Love / Hate my 2003 MINI Cooper S
By JT on Tuesday, January 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000
overall rating 6 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
Pros: "Fun to drive, easy to park, handles like a go cart"
Cons: "Expensive to repair, lots of expensive breakdowns"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"There are some really strong points of these cars and then there are some really not so strong points. We've had the car for just over two years. When we bought it in 2011, it had 72K miles on it.
The cars strong points are that it's super fun to drive. It's zippy, handles like a go cart (just like the ads say), is crazy easy to park (especially parallel), and gets decent gas mileage. Although small, you'd be surprised at how much you can cram into these cars.
The weak points are that it has needed a lot of major work since we bought it and it's not cheap to fix. First off, this model is supercharged, not turbo. The supercharger's bearings wear out by about 75-85K miles. When we bought it, the supercharger was already noisy, but not knowing these cars, I didn't know that it was an issue at that time. We had to put a rebuilt supercharger in it at about 95K miles as it was sounding like there were marbles rolling around in the engine by that point. I bought a rebuild from a company on eBay for $700. Mind you there are no brand new superchargers left available for these cars, they are all rebuilds. The BMW rebuilt supercharger was $2,000. I had it installed for $400 labor (the whole front of the car has to come off to do it) and wound up putting a new water pump and belt tensioner on it as well to avoid any problems in the near future. All in all, that ran $1600. The car now has 115K miles on it and the supercharger is noisy already and will likely have to be swapped AGAIN soon. Don't buy rebuilds off eBay, lesson learned. The clutch also went out at about 105K miles, another $2,000 for that to be fixed. The latest problem was that a fuel injector went bad, leaned out the fuel mixture in the #3 cylinder, and burned the exhaust valve in that cylinder. $2,300 for a new injector and complete valve job at the nearest MINI dealer I had to have it towed to.
All in all we have invested nearly $6,000 in repairs over the $9,300 we paid for it two years ago. We've gotten 43K miles on it since we bought it and that's cost us $6,000 in repairs. Way too much. Not happy with how often this things broken down and how expensive it's been to fix. Our 2001 Honda CRV got $230K miles on it before the valves went bad and we sold it instead of getting a valve job done for $2,000. I'm wishing we would have kept it now and just fixed it instead of getting the MINI."
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