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Automotive Finances & Money

MINI Cooper Warranty and Maintenance Plans Worked for Us

For the past month, the MINI Cooper’s “service engine soon” light has come on, but then it’s gone off just a few days later. I figured it was just some bad fuel and let it go. Since the closest MINI dealership is about 30 miles away, I wanted a few more things to rack up before expending the effort to get it checked out.

But then Stacie started to complain that the CVT transmission wasn’t shifting between 50-65mph properly. I began to worry that we got a lemon with a bad transmission. Luckily the MINI has a 4 year/50,000 mile factory warranty. We bought the car used with 30,000 miles and we it has about 35,000 miles. I’ve used the MINI warranty once in December when MINI towed the car via their factory Roadside Service plan and was pleased with the results.

This time, I set up an appointment to bring the car in and reserved a loaner (it’s a rental from Enterprise). MINI agreed to pay for the first 24 hours (although I got them to extend it without a fight). The only bad part about the whole experience was the long wait to drop off the car, even at 7am on a Monday. By the time I got back home (after a quick side-trip), it was 9am.

But we got much more fixed on the MINI than just the transmission issue. Thanks to the complimentary 3 year/36,000 mile maintenance plan, we got the following done:

  • Oil change
  • New front and rear wiper blades
  • Brake fluid flush
  • Cleaned some rust from brake area
  • Checked/topped off fluids and tire air

Unfortunately, our plan will run out next month, so we won’t get to take advantage of the free brake pad replacement covered by the maintenance plan. We still have about 50% of our pads and tires left, which is a good thing I guess.

Now I have 1 month to decide to renew the maintenance plan. I’ll be doing my own extensive research because they want about $1300 to renew. I can renew anytime, but if I wait till after the 3 year period (next month), the price jacks up an extra $200. They used some scare tactics like the “Inspection 2” costs $1100 on average and brake replacement costs $1200 on average. Both are covered by the maintenance plan. I’d like to get your feedback to help me out here. I know extended warranties are usually losses, but what about this specific maintenance plan? I’d like to hear from MINI owners who have experienced this too.

Oh, and by the way, here’s what got fixed under the factory warranty:

  • Transmission computer needed reset. It’s an adaptive system and somehow it went a little wacky. Car drives beautifully now and Stacie is noticing better gas mileage
  • Oxygen sensor above gas cap needed replaced. This was causing the “Service Engine Soon” light to come on.

And of course we got the car back shined-up on both the outside AND inside! I’m pleased with the service we got at the MINI dealership (which is also a BMW dealer) as is Stacie, and we’re glad that we got her a car that she loves with service plans that actually work without needing to fight with the dealer.

Now when will they put a MINI dealer in Rockville? (There are rumors of one going into D.C…Blah!)

About the author

Clever Dude


  • When you buy a Mini at the dealership, does the warranty only get covered by them? I want to buy a Mini, but the closest is about 100 miles away. If I were to buy one and something was to happen, could I take it to a local BMW shop? OR any certified mechanic?

  • @Cameron: When you purchase a new Mini, it is my understanding that the 4 year/50K mile warranty provides coverage for repairs made exclusively through Mini dealerships.

    It would be worth contacting your local BMW showroom to inquire if they are authorized to perform warranty work on your Mini. It sounds pretty logical, but it would be the first I’ve heard of it.

    Without a doubt, however, no independent repairs will be covered by the factory warranty.

  • I have been driving my mini for more than 100000 miles and I never spend more than 200 dollar in a brake job and my car still driving like new.

  • My mini has 36,500 miles and needs front brakes – the indicator came on last week. I called the local indenpendents ant they wanted $500-600 for the fronts only. So, more calling and I found a “regional” tire and brake company that I’ve done business with in the past with domestic cars that says they can do it for $370. That’s were I’m going.

  • I’m about to extend my maintenance warranty on a 2007 Mini Cooper. I haven’t had to spend a dime on the car since I bought it and the peace of mind is worth it – even if it’s a hefty sum for me. There was one issue with my heat not working that was fixed promptly.

    After reading the comments I think the confusion is that $1300 refers to the 3/yr maintance warranty while the $2200+ refers to the 4 yr/Vehicle Warranty which I believe includes almost anything going wrong – with the exception of tires/new tires/rotating tires. I’m thinking of saving up for that next year as I hope to drive my Mini as long as possible.

  • Id like to call you names but Id rather call you Clever Dude…30 miles from the dealership and you cant make time to take the MINI to get checked, I have to drive 150 miles to the nearest dealership to get maint done but it was all worth it.

