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How reliable are the 2nd gen Minis?

  #1  
Old 03-24-2019, 12:16 PM
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How reliable are the 2nd gen Minis?

I'm currently looking for a (first) car for my daughter. I was originally thinking Honda or Toyota because of their reliability but she is infatuated with mini coopers and would love to have one. I'm looking at 2nd gen Minis mainly because those are the ones that are fitting the budget I have.
While reading up on the cars though I am questioning their reliability. On one hand some are saying that the mini is not that bad as long as the preventative maintenance is followed while others give a very strong warning to avoid this car at all costs.
​​​​​​I'd like to have a good idea how reliable this car actually and figured this would be the best place to ask.
if I buy one it'll definitely be a manual transmission, she's doing pretty well learning to drive one.
As far as repairs, it looks like I could do anything that would go wrong. I've done engine rebuilds before clutch replacements etc... I just would not want to be working on the car every weekend.....
Buying parts for this car generally doesn't look too bad (reference auto zone, rock Rock Auto) with the exception of the fuel pump which about gave me a heart attack.
Any opinions/input is appreciated.
 
  #2  
Old 03-27-2019, 06:07 AM
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you'll find people on both sides of the fence...personally, I like 2nd gen 07-14 minis to the point it became a hobby to flip them. the N14 needs a bit of attention, mainly oil and coolant. the manual transmission is much better than automatic and is less headache.

generally speaking, you would want to know if the car had the following done or if it will need to be done:
1- timing chain
2- thermostat
3- water pump
4- water pump pipe
5- turbo oil feed line
6- oil filter housing
7- high pressure fuel pump
8- front strut mounts

try to get one with softer suspension otherwise the drive wont be as exciting

check these site for references:

www.newtis.info
www.realoem.com
 
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  #3  
Old 03-27-2019, 07:24 AM
Fly'n Brick
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Avoid, like typhoid, early Gen 2 models with the N14 engine. The N18 still needs close attention but doesn't seem to have such catastrophic issues. She'll need to take care of managing it's service intervals faithfully, like oil change EVERY 5K miles and other fluid changes at their recommended intervals.
Here's a link to a Sticky thread with some excellent information that may be of help.
https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...ml#post4459320
 

Last edited by Fly'n Brick; 03-27-2019 at 07:33 AM.
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  #4  
Old 03-27-2019, 09:16 AM
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My 2010 MINI with the N14 engine has been trouble free since I purchased it new. Any engine could fail if they are abused by not maintaining them properly, but with regular 5000 mile oil changes, and checking the oil whenever you get gas, you can get many miles of trouble free driving from a second generation MINI.

The MINI company started the perceived problems because of their ridiculous 15,000 mile recommended oil change interval and no maintenance transmission claims.

Car forums are notorious for making any car look bad, because people go to them because they are having a problem, not because they are not having a problem.

Look for a car that has been serviced regularly and has the documentation to prove it.
 
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  #5  
Old 03-27-2019, 12:23 PM
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It's not safe to say but I'll say it anyway that which expresses my theory of the difference between how guys and gals approach car care. It can be stated in a simple anecdote that hasn't gotten my head ripped off by my co-pilot...yet (her's is a '15 R60). Gals notice shoes and guys notice tires.
 
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Old 03-27-2019, 01:59 PM
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The 2nd gen MINI, topic of interest being the N14 or N18 engines, are not as reliable nor that robust in comparison to cars in same class. Just as what the above posts stated, you'll need to keep an eye on it closely. MiniTobe brought out a good list, most times, those are the items I replace first hand no matter what when I first buy a used MCS. I just can't sleep in peace until those parts are addressed properly before I really start to drive it. After you take care of that laundry list, you'll have a stunning experience with this fun-filled used car. It'll last for another 50k-60k without other major issues as long as you keep up with the service intervals. More importantly, learn to pick up a wrench and start doing it or leaning to do it on your own. These little go-carts can be fun, but when it has to go into a grease rack, they will charge you an arm and a leg because most parts you'll replace requires the vehicle to be placed in service support mod in order to get space to access the peripherals for replacement. That's the most gruesome part of my experience with the MCS. I do all the work myself, but even today, just to get ready to replace an alternator, a header, water pump, etc., it takes a good extra hour to undo the front bumper, put it in service mode first, then you can start to work on the actual part. It gets old after a while. And my experience with outsourcing has seen lots of them missing a screw here or a tab there when they put things back. I trust myself most.
 
