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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I don't know if this is a problem or just me (i've only been driving 11 months - my mini was my first car). The steering has been acting a little weird. Its been feeling lighter than usual and at a couple of points i've felt the front wheels slipping on sharp corners. I'm not driving any differently than the way i normally drive and this come on really over the last week. Normally everything feels fine but occasionally i get the light steering (and it seems the traction is kicking in more). I've also had a little bit of pull from the steering (again occasionally) when setting off.

I thought it might be the pressure in the tires but that's upto 30psi now (which i believe is what it should be). I'm on the 5 spoke runflats (11months - 11000 miles). The front tires are a worn down to where the pattern which runs across the tire is gone (my backs still have some of that) but it's nowhere near the 1.6mm mark on the tire.

Is is just me? Have the roads been slippy?

Cheers

B [inexperienced driver ;)]
 

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Tyres

basskiwi said:
The front tires are a worn down to where the pattern which runs across the tire is gone (my backs still have some of that) but it's nowhere near the 1.6mm mark on the tire.
theze 'low' tread depths will make a major difference to the handling esp now it's wet & roads are slippy - dealers / KwikFit cowboys recommend changing tyres at 3-2mm; 1.6 is only the LEGAL limit; u can reduce the pressures a couple of PSI to get more tread on the road, but I'd suggest you start pricing up some new tyres - there's plenty of threads on here about which are the best replacement for the runflats
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If that's the case how long should tires last? I do have lots of the grooves which go around the tire (it certainly looks more than 3mm though) but yeah i see your point about the others. (Is it me or what is the point of making a pattern stop half way through the tire :/ ).

Would the back ones go on the front? Would that be an interim option?

Thanks.
 

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If you haven't rotated the tires they I think it would be good to do so. Losing the 'treads' on the two middle strips of the Goodyear Eagle NCT5 tires doesn't mean they're worn out. Those 'treads' are really shallow. The tires likely have more time to go but rotating them now will make them last longer. Some say "don't rotate on the MINI" but that's a crock IMO. 11 months is a bit long to go without a rotation (6 months is better) but still better late than never...

That said, MINIs have had some steering rack problems so you might at least want to check the power steering fluid level and/or have your dealer check out the steering rack, just in case.

Harry
 

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Yes check the fluid especially if the steering is noisier than usual... I lost my fluid 2 months ago through a leak, it was repaired.. and then last week I checked it one day and it was gone the next.. I had a new steering rack fitted and hopefully that will solve it but only time will tell... My cooper is 12 months old with 17K on the clock.
The problem was always worse after just starting the car.
 

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The runflats wear out quite quickly, especially on the shoulder area due to the very stiff sidewalls. They are also useless in the wet slippy conditions. Swap the fronts with the backs, making sure the direction arrows stay the right way round and see if that makes a difference.

In the meantime, just take it a little easier :)
 

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I have a problem exactly like you decribe basskiwi. I had a Cooper for just over 2 years and now done around 4000 miles with a Cooper convertible.

All went normally until a few days ago when I came off the motorway and it seemed like the road was slippery with ice or oil (it was not below 3 degrees C). Steering was very light going around the roundabout. Strange thing is that the steering appeared to be light on right turns only. It's as if I'm not getting the same feedback from the road on turning right as turning left - mostly when going a reasonable speed rather than slow. I've been driving for about ~23 years and tend to "experiment" when the roads are icy or snowy, so I know what it's like to slide the car around.

Does this make sense - technically to anyone? ie is it possible that a fault with the steering could make it feel light turning in one direction and not the other? It's quite a subtle change.

My car is going in on Monday to have the alarm investigated, so I will ask them to look into this also, but if anyone has experienced anything similar or has any comments I'd be grateful to receive them beforehand! Thanks
 

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kimd said:
I have a problem exactly like you decribe basskiwi. I had a Cooper for just over 2 years and now done around 4000 miles with a Cooper convertible.

All went normally until a few days ago when I came off the motorway and it seemed like the road was slippery with ice or oil (it was not below 3 degrees C). Steering was very light going around the roundabout. Strange thing is that the steering appeared to be light on right turns only. It's as if I'm not getting the same feedback from the road on turning right as turning left - mostly when going a reasonable speed rather than slow. I've been driving for about ~23 years and tend to "experiment" when the roads are icy or snowy, so I know what it's like to slide the car around.

Does this make sense - technically to anyone? ie is it possible that a fault with the steering could make it feel light turning in one direction and not the other? It's quite a subtle change.

My car is going in on Monday to have the alarm investigated, so I will ask them to look into this also, but if anyone has experienced anything similar or has any comments I'd be grateful to receive them beforehand! Thanks
Hi Kimd

I posted a thread on this problem about a month ago, but didn't get too many responses. I have exactly the same problem as yourself on my July 03 S. Everything was fine until 6 weeks ago then suddenly the steering has gone light as you describe as if at times your driving on ice or oil. Mine seems to be like this more when driving in a straight line. Ive only done 4000 miles so I wouldn't have thought its down to tire wear. The car has been into the dealers but they say they cant find anything wrong. The car steers fine and there are no clunks, or noises coming from the steering but as you say it's a subtle change but noticible. I was driving the other evening and went to overtake a cyclist and the car surprisingly veered slightly to the right when I drove over the white centre lines, I guess with them being wet and shiny almost like bad tramlining. I cant remember but does the MINI have speed sensitive steering??? just wondering if something has gone wrong with any sensors or the steering pump?. I'm thinking about taking it back to the dealers as it sometimes feels a little unerving when driving down narrow country lanes in the dark!

