Constant problems with my R50. Should I keep it or replace? Need advice please - MINI Cooper Forum

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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Constant problems with my R50. Should I keep it or replace? Need advice please

Hello all,
Long time lurker here, first time poster. I just wanted to say that this is a great forum which offers many great info from all our users. I first bought my 2002 R50 Mini Cooper in November 2013, since then I've had some issues with it within the short 3k miles in 5 months of owning it, which I have repaired. I only used the car on weekends/leisure. These are:

Ball Joint/Control Arm Replacement: 350 (done at 75k)
Control Arm Bushes: 100
Overhaul Gearbox and Clutch: 750 (done at 77k)

I originally bought the car for 1500 with the mileage being 75k. With all the expenses its come up to around 2500. Right now I can sell it and make all my money back. The problem I have now is I'm starting a new job for the summer at an airport which will require me to drive 40 miles there and back everyday (motorway journey). I am worried my car is unreliable given its previous expenditure and want to know whether I should keep it or sell it and maybe downgrade? The issue here is reliability. I am unsure whether I can find a more reliable car for around 1000?. Is there a cheap reliable car I can buy temporary or would it make more sense to keep this car? I don't want to run this car to the ground because I want to at least make most of my money back at the end of another 7 months. Right now I can sell it and make all my money back.

I am now having another problem with my coolant leaking from the radiator or head gasket. I'll have to have a mechanic take a look at it but this is yet again another major issue. I know this post is a little confusing but can anyone advise me on whether my car is reliable enough to be driven 40+ miles everyday from the summer onwards? Or will I be more invoices?

Really appreciate the reply and I will reply to any questions to make things more clear.
Thank you.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 11:00 PM
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Difficult one to call. All cars even of the same make can have different faults at various times. Often at the mileage of your Mini you can fix several problems then cut your losses and sell only for the next owner to reap the benefits of the refurbished common failure points that often occur on an older car.

Meanwhile your next 'cheap' to run car could present you with another set of faults......

In our family we have two R50 Mini's both 2002 and both on 60,000 miles......one has had no failures or major replacement parts.......the other has had a clutch, gearbox, power steering pump, suspension bushes and two radiators replaced in past 4 years. Both were bought secondhand 6 years ago so it could be due to the previous owners driving style or maybe just one of those things which is hard to explain.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old Apr 4th, 2014, 08:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mab01uk View Post
Difficult one to call. All cars even of the same make can have different faults at various times. Often at the mileage of your Mini you can fix several problems then cut your losses and sell only for the next owner to reap the benefits of the refurbished common failure points that often occur on an older car.

Meanwhile your next 'cheap' to run car could present you with another set of faults......

In our family we have two R50 Mini's both 2002 and both on 60,000 miles......one has had no failures or major replacement parts.......the other has had a clutch, gearbox, power steering pump, suspension bushes and two radiators replaced in past 4 years. Both were bought secondhand 6 years ago so it could be due to the previous owners driving style or maybe just one of those things which is hard to explain.
Thanks for the reply. It is a gamble getting a cheaper car in terms of reliability. I was wondering if getting a cheap, high mileage mini cooper S (R53) would be more reliable than my current R50 or would this be a bad decision?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old Apr 4th, 2014, 11:13 PM
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R53 Cooper S has a bullet proof 6-speed Getrag gearbox compared to early R50 but can have water pump/supercharger gear drive problems on higher mileage cars....and of course depending on the previous owners repairs and replacements it may need a clutch, brake discs, suspension bushes, etc replacing depending on history and mileage. As said no easy answer and every used car will need checking out as far as you can see for potential problems.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old Apr 4th, 2014, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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R53 Cooper S has a bullet proof 6-speed Getrag gearbox compared to early R50 but can have water pump/supercharger gear drive problems on higher mileage cars....and of course depending on the previous owners repairs and replacements it may need a clutch, brake discs, suspension bushes, etc replacing depending on history and mileage. As said no easy answer and every used car will need checking out as far as you can see for potential problems.
So I'm basically ****ed?

I've also read many threads with R53 owners having gearbox damage/replacements so I'm not quite sure if it deserves a "bullet-proof" title. do you?
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old Apr 6th, 2014, 07:53 PM
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Every car has a few problems but remember forums can give you a distorted view as most posts are from the people looking for help......few car owners post about all the good bits apart from enthusiasts for the brand concerned.
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