Last post on Aug 21, 2013 at 4:42 PM
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MINI Cooper, Hatchback
#381 of 406 can anyone tell me if it a good idea to buy a mini cooper countryman
Sep 17, 2012 (6:23 am)
Hello I am looking to buy a new mini cooper countryman BUT my dad has been telling there are a lot of problems with the car and with mini also. I right now have a Volkswagen TDI Jetta that has so many problems i want a new car. I when to look at them this weekend they drive like a Volkswagen bug. But what concerns me is what i have been reading about them Care & Maintenance of the car. I'm not looking to have to spend 2 to 5,000 to keep the car up-keep.
If someone can please help me on this thank you
#382 of 406 Re: can anyone tell me if it a good idea to buy a mini cooper countryman [hwrightt]
Sep 17, 2012 (10:38 am)
Really, only you can make that call. Some info that may help you...
a. my opinion is that forums for a particular make are very helpful. True, you'll have problems over-reported a bit (comparing percent of people who join a forum to research a problem they may be having, versus percent who join just to say things are swell). But by reading them, you'll get a feel for the various trouble spots and know what to expect. A very active one is North American Motoring, you can google for the actual site.
b. saying "MINIs have a lot of problems" is like saying New York has a lot of crime: it depends. Distilling the common things: the Countryman model had a thermostat / temp sensor issue at first that caused a lot of warranty work. New ones have the new unit. Countryman models also had some trouble with peeling chrome trimwork, again repaired under warranty but a PITA if you had one, of course. MINIs, not Countryman models, had a timing chain / tensioner problem with the 2007-2008 models that wasn't helped by those first years of 15,000 mile oil changes (and people thereby not even checking their oil level). Again, much warranty work to remedy, and some not, unfortunately. MINI made production revisions, of course.
c. All that said, there are many who report "normal" ownership...routine maintenance and no problems otherwise, replacing parts that wear out like tires and brake pads, etc.
d. You voiced a concern about spending "2 to 5,000 to keep the car up-keep" but didn't say over how long a span. MINI includes 3 year, 36.000 mile maintenance in the price of the new car. Many owners choose to pay for an "extra" oil change in-between scheduled ones (originally 15,000 miles, now 10,000 miles apart). MINI "major" services are scheduled at 30,000 mile intervals, can range from $450-850 for this service, from what I've read. If you plan on owning the car for a while, these services would add up.
e. Most people purchase these for their unique performance and driving qualities, and they're full of expensive German-engineered stuff that makes them that way. You can save a bundle by doing your own maintenance, of course, of all these moving parts. But (in my opinion) they won't ever be the appliance-like vehicle you might get with a Rav4 or CR-V (to name a couple of alternatives that are roughly similar in size/shape/utility). I own a MINI, and love driving it. My eyes are open that I'll need to maintain it, and repair/replace things that wear out that are complicated and more expensive than normal, really just like any other German-engineered car. I am capable of most normal maintenance, so that helped my decision.
#383 of 406 Re: can anyone tell me if it a good idea to buy a mini cooper countryman [ljmattox1]
Sep 19, 2012 (1:00 pm)
I agree with your assessment.
A Mini will cost more than a Corolla to maintain, but then again, a Mini isn't a Corolla.
My wife has a 2005 non-S convertible, over 70K miles, and no significant issues.
She loves the car today as much as the first day she got it.
Every make and model has its issues and weak points. The thing I learned with buying a BMW product it to NOT purchase the first year run of a model. Typically, BMW products run in 6-7 year life cycles, with mid-cycle refreshes. By the time the series has hit its third year production run, they're pretty solid vehicles.
#384 of 406 Re: can anyone tell me if it a good idea to buy a mini cooper countryman [hwrightt]
Sep 21, 2012 (6:43 am)
I agree with what others posted but wanted to add that, for 2012, the "S" models have had some issues with recalls but not the "Base" models (like I have). But, because of the warranties, people are having a great experience with MINI/BMW service and it hasn't been a huge deal.
When we decided on the Base Countryman, we knew that the "S" models had more problems (plus they were a lot more $$), so we chose the Base. I've said it here before, and I'll say it again - this car has been absolutely awesome, is faster than people give "Justa's" credit for and a blast to drive. The handling can't be beat, even with run-flats. I drove every comparable car out there and nothing came close to the joy I felt being behind the wheel of my Mini, plus I get all the cargo room I need, safety features, 34 mpg and comfortable passengers to boot. Yes, I'm a fan of the MINI Countryman ... yes, I am.
#385 of 406 Mini Cooper 2003 Problems w/ transmission
Oct 30, 2012 (9:53 pm)
Hi, I just found your forum and need some help with my 2003 Mini. IO am a teacher, don't understand what is going on with my Mini, and I need help. I asked my mechanic if I need to replace the transmission oil, and he said that this car doesn't need it.
I replaced the clutch a year ago. Now a new serious problem and my mechanic can't diagnose it, he is sending me to the dealer and i am in panic. About a week ago I started having problems with power when in 1st and 2nd gear, the car wasn't responding, going 6 miles an hour. Today my mechanic did a scan and can't find a problem. I drove back home *Unsafely because every time I stop and put on first the car struggles to move). After a 10 minute drive the car was overheating badly. Please tell me it is something easy, thanks.
#386 of 406 Re: Mini Cooper 2003 Problems w/ transmission [dolphinhos]
Oct 31, 2012 (4:36 am)
Hi, I don't have a definitive answer. You mentioned overheating...MINIs have a coolant sensor that's tied into the engine management software, so that may be part of the issue. Your check engine light is on? Your MINI dealer will have equipment to read the code(s) that the monitoring system should be storing to help diagnose the problem.
