Mini Cooper Maintenance Tips: Q&A with Mini Cooper Expert Len Gilmore

How often should I take my Mini Cooper for regular routine services?

Although this will vary depending on your Mini Cooper model, production date and engine option, most models should be maintained based on 10,000 mile intervals. As the Texas environment is typically hotter than most parts of the country and Germany, the experts at German Auto Center strongly recommend having an oil service done between each factory scheduled maintenance interval. German Auto Center recommends that Mini Cooper S models, Turbo and super charged models have their engine oil changed every 5,000 miles. This is due to the extreme engine heat developed by these engines.

 

Are all Mini Cooper models serviced the same?

All later model Mini Cooper vehicles are on a standard factory recommended service schedule of every 10,000 miles. Late model Mini Cooper vehicles use onboard diagnostics to track service intervals for regular maintenance items such as filters, oil, brakes and even state inspections. These are conditional service indicators and are only estimates. If your Mini Cooper is indicating a conditional service, stop by and visit German Auto Center and we will tell you exactly what your Mini Cooper or Mini Cooper S needs and reset and service indicators as necessary.

 

What type of fuel should I be using in my Mini Cooper?

Most all Mini Cooper vehicles will have a fuel notification on the backside of the fuel door. Most all Mini Cooper vehicles require a minimum of 91 octane fuel. In the state of Texas, most stations do not carry 91 octane and as such, 93 octane should be used. Please see the technical tip on fuels on the German Auto Center blog for more technical information.

 

What if I lost my Mini Cooper repair manual?

Manuals can be ordered on line through Mini Cooper of North America.

 

What does your Mini Cooper check engine light mean?

The check engine light is used to notify the operator of potential issues related to engine management and emissions. In today’s complex Mini Cooper’s, the engine management system is tied to virtually all drive and power control modules. Most of today’s vehicles have 20 -30 computer control modules within this system. As a general rule of thumb, if the check engine light is on solid, it is an indicator of an emissions or fuel efficiency issue. If the check engine light is flashing, or you are experiencing drivability issues, stop driving and contact German Auto Center as this may be an indicator of more serious issues.

 

What’s good Mini Cooper engine oil?

German Auto Center recommends Mobil 1 0W/40 full synthetic motor oil. This is used by most all German manufacturers including Mercedes Benz, Porsche and Audi. Older models not requiring full synthetic oil can use a 10w/40 mineral based oil readily available. We would recommend Castrol or Mobil in these models. German Auto Center advises against blended oil as these have the cost of synthetics but do not perform to the level engines requiring a full synthetic need. Please note that all Mini Cooper S models, Turbo and Supercharged engines, require full synthetic oils. Please see German Auto Center for more technical oil information.

 

When should I consider rebuilding my Mini Cooper engine?

Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S engines will provide many year and many miles of service is properly maintained. Please consult the experts at German Auto Center before considering an engine rebuild. The experts at German Auto Center build many German engines for Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porsche, Mini and Audi and we will be happy to assist you in diagnosing yours. Please be cautious as these engines use complex light alloys and are highly subject to failure due to overheating. Always pay attention to your warning indicators.

 

My air bag lights are on in my Mini Cooper, what does this mean?

Other than the passenger seat airbag notification, if you’re Mini Cooper is displaying an airbag fault light, your airbag system is disabled due to a system fault. If your Mini Cooper has an airbag light, stop by at German Auto Center and we will be happy to diagnose this for you. Airbag lights faults may come from the airbag itself, seat belt buckles or within the vehicle control modules.

 

When will I know if my Mini Cooper needs new brakes?

Most current Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S models have built in brake sensors on the right rear wheel and the left front wheel that will notify you when your brakes need replacing. Please stop by and have German Auto Center inspect your brakes at no charge if you are experiencing any difficulties.

 

My Mini Cooper is having problems shifting into gears, what does this mean?

Depending on year and model, Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S models utilize a variety of transmission designs. Most common with manual transmissions is a 5-speed on the Mini Cooper and a 6-speed on the Mini Cooper S. These transmissions have had a number of common failures related to the shift fork design. If you manual transmission is have trouble shifting, or leaking fluid, bring it by German Auto Center as soon as convenient and we will be happy to provide you guidance. The automatic versions of the Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S utilize a CVT transmission; any transmission service should be done by a qualified Mini Cooper service facility such as German Auto Center. Please contact German Auto Center if you are having any shifting issues.

 

What are the benefits of taking my Mini Cooper to a specialty shop rather than the dealership?

German Auto Center has been servicing the Austin community since the mid-1970s. We work exclusively on German manufactured vehicles including Mini Cooper, Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen. If you have any questions about your German vehicle, please stop in and visit with us at your convenience. Visit our blog for more technical information

 

What else should I know about my Mini Cooper?

Mini Cooper’s are extremely well engineering vehicles and incorporate an extensive amount of vehicle electronics that can only be diagnosed with factory equipment. Visit us at German Auto Center and have your Mini Cooper repaired by a professional for less than a dealership.

Have more questions about how to keep your Mini Cooper well maintained, ask us using the comments below or on our German Auto Center Facebook page. This blog was written by Len Gilmore, owner and operator of German Auto Center in Austin TX, who would like to welcome you to the Austin German Automotive family for service and repairs.