basic tire, lights, alarm questions - MINI Cooper Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old Mar 7th, 2008, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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basic tire, lights, alarm questions

hi - ordering a mini this coming week, figuring out what we want.
I have found some info on this, but very old posts wrt the cooper, so in case anything is different with the clubman I'm re-asking.

1. tire size - we've absolutely decided against run flats, so does that leave the 15"s as our only option? the majority of our driving is city, but we do a fair number of long distance trips, especially to tahoe from san francisco in the winter.
we're more concerned with a more comfortable, quieter ride - current car is a '92 honda civic, so anything will be better. 2nd consideration is what will be best for those times we find ourselves in a bit of snow in tahoe? it's highway driving for 2 1/2 hrs before arriving in the snow for the last 40 - 60mins of the trip, so snow tires aren't really an option - whatever we do we'll be carrying tire chains. most of the info i'm finding is too detailed - I really just need the basics broken down for me.

2. exterior lighting - thoughts on xenon headlamps, fog lights, those additional extra lights (forget what they're called)?

are fog lights just for visibility to other vehicles or do they have some utility for helping me see in say fog or snow? are xenons worth the extra cost?

3. is alarm system necc in an urban area? how well does the immobilizer work? i find other people's car alarms infinitely annoying and they don't seem to deter break-ins, but this will be the first car I own that I'll be concerned about theft.

we're on a budget, so trying to get the most for our money (and really want hot chocolate!).

much thanks!

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old Mar 7th, 2008, 04:27 PM
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Alyk--
My Clubman (not S) has just gone into production today so I such finished making similar decisions.
1. tire size--factory configured, correct- to avoid run flats (and their high replacement costs and rougher ride) 15" are the only option. There is a dealer accessory option of 16" wheels but it doesn't specify tire type and I guess tires are additional $$.
I chose the A.S. 15"; I live in Boston and go up to ski country regularly (plus our own bad weather). The 15" All season are relatively skinny which is better in snow. If not sufficient I can add snows to 15" rims and use AS for other 3 seasons.
If you are concerned with comfortable, quiet ride go for 15".

2. exterior lighting. I got the Xenons but no fogs or driving lights. My concern with Xenons was glare to other drivers but then read on "Car Talk" (Tom and Ray from NPR) that glare is typically from poor beam adjustments with non-factory install and from fake xenons. Here is a link:
Car Talk

I didn't get the fogs because even living near the coast there just isn't that much fog. Also a google search shows that the vast majority of people misuse fog lights, having them on when not needed--some parts of Europe have strictly enforced laws about fogs because of this. When reading lots of Mini enthusiast posts it seemed to me that many were just going for aesthetics.
I am hoping i can use the empty fog holes to hook bow tie-down lines for a canoe on the roof since there is not other place to hook them (I got under a Clubman at the dealer to look).

The driving light extra are not needed with modern halogens or Xenons--they are really just for Mini rally car look.

3. Alarm--My insurance does not give any additional discount for the alarm which solely sounds the alarm since the car already has the immobilizer. To me that tells me that the alarm isn't doing anything worthwhile. (it someone breaks the window and the alarm goes off you still have a broken window to deal with and they probably still grab whatever goodies are laying in the car like an iPod or Nav system.)
My insurance gives 20% off comprehensive for the immobilizer, nothing for alarm, and an additional 15% off comprehensive (not off total insurance) for LoJack. The LoJack would only decrease annual cost by $35 for me which means it'd take 20 years to pay for $700 LoJack cost. Other than NYC where LoJack might make a much bigger difference on insurance costs I assume that these numbers hold for other locales. And lots of opinions on googling "is lojack worth it" voiced the sentiment that you don't want your car back after thieves have had their way with it.

I too was trying to be cost and consumption conscious with choosing options, with not forgetting the $1+K in tax, the $400 in title ,reg and fees from dealer, and the doubling in my insurance over the old not-quite-beater car I'd been driving; so if bells and whistles weren't truly functional from an objective point of view I skipped them.

Good Luck!


Last edited by pippi; Mar 7th, 2008 at 10:30 PM.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old Mar 7th, 2008, 05:24 PM
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Thank you for number 3 - I feel like an idiot for not realizing the finer points of this. Now I will quickly make a call to try to change my order!

P.S. Fortunately, I was able to make this change - many thanks pippi!

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old Mar 19th, 2008, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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about fog lights

thanks for the cartalk reminder! there's a 2002 Q & A re fog lights. a quick search found it - I can't post the url as I'm too new here.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old Mar 19th, 2008, 08:14 PM
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Did you want this link: Car Talk?

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