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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My November 2002 delivery MINI has become good friends with the dealership, having been there 12 times in less than 2 years, during which time it has covered under 45 000 kms. Faults have included the following:

1. Rattle in boot area (as delivered).
2. Speaker cover broken on passenger side door (as delivered).
3. Closer on passenger side door very weak (as delivered).
4. Rattle in steering column (as delivered).
5. Reflector to drivers side door loose.
6. Coating to door handles on passenger and drivers side rubbing off (replaced).
7. Rattle in top of dashboard.
8. Coolant expansion tank leaking.
9. Leather on top of steering wheel blistering and bubbling (replaced).
10. Sunroof squeaking when in the open position and making a ‘clunking’ noise when closing.
11. Sunroof squeaking (2nd occurrence).
12. Airbag warning light on.
13. Faulty horn.
14. Airbag warning light on (2nd occurrence).
15. Rattle in boot area (2nd occurrence).
16. Sunroof squeaking and rattling (3rd occurrence).
17. Driver’s side window intermittently inoperable – No repair was carried out as apparently the vehicle’s ‘log’ had not recorded a fault (even though I myself had experienced the problem several times). Windows stopped working all together one week later (see (19)).
18. Paint on inner door handles on driver and passenger side doors peeling (2nd occurrence).
19. Neither passenger side nor drivers side windows operable (2nd occurrence).
20. Airbag warning light on (3rd occurrence).
21. Rattling at front of sunroof when closed.
22. Window to driver’s side door catching on roof when closing.
23. Rattle in boot area (3rd occurrence).
24. Continuous groaning sound from engine.
25. Low screech audible from clutch when engaging 1st gear in cold/damp weather (not fixed).
26. Steering wheel leather starting to blister and bubble (2nd occurrence).
27. Passenger side door speaker cover broken during repair of (19).
28. Rattle in boot area (4th occurrence).
29. Paint to centre console legs rubbing off at contact point with driver’s leg. No repair was carried out as it was deemed that the driver’s legs had ‘scratched’ the paintwork rather than it ‘rubbed’ it off.
30. Passenger side window inoperable (3rd occurrence).
31. Parcel shelf catching on boot when closing.
32. Airbag Warning Light on (4th occurrence)
33. Driver’s side window inoperable (3rd occurrence).
34. Parcel shelf catching on boot when closing - replaced (2nd occurrence).
35. Sunroof squeaking and rattling (4th occurrence).

The cause of most of these faults is well documented on and other MINI owners websites.

Following one year of ownership I wrote to the Dealership, listing my service history and dissatisfaction with the quality of the vehicle. I proposed an extension of one year to the warranty in consideration of these faults, which the Dealership agreed to. I also expressed the view that many of these faults, in particular the door handle paint rubbing off, the steering wheel leather bubbling, and the many rattles and squeaks, would continue to occur.

Recently I wrote to the Dealership once more, providing my updated service history and requesting that they permanently rectify the re-occurring faults, which would save them cost and myself further inconvenience. I attached supporting research from MINI owners websites demonstrating the commonplace nature of these problems.

After initially trying to ignore me, the Dealership agreed, at my insistence, to replace the steering wheel with the model used in the latter build MINIs (which has a different leather pattern, of hopefully, a more durable leather) and replace the boot catch with the updated type.

They advised that they had no repair available for the peeling paint on the inner door handles and confirmed they would continue to replace them each time the problem occurs, until the items lasts through warranty (as I am already on my third set of handles I would seem they have little prospect of making it through the warranty period). They refuse to replace the centre console legs despite substantial evidence showing that the silver paint finish is clearly unsuitable for this part of the vehicle. They had no advice whatsoever on the recurrence of the airbag warning light issue, other than to confirm that the airbag is deactivated during this time (comforting).

The quantity and frequency of faults I have experienced with this vehicle is laughable. I cannot understand how a company of BMW’s experience cannot get basic things, such as the specification of the steering wheel leather or the door handle paint, right in the first instance, let alone their preference to persist in replacing the parts with identical items rather than finding permanent solutions.

Like many people, I also have a cheaper Japanese car (Toyota Echo, one third of the MINI’s cost) to compare with, and yes it never has anything wrong with it, despite being two years older. It is often asked whether you are less tolerant of problems with a more expensive vehicle, but I don’t believe that 12 visits to the Dealership in less than 24 months is acceptable for any type of car. As much as anyone I would try to ignore these problems if it meant saving another visit to the Dealer, but when they are with you every time you drive, each day, it is just not possible.

After almost 2 years of ownership, I still have passers-by ask about the MINI. I used to tell them how fun it was to drive and that they should buy one. I now tell them it is still fun to drive but I couldn’t possibly recommend buying one, such is its poor quality. What a disappointment.

1,782 Posts
Most of us will agree with you about the rattles and other dramas. My first 2001/2002 cooper was back at the dealers every 2-3 weeks, for a period of about a year.

