Ask a Motoring Advisor

MotoringFile is happy to announce our third edition of Ask a Motoring Advisor. Again this is a chance to ask an actual MINI salesperson (Motoring Advisor in MINI Speak) non-technical questions about the purchase, spec or overall buying process of a MINI.

Here's how it works; post the questions in the comments section that you'd like to see answered. We'll cut off all questions by early this Wednesday. From there the most appropriate questions will be chosen by the MA. Naturally not all are guaranteed to be chosen as I'm sure there will be a few redundancies and some might be too technical in nature. We should have the answers to you by the end of the week.

The Motoring Advisor responsible for the answers will remain anonymous but rest assured – he/she has a ton of real world MA experience!

This session of Ask an MA is now closed. We should see answers for the selected questions in a day or two.

  • George

    I really appreciate your willingness to do this. Perhaps this falls under the technical category, but I'll try anyway. I have an MCSC being built this week, and I've noticed a lot of buzz about problems with the convertable roof – mechanical and fabric wear. Is this actually a problem, and is there a fix in the works.

  • Deborah

    I'm curious about the trade-in values of early model MCs and MCSs at dealerships. What are MINI dealers offering if you want to trade-in or trade-up?

  • RobO

    Whate is the best way to make sure my next leased MINI is available when my current MINI lease has ended?

    I waited about 3 months to get my first MINI so I was wondering what would happen is one leased ended, but my next MINI was still in production?

  • Ed Mackay

    A question regarding the recent extension of the rust warranty to 12 years on 2004 models, it is understood that the US benefits by this; does Canada also have the same provision?

  • Erik

    I plan to purchase an '05 MCS when the Limited Slip Differential is available (said to be 01/05).

    When would be the best time to order? I am assuming sooner than later.


  • SteveW

    UK spec cars apparently have a keyed passenger airbag de-activation option. This option seems to be unavailable in the US. Please confirm or correct. Also in US cars is there a passenger weight sensor that de-activates? If so what is the cutoff weight?

  • Franz

    I have seen many reports on Mini2 and NAM that the 2004 HK stereo has a good bit of vibration in the doors and boot at moderate to loud volumes. By reports, this is fixed by putting sound dampening material inside the doors and around the speakers themselves. For the price tag of the HK stereo, I am surprised that this is not done at the factory. Is there a plan to do such on the 2005 models? I hope this is not too technical for this session.

  • Mark

    Cup Holder required?

    On the MINI USA website, the front cupholder is listed as an available accessory, but from some of the articles I have read lately on this website, it sounds like it now comes standard. What is the story with this, and is it possibly to order a MINI without the cupholder?

    To me, the cupholder just looks like clutter. I don't plan on drinking anything in my new car anyway…at least for awhile.

  • GSKChicago

    Okay, since the '05 models being built sometime in early January will be available with a LSD… If we have an '05 that was the first run of '05's delivered… Can we have the LSD added at the dealership (or anywhere else MINI approved) if we wish to add this feature?

  • GSKChicago

    Okay, here's another. Possibly not the place for this question, but here goes anyway… On my dash, below the stereo, I have all the cool switches. I have one dead spot where there is room for one more switch. What could have gone there? I hate dead space. :o( I have two switches for the windows, one for door locks, one for DSC and one for fog lamps. What could/would go in the sixth spot?

  • GSK – that is the rear foglight switch. The '05 kit should be coming out soon. The light replaces the cheap piece of plastic in the center of your rear bumper.

    For all you new MINI owners the rear foglight kit has quite a history… the only reason it's available at all is due to a large online petition. Do a search on MotoringFile for more info into the saga…

  • Kevin

    For 2004, Cooper owners had a choice between the 7-hole and 8-spoke (R82) wheels as no-charge options. I've heard that the R82s will no longer be a no-charge option for 2005- is that true?

  • In order to have a full set of switches on an MCS, what options need to be ordered? Both front and rear fogs?

  • tim

    i just got an 2005 mcs and i want to mount a euro plate. i have the bracket and plate but i dont have anyplace to but it, i live in fl so no front plates are required so all i have is 2 little dimples. were should i bring it to get installed. i was thinking the dealership, but if there is another place. please tell me thanks

  • MacGuruTX

    The recent release of the NAV system changed to an American Accent. With some of the Aftermarket Nav systems you can select the Voice that is used?

    What would it take to get MiniUsa to offer the British Voice accent again for the American Nav Models?

  • José Garcia

    Is it normal that there's no “aerokit” option when buying a MINI in Portugal?

  • GBMiniGirl

    Why are MINI dealerships having such a hard time getting the 05 catalogs? Do you know when they are going to become available?

  • Mark

    OK…Let's see if I can make the cut this time.

    I have a 2004 MC and I my question is regarding the 'Convenience Opening Mode'. My dealer (and also a Mini Field tech) have tried to solve/correct this anomaly but to no avail. All parts have been replaced (General Module, Keys, Receiving Sensor, re-initializing software) but this feature still only works about 85% of the time.

