Last post on Oct 11, 2013 at 11:36 AM
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MINI Cooper, Transmission, Convertible, Hatchback
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#471 of 548 2007 MINI Cooper - Easy Miles and Clutch Failed
Nov 30, 2011 (8:09 pm)
Dear Customer Relations Manager,
I am writing to express my extreme disappointment with the recent failure of the original clutch/flywheel in the above referenced vehicle. The vehicle was purchased new from MINI of XXX XXXXXXXXX on February 17, 2007and all scheduled maintenance has been conducted in a timely manner including a recent scheduled maintenance on September 15, 2011 (MINI Inspection I), a mere seven weeks before complete clutch failure. No comments or suggestions were noted by the mechanic during this scheduled maintenance that clutch wear was occurring or should be monitored.
Vehicle Driving History
The MINI Cooper was driven under extremely light driving conditions with an experienced manual transmission driver. The vehicle was typically only used for “motoring” trips on weekends. The previous manual transmissions driven were a 1986 Honda Civic DX (original owner 97,000 miles with one clutch replacement at 65,000) and a 1996 Honda Civic DX Hatchback (original owner with no clutch replacement as of 60,000 miles when car was donated). Furthermore, the driver was experienced in using the parking brake while resting on a hill to spare any unnecessary clutch wear. All maintenance has been performed by MINI of XXX XXXXXXXXX and online service history is current per owners’ lounge website.
Trend in Clutch Failures with MINI Cooper
The driver had never experienced a complete clutch failure with no prior warning signs. Furthermore, the driver had never seen a clutch fail under such light driving conditions so anticipated that it must be some sort of mechanical failure and immediately drove the vehicle to MINI of XXX XXXXXXXXX. While the service department of MINI XXX XXXXXXXXX provided excellent customer service, the driver conducted his own research into the situation while the mechanical review was being conducted and has noted that many other drivers of this vehicle have cited the same problem.
Action and Response
The driver seeks a response from MINI USA on this very disappointing early clutch failure, the occurrence of this situation within the specific model, and the manufacturer’s guidance on extending the life of a clutch.
Very truly yours
#472 of 548 Re: 2007 MINI Cooper - Easy Miles and Clutch Failed [sfmini]
Dec 01, 2011 (1:15 pm)
Overall, a respectful letter.
My observations from what you posted...
Car was purchased new and serviced by the selling dealer.
Letter was repectful and non-abusive.
The car is almost 5 years old. Its somewhat unusual for a component such as a clutch or brake system (both share many similarities) to go so long and then fail from a manufacturing defect. Of course, it can happen, but its unusual.
Modern cars driven correctly should easily get 100K+ miles out of a clutch, yet you make the comment you have had another vehicle with the clutch replaced much earlier (65K miles).
Also, you state you are a seasoned manual driver, yet you make the statement that you use the handbrake on hills. While not inherently an issue, most manual transmission drivers don't need to utilize the handbrake while driving.
Personally, both comments may tend to work against you in your effort to get satisfaction, and I would have omitted them from your letter.
1-S model or regular non-S Cooper model?
#473 of 548 Failed manual gear box on 2003 Mini Cooper
Dec 02, 2011 (5:28 am)
My wife's 2003 Mini Cooper clutch and gear box just failed. 7K to fix. Car is 8 yrs old but only 95,000 k's which seems poor to me. Also there was something funny with it from the start. First gear never engaged nicely. You had to rev it more than normal to get a decent engagement. We were told it was normal. I actually avoided driving it as I found it laborious.
Now, they just put in a new clutch and gear box and it's like a different car. First gear engages much better. I am convinced the first box had a fault from the start and would love to try and recover the costs.
Anyone had similar problem or know what could cause this issue engaging first gear. I still have the first box in case I can take it further.
#474 of 548 Re: Failed manual gear box on 2003 Mini Cooper [russhunter]
Dec 02, 2011 (10:28 am)
BMW doesn't have a "rich" history of assisting owners with vehicles 8 years old, regardless of mileage.
In your case, you got double the years AND miles as covered under the warranty, so, in my opinion, anything you attempt is a wasted effort.
