Did you know that Mini Coopers didn't have any major design changes for over 41 years? The designer and the public loved the initial design of the vehicle so much, they decided to keep it. But, as time progressed, and BMW took over, the car began to go through a lot of upgrades to make the Minis we know today.
Many Mini owners love the feeling they get behind the wheel, but how do they feel under the hood? DIY Mini repair is a challenge, but with the right parts, tools, and advice, it's extremely fun and rewarding.
In this guide, we'll cover common Mini Cooper problems, the essential tools for your DIY toolkit, and additional tips for repairing your Mini. Ready to learn more? Let's go!
Common Mini Cooper Problems
Mini Coopers have their own range of common problems that are very annoying to enthusiasts. It is rather well known that Minis require a lot of maintenance and are often a bit of a pain to fix. But, the rewards of a well-running Cooper far outweigh the cons.
Here is a list of the most common problems mini owners experience, a brief explanation of why it occurs, and how to prevent them from occurring.
Damage to the Front Radiator Support and Cooling House
Minis are very compact vehicles that are designed to fit tons of parts into one tiny space. At the front of the vehicle lies the radiator and cooling house. The only support your radiator has is a few pieces of plastic.
Something as simple as hitting a curb is a strong enough force to cause damage to this area and cause your Mini to go out of commission. The best way to protect your radiator and its housing is to drive safely and avoid any objects on the road.
Leaks from the Water Pump
Mini Coopers require a water pump and thermostat housing change once every 50,000 miles. This change is typically made to prevent the water pump or housing from failing while on the road. But, it is also common for water pumps to crack while driving.
When the water pump is fried, you'll likely discover your car overheats easily, leaks coolant, or that the AC doesn't work. These are all signs that the water pump needs replacing. To avoid these types of failures, it is important to follow manufacturer guidelines and replace your water pump every 50,000 miles.
Clutch failures are the result of wear and tear and hard use. Replacing the clutch on a Mini Cooper is not an easy feat. To replace the clutch of a Mini Cooper, you'll have to take a part the entirety of the front end, remove a lot of parts, and remember how to put it back together.
To prevent a hefty fix like this, be mindful of your abilities to drive a manual car and practice safe driving.
Transmission Problems and Failure
From a historical standpoint, Mini Coopers have had transmission issues since their dawn. Generally speaking, automatic transmissions are more prone to failure than their manual counterparts.
The most common reason for Mini transmission failure is replacing the transmission fluid. Despite what your local mechanic might say, Mini Cooper does not recommend changing the fluid. Additionally, to avoid transmission problems, it's best to drive the car on the terrains it can handle.
The most common causes for engine misfires in a Mini are faulty coil packs, spark plugs, and core plugs. These are all relatively easy fixes for DIY repair.
While there isn't much you can do to prevent misfires from occurring, it's wise to keep an extra coil pack and a set of spark plugs on hand.
What to Put in Your DIY Toolkit
There are a lot of essential pieces that go into a Mini DIY repair toolbox. The most important of these is a screwdriver kit.
The Mini Cooper doesn't use traditional screw heads. Instead, they use Torx screws. These screws use a six-point groove and are typically used by manufacturers to prevent tampering.
That being said, finding a mechanic, friend, or shop with the right tools to fix your car can be really challenging. When making your toolbox, be sure to order a set of screwdrivers, lug nuts, and other tools that support this style of screw.
There are also some key parts to keep in your car and tool kit at all times. For one, you'll want to have at least one extra coil, spark plug, and core plug.
The coils in Minis are prone to go out, and usually when it's least convenient. By having an extra in the glove box, you're able to resolve this problem fast and easily.
Spark plugs are also the most common reason for engine misfires in any car. Without working spark plugs, your car will have a hard time going anywhere. For safety reasons, it is best to have an extra set and the right drivers in your car for when things get sticky.
Core plugs, also known as freeze plugs or Welsh plugs, are designed to protect the engine from damage from the cold. If the coolant in an engine freezes, the block can crack and create even more problems in the future. Having a few in your toolbox is great for preventative measures and any engine repairs.
On top of these parts, you'll want to have extra fluids around as well. Mini Coopers guzzle oil very fast. Many drivers will keep an extra liter of oil in the back of the car just in case they get low while zipping down the road.
Additionally, you'll want to have some extra coolant. When Minis have leaks or a faulty water pump, they'll burn through the coolant. Having some extra lying around is the best way to prevent further damage to the cooling system.
DIY Mini Repair
Repairing your Mini Cooper yourself is not a feat for the weak. Minis require special parts and tools that can be hard to come by. But with our tips and a little elbow grease, you're well on your way to becoming an at-home Mini mechanic.
For more help with Mini repairs, or if you need help locating, buying, or researching the parts you need, contact us. We're glad to help.