Cheers
 

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I too have experienced this lack of grip in my S and i'm sure its down to the salt on the roads - its especially bad on roundabouts!

Alex
 

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I would suggest that this is almost definatly down to road conditions and the stuff they throw around on our roads when it gets cold - steering goes light as if on ice sometimes, especially around dusk when theres a bit of dampness in the air.



Basskiwi, could be time for new treads too. You might have 3 or so mm, but in winter, when its wet and slippery, a bit more tread might sstop an (inexperienced) driver throwing it off the road. Swallow har, find the £220 for new front. 6 months time, rotate to the back. Not got £220? Rotate with the rears is possible, but not recommended. But probably better than leaving worn fronts on though.
 

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Tony*t3 said:
I would suggest that this is almost definatly down to road conditions and the stuff they throw around on our roads when it gets cold - steering goes light as if on ice sometimes, especially around dusk when theres a bit of dampness in the air.



Basskiwi, could be time for new treads too. You might have 3 or so mm, but in winter, when its wet and slippery, a bit more tread might sstop an (inexperienced) driver throwing it off the road. Swallow har, find the £220 for new front. 6 months time, rotate to the back. Not got £220? Rotate with the rears is possible, but not recommended. But probably better than leaving worn fronts on though.
Hi Tony,

You could be right, although I didnt have this problem last winter, really weird. You could be right in some respects as it seems worse during colder weather and perhaps the crap the council throw on the roads this time of year doesnt help. I will see what the dealer says again, I'm tempted to change the Pirelli Runflats to see if that makes a difference but a bit loathed to shell out for new tyres if they dont make any difference.

By the way, sorry to hear about your accident, nasty, hope you get another works soon, you wanna buy your works keyring back lol. Hopefully I will be getting my Oil temp and Supercharger boost guages fitted next week either side of the rev counter, cant wait lol

Cheers
 

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Perhaps it is to do with runflats on damp/salted roads once they've worn down a bit... My previous MC had regular tyres and I never experienced this. It is the same feeling to me as driving on an icy stretch of road - you turn the steering wheel a little and don't get the response you are used to.. just seems strange to me that it is more noticeable in one direction than the other.
 

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If you haven't rotated the tyres regularly, don't do it when the front tyres are nearly worn out.

If the rear tyres don't grip as well as the front ones, you can easily get oversteering or the back stepping out on a corner.

Front wheel drive cars always wear the fronts out faster. Once the front tyres are worn out, put new tyres on the rear, and put the old rear tyres on the front.

Putting new ones on the front can easily make the front ones grip more than the rear. Also, rear wear on a front wheel drive car can be very low and the rear tyres can be degraded by age or mileage even when they still have tread. If you put them on the front each time you buy a pair of new tyres, the rear tyres never get too old.
 

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Penguinblue said:
Hi Tony,

You could be right, although I didnt have this problem last winter, really weird. You could be right in some respects as it seems worse during colder weather and perhaps the crap the council throw on the roads this time of year doesnt help. I will see what the dealer says again, I'm tempted to change the Pirelli Runflats to see if that makes a difference but a bit loathed to shell out for new tyres if they dont make any difference.

By the way, sorry to hear about your accident, nasty, hope you get another works soon, you wanna buy your works keyring back lol. Hopefully I will be getting my Oil temp and Supercharger boost guages fitted next week either side of the rev counter, cant wait lol

Cheers

Hello mate,
yeah, thanks for the comments - forgot about your purchase (that was a year ago now!!! )

Interestingly, I'm getting this slippage on my wifes S now - and the NON runflat tyres have got adequate tread - so I'm convinced its just that the roads are really dirty with grease/dampnes/oil/diesel/road salt/even washer fluid. I slipped quite badly on a corner this morning, although I was prepared for it, still makes your heart flutter for a second or two. I got out of my car the other evening, and I could actually feel that it was slippery under foot - and it wasn't cold.

Go carefully out there folks!!!
 

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Tyre rotation is ok, if you survive the first five hundred miles after rotation it was the right choice! During that period there is less footprint until it wears down to a full size flat foot print again so drive gently.Also the recommended rear pressures are way to high for 'one up/two up' driving. As said the roads have been very slippy -slidey recently,&you realy do need minimum 3mm. Old rubber 'age' & 'work' hardens' so an old 'fully treaded' tyre wont grip like a nice new one.I made the mistake last year of buying some old stock tarmac rally tyres,after 2 seesions at CC track day we encountered violent steering vibration
(ie the ' Im going to crash type') On examination we had a bulge in the tread the size of
a prize winning marrow ! All the steel reinforcement had rusted and broke. Of course you cant see that while its all covered up with rubber!
Regards Roland GT Tuning
 

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Tony*t3 said:
Interestingly, I'm getting this slippage on my wifes S now - and the NON runflat tyres have got adequate tread - so I'm convinced its just that the roads are really dirty with grease/dampnes/oil/diesel/road salt/even washer fluid.
I tend to agree with this verdict now - my MCC is at the dealers for it's alarm and they've lent me an S for the duration - it feels pretty much the same on the road slippy-wise. I think the MINI steering is just so precise and responsive that you notice any little difference - especially on the larger wheels/lower tyres. I need to get this S back to the dealer quick before it gets me a ticket though... :eek:
 
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