In 2002, BMW breathed new life into a famous British brand when it started making a relaunched Mini Cooper. The Mini is hip, and is a blast to drive, particularly in S form. However, the model is not without its problems, particularly the models made during the first few years of production when the bugs were being ironed out. And like any BMW product, it is an expensive car to maintain properly.
The engine in the Mini is a pretty durable unit if properly maintained. There have been some reports of bad fuel causing problems with the fuel injection, but this can usually be avoided by using the proper, high octane fuel.
Like all BMW products, Minis can suffer from failed water pumps and radiators. It is recommended that water pumps be replaced every 60,000 miles and radiators every 100,000 miles as preventive maintenance.
The CVT automatic transmission that some of the older MINIs used is one of the most common problem areas. Unfortunately BMW does not offer parts to repair or rebuild the gearbox, so the only option is replace the entire thing at £3,250 to £4,550. BMW has since stopped using the CVT. The manual transmissions in the early cars can be problematic, but this was fixed in later cars.
Early Minis can suffer from damage to their upper strut mounts if they are driven on bumpy and or potholed roads. The fix involves welding in reinforcement plates. Control arm bushings can suffer excess wear and often need to be replaced as often as 40,000 miles.
The Mini is a very well engineered car, and the majority of owners are happy with their purchases. Like any used car however, a pre-purchase inspection is recommended when looking at a Mini.
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