Buying a Mini-S - North American Motoring

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Buying a Mini-S

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  #1  
Old 12-05-2018, 04:45 AM
coffeebowl
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Buying a Mini-S

Good Morning Gents,

I'm looking to buying a 2006 Mini Cooper S - manual - convertible this weekend. Curently has 68,000 miles. I've done research on the car in general and it seems like they have issues with the clutch, power steering pump, control arm bushings. Those are the main things that i've seen discussed. I'm not trying to cause a stir but from reviews, the car is being labelled as unreliable. I'm sure there are many of you that have had success. I just want to hear your reviews and stories. I think it's a good deal and i want it but i don't want to let my emotions to get a head of me. Thanks
 
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Old 12-05-2018, 04:57 AM
N2MINI
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Keep in mind in car forums you only hear from the owners who are having troubles usually. As with any car some go 200,000 miles trouble free others only make it 50,000. So your going to hear from the 50,000 mile owner complaining about his car.. Of the first few Gen models alot of people say the 1st Gen is the car to have. They all have their troubles here and there but now the first Gens are cheap and have a pretty good aftermarket parts world, or atleast you can find one in a junk yard to scavenge parts from if need be..Alot of it depends on how you drive and maintain it of course..
 
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:07 AM
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That is a very low mileage Gen 1 Mini. MINIs, with proper maintenance, have gone hundreds of thousands of miles. The key is proper maintenance. Service records are a good source of how the car has been maintained. A carfax would be great. An absolute must is a pre-purchase inspection from a qualified dealership or independent shop. The areas of concern you stated are valid: however, many can be considered normal wear and tear Buy it, enjoy it...but do your homework first.
 
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:16 AM
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I'm with N2MINI. Mine is a 2004 S (Gen 1) that I bought with 125,000 miles on it, so I expected maintenance issues from the start (it's not my daily driver). My replacement list includes front wheel hubs/bearings, crankshaft seal, crank position sensor o-ring, supercharger air duct gasket, a/c compressor, coil, valve cover, plugs, SC pulley, serpentine belt, timing chain tensioner, rear shocks/struts, plus various other gaskets and hoses - all this in addition to quite a bit of cosmetic work. But I really enjoy the car, and love tinkering with it. Bear in mind that my MINI is 15 years old and I expected to have to work on it (and wanted to). So ... my advice would be to stay away from a Gen 1 MINI if you are not proficient with a wrench and/or don't have a high level of time, patience or disposable income (or an understanding partner).
 
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:17 AM
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Low mileage is encouraging. Get it inspected. My 2005 "justa" is my daily driver and has 157k miles on it. Its needed basic maintenance and with those miles you expect to have to replace some worn out parts, but I do what I can myself, and its still going great (touch wood). If it checks out and the price is right it could end up being the most fun you can have with your clothes on!
 
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:49 AM
coffeebowl
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Thanks for the quick replies guys. I understand where you guys are coming from. I would say Iím good with doing my own work as far as mods and maintenance. I own a 2014 mustang 5.0 supercharged and has a good amount of work done to it.

If I get the mini, it will be a daily, sole purpose is driving to and from work. Itís about an hour drive one way. I needed something with better mpg than the mustang and I didnít want to put miles on it as I just got this job recently.

i just want to make sure that the Mini wasnít going to cause me issues so often. I just just need something reliable (also that it will last a while), good on mpg, and of course fun to drive lol. I really donít want a a Chevy spark or anything like that. The Mini really appeals to me. Look forward to hearing more replies!

 
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Old 12-05-2018, 07:15 AM
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I get ~30mpg from my "non S" 1st gen, but its premium (93) fuel. Something like a Civic is probably more reliable and cheaper to run, but probably not a much fun, and will fill more of your garage. And doesnt have the rag top...so DEFINITELY not as much fun. Mind you, that may depend on your location. thats South Carolina weather speaking, if I was still in Canada the frustration of driving top up for a lot longer would probably be a negative factor...
 
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:58 AM
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My '06 Cabrio had 165,000 miles on it when I sold it. It was a very low maintenance car for me. Changed the oil everytime the computer told me too. Thermostat gasket had to be changed 3 times, 3rd brake 1 time, Front axles once but was probably because it was lowered quite a bit. Had the tranny flushed 1 time, 1 accessory belt change and still had the OEM spark plugs, coil, and clutch. Yet this car did BMW Performance Center Events, Auto-x, VIR a few times, club runs and Dragon twice a year...So they are tough cars...
 
