A common conversation we have with our customers is the importance of frequent oil changes, especially on the 2nd generation MInis. It is our opinion that the factory specified interval of 1 year or 15,000 miles is way too long! From 2007-2011 the interval was 1 year or 15,000 miles, but then suddenly in 2012 they went back down to 1 year or 10,000 miles. Given the number of oil related troubles the 2nd gen. Minis have had, it is no wonder that MINI/BMW would reconsider the longer interval. We have no knowledge as to why MINI dropped the interval back down to 1 year or 10,000 miles, which was the original service interval for the R50/R53 models, but we suspect that the high cost of repairing engines under warranty finally prompted MINI to re-think their longer service intervals. This may also be due to consumer behavior, as in the consumer not bothering to check the oil unless a warning light appeared or it was time for their scheduled service. We don’t feel like MINI will ever acknowledge there is a problem with their longer service intervals because it would obviously open them (MINI & BMW) up to future litigation.
What MINI considers “normal” oil consumption is 1 quart every 800 miles, so you can see how waiting 10,000-15,000 miles to change the oil could damage the engine. These engines only hold 4.4 quarts of oil, so even being just 1 quart low on oil can be detrimental to the engine. When the engine gets to be even 2 quarts low they can jump timing and cause all sorts of other damage. Low engine oil can cause the timing chain and/or guides to break from lack of proper lubrication. Low oil can also cause the check engine light to come on because of engine knock or vanos (engine timing) codes related to low oil flow. The majority of the problems these vehicles have is directly related to the long service interval and not checking the oil regularly.
These cars are not equipped with “low oil level” warning lights only a “low oil pressure” warning light and there is a big difference between the two even though they are related. When most cars have a “low oil level” light come on it just means to add oil to prevent damage. When you have a “low oil pressure light” come on it means that NO oil is circulating through the engine which can cause catastrophic damage. Oil is the life blood of your engine and when you starve it of this vital fluid it can cause not only immediate damage, but long term engine damage from lack of lubrication. Your engine spins at thousands of revolutions per minute (RPM’s) so you can imagine what would happen if all of these metal parts are making contact with each other, and there is no oil to cool and lubricate them. If you are ever driving your MINI and the “low oil pressure” light comes on, pull over and add oil as soon as it it safely possible.
Whatever the reasons, it’s a good thing to see the interval shortened. At Haus of Mnis & BMW we recommend changing your oil every 6 months or 5,000 miles whichever comes first. If you follow our recommended interval you will save yourself thousands of $$$ in repair costs and a lot of heartache. We also recommend checking your oil in between oil changes to be safe and we are happy to check it for you FREE of charge. These are great little cars when they are maintained properly. The maintenance interval you see in your owner’s manual is the bare minimum that the factory recommends to keep your vehicle covered under warranty, but if you plan on keeping the vehicle past the warranty you will save yourself a lot of money in the long run by changing the oil more frequently than what the factory recommends.
An oil change for your MINI at The Haus is $59.95 so doing 2 oil changes a year would cost you approximately $120.00. To replace an engine on one of these cars costs between $7,000-$10,000 depending on whether you went new or used, so it would take roughly 58-83 years worth of oil changes to equal the cost of an engine replacement. Oil changes are an inexpensive and effective way to keep your MINI on the road and your ownership costs way down.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment to get your MINI’s oil changed please give us a call at 855-572-MINI (6464)