Please see us for any type of bodywork, from minor scratches to major collision damage on your BMW or Mini Cooper. We deal with the insurance companies on your behalf to ensure that your vehicle is repaired back to factory specifications. We are here to answer your questions concerning estimates or our repair process. Our friendly and professional staff will assist you with your insurance company. Their training assures you of quality repairs, placing your satisfaction first. We serve all of Los Angeles including Culver City, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Van Nuys, Studio City, Burbank, North Hollywood, Los Feliz, and West LA. Please give us a call today 855-572-MINI (6464) if you have any questions or to book an appointment for estimate.
At The Haus we continue our efforts to educate our clients on how certain parts of their engine work. The Turbo Charger was invented by Swiss engineer Alfred Buchi. The purpose was to take advantage of the exhaust gas produced by the engine. Even in today’s world, aircraft, boats, and automobiles are equipped with turbo engines. Airplanes have turbo charged engines to tolerate low air pressure and high altitudes. Cruise ships and boats also use turbo charged diesel engines. Engines that have turbos are known as turbo charged engines.
A standard turbo that is used in cars, planes, and boats is composed of a shaft with a turbine wheel on one end and a compressor wheel on the other end. The turbine wheel and the compressor wheel look identical and are covered by a housing. The exhaust gas that is produced by the engine, enters the turbine housing through the inlet port. At this point thermal energy is converted to kinetic energy because of the constriction inside the turbine, subsequently the turbine is driven by kinetic energy. As the compressor and turbine share the same shaft the compressor wheel spins at the same time as the turbine wheel, consequently the compressor wheel draws in air and compresses it. Then the air passes through the outer port of the turbine and supplies the engine with oxygen.
Turbo engines only work efficiently if other components are part of the entire system. Other components that are necessary for the turbo are a intercooler and a waste gate. The intercooler comes into play when the air heats up when it is compressed in the turbo. The intercooler will cool down the hot air coming from the compressor ensuring more oxygen reaches the engine. This helps the engine become more efficient. The waste gate is used to divert away excess gas away from the turbine when too much excess gas is produced by the engine. It limits the speed of the turbine wheel and the compressor wheel so that the so that the turbo charger will not get damaged.
There are many benefits to having a turbo charged engine. Comparing an engine with a turbo and to one without that produces the same amount of power, is that the engine with the turbo will use less fuel. With the engine being smaller than a naturally aspirated engine with the same power it produces less noise than the non-turbo charged engine. Turbo charged engines also perform much better at high altitude.
Gasoline engines require air pressure to burn fuel and generate power, at higher altitudes there is less air pressure, so non turbo charged engines will produce much less power. With a turbo charged engine the power generation actually improves, this is because there is a greater pressure difference between the air pressure ahead of the turbo and the lower air pressure at the exhaust. The turbo charger increases the density of air entering the engine which generates more power. Turbo charged engines are usually smaller than non-turbo charged engines which them lighter and more efficient. A turbo charged engine being smaller than a regular engine, burns less fuel and in doing so generates less environmentally unfriendly pollution.
If you have any questions regarding your turbo charger or any other part of your car please don’t hesitate to call us at (855) 572-6464
An issue with the airbags on Mini Cooper hatchbacks and convertibles has prompted BMW of North America and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a recall for an estimated 91,800 vehicles.
The problem, according to the notice below, stems from the occupant detection mat for the front passenger seat, which may fail to detect a passenger present and therefor fail to deploy the airbag in the event of a crash.
The specific models affected by the recall are the Mini Cooper and Cooper S hardtops from the 2005 and 2006 model years and manufactured between January 5, 2005, and November 28, 2006, as well as the Mini Cooper Convertible and Cooper S Convertible from the 2005 to 2008 model years, manufactured between January 5, 2005, and July 31, 2008.
To address the issue, Mini dealers will be replacing the front passenger seat occupant detection mat, with recalls set to commence on May 1.
Here is a copy of the recall letter:
RECALL Subject : Front Passenger Seat Occupant Detection Mat
Report Receipt Date: APR 06, 2015
NHTSA Campaign Number: 15V205000
Component(s): AIR BAGS
Potential Number of Units Affected: 91,800
Manufacturer: BMW of North America, LLC
BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling certain model year 2005-2006 MINI Cooper and Cooper S vehicles manufactured January 5, 2005, to November 28, 2006, and 2005-2008 MINI Cooper Convertible and Cooper S Convertible vehicles manufactured January 5, 2005, to July 31, 2008. Due to manufacturing, installation, and exposure issues, the front passenger seat occupant detection mat may not function properly and, as a result, the front passenger air bag may not deploy in a crash.
