Mini Cooper Tips

by Merrill Gillaspy

According to Edmunds.com, the sub-subcompact Mini Cooper debuted in Great Britian in 1959. The British Mini, along with the Mini Cooper, came to the United States in the 1960s. Although the Mini fell out of favor for a time--as gas guzzlers ruled the road--it returned in 2002. By 2007 the car was given a mechanical makeover. Nevertheless, the Mini can be an idiosyncratic automobile. And a few troubleshooting tips can go a long way in perfecting the overall Mini Cooper experience.

Windows, ABS and Cold Weather Beep

The Mini Cooper is known for windows that fail to drop when the doors are ajar. A mechanic will tell you the problem is likely a "confused system." This confusion can occur when you've pressed the window switch to make sure the windows are fully up but they already are up. This makes the system think the windows need closing. Engage, and hold, the window switch in the up position to overcome this. Expect to hear a clunking sound soon after you start the car and when you reach upward of 15 mph. This is an automated testing of the ABS (anti-lock braking system). The central locking system will also emit a clunking noise, but that is not something to worry about. Mini Coopers from model year 2002 on have a cold-temperature warning device. When the outside temperature reaches 37 degrees Fahrenheit, you'll hear a chime or beep and a readout alert. This was developed to make drivers cognizant of the development of black ice on the roadway.

Speedometer and Hood

The Mini Cooper's speedometer will tend to shake whenever the computer is toggling back to its factory presets. You'll see this happen spontaneously if the battery has been removed recently or when the key is turned to the second position and maintained there for more than 60 seconds. This should not cause you worry unless the shaking doesn't stop. In which case, see your dealer. Occasionally, the Mini's hood won't open. One recommended trick is to apply pressure to the hood while a friend tugs the lever. Failing this team-inspired approach, you'll have to remove the right front wheel and release the catch by hand. This problem shouldn't arise in the 2007 models.

Hot Engine and Low Oil Pressure

Minis can sometimes overheat. A solution that's not specific to Minis is to engage your heating system and turn it up full-blast. This transfers the engine heat to the cabin, blowing hot air out of the engine block. Although this won't fix the problem, it will buy you time to get to someone who can. A low oil-pressure light is something to take pretty seriously. Don't panic if you're confronted with this warning light in your Mini, however. The oil filter in a Mini Cooper is fitted with a cartridge that spring-loads the filter against the oil filter cap and base. If your mechanic forgets to attach the cartridge, the filter won't seal as it should, causing low pressure. Just make sure the cartridge makes it in there.

About the Author

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera yellow mini cooper headlight image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com