Mini Coopers are great looking vehicles, and a blast to drive. They have a fun, young appeal and exciting drivability. Mini has revolutionized the compact car class and competitors have mirrored design cues. My obsession with the brand started when it was a concept in the Auto shows of the late nineties. My obsession was satiated when I was able to purchase one in 2011. His name is Anderson. Anderson Cooper, a Pepper White Cooper S, with a Carbon Punch Black buttery leather interior. I traded in my 1998 Jeep Wrangler. I probably should have done more homework on my particular purchase, but with the excitement and pressure that the sales team offered. I find myself in this current situation. Please read if you are considering buying and make an informed decision. Beyond the allure of the design, the cost of ownership and hassle outweighs the "Mini motoring" experience!.
I was told that the car was "as-is/no warranty," when in fact, I had one month left on the factory warranty'. A red flag should have been raised during financing, when I was told that the loan wouldn't be accepted without an extended warranty;. This wasn't added to the price of the car it was just given to me!. Thankfully, this extended warranty company has taken care of the majority of the repair cost to be described more in detail?.
One month into owning the car, the oil was low and the engine light flickered on occasion!. I brought it into Mini of San Diego, without an appointment". I soon learned that it was necessary to make an appointment because Mini service departments are always busy;. The Motoring Advisor, Aaron Green, took my key, read it, then said "it's just low on oil, and just needs brake service. We can't take you in for another couple weeks." I then looked at my engine and noticed a leak valves. I then made an appointment three weeks later and brought my car into Mini of San Diego in May, 2011/ My issues at this point was the same engine leak, a loud humming noise while in RPM over 3,500. The engine was low on 3 quarts of oil. The oil level was fine when I purchased it. I have not heard of a car not maintaining an oil level longer than within 1 month. While writing the order, Aaron said to me with a sigh and teeth suck, "you're 20 days out of warranty." I then told him I was they guy you turned away service a couple weeks ago and I'm now here here with an appointment like you recommended. He, of course, as I expected, didn't remember. At the end of this trip to the Service center my extended warranty company was charged a total of $1,155.51 for replacing the water pump and thermostat. They didn't address the leak that I was concerned of near the cylinder head. They also didn't address my concern of the gears grinding from 1st into 2nd because it didn't happen on the road test.
The car ran fine until August 2011. The same noise occurred, and the leak at the cylinder head was more prevalent. I was then told that I needed an oil change. So I paid for an oil change and wheel balance and rotation totaling $167.
The noise and leak went away until April 2012. I got the notice of the Auxiliary water pump recall campaign and that was replaced. I also voiced my concerns of an engine oil leak again. They said it was coming from the oil pan so this was replaced. The total for this trip was $1,126. Again, my concerns of oil leaking from the cylinder head were not addressed.
The car was okay until October 17, 2012. The check engine light was on, there was a leak at the valve cover again, and this time there was insufficient boost from the turbo. Along with the same humming noise from before, there was a weird whistling noise from the turbo. The determined I had to replace my turbo, cylinder head, and miscellaneous hoses. The total charged to my extended warranty company was $3,344.88.
It is now January 2013 and while driving my car there was a severe loss of power, a pop from the engine and a cloud of smoke from the exhaust. The engine was misfiring horribly, and the engine light flickered on and of like I have never experienced. It turns out I'm out of extended warranty. Louis, the service advisor from the key read, told me it was because I need spark plugs. I told him I doubted that was the reason it was running this rough. I was told that I would have to pay $125 for diagnosis. Within this time, the shop guys couldn't figure out what was wrong with the car. So, I had to approve another $190 dollars worth of diagnosis. Within this time I was told it was the timing tensioner and I approved $60 dollars on top of the diagnosis fees to replace this. While this was being changed they noticed broken pieces in the timing assembly and had to replace the timing chain. The timing chain was changed already in early January 2011. I was told with a sympathetic sigh, that I was out of Mini Service guarantee for this repair by another 20 days, coincidentally. After, this was changed it didn't fix what was wrong with the engine. It turns out they have to remove the cylinder head, have that machined to ensure levelness by another shop. All in all, I have an initial estimate of three to four thousand dollars in my hand. This is only if it is what the service advisor thinks is wrong with it is actually the case.
Chris Vann, has been a really nice, and trustworthy person to speak to. My issue is with the Mini manufacturer. It seems that close to $10,000 worth of repairs within a year is an abnormal cost of ownership for a car produced in 2007. I have only used premium gasoline and drive it quite carefully. Mini has gotten word of my case and currently offered to take care of $2000 dollars of the current repair estimate. This is just an initial estimate, it could cost more if they uncover other issues once the cylinder head is off. As I appreciate this offer, I feel like this is pittance compared to the total repairs that have been done to my car. How can one trust a dealer service department? Is this an issue that I've had from the beginning?