An improperly functioning mat may cause the passenger frontal air bag to be inactive when the seat is occupied, and in the event of a crash, the air bag will not deploy, increasing the passenger’s risk of injury.
MINI will notify owners, and dealers will replace the front passenger seat occupant detection mat, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin May 1, 2015. Owners may contact MINI customer service at 1-866-825-1525.
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
If you have any questions please call Haus of MINIS & BMW in Sherman Oaks, California and we would be happy to assist.
If you need MINI Cooper Repair, Service or Diagnostics in Los Angeles, please call to schedule an appointment: 855.572.MINI (6464)
In life there are situations that start out great, but sometimes end in an unfortunate, premature way. This does not have to be the case when it comes to the relationship between you and your car. There is a solution, and it’s called an extended warranty, and it can help keep your car a prized possession rather than a cumbersome money pit. In essence an extended warranty is an insurance policy for your vehicle that covers vehicle repairs, instead of collision or accident damage. An extended warranty can safeguard against expensive, unforeseen repairs. Extended warranties are really service contracts, since they cost extra and are sold separately. With all extended warranties it is important that you maintain your vehicle per the manufacturers recommended service intervals. In all the years I have been in the automotive business the only time I have seen extended warranty companies deny coverage it is because the vehicle was not maintained properly, abused, or modified in someway that was detrimental to the vehicle (such as raised or lowered suspension).
An extended warranty may purchased at the time you buy your vehicle or much further along in your ownership experience, but realize if you purchase after the vehicle is out of the manufacturers warranty the cost can be significantly higher.
If you are the type of person that likes to prepared for all eventualities, bearing in mind the ever increasing cost of vehicle repairs, then a service contract can make a lot of sense.
There are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing an extended warranty, such as:
What is the reliability record of the vehicle you are buying? Take a look at the reliability history for the vehicle you are considering purchasing. Unfortunately MINI and BMW, according to Consumer Reports are not the most reliable vehicles on the road, so a service contract is highly recommended. As an example the cost of replacement for a new transmission on a MINI or BMW can range between $6000-$8000, so you can see how a service contract can be beneficial to you.
Ask who is behind the warranty that you are considering? According to Consumer Reports the top 5 warranty companies are: Endurance, Carchex, Warranty Direct, Easy Care, and AA Auto Protection If possible stick with one of these companies. From our experience we have found found that Fidelity and MaxCare are also good companies to purchase an extended warranty from.
Can repairs be performed at any repair shop? Some extended warranties stipulate that repairs must be performed at the dealership where the warranty was purchased, this can prove limiting and inconvenient. We recommend purchasing an extended warranty that allows repairs at any certified automotive repair facility. You will definitely appreciate this if your vehicle breaks down or needs repairs while you are on a road trip.
Is the warranty transferable? Some service contracts end when the person who bought the warranty sells the car. A contract that allows you to transfer the warranty to a new buyer is preferable, and it’s a great selling point.
What exactly is covered? Know what is covered, and more importantly what’s not covered.
Is a cash layout required for repairs? Some warranty companies require that you pay the bill, send in the invoice or receipt and wait for reimbursement. It can take weeks, even months to get reimbursed by the warranty company. You will want a warranty company that pays the dealership or repair facility directly with a credit card.
Remember to compare all of your options before making a decision. Utilize the internet, many companies sell directly online, cutting out the middle man (i.e. the dealership). Shop around, once you have decided on the which brand of vehicle you want to purchase get some quotes from other dealers, it will at least give you an idea of what an extended warranty, with the coverage you want should cost. If you are a member of a credit union, check with them as most offer inexpensive extended warranties that can be purchased directly from them.
In warranty buying, as in many other aspects of life, it helps to educate yourself.
Feel free to contact us at The Haus in Los Angeles, California if you have any questions about the warranty you are considering purchasing, we would be happy to give you our opinion.
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.
Looking for MINI Cooper Service in Sherman Oaks? Call House of Minis & BMW Today! (855) 572-6464
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
As we move further into the 21st century, many auto manufacturers are turning to engine management systems that employ “direct injection” fuel injection systems. Direct injection systems inject the fuel directly into the combustion chamber at the precise timing for optimum power and/or economy under a specific operating condition, or parameters.