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:40 PM
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As far as work on the 1st Gen MINI is concerned, this had to have been the easiest vehicle I have ever worked on or modded. Sure, you just about need to pull the front off for nearly everything you do, but it's actually very simple and goes right back together with little to no hassle. These cars were made to go into front end service mode very quickly and simply.

Between that, the price, the modability, and the fun factor, I can see why MINIs are so popular where I live. Adding on the convertible feature, and you got a good year round daily driver! My gas mileage is currently around 25-27 on a "spirited driving" tank and 28-30 on a conservative driving tank.
 
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Old 12-06-2018, 03:27 PM
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If your paycheck depends on your car's reliablility, I would be looking for a Toyota instead of an old english car.
 
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:00 PM
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I've driven an R53 since 2003, and my dad had one for 10 years. I've driven nearly 200,000 miles in them between the 2 that I've owned. (both 2003 models)
I think they're generally reliable. My first R53 went 155,000 miles before I got hit by a snow plow (no injuries, totaled the car) other than oil changes, brakes, and tires, I had to replace the front lower control arm bushings
the strut mounts
the radiator
the crank pulley
door lock actuators
power steering pump/fan (eventually covered under recall)
new struts at 100,000 miles
I'm pretty sure that was all. I never needed a new clutch and it always started and ran. Not too bad for a car that was driven cross country many times and saw way too many dirt roads and off road adventures. I had it for 12 years.

After it was killed by the snow plow, I replaced it with another 03 that had 55,000 miles on it. It had been well maintained, already had new lower control arm bushings and has most of the aftermarket bolt ons, like a cold air intake, super charger reduction pulley ect.
It's been very reliable for the 33,000 miles I've put on it. I put new struts on it, and recently had to put a new alternator in it, but it gets me to work everyday and I play with it on tracks on the weekends.

In general I'd say that these cars a maybe a bit higher maintenance than a honda civic, because the do need the fluids changed regularly, and they have some common problems, like the crank position sensor o-rings like to leak oil, the control arm bushings go bad, the power steering pumps fail, and the low speed cooling fan can fail. But in my experience if they're taken care of, they'll run very reliably. Especially if you have the mustang as a back up, I think a MINI would be a great daily driver. On the highway, you ought to be able to get low 30's for mpg, and you will really enjoy driving it.
 
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:26 PM
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Let me throw in my two cents for your consideration.

I purchased a 2006 MINI Cooper S Convertible last November with 13,500 miles. I do not do my own mechanical work, and depend on a trusted mechanic with some but not extensive MINI experience. When I bought it I had him go over it and take care of everything that was needed. He did all the routine stuff including flushing and replacing all the fluids, Replaced a rear strut, the ignition wires and thermostat housing. The total cost was $1,250. I am sure it was more than it needed but I wanted it perfect. It was out of service for a week waiting for parts.

In the first year, I drove it 4,500 miles including using it as a daily driver for about half of the summer (1 hour commute with heavy rush hour and city traffic). After the year, I had him go over the vehicle completely, do a synthetic oil change, rotate tires and replace the O2 Sensor - the warning light came on just before the scheduled service. The second service was $445.


I would recommend a MINI Convertible to someone who enjoys the go-cart like driving experience. My opinion is that the MINI convertible provides more of a convertible experience than most convertibles on the market due to the shape of the vehicle and the distance to the windshield. You look forward and see the sky where in many cars, your forward view is pure windshield. From everything I have heard, the last of the first generation, are the most reliable and have the most go-cart like drive.

I would not recommend one for you for your long commute as your daily driver. The maintenance cost, time waiting for parts, cost of fuel and inconveniences of a 12 year old car make it a tough car to recommend for your need. While less than a V8 Mustang, the MINI consumes more fuel than some other options and it requires premium. While I said I believe it to be the most reliable MINI, that is when the age is factored in.

There are also quirks that need to be considered. The rearward visibility out of the convertible is pathetic. You have to adjust your driving style to account for the fact that the rear view is slightly larger than a post-it note. NEVER pull into a parking space, you will need to back out of the space several feet before you can see anything. Technology from 2006, augmented by things powered by the 12-volt outlet. The quirks make it unique and are part of why we love them (a distant second to the go-cart drive), they can get annoying in a long daily commute.