However, if you have a clear service history (with receipts) that clearly shows you made multiple attempts to get the 1st gear shifting engagement issue resolved, you could possibly obtain some adjustment, but again, due to the year model and mileage, I wouldn't think you have much of a shot at it.
Still, if you bought the car new, and had the same dealer do all the service work, you might obtain a labor discount/credit by asking.
Odds are BMW won't enetertain any credit or refund.
#475 of 548 Re: Can't understand all the transmission problems [davidhussman]
Dec 18, 2011 (8:11 am)
I have written previously about this problem. My Mini's transmission melted down when I was stuck behind a fatal accident on I75 south in August of 2010. The original mechanic and a transmission shop were unable to fix it. It was transferred to a "Mini Cooper" shop, a shop thatvsupposedly specializes in this car and they could not fix it either. Apparently the clutch is not all that melted down. The engine head", whatever that is, also fried. It has now been at a Mini dealer for a month. They haven't fixed it either. Mini corporate has offered me $1000.00 in compensation. WHAT!!!!! I have been without my car for seventeen months, a car I have still been making payments on and insuring. To date I am out $6000 in repair costs for a new transmission and $875.00 in towing charges and theynoffered me $1000.00. This is BMW "quality" and "customer service". Hah!!!!!!!!!!!!
#476 of 548 Re: Can't understand all the transmission problems [ihatemymini]
Dec 18, 2011 (8:15 am)
PS the car is a 2007, has 50000 miles. I have driven cars with manual transmissions for 40 years and have NEVER hadcto replace a clutch before this. I have been told by the folks involved that the parts are made from a cheap alloy that melts down when exposed ton heat. Yup!!!! Sure do!!!!!
#477 of 548 Re: 2004 MINI Cooper Clutch Problems [minimad2]
Dec 18, 2011 (8:34 am)
Yep - happened to me too. My 2007 S melted down on I75 in Lexington. The car has been in three shops over the last seventeen month. That's right - I have not seen my car for 17 months. I am 57 and have never owned a car with an automatic transmission and have NEVER had to replace a clutch. I got stuck behind a bad accident in 96 degree heat for hours and it melted into a puddle of molten junk. The mechanics have told me the parts are made of a cheap alloy that melt om exposure to heat. The car has now been at a dealer for weeks and apparently they don't think it is a priority. I'm not surprised because when I bought it I didn't even get it off the lot. All the coolant had leaked out. Nobody called me for five days then either until I got really, really mad. Well the last shop it was in was a Mini Cooper shop and they could not fix it either. I was told the "engine head" is shot. I think the engine is fried.
#478 of 548 Re: Can't understand all the transmission problems [busiris]
Dec 18, 2011 (8:45 am)
Some people just know it all and cannot fathom that they are WRONG! Very clear expert reasons have been given to explain the problems with these cars and it is NOT the drivers. If you wind up with a melted down transmission on the side of the road I'm not stopping to help. I'll wave to you from my Nissan! It might not be as cute but the last one we had never, ever saw the inside of a repair shop except for routine maintenance. We traded it in at 150000 miles for another one.
#479 of 548 Re: Failed manual gear box on 2003 Mini Cooper [busiris]
Dec 18, 2011 (7:25 pm)
Yea. I got nowhere with their 'customer relations' people and was not allowed to contact anyone higher in the company so I have given up on the car, Mini's and other BMW Group product. Transmissions should be built to last, particularly when they cost so much to fix. It's pretty hard to stomach that when you were told you were buying a quality product.
Am now resigned to being a Mini and BMW hater for life. The strangest part of the experience is that the company is not concerned about this. It is going to cost them far more over time in lost business than it would have cost to keep us happy. If this attitude is widespread they have a serious problem. I wouldn't buy any shares in BWM Group...
#480 of 548 Re: Can't understand all the transmission problems [ihatemymini]
Dec 19, 2011 (10:35 am)
Just FYI, the engine head has nothing to do with the transmission. It's a part of the engine, and if it "fried" as you stated, then you ran the car in an overheated condition... You cooked the engine, which goes a long way to explaining why your clutch and transmission failed.
NO warranty would cover such an event, regardless of manufacturer. It would, and is, considered driver abuse, regardless of manufacturer.
Seriously, after such a length of time, I would have moved on. IMO, life is just too short...