Sorry if this is becomes a long post, I'm no car expert and am going crazy right now!!
I've owned a 2006 Mini One (R50) since 2008 at which point it had covered 8,000 miles. The car was originally purchased from Mini Oxford, and has always been serviced with Mini with no problems ever encountered.
It has now done 70,000 miles and whilst driving it suddenly started with loud banging noises coming from the engine. I had no warning lights on at all, but decided to stop immediately and had the car towed to Mini. This was on NYE (31.12.12) and the car is still with them.
Electrical diagnostics was carried out, revealing nothing.
They took apart the engine covers, and claimed the "timing change tensioner" was to fault, and could be fixed at a cost of around £200. They replaced this, but then claimed this hadn't fixed the problem, and a new engine would be required at a cost of £4,500.
Seeing as I just got a trade in value of £4k for the car, I was obviously shocked and demanded to know exactly what the fault was. However Mini were not able to tell me, and obviously I'm not prepared to pay £4.5k when the car is worth £4k and I don't even know if the problem is an inherent/recurring problem.
Mini then said they would apply to Mini UK for goodwill against the cost of repair as the car had always been serviced at Mini, etc. Mini UK then called to say "as the engine failed due to having no engine oil, they would not be contributing a penny to the cost of repair".
In the meantime, I have received a bill from Mini for £300 for the diagnosis and replacement of tensioner which did absolutely nothing and from which I still do not know the fault.
My issue is that I know 100% the car had oil in, as it was only topped up several days before (by Halfords - unfortunately threw away the receipt). Having had the car for almost 3 weeks, at no point have the dealer told me engine oil was the problem. From discussions with other garages, lack of engine oil is a problem which could/should be uncovered within 5 minutes of having the car. It is only Mini UK who are saying "no oil", and I can not see any way of proving it did have oil.
Is it up to the garage or me to prove this?
Additionally, surely I am not liable for the £300 bill unless they are able to definitively tell me the cause of the problem. Especially since the tensioner replacement was their idea and was wrong.
I am at wits end with this now, and spent many £100s on alternative transport, as well as loss of income from taking days off etc.
I am obviously aware the car is outside of warranty and they have no obligation to me, but how can any of this be right???? I've never experienced such problems with any car, and certainly won't be buying a Mini or BMW ever again. I just want to get this car sorted, and get rid of it!
Sorry for the long post, but if anyone could give me any advice on how to proceed I would most appreciate it!!
Halfords should be able to give you a copy of the receipt or authorized work order or something as proof the car was just serviced. They may also be willing to state they saw no evidence of the tensioner problem.
I thought it was only the cooper S that had this failure. Mine is in the shop right now. Looking at $3,000 to replace the guides chain, gears, etc.
Presumably your problem sounds the same as mine? Do you know what has caused it?
I didn't have the car serviced at Halfords, I just bought oil from them and paid the £1.99 for it to be topped up to full. This was 3/4 days before it packed up. So I'm not too hopeful Halfords can help me.
My car was running fine but due for service. I asked them to check the tensioner sense it seems to be an issue. The only thing I noticed was for several cold mornings mine was sluggish for the first mile or so until warm. I thought possibly a valve sticking or something similar. Previously I had the carbon clean up, fuel injectors, spark plugs and high pressure fuel pump replaced. I mention this because I eliminated these items with the new problem.
They are working on my car as we speak and while inspecting the guide rails they found one broken. One broken guide rail.
After some research apparently over time the timing chain will stretch. The tensioner can only move so far to keep the slack out. It is my understanding that the slack in the timing chain is what really can cause the damage.
A common cause for the problem is low oil levels as these motors due burn a lot of oil. Mine wasn't oil related either as I always carry a spare quart and check all the time.
I do not need a new motor but they are replacing timing chain, crank sprocket, guide rails and everything else that should be replaced after a so called death rattle. Luckily I am very perceptive of the way my car feels and sounds. I had a feeling this was the problem and wanted to get it taken care of before it trashed my whole motor. The quote did make me sick to my stomach, but I do love my care when it's running like a Rolex!
Yes Caveman I know. That's why I said I thought only the Cooper S had that failure/issue. Earlier today I saw a diesel on this site that said he thought he had the death rattle. It is the turbocharged second generation with the so called death rattle, correct, or are other models included?
when you had the car towed to Mini after the breakdown was the bonnet not lifted and/or oil level checked at that point ? To me this is one of the first things that would be checked before moving the car.
was there any oil on the road underneath the car ?
a few days before when you got Halfords to top up the oil, how much oil did they actually put in ?
it is possible the tensioner has broken and caused damage to the engine, and if that was the case they wouldn't know the extent of the damage until they had replaced the tensioner.
but if that was the case then why are they saying that there was no oil in the engine ?
I agree you need a full explanation from the dealer/Mini of what has actually happened to destroy your engine.
It is essential on a MINI that engine oil level needs checking weekly and in view of the troubles it causes through letting it run too low it needs to be kept on the top mark of the dipstick, not halfway, or just on the bottom.
Sad though it seems, it appears for the sake of 2 minutes to do the job many owners dont lift the bonnet for anything for weeks?
I even read someone was extremely surprised they had to look between the 19000 mile services!
Unfortunately many 'modern' car owners never lift the bonnet and assume all cars have an oil 'level' warning light to tell you when topping up is required.......however many cars still don't and the oil light which comes on is actually the oil 'pressure' warning light......by which time it is too late as the engine damage is done.
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