  • i have the e/w on my 07 convert mini how do i find out which e/w i have & is there a website i can download it from i live in lv and have had the WORST SERVICE at our dealership here & i’m not the only customer here who complains about them i got better service/auto reminders for oil changes etc at toyot0 than this place my brake lite pad replacement came on 1 wk ago but isn’t sad that you can’t take to them w/o it probably costing out of pocket which u know will happen i only want to see them for oil changes etc whats covered under the warranty so my ? is when i turn on the it reads 9725 total miles 17386 i had an oil change @ 1,000 miles when am i due again ps my d/sun visior came undone from the screws help!!!!!

  • I have a 09 Cooper with a 6-Speed Automatic. MINI doesn’t offer a CVT. CVTs are shiftless. You wouldn’t notice any shifting with one. I am trading however for a 6-speed manual because I’ve already had to have the transmission serviced twice in one year. I would go with a manual if you’re gonna trade up, otherwise extend the maintenance program. It’s well worth the potential savings.

  • @Shameless1, they offered them prior to 2007 (not sure about 2006, but our 2005 has it). Since it’s the wife’s car, and she can’t drive manual, we got the auto, thinking it wouldn’t be a problem. However, we’re at 60,000 miles and still no problems from it except for a couple computer resets and then a transmission fluid change at about 55k miles ($330, another overcharge).

    As a note, I bought the materials to do my own transmission oil and rear diff oil changes for my 06 Ridgeline for $80. I don’t want to guess how much Mini would charge for that (if they had rear diffs)

  • The whole issue with buying the warranty depends on your driving habits. If you jackrabbit and mash your breaks, drive in rural areas and barely see the highway, it’s totally worth it because the “scary” sum they throw at you for the brake jobs always includes new rotors, which are not always necessary (unless you drive like the above description). I have had my 2005 Cooper S for 5 years now and put more than 100,000 highway miles on it. I’m still on my original clutch and have changed the brakes twice in five years, the rotors only once. If you are ginger with your Mini, it doesn’t pay. I also agree that if you learn how to do some of the basic work yourself (oil change, brakes, radiator flush etc) or find a great mechanic specializing in BMW/Mini euro cars would save a lot of dough. I only take my car to the dealer when I have the milestone services due that require a bit more work than I can handle or that would benefit me having the dealer due (ie timing belt etc). Save the $1500 on maintenance and put it towards parts and an education. ALSO, it doesn’t pay to sell your car and buy a new one. Most people forget the extra cost of the insurance that’s involved with a new car. That is money too. Keep your old car, lower your coverage to a reasonable coverage, save money that way. Buying a new car will not only guarantee that you have monthly payments for life, but your insurance premium will always be high (compared to a five year old vehicle that is decreased in value and doesn’t need FULL insurance coverage). Taking the insurance savings into account (unless you live out in the boonies where everything is dirt cheap anyway) you’ll see that keeping your car until it is dead is the best way to go. Add up the cost of your monthly payments, compare your FULL coverage insurance to a more modest reduced yet effective insurance policy and you’ll see that once you’ve paid your car off in full and reduce your insurance you could save thousands of dollars a year. My break even point is $5,500. This means that if the cost of my repairs total more than $5,500 per year, it’s time to buy a new car because I will spend as much as $5,500 more than what I’m currently paying to get a new car. I’ve paid off my care two years ago, do not have extended warranty, still go to the dealer to get service done and this year alone (2010) it’s cost me only $1200. I have one more service to do and it should run me about $3000 total ( I have a milestone service, tires and a few other quirks to take care of). That is still cheaper than an additional $1500/yr insurance plus $3,500/yr in car payments. Unless something severely major breaks down I’ll have had my money in the bank, working for me – not for the dealer and insurance companies. You have to do your calculations and see what best works for you. You work too hard for your money. They make money when you don’t educate yourself.

    Work smart, not hard.

  • Just wondering how much does it cost to buy an extended warranty for a mini cooper s 2008? I leased it and decided to buy it. I just wanted to get an idea how much money I have to put aside for an extended warranty. I am from the bayarea (Northern California).

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated 🙂

  • @Mona, can’t recall about the warranty, but I know it cost $1800 for a 100k mile/6 year maintenance plan on our “new” 07 MINI Cooper S. However, we got it for half-off (taken off the price of the car), and we’ve already made that money back with new brakes ($900) and then a new timing chain and updated programming.

    I would think the warranty is around $2k or more, but call your local MINI dealer to be certain. You can usually negotiate a couple hundred off too.

  • Purchased a Cooper S ’07 in ’08 new. I have 14+K on it. Dealer wanted 300.00 per year for run flat tire insurance. Discount Tire Insured tires for 179.00 for ten years or when they wear outl. Had to replace 1 tire, cost 300.00. My cost, 50.00 to insure the new tire.

  • I have an 06 cooper s. The sensor for the brake pads just came on, and on most minis and bmws you have to replace the rotors as they can not be resurfaced. For the front brake pads, new rotors, and sensor to be replaced it is $320.

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