The Haus offers FREE shuttle service as a courtesy for doing business with our shop. Need to be somewhere? Well don’t let that prevent you from getting your car serviced by our certified technicians- we’ll shuttle you to/from home or work within the San Fernando Valley while your car is being serviced. Our shuttle service operates between the hours of 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Shuttle will depart as needed, please give us a 3 hour advanced notice of when you will need to be shuttled so we can make the service as simple as possible. Our shuttle driver will arrive within 30 minutes of your scheduled time, possibly earlier (depending on traffic).
Pick-Up and Drop-Off Makes It Easy!
We understand how crazy life can be, which is why we want to make it as convenient for you to have the peace of mind of having your car in good working order. Call us @ (855)572-6464 and we can schedule a time to come by your home or place of work and pick up your MINI or BMW, then drop it back off to you when the repairs are complete.
If you are the owner of a 2007-2009 Mini Cooper S model you need to be aware of the problems Mini & BMW are having with their High Pressure Fuel Pumps (HPFP). This was a well known issue on the BMW N54 turbo engine and it affected thousands of BMW vehicles between 2007-2010, so much so that BMW issued a recall. Well the Mini customers are not getting the same love from BMW, and there is no such recall to replace these under warranty. Mini did however extend the warranty to 10 years or 120,000 miles, whichever comes first on the 2007-2009 S models only. So if you have a 2010 or newer vehicle or a vehicle over 120,000 miles you are not covered. It is important that you take your Mini to a specialty shop only, because if they are reputable and know these cars they would refer you to the dealer for warranty repairs. A lot of shops, especially general automotive repair shops are unaware of the extended warranty and might try and sell you one instead.
So, how do you know if you are having the issue? Well that is a good question and it is not always easy one to answer. The HPFP does not always just die, it sometimes prolongs the issue making it confusing to diagnose unless the check engine light comes on. Some of the pumps have been reported to die all at once, with some even failing while driving at freeway speeds, causing the engine to die (very dangerous). The most common symptom that the HPFP is starting to fail is engine surging while driving. This is usually followed up by difficulty starting, and then when the engine finally does start, it runs poorly (feels like a diesel engine). When you get to this stage, usually the check engine light will come on and register misfire codes, thankfully making it easier to figure out.
Our recommendation is that if you are having any of these symptoms to get your vehicle to a certified Mini Cooper specialist and get your vehicle checked before it becomes dangerous, and so that possible warranty coverage may be verified.
The Evaporative Emission Control System or EVAP system as it is most often called, was designed to prevent gasoline vapors from escaping from the fuel tank and fuel system. When the computer detects a leak in the system it will trigger the check engine light to come on and warn you. A loose gas cap can cause the light to come on because the system detects that there is pressure loss. The system is designed to detect leaks as small a pin hole. BMW and Mini Cooper are equipped with a Leak Detection Pump (DMTL) for this purpose.
The most common fault codes for EVAP leaks are a PO442- Small leak detected, and PO455- Large leak detected. The PO455 code is most often caused by a gas cap that was left loose after refueling. The PO442 can be a much harder one to diagnose as it virtually impossible to diagnose visually. To diagnose the small leaks a smoke machine is used to find the leaks by feeding a mineral oil based smoke into the system under light pressure. The smoke may also have ultraviolet dye added to make it easier to spot under a UV light. These codes are most typically a result of intake system vacuum leaks, with the most common being cracked or otherwise leaking intake boots. The intake boots are an especially common problem on the 2nd gen Mini Cooper S model with turbos. On late model BMW’s that have a crankcase ventilation valve (most 6 and 8 cylinder models from the mid 1990’s to present day, equatable to a PCV valve) the common problem is the rubber check valve diaphragm ruptures, creating an internal vacuum leak.
Fixing small EVAP leaks can be a big problem even for professional technicians, and if you get a code for a small leak you will most likely have to take it to your mechanic for diagnosis as special equipment is required. The smoke machine diagnostic tool costs between $1000-$1500 depending on the manufacturer and requires some training to use properly. With EVAP leaks it is recommended that you always take your BMW or Mini Cooper to a certified repair facility as these can be nearly impossible to diagnose at home. Please watch our short 2 minute video as we demonstrate a smoke test on a 2007 BMW X3.
We put together 7 common problems we find with Mini Coopers to help you, the owner, understand what issues you may have while owning a Mini Cooper.
MINI Cooper Clutch Failure
Early clutch failure is not uncommon on the 1st or 2nd gen Mini Cooper. The early failure can occur on both the 5 speed and 6 speed models and can fail in under 20,000 miles. The problem is usually attributed to hard driving, but not always.
MINI Cooper Transmission Failure
Problems with the automatic transmissions were a notorious problem for these cars. The 1st gen CVT (R50) was the worst of all of them and BMW and Mini were the subject of a class action lawsuit forcing Mini to cover the transmissions under warranty for 8 years or 150,000 miles whichever comes first. These are all out of warranty now and there is no additional warranty coverage from the manufacturer at this time. The cost of transmission replacement exceeds the value of the vehicle and we would recommend steering clear of this model. The Aisin transmission in the Mini Cooper S and 2 gen models is better than the CVT model but they also have a harsh shift issue that is attributed to the valve body. If this problem is caught early, sometimes just the valve body can be replaced. If the shift issue is not addressed in a timely manner the transmission will need to be replaced or rebuilt. Most of the transmission issues are caused by the maintenance interval or lack thereof that Mini specifies. Mini states that the fluid never needs to be changed or not frequently enough and this is wrong. I tell all of my customers that fluid is cheaper than transmission replacement. Changing the fluid frequently, as much as once a year can save you the cost of transmission replacement. The 5 speed manual from 1st gen Mini was also a terrible design and failed prematurely. There is no maintenance for these that will keep them from failing, it is a poor design. I have a customer that had 5 of them replaced within 70,000 miles before his vehicle went out of warranty. The most reliable of the transmissions Mini manufactured is the 6 speed manual variation.
