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!)
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