Oil Starvation, Engine Seizure, Warranty Wrangle
Hi, I’m a new member to this forum and unfortunately it is in unhappy circumstances that I have joined…would really appreciate any advice, technical or legal, or experience anyone can share with me.
I drive (drove! ) a 2008 Mini Cooper S, registered March 2008 and still under three year manufacturer warranty.
Car broke down on Saturday night, engine cut out leaving me without means of propulsion on a (fortunately quiet) public road, got towed to Mini-approved garage (Hexagon Mini at Kentish Town) for diagnosis
Diagnosis given Tues am, report available if helpful.
In summary I have been told that the problems stemmed from oil starvation to the engine and that as this was the cause the diagnosis and repairs will not be covered by manufacturer warranty. They have stated that they found 1 litre of oil in the engine and it should have been 4 litres (please read on before telling me I should check my oil level). My bill?.....£5.5K JUST TO REMOVE THE ENGINE HEAD AND INVESTIGATE FURTHER!!!
1. I checked the oil about 4 weeks (circa 1,600 miles) ago and the level was fine – unfortunately I can’t prove this, not sure if ANYone compiles evidence of oil levels checks they carry out??
2. Last oil service by different, non-MINI approved but reputable garage was March 2010, circa 10,000 miles ago – I will check paperwork but pretty certain oil check would have been part of this service
3. I check the oil level regularly between services, and service the vehicle regularly according to manufacturer guidelines, never before have I had to put oil into the vehicle in between services – indicating to my mind that excessive oil consumption had not been a problem for this vehicle historically
4. No warning light of any kind came on before my car experienced catastrophic (and potentially life-threatening) failure – I have asked Hexagon to confirm whether a warning light SHOULD have come on but they have not yet confirmed
5. I have found several threads on Mini chat forums discussing problems that feel as if they might be related to what I have experienced, specifically related to excessive consumption of oil/potential problem with oil pump on some models/cold start up issue in R56 engine that has been associated with excessive oil consumption and some of the other symptoms Hexagon have diagnosed in my instance – can share thread links if useful
6. Should it be accepted as likely/reasonable that a Mini which has not needed oil in between 10,000 mile services before suddenly consumes 3 litres of oil between 30,000 and 40,000 miles – or should this be considered an exceptional happening worthy of further investigation? On top of which, should not the warning light have come on to warn me of impending failure and damage BEFORE these announced themselves giving me a chance to take preventative measures for something less than £5.5K??
7. Hexagon report that they have found no oil leak, nor have I ever seen any evidence of any oil leak
In summary, I accept that oil starvation to the engine sounds like the probable cause of the engine failure and damage.
However, I don’t believe that Hexagon have done nearly enough to investigate whether this engine starvation could itself have been caused by some defect/event outside of my reasonable control – and for me it is critical for them to confirm this before announcing that the cost of the diagnosis and repairs are not covered under warranty.