MINI Cooper Timing Chain Noise
The timing chain rattle (as discussed in an earlier blog post) is a common problem. The noise is usually heard at idle on a cold start and it is often referred to as “the death rattle”. This can be a major/costly repair and it is recommended not to ignore this noise if you hear it. This problem is usually caused by low oil, or the oil not being changed frequently enough. (see number 4)
We recommend oil changes every 6 months or 5,000 miles whichever comes first, especially if you do a lot of city driving.
Performance Issues Related to Vanos (BMW version of Variable Valve Timing)
This problem happens when the oil is not changed frequently enough or if the oil level is too low. The Vanos system requires good oil flow to operate the system. When the oil is not changed enough, sludge builds up and blocks the small passages. If this happens we suggest changing the oil and hope that the detergent in the fresh oil cleans the tiny oil passages. If the passages are not blocked a simple oil change may completely correct this issue. We can’t say enough about how important it is to stay on top of oil level and change it frequently, this is a completely avoidable problem.
Water Pump & Thermostat Housing Leaks
The water pump on both generations of Mini is a fairly common occurrence and if you have more than 50,000 miles on your Mini it is good preventive maintenance to have it replaced. The thermostat housing on 2nd gen Mini is an all plastic housing, and over time almost all of these will fail. You can save yourself a lot of money and time if you replace them before finding a leak.
Front Radiator Support
Mini opted to make the front radiator support out of plastic rather than some other material. The radiator support holds the radiator, cooling fan, and condenser assembly. It sits very low under the front of the vehicle and is easily damaged. Even a light impact on a high curb can cause a lot of damage. The lower radiator hose sits even lower than the support and is easily damaged on parking curbs. Be sure to take care when parking your Mini.
Electric Power Steering pumps
The electric power steering pumps are prone to failure and were the subject of a recall. The failure is often caused by low power steering fluid or failure of the electric cooling fan. If you are lucky enough to still be covered by the recall (warranty), the dealer will make you repair all fluid leaks before they will install the new pump. We can replace the power steering hoses for much less than the dealer.
With all of that being said, don’t let this list alarm you. Mini Coopers are not that expensive to purchase and with regular maintenance, depending on the type of driving you do, these cars are designed to last a long time. Mini Cooper maintenance costs are in line or less than comparable performance cars.
If you live in Van Nuys, West Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Canoga Park, Culver City, Encino, North Hollywood, Reseda, San Fernando Valley, Sherman Oaks, or Studio City and need a reputable independent Mini Cooper shop, Call The Haus today! (855) 572-6464
If you own, or are thinking about buying an E46 3 series that were manufactured from 1999-2006 there are some things to look out for or keep an eye on. These cars are a favorite among BMW aficionados and were consistently named to Car & Driver’s Top Ten list. These cars can be a long lasting vehicle if maintained properly.
Valve Cover Gasket Leaks
These leaks are common after about 60,000 miles. Symptoms will include oil drips under the car and/or a burning oil smell from the engine compartment. It is important after the leak is repaired to pressure wash the engine so the mechanic can verify there are no additional oil leaks.
Rear Window Regulator Failure
The rear window regulators can fail causing the window to stop working, and in some cases cause the window to fall into the door. The regulators are built with plastic pulleys and thin cables so even with diligent maintenance they can fail. Replacement of the regulator is required to correct this problem.
Coolant Expansion Tank Leaks
An engine coolant leak may develop from the expansion tank. These tanks are made of plastic and over time may leak causing the engine to overheat. When a component in the cooling system fails it is important to inspect the entire cooling system. It is not uncommon to find additional leaks. The radiator and water pumps are also common problems. It is important if your vehicle overheats that you pull over as soon as possible and have your vehicle towed to a qualified BMW repair shop. Overheating can cause severe engine damage!
Power Steering Pump Failure
This is a common concern on the E46, when the power steering pump starts to fail it may emit a growling noise and there may be increased steering effort. There a few reasons the pump can fail. The most common reason the pump fails is due to low fluid, caused by a leak somewhere in the power steering system. There is also a filter in the bottom of the power steering fluid reservoir that gets plugged over time and can restrict fluid flow to pump. The filter is not serviceable separately and will require the reservoir to be replaced if you have this problem. It is important to check the fluid regularly, if it is low you most likely have a leak somewhere in the system.
Rear Sub-frame Tearing
There was a class action lawsuit brought against BMW in 2009 for this problem. It was not uncommon for the rear sub-frame to tear of crack. Owners should be aware of any loud or abnormal noises coming from the rear of the vehicle when traveling on bumpy roads and contact your mechanic for inspection as soon as you hear the noise.
Faulty Tail Lamp Wiring
The tail lamp wiring was the subject of a recall a few years ago. The affected models were the 2002-2005 3 series sedans, model numbers 325i, 325Xi, 330i, and 330Xi. If you own or are thinking about purchasing one of these contact BMW and verify that the recall has been done, or if it applies to your vehicle.
These are just a few things to look out for on these models, but there are more. It is always advised you have a pre-purchase inspection done by a qualified BMW mechanic before buying a used vehicle. Having an inspection done will keep you from buying a vehicle that that may need thousands of dollars worth of repairs.
At The Haus we perform FREE pre-purchase inspections for all of our customers.