But I now have a MCS 2003, and I haven't had half as many dramas (touch wood).

I would do it all again and again for the smile I get every time I drive the car :D

21 Posts
2003 MCS - similar issues

i am amazed at the faulty craftmanship of the early 01\02 mini's. Although, i would never buy a first year new brand car anyway. A good rule is to wait 2-3 years to buy a new brand. It can take a while to work out bugs and issues. I think BMW will think twice before partnering up with chrysler and having a production plant that is outside of germany. I 've read threads of the next generation mini's having a true BMW engine w\o supercharger, but a trubo instead. As for the squeaks and rattles...they don,t bother me cuz i for the most part I have tunes on...or have the engine whining nicely. The issues that bother me are the steering knocks, display light malfunctions and engine issues. I will definitly sell the car afte the 4 year warranty runs out. Possibly buy a next generation mini!

Boy who made the wolf cry
10,833 Posts
I have a Nov 2003 build car, which has been nothing but a joy to drive.

I have had rattles and a few other issues that BMW have been more than happy to repair or replace.

I enjoy all most every second I spend in the car... I love jumping behind the wheel and going for a fang, or just having a toodle around in town in it.

I drive my car VERY hard, the way it likes it.

From what I can see with the early Mini owners, there was some issues that BMW did not iron out from factory and the 'early adaptors' really paid the price.

It is a real shame to hear your story, but I can tell you my mother has a Mercedes Benz C200K wagon, number 2... her first one was a pile of junk, for some unknown reason the differential destroyed itself after 1,500km it had an unrivaled ability to chew top of the line Michelin tyres out after 12000km, (down to metal, with a rotation after 5000km there was rattles and clunks in the dash, problems with carbon filters and the steering rack stuffed itself too... Not bad for an $85,000 car!! Mum traded the car after 28000km in 19 months - all highway driving - it had 2 sets of tyres and was due for another set.

She ended up replacing the car with the exact same current edition after an unfriendly altercation with a BMW dealership - where she was to buy a 320i Motorsports Touring...

Her new model is apparantly more roomier, there has been no problems - after 26000km in 15 months, the tyres are still the same Michelins from Factory, she has not had one problem at all...

Just gets you thinking what was the go with the frst model??

My dad used to have a Ford LTD - dont get me started on that... Ford brought it back off him and lunched it... 45 times it was returned to the dealer in 9 months! Hahaha!!


I brake for MINIs
26 Posts
I'm a happy and proud owner of a 04' MCS , which I have had only one problem with. Which was that Tach operating at 1000k higher than it should have been. Called up the dealer, and they replaced my tach no problem. Since then nothing has been bothering me. I agree with some people saying that earlier models of the MINI was pretty faulty, brand new car made from scratch is bound to have some problems.

2,250 Posts
Not wanting to sound like an idiot but I've discovered quite a few of your problems can be rectified PERMANENTLY by yourself with a bit of your own time in the weekend. I mean, it takes you a fair bit of time to drop it off to the dealers etc so why not use that time play around with your car and discover the solution for it? That's how I got rid of a lot of my rattles and one bloody annoying sunroof.

If you think going back to the dealer 12 times in 2 years is a lot, trust me, I've been back there no less than 8 times in 4 months for airbag after airbag issue. The service consultant even joked, "another airbag problem?"

You did get me an idea though, my next Mini has a bit of an issue with the steering wheel and I might go claim warranty on that :p last night I was having nightmares about them and had to go look for a used unit but now, I'm pretty rest assured by you :D

Todd: does your mum's C200K have the traction control problem, the dying battery syndrome and the funny buggered blinkers? My C240 have all of these 'common' C-class issues.

764 Posts
Chet Striker said:
I think BMW will think twice before partnering up with chrysler and having a production plant that is outside of germany. I 've read threads of the next generation mini's having a true BMW engine w\o supercharger, but a trubo instead.
BMW have many production plants outside of Germany. They build 3-series in South Africa, Z4s in the US (and yes they had terrible quality issues when they first started building Z3s there) and 7-series in China and Vietnam. The new X3 isn't even built at a BMW plant - it's built in Austria by a sub-contractor (a Canadian company as it happens). Also, any new engines for the MINI are most likely to be built at their new state-of -the-art engine plant at Hams Hall near Birmingham. Of course they went off the Chysler deal when Mercedes got involved but to be fair to the Tritec engines they seem pretty robust and don't give much trouble.

saving the world
2,985 Posts
You're complaining about 12 visits in 2 years? I've had about 40 in the same timeframe.

I think the earlier cars had a lot of common faults which the factory won't own up to (like how crappy the clutches in the earlier cars are, for example). My July 02 build has had every problem you've listed there (even number 25 - not fixed) plus a stack more serious ones. It's still a joy to drive, but bloody hell it's becoming tedious to own. :( I feel your pain...
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