I recommend that you consider a Mazda as an alternative. Mazdas are as reliable as Toyota and Honda (as with everything above - purely my opinion). Mazdas, however, have a much more enjoyable drive than Toyotas and Hondas. Mazdas make a great daily driver for someone who enjoys driving but needs to know that the car will be ready to go every day of the year. Another alternative may be a late 2nd generation MINI 2012 or 2013, however, I defer that recommendation to others.
 
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:58 AM
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by coffeebowl View Post
Good Morning Gents,

I'm looking to buying a 2006 Mini Cooper S - manual - convertible this weekend. Curently has 68,000 miles. I've done research on the car in general and it seems like they have issues with the clutch, power steering pump, control arm bushings. Those are the main things that i've seen discussed. I'm not trying to cause a stir but from reviews, the car is being labelled as unreliable. I'm sure there are many of you that have had success. I just want to hear your reviews and stories. I think it's a good deal and i want it but i don't want to let my emotions to get a head of me. Thanks
As far as common stuff, you pretty much hit them all. Suspension parts wear out mostly, things leaks, etc....also check engine and transmission mounts. As far as the clutch goes, it's just like any other car....mine went 160,000 miles before it crapped out. And I'm still on the stock power steering pump. I've heard of some only going 60,000 miles....it all depends on how it was driven.

I would not label these cars as unreliable......it all depends on how you take care of them, and service them. Just keep in mine, you are looking at a 12year old car.......anything 12 years old could/might/will have some issues. That's just how it is.
 
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:25 PM
coffeebowl
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Originally Posted by IQRaceworks View Post
As far as common stuff, you pretty much hit them all. Suspension parts wear out mostly, things leaks, etc....also check engine and transmission mounts. As far as the clutch goes, it's just like any other car....mine went 160,000 miles before it crapped out. And I'm still on the stock power steering pump. I've heard of some only going 60,000 miles....it all depends on how it was driven.

I would not label these cars as unreliable......it all depends on how you take care of them, and service them. Just keep in mine, you are looking at a 12year old car.......anything 12 years old could/might/will have some issues. That's just how it is.

Thats what I like to hear.

I understand the age of the car definitely comes into play.

i just wanted to hear the success stories from you guys and youíre definitely one of them. Itís reassuring
 
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Old 12-08-2018, 03:53 PM
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We are at a little over 2.5 years into the MINI experiment. In that time, we have done a ton of preventative maintenance and some wear and tear replacements not unexpected.

It has been reliable mostly. This is my kidís commuter so it sees about 250 miles per week at about 25 mpg. Itís not super efficient so if your are hoping for 35-50 mpgs, this is not the car. It does make up in the fun quotient so i know that is also something you are looking for.

Take a peek at the link in the sig to see what weíve done for service. It is a great platform to teach car maintenance 101 on.
 

Last edited by Zsm; 12-08-2018 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 12-08-2018, 05:59 PM
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I bought 2006 r52 s with 64000 miles. I bought it in June. So far I have had to replace the crank pulley and the fuel pump. The low pressure power steering hose from the reservoir started leaking recently so I put screw clamps on both ends and it stopped. The low speed fan relay also went out and caused the AC compressor to burn up which I havenít replaced yet. Letís see what else? The window seal on the drivers side leaks water when it rains at the front corner. The rubber trim around the top at the base was already rotted and falling apart when I got it. The clearcoat is flaking off just below the drivers side door handle and on the trim piece on the rear hatch. The Mini emblems were missing off the center of two wheels. Before I got it the previous owner had one of the motor mounts replaced (not sure which one). The front Phillips speakers in the door were worn out and rattling. The LED readout on the radio has lost some of its pixels.

I think thatís it and thatís too much for a vehicle with only 65-70,000 miles in my opinion. Some of it is due to cheap components and the rest to poor design. Good luck! Forgot one thing. The rally stripes on the hood are cracking.
 
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Old 12-08-2018, 08:43 PM
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It's really interesting hearing all of you guys experiences. I bought my 2005 r52 ns, auto, in 4/2016.I had all the service records from when it was new. I spend about $1,200.00 on having all the fluids changed, all the filters changed, and a couple of other maintenance items. The first couple of tanks of gas I got about 28 MPG combined driving. Then the mod bug hit and I got addicted to modding the car as it was the 'most fun' car I have ever driven. Knock on wood, I haven't had any serious problems in the 26,000 miles I have put on the car. No, it is not my daily driver. I have a hybrid Ioniq that get about 52 MPG...but is boring as hell to drive.
 
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