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Discussion Starter #1
We went to see our first Mini yesterday after reading some advice and about common faults on these forums- thanks! After test driving it I had a few questions which I'd be grateful for some help with.

The car is a 2004 (updated version) Cooper with 32k miles and is being sold privately.

1) VIN: The VIN was printed on a curved metal colour-coded plate which was attached to the top of the wheel arch, inside the bonnet. Could someone confirm that this is normal? I just though it was slightly odd that is was printed on a plate.

2) Tyre wear. All 4 tyres need replacing, but the seller is willing to negotiate so I amagine I could get enough off to get all of them replaced. My concern was that the inside edge of one of the rear's was bald, while the outside had abotu 2mm left. I would have expected more even tyre wear on the rears so that makes me think it might have been driven quite hard. He didn't say that the rear wheels have been swapped with the fronts, but would you expect the inside edge of the fronts to wear more than the outside? Does anyone have any possible explainations for this?

Edit: They are all Dunlop 16" run-flat tyres. The fronts have been replaced before (so these are the 3rd set since new). The rears have never been replaced.

3) Clutch noise. The clutch made a quiet clunking noise when it was about half released, in any gear including neutral. Anyone know if thsi is common and if it's anything to worry about?

Thanks in advance for your help! :)
 

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still learning
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re the tyre situation............it does suggest the car has been driven hard, my cooper has just over 20000 mls and the tyres are still very good with even wear all round. ( I swopped them around at 17000 mls )

re the clutch..........this is not normal and is a fault which could get worse and need money spent on it.

I think you should walk away from this one and keep looking...........there are plenty good examples available.
 

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Mini Lover
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We went to see our first Mini yesterday after reading some advice and about common faults on these forums- thanks! After test driving it I had a few questions which I'd be grateful for some help with.

The car is a 2004 (updated version) Cooper with 32k miles and is being sold privately.

1) VIN: The VIN was printed on a curved metal colour-coded plate which was attached to the top of the wheel arch, inside the bonnet. Could someone confirm that this is normal? I just though it was slightly odd that is was printed on a plate.

2) Tyre wear. All 4 tyres need replacing, but the seller is willing to negotiate so I amagine I could get enough off to get all of them replaced. My concern was that the inside edge of one of the rear's was bald, while the outside had abotu 2mm left. I would have expected more even tyre wear on the rears so that makes me think it might have been driven quite hard. He didn't say that the rear wheels have been swapped with the fronts, but would you expect the inside edge of the fronts to wear more than the outside? Does anyone have any possible explainations for this?

Edit: They are all Dunlop 16" run-flat tyres. The fronts have been replaced before (so these are the 3rd set since new). The rears have never been replaced.

3) Clutch noise. The clutch made a quiet clunking noise when it was about half released, in any gear including neutral. Anyone know if thsi is common and if it's anything to worry about?

Thanks in advance for your help! :)

1) I have a 04 Cooper, and I cannot remember mine being there (off the top of my head, but I'm sure someone will defo confirm that for you.)

2) You need to ask yourself a few questions, why has he/she left the tyres to get into this condition? Sounds to me as if the car has been driven quite hard. Also the baldness on the inside edge could be a number of things... wrong PSI, something catching on the inside of the arch, and I always think if Im correct if they is any movement, from the wheel I.E not tightened enough, also any movement from possible wheel bearings etc.

All though you can get the tyres replaced for non-run flats and just carry a foam can around with you in your boot (thats what I do).

3) The gearbox, this defo sounds a problem, my girlfriends mum purchased a Mini One from the dealers about 3 months ago, and when she collected I test drove it, and noticed a slight clunking noise when engaging or half way to engaging gear. She got this booked in last week and it turns out if needs a new clutch. So with you buying private this will be very expensive to get replaced.

Overall I would stay clear of this car, if problems seen evident before buying then chances are it will be a problem car (the way I look at it).

I dont know how much it is up for, but you could easily go to the dealers get a 04 cooper for 7-8k depending on what you want, and this will come with 1 years warranty, and maybe loads of other pro's. So if you was to find any problems you could get them resolved under the warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies, I really appreciate it.

Iain - do you have 16" wheels too? I found some other threads on the clutch noise. Looks like it isn't that easy to diagnose and could need a new clutch of even greabox.

Mull3t - It's up for £7500 (it has the Chilli pack and half leather seats). If I could get one from Mini for 7-8k I would buy it today! Swindon have one almost identical to this but with 7k fewer miles, and it's up for £9500. The 12 month warranty is very appealing though.

As for the tyres, as you say I expect it has been driven hard. Also, the owner was late doing the last MOT and hadn't got round to updating his address on the reg document, so I think he's a bit lazy or forgetful (but he seemed quite honest).

Anyway, I tend to agree with both of you. I'd rather spend a bit more and get a better cared-for car.
 

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Mini Lover
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I would nip into your local dealer, or even check the Mini cherished section of the sytner site and browse the coopers there. you can defo get one for cheap than £9500! for 04, I purchased mine nearly 3 years ago and it was £11500 with only 11k on the clock.

Also, it might be worth a look at Maybe a ONE, less BHP, still a 1.6 and will be cheaper (a little) on the petrol side of things, etc.

Also, you can go into your dealer and get them to pull up all stock for the UK.

Just had a quick look at the website of there group stock and they is plenty on there, if you still wanna go private, hold out and look around, but I defo wouldnt go for the one you have mentioned. Good Luck!
 

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still learning
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Nick, my vin number seems to be stamped onto the top of the wheel arch inside the bonnet on the driver's side ( R56 cooper )

my wheels are 17" flame alloys which are very nice and set the car off.

we seen the car in the showroom and really liked it, and I would say bought it on impulse !! ............so it had various extras which had been ordered by the dealer.

the 17" wheels with sports suspension being included...............and I must admit after having the car a few weeks we did not like it, as it is very hard on the road and I was going to get rid of it !!

but lo and behold 18 months later and over 20000mls we still have it, and now have grown to love it.
 

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Cleaning Whore
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hi mate, with regards to the clutch, i wouldnt bother, could be a number of things. Most likely a thrust bearing.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks again for your replies. We decided definately to give this one a miss. It's probably still a good buy even if you budget for a new clutch but we'll look for something which has been better looked after.
 
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