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Old 03-28-2019, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Fish149 View Post
I'm currently looking for a (first) car for my daughter. I was originally thinking Honda or Toyota because of their reliability but she is infatuated with mini coopers and would love to have one. I'm looking at 2nd gen Minis mainly because those are the ones that are fitting the budget I have.
While reading up on the cars though I am questioning their reliability. On one hand some are saying that the mini is not that bad as long as the preventative maintenance is followed while others give a very strong warning to avoid this car at all costs.
​​​​​​I'd like to have a good idea how reliable this car actually and figured this would be the best place to ask.
if I buy one it'll definitely be a manual transmission, she's doing pretty well learning to drive one.
As far as repairs, it looks like I could do anything that would go wrong. I've done engine rebuilds before clutch replacements etc... I just would not want to be working on the car every weekend.....
Buying parts for this car generally doesn't look too bad (reference auto zone, rock Rock Auto) with the exception of the fuel pump which about gave me a heart attack.
Any opinions/input is appreciated.
Wow, I could have written this post myself!

I just got my daughter an ‘04 with the 5 speed manual trans, and she’ll have had it a week tomorrow. She has a year of driving experience, so all she had to learn was shifting a manual.

’02 through ‘06 has the Tritec engine, which is reliable from what I’ve read. The 5 speed Midlands trans seems to be a little weak, but it’s better than the infamous CVT. The S model of the 1st Gens has the good Getrag or Aisin transmissions.

I recommend getting a Bentley manual, they’re not cheap but good used copies come up on eBay. To me the Chilton’s or Haynes aren’t worth the money.
 
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan_in_WA View Post
Wow, I could have written this post myself!

I just got my daughter an ‘04 with the 5 speed manual trans, and she’ll have had it a week tomorrow. She has a year of driving experience, so all she had to learn was shifting a manual.

’02 through ‘06 has the Tritec engine, which is reliable from what I’ve read. The 5 speed Midlands trans seems to be a little weak, but it’s better than the infamous CVT. The S model of the 1st Gens has the good Getrag or Aisin transmissions.

I recommend getting a Bentley manual, they’re not cheap but good used copies come up on eBay. To me the Chilton’s or Haynes aren’t worth the money.
The 05-06 R50s, to my knowledge, have Getrag 5 speed transmissions, a vast improvement over the Midlands. Here are some thoughts based on our experience: Any owner of a MINI needs to pay attention to fluid levels on a weekly basis. If you flog a MINI, you will also flog your wallet. Having owned an 06 R53 since new, I have found that unlike Asian cars, which are gas and go, first generation MINIs, 'can't attest to second gens other than what I have read or heard, require attention to detail and becoming familiar with some of the idiosynchracies that may eliminate financial heart burn. It is also prudent to buy an automobile at the end of a production run--that's the main reason we bought an 06 vs an 07. Reading the owners manual will also eliminate a lot of consternation. As Fly'n Brick says, ya gotta look at the tires and as I always say, like flying an airplane, you gotta kick 'em, meaning pay attention to the details. As with any fine automobile, if you treat a MINI with respect, it will more than return the favor. Our R53 is nigh on bullet proof and will remain in the fleet 'til they pry the keys outta my hands. In a MINI, for the money, you will not find a better grin generator. Good luck.
 

Last edited by buzzsaw; 03-29-2019 at 09:44 AM.
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