3 plus trips to the dealer within the first 10,000 miles really bums me out. i mean, my ugly subaru didn't have so much as a minor problem for the first 65,000 miles, when i had a chip go funky (covered by subaru). i had no additional dealer trips until around 90,000 (cv joint? can't remember). so far, among the scarier mini problems i've heard on these sites:
1. coolant tanks leaks/brown fluid
2. squeaky everything: boot lid, glovebox, sunroof, seats, etc.
3. the manual transmission cable recall and the cvt transmission fluid factory goof
4. mysterious cracking windsheild
5. bad seat levers
6. cold-weather challenged navigation systems
7. over-excited clocks
8. mpg computation errors
9. pulls to one side or other when driving or breaking
10. slow acceleration problems
11. nasty dealers and/or mini not owning up to problems
i know i've missed a few other problems. i realize i'm probably asking the wrong group of folks, since most of you have already taken the plunge and purchased a mini, but am i missing something here? is this car really capable of being someone's sole option for getting around reliably?
thanks for your input. as for number 10, i guess i wasn't very clear. some people w/ coopers (not the s) have said that their car was kind of bogging down in 2nd and maybe 3rd. that is to say, it was fine when it first arrived, but then after some use, it was having problems when accelerating. someone mentioned something about a chip or software fix.
i also forgot to list a cold start problem that some have had w/ the s, though i'm not really interested in that model.
i've also heard at least 2 people say that they're sorry they bought a mini due to mechanical problems.
Sole transportation? Yup! Sold my F-150 and selling my R60/5 motorcycle.
3,600 trouble free, smile filled, miles and counting.
The cars keep getting better and better the longer they make them.
Lets take your issues one at a time:
1.Tanks being replaced under warranty
2.Seems to be a QC problem. Some have it some don't. So far mine is squeak and rattle free.
3.Manual shift cables have been fixed
4.Cracking windshields are an auto industry problem with the acceptance of lighter windshields as part of an overall weight loss program. That and the very vertical mounting of the MINI windscreen.
5.Seat levers were a running fix, all new cars after July or August of '02 have the new levers.
6.Cold weather Nav issues have not been addressed by the factory to my knowledge
8.Seems to have been fixed by August build cars
9.Pull? "Left pull" was addressed by the factory, cars recalled and new parts installed. Running change in the factory, all new production drives the straight and narrow. Not sure to what you are referring when you mention pulling under acceleration and breaking. Apparently this has also been fixed because mine has never exhibited either of these maladies. Even during vigorous driving.
10.There were some fuel mixture/ignition timing software issues that were sorted out in a running change. Cars after August have the fix. The rest can be upgraded with a quick warranty trip to the dealer.
11.Nasty dealers are strictly a local issue. Try another dealer in another area. If they are really bad, report them to BMWUSA with documentation, of course. With enough bad reports maybe they will do something. Ever the optomist.
I'll find you at least two people who will say they are sorry they did almost anything. It is just the nature of some people to be negative.
Motor on, Dudes and Dudettes!!!
'06 MCS SB/S
R84s(Kumho Ecsta AST, summer), R81s(Nokian Haakapiilatta 2, winter)
'02 MCS DS/W (retired)
Last edited by Bilbo Baggins; Jan 11th, 2003 at 03:43 AM.
As has been said, most "major" issues these day's have been adressed, and don't affect the everyday "reliability" of the MINI. I had no reliability issues with my S.
You will still probably find the annoying rattles and buzzes, but some people are happy to turn up the radio or to take vehicles "warts and all".
Everyone's different, but don't consider the faults and fixes area to be a "small" percentage of users problems. I waited for my car for 10 months, and knew what to expect. Blindly I thought mine wouldn't suffer from any of the problems posted here (mainly by UK members at that time). Mine was certainly better than some, but as bad as most. Every car off the production line, SHOULD be better than the last. By this time next year, I'm sure they will all be as good as they are going to get. There's a new GM at Oxford now, I'm sure he's there for good reason.
Most of the things you list are old issues and/or rare issues. Coming to a place like this you'll assume that every car has a problem but people come here with problems. Only enthusiasts and people with problems generally post on these sites -- people rarely post "just thought I'd let you know I haven't had problems for 5000 miles" and even the "please post if you have a problem-free MINI" threads are suspect as many people who just buy a car and drive it will never see that sort of thread.
