March 26th, 2008
When my Mini Cooper works, I love the car. It’s small, you can park it anywhere, is fairly snappy and frankly is just fun to drive. It’s cornering capabilities are awesome. I originally got it in my first quarter at Stanford (custom-made order sent from the factory in Oxford, UK). The whole time I was at Stanford (aka the first two years of ownership of the vehicle) it worked (nearly) flawlessly. Yes I had to bring it once in for a broken steering engine fan after my long trip back from Seattle to California, where the dealer ridiculed me saying: this car is not made for the wet. The fans break when wet. To which I thought… hm.. not only is this thing sold in Seattle but it ACTUALLY is made in the UK – a country somewhat (just a little…) know for rainy days. But anyways – other than that it worked great.
Too bad things changed dramatically since the warranty ran out. Now, thankfully I never had anything major happen to it. But it surely is annoying to have a laundry list of things to fix. There were times (just went I joined Google in fact) when I had to bring the vehicle into the shop every 3 weeks.
So what’s wrong with it?
Frankly I forgot already. It was so many small things that most of them just escaped my mind, but a few recent items include:
- Three steering engine fan repairs (Two real repairs and once I brought the car apparently in for nothing as they didn’t bother replacing the fan, but just ‘realigned it’, which did NOTHING whatsoever to the extreme loud noises it made. In fact the noise was so bad that passers-by honked at me regularly.)
- Several software faults that needed updates
- Once the transmission didn’t go beyond 2nd gear. Fun! Thankfully it wasn’t the transition that’s at fault – it was the software. Car three days in for service.
- Had to jump start the car three times, only one of which is my fault for ACTUALLY having left the light on. Just today again I got back to my car seeing that the light was on and noticing I need yet another jumpstart (I just had one last week). The sad thing is: the light switch was on the off position and I never turned on the light today.
- Several inspections lead to small things here and there when I brought the car in for oil changes, inspections or new tires, new brakes etc.
Now I have to go get some jumper battery kit for $80+ as I’m traveling to Europe for the next three weeks. I know I can’t rely on my car to start after such a period of time, so I better get it now before I’m stranded when I come back.
So as you can tell, all in all I am not too happy. Pretty does not necessarily equal reliable. I guess that’s a general lesson in life.