The gasoline is highly pressurized, and injected via a fuel rail/line directly into the combustion chamber of each cylinder. With multi-port fuel injection the fuel is injected into the intake tract, or cylinder port. The major drawback with direct port injections, is although is provides more power and fuel efficiency it causes carbon build up in the intake valves, and over time reduces airflow to the cylinders, and therefore reduces engine power. Most fuel contains various detergents that can keep the intake valves clean, but with direct injection the fuel never touches the intake valves, as it does with a multi-port injection system. When fuel is no longer sprayed into the intake valves, it allows dirt and carbon from intake air to cake/build up on intake walls, even when there are air filters that prevent most dirt from entering the cylinder. The build up can become severe enough to cause sporadic ignition failures.
In 2003 BMW introduced a low pressure gasoline direct injection N73 V-12 engine. This initial BMW setup could not enter lean-burn mode, BMW introduced it’s second generation High Pressure Injection (H.P.I.) system on the new turbo-charged N54 straight 6 engine in 2006. This system used high pressure injectors, and this system surpasses may others with a much wider envelope of lean fuel burn time which increases overall efficiency. BMW in conjunction with Peugeot designed a line of engines (BMW Prince Engine) that made it’s debut in the 2007 MINI Cooper S model. In 2008, BMW released the X6 equipped with a direct injected twin turbo N63 V-8 engine.
The N54 and N55 twin and single turbo engines seem to be the most susceptible to the heavy carbon build up (although it effects all models). BMW and MINI dealers are happy to perform the de-carbon service for fees in the $850-$1200 neighborhood (much, much higher if you have a twin turbo V-8). The carbon cleaning is not terribly complicated on the 4 & 6 cylinder models but it does require removal of the intake manifold and a media blaster to clean the intake ports and valves.
If your MINI cooper or BMW needs a carbon cleaning/de-carbon call The Haus we can save you a lot of time & money compared to the dealer and provide the same quality of repairs and customer service.
We have a beautiful, state of the art facility and we have all of the amenities that the dealerships do, and we also provide a FREE customer shuttle within a 10 mile radius.
We proudly serve Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Van Nuys, Encino,Burbank, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, all of Los Angeles, Culver City, and Santa Monica.
If you own a first or second generation MINI there are several common oil leaks to both models.
R50 & R53
Often referred to as the “Death Rattle Noise”, this audible sound coming from the engine bay is the timing chain in your R55, R56, or R57. When you first start your car you may experience a noise coming from the engine bay on a cold morning, once the engine warms up the noise may go away. If you lift your hood up that noise is coming from the front of the timing cover. One of the possible causes for this noise occurs when the timing chain support rail loses tension. This support rail is made of a durable plastic, but with heat and time, the plastic can become brittle and break. If you here this noise, you should call a certified Mini Cooper technician immediately as you do not want to hurt the valve train or further damage the timing system.
Unlike most cars, the Mini Cooper uses a metal timing chain rather than a belt made of composite materials. One of the features of the BMW Prince engine is that the timing chain and tensioner are located inside the engine; the major drawback of this design is that when the timing chain or tensioner fails it can cause catastrophic engine damage. The most common cause of timing chain tensioner/chain failure is low engine oil. If you follow the MINI/BMW maintenance intervals an oil change is only recommended once a year or every 15,000 miles. This interval is far too long for the BMW Prince engine, especially if you have the turbo charged version. These are high revving engines that put out a lot of power for their size, and these engines are notorious for burning/consuming oil. We recommend an oil change every 6 months or 5,000 miles, if you follow this maintenance schedule the timing chain can last the lifetime of the vehicle. Performing an oil change is far cheaper than timing chain replacement or engine repairs. Engine replacement can run between $5000-$8000 depending on what repairs are done. Performing 2-3 oil changes a year will cost you less than $200.
If you’re in the market to purchase a 2nd generation Cooper or Cooper S. Be sure to review all service records to see if the timing chain has ever been replaced and that the oil was changed regularly. If you are buying from a dealer ask the salesman if the warranty or extended warranty you were to purchase from them would cover this expense?
Customers often call our shop and ask us, “ What are some things to look out for when purchasing a MINI Cooper?” This is a great example of a common issue. Check back for more Mini Cooper buyer information in future posts. If you’re looking for a Certified Mini Cooper repair shop in Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, or Studio City, California please give us a call at (855) 572-MINI (6464).