My car was built in February 2002 and I received it in late April. Since then I've put nearly 15000km on it (just had the first oil&filter change done). It had the gearbox linkage recall repair performed (never lost the gears, just did it as part of the recall) and the plastic trim on the back of the driver's seat needed replacing (popped off and wouldn't stay on when pushed back on). The hatch rattled until I adjusted the bumpers and put some tape on it. That's it! I feel 100% confident in the car.
To speak to some of your issues, my car is usually pretty rattle free but in the recent cold the doors sometimes rattle. In the cold (20 below zero) I'm not sure what they could do and with the radio on you don't even notice it. It is a small car with a tight suspension and a plastic interior so the odd rattle is something I accept.
The bogging down issue I don't understand as you say it is not for the S -- perhaps you mean the CVT but then it doesn't really have gears? My Cooper chirps the tires easily in first, not difficult to do in 2nd and even 3rd if I try really hard so I have no bogging at all. It is a spunky little car. Downshifting is required when passing but once you get into the powerband (good above 3000RPM, great above 4000RPM) it really goes.
Seat levers? Never a problem for me or my passengers even though they are of the original, apparently confusing design.
Clock problems? Only ones I've heard of are in that thread, never happened to me.
Coolant tanks seem to be a design problem with the S tank. Cooper is different. Since you aren't interested in an S, don't worry about it and a new tank design will supposedly fix it anyhow.
Trip Computers and Nav Systems? Didn't get them. Trip computers are notoriously bad (they show 90MPG going downhill and 0 when idling on some systems or a slooooow changing average on others). Built-in nav systems? Very expensive and limited. Get a portable GPS and a laptop for less money!
My car only pulls when road camber is in effect. Otherwise the car drives and brakes straight.
Any regrets? Once in a while I think about an IndiBlue S but then I look at the hood scoop and the spoiler and the $4000 price difference (similarly equipped) and I'm happy with my Cooper Regrets about getting something other than a MINI? None, the competition just doesn't stack up.
MINI Cooper Cabrio: now the car with go cart handling really feels like an open go cart! "... the only man that can come home at 3 am in the morning without getting into trouble with his spouse is the owner of a British sports car!" -- Phil Bailey
To be honest, I think the MINI has increased in quality a lot in the past few months.
The MINI is the first MINI, it is being revised contantly, and quality control is, it would seem tightening up.
For example our MINI One (March build 2002) has more problems than my Cooper (April 2002 build) and that isn't as tight as my father in laws Cooper S (June/July 2002 build).
The S is still in it's first year of production, and the MINI Cooper in it's second, so there will no doubt be more things appearing (such as the latest sat-nav issues), but all in all I think for pound for pound the MINI is generally well built and BMW do and are addressing issues all the time.
The very fact this forum is so big and has been going so long, plus the fact we have a dedicated Faults & Fixes forum, will lead to a high number of reported problems. By the very nature of a web forum, I would expect a hell of a lot of complaints and problems to pop-up, and they often seem to go a little out of proportion.
If I was happy with my car 'nothing to report', then why report anything, but if I have an issue, I would want to let people know about it, and find out if anyone else has had it.
I would be much more confident in a car built this week, than a car built this time last year.
I am a BMW tech and what you need to realize is we are the people who test this car in North America. If people do not want weird problems to happen when they purchase a first year of production car, wait until the 2nd year so the corperation can get most of the bugs out. As a tech, you never buy the first year of a new production car unless you can deal with problems. My mini is an 8-02 production and haven't had a problem that I couldn't fix. The company that has mini will stand behind it's car and should take care of the customer.
One thing you need to remember about the Mini is it's a whole new car. when the ford Focus came out 3-4 years ago it had a load problems with it, being such a boring car no one knew about them.
Bmw are under the spot light with the new Mini because of the cars history, thats why over here in the UK if there is a recall it makes national news but it is the same any newly designed car.
I have had a few problems with my Cooper which are now sorted, i'm so pleased with Mini's i have ordered a S (just got to wait 9 months!)and i feel you enjoy a Mini just as much as i have!!
thanks for the reply. i guess that's what i'm worried about. i don't really want a car w/ a handful of problems that can easily be fixed. ideally, i just want a car that works in addition to being fun to drive/to look at, whatever. some of the "fixes" i've read on this site don't really cut it with me either (e.g. adding velcro to the sunroof air-flap thingy, adding tape where the boot lid meets the body, or - in one case - jamming something between the body and the dash plastic). anyone out there with later 2002/early 2003 builds that are having better luck?
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