A dedicated MINI forum like "north american motoring" might also have more info for you. Good luck!
#387 of 406 Re: Mini Cooper 2003 Problems w/ transmission [dolphinhos]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Oct 31, 2012 (9:10 am)
Are you anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area? I can send you to an independent MINI shop that knows what they are doing.
If you've lost power AND are overheating, this suggests to me a failure of the coil packs---the car is not running on all cylinders OR is running very very lean--either one could cause an overheat.
I'm surprised there are no codes, but if that's the case, then it's back to good ol' step by step diagnostics. First thing might be to test for spark in all four cylinders, then if that's okay, to test fuel pressure.
I don't think this is a disaster, but it could be as simple as a fuel pump or clogged fuel filter (neither will throw a code) or a more complex electrical issue.
#388 of 406 Re: MINI Cooper Owners: Care & Maintenance [Mr_Shiftright]
Dec 17, 2012 (10:55 pm)
I am looking into purchasing a used 2010 Mini Cooper Hardtop S with automatic transmission and 11,000 miles (clean carfax and originally made overseas in Germany) for $21K in CA and I've been coming across mixed sentiment on what it is like to own a Mini. I personally love the performance and how it handles but my main concern is the reliability such as maintenance costs, reliability, cost of ownership, etc. I just recently graduated and this will be my first car purchase so I want to make sure it is worth the investment. I have a few questions and would appreciate any and all feedback - thanks in advance!
1) I've been reading that Mini has made progressive steps to fix known bugs/faults in earlier models. Are there any known issues with the 2010 Mini Cooper S that I should be aware of?
2) What is the average cost of ownership per year after the 36K warranty is up? The factory warranty on the used car I'm looking at is up in 1 year so I need to figure out whether getting an extended warranty is my best bet even though it's not cheap, a whopping $2400 to be exact! However, considering my lack of knowledge about cars/mechanics - I don't mind investing in the peace of mind. An alternative would be to find a local independent shop that works on Mini's but how does the cost of services from these types of shops compare with the dealers? If it's not a significant difference, I will probably opt to get the extended warranty but open to suggestions.
3) I read that Mini owners should get oil changes every 7,500 miles and have also read a typical oil change can range anywhere from $70-140?! I'm getting off of a lease on a Honda Accord and an oil change is ~$30 so it will be a big difference.
4) Finally, after assessing my unique situation - would it make more sense to lease a new 2013 model (non-Sport)? I think they have a deal going on where it's $0 down, $250/month for 36-mo lease. I'm weighing my options and not really sure what the pros and cons are to buy/lease a car.
Any experience, knowledge, advice is appreciated!
- Recent college grad
#389 of 406 Re: MINI Cooper Owners: Care & Maintenance [lauramki]
Dec 18, 2012 (6:04 am)
Hi, just some opinions after being in the MINI world for the past coupla years that started with my research to purchase my 2012 MINI Cooper S.
1) MINI changed to the new model (R56) in 2007. Many of those 2007-2008 cars had issues with the timing chain tensioner that was ultimately remedied. Of things you'll read about, that's likely the most common you'll find, along with the early design high-pressure fuel pump, again later models don't seem to have this as a common failure. Some early clutch failures were reported, but you're looking at an automatic. Earlier Gen1 MINIs (2002-2006 hardtops) had a CVT automatic that was problematic, again not an issue with a 2010.
2) Average annual maintenance is hard to establish, depends on the miles you drive. If you're able to lease, I'm assuming your annual driving isn't too far out of the "norm", 12-15k miles per year or fewer. Extended warranty is good peace of mind (I chose to purchase it for mine, since I'm planning long ownership) *and* find a good independent shop, as their costs are typically much lower. Since you're not working on the car yourself, both are good ideas. Longer term MINI ownership includes recommended coolant changes, brake fluid changes, that can get pricey at the dealer, less so at an independent shop. Overall, my opinion is that MINIs will require more care than a typical Honda or Toyota; that's balanced by the driving experience that they provide that is unique to them.
3) Oil changes at 7500 miles are pretty common practice. MINI actually called for 15k mile changes originally, many felt that was far too long (MINI recently [3/2012] backed this up to 10k miles between changes). They take 4.x qts of synthetic oil at $8 per qt or so (unless you find a sale) and use a $13 oil filter, so parts/materials alone are $50'sh. Add a bit of labor so $70 isn't too bad, actually. There's nothing very special about a MINI oil change otherwise: drain the sump, change the filter, refill.
4) Your situation (you don't drive an excessive amount, and don't perform your own maintenance) may lend itself to leasing. Within the terms of the lease, you'd have a fixed cost and needn't allow for unexpected out of pocket repairs and maintenance. MINI warranties 4yrs/50k miles, and includes maintenance for 3/36. You could decide, in that time, how *your* MINI has treated you, and decide to keep it long term, or return for something else.
I really enjoy my MINI...for me, there's nothing else like it. Hope this was helpful!
#390 of 406 Re: MINI Cooper Owners: Care & Maintenance [ljmattox1]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Dec 18, 2012 (8:27 am)
I would add to those excellent comments that a MINI is not a cheap small car--so the maintenance costs are every bit the same as a 3 series BMW. Parts are expensive, and not every shop will work on them. You really do need to team up with a specialized independent shop that knows MINIs once your warranty is up. If you rely on the dealership or a chain store after the warranty, you won't be happy I don't think, with the repair costs, or in the case of the chain stores, with what they do to your MINI.