    After pressing the remote to unlock all doors I press and hold the button again to open both windows and the sunroof and it stops while performing the function. If I press again it will sometime complete the operation or sometimes fail again after moving only a few inches. My service manger has told me (once again) that there are blind spots around the car and if I'm standing in one of them this feature will fail. I have tried all position and distances around that car and nothing is consistent…I have even put the key inside that car while this function is being performed and the system still stops with the key being less than 2 feet from the receiving sensor. Other reason I have been given are that the general module has an override to keep itself from overheating and shuts down this feature. I even spoke to another dealer and was told that they don’t even show this to new buyers due to it inconsistency.

    I realize that through my research and attempts to have this feature fixed that this anomaly is inherent to the entire MINI line. Will there or have there been any changes to this feature in the new model year to correct this problem?

    Thanks, Mark

  • Mike

    Mark, I have never seen a car with this feature that doesn't have some iffiness to it. You're talking about maintaining an RF signal to the car for an extended period of time and that's always liable to drop. I'd say you're out of luck if you're determined to make it work 100% of the time.

  • GSKChicago


    I would agree with Mike on the signal strength and consistency of said signal. I have an '05 MCS and my signal seems to work pretty well, but there seems to be many variables that can affect this. I live in Chicago, so if there are a lot of other cars around, or other “mechanicals” around, it seems to shorten the distance I can be from the car before the signal connects. If I'm out in the 'burbs, that seems to increase my signal strength and reliability. There are so many “random” signals floating through the air these days that I would assume it is impossible to guaranty 100% connection 100% of the time. Just my two cents. BTW, I had a similar function on my last car and it too worked sporadically depending on the same issues I mentioned above.

  • Ken

    Weird but true. If I am far away I hold the key under my chin and point the key at my open mouth and push the button. It seems to help. I first heard of this on Car Talk.

  • Mike

    Yes, the chin trick does help a huge amount. It uses your skeleton as an antenna, no shit. 🙂 Used to do this all the time to increase the range with my A4.

  • GSKChicago

    Okay, here's a weird question. It probably falls under the “technical question” category, so an answer is not expected… However, thought maybe a fellow reader might know instead. On the Navigation system… I just tried getting to a location that is no longer in existence. I also have been told about a friends home that other nav systems have put on the other end of the block, etc. So the question is, is there a phone number or email address to report inaccuracies to so the next DVD's can be updated accordingly? I expect there to be mistakes or inaccurate information. I would just like to know how to alert the “powers that be” know so it can be rectified on next DVD releases, etc. So am I a complete geek now? Oh, to go along with MacGuruTX, is there a way perhaps to get an existing NAV system, i.e.: my '05 MCS nav system to convert to a british voice?

  • Aaron

    The 'point the key at the mouth' worked with my old Viper alarm because the transmitter in the key fob was then pointed directly at the car… The transmitter was in a counter-intuitive position and when you thought you were aiming at the car, you were actualy amiming in the opposite direction. Aiming at your mouth also gives it another foot or two of altitude and a better angle inside the front windshield (where my antenna was located).

  • tsukiji

    Can I order an '05 painted dash and fit it into my '03 MCS?

    I have retrofitted the '05 'Utility Box', what other updated or redesigned items can be retrofitted?

  • Deborah

    Okay… my convenience open works pretty well (never 100%), but I'm trying to understand the whole being under your chin, pointing to your mouth positioning… where is the stem of the key? Is the emblem in towards your body or out? It seems physically impossible how described. Can someone please describe it?

  • Bart

    I just took delivery of a 2005 Hyper Blue MCS (it's a GREAT car!) but I have a dilemma of sorts: I ordered the BMW body kit, paid for it at the time of sale, but now I'm hearing from my dealer that MINI has not released the paint formula for Hyper Blue! ASK-MINI told me that Hyper Blue won't be available until 1/05… but I think there must be some wires crossed here somewhere. Can you shed any light on this? I took delivery without the body kit until this could be sorted…. Thanks 🙂 Bart

  • Chris

    I ordered my 2005 MINI COOPER S CONVERTIBLE and it just went into production. How long will it take generally from beginning of production until delivery?

  • joe

    Any word on special paints for the MINI, I recall hearing a while back about paints that reflect/fade to different colors (couldn't find the article from the search)

  • Nate

    I just ordered an MC and have been tracking it. My question, is this? I notice that when I go to see a review of my order, the sport package and premium pacakage (which I ordered it with) do not show up. Everything else the exterior color and the interior color show up. Does this mean that the order is wrong?

  • Nick Nichols

    I am with Deborah, I am waiting with my mouth open for definitive guidance on this. Thanks

  • GSKChicago


    My Owner's Lounge never updated properly with all the information, but my car came perfectly as ordered.

    If you want to be sure the order is right, call 866-ASK-MINI, ask them to review the order and then you know you're golden. Don't rely 100% on the Owner's Lounge or you will go insane. Good luck. :o)


  • Kal

    My question pertains to the MINI scheduled 3yr/36000 mile maintenance program.

    I have an 03 MCS which I drive about 6,000 miles/year. I got the oil changed at the one year mark, however I was told by my dealership service advisor that I have to wait until the car hits 10,000 miles before I can get the pollen filter changed under the program. I have heard from other owners that they have had both the oil and pollen filter changed at the one year mark regardless of mileage. Please could you clarify what the schedule is for MINI's that are driven below the expected yearly mileage totals. I am afraid that when I hit the 25,000 mile level and my car is past the three year time limit, I will be told that I have gone over the allowable time limit and will have to pay for the 25,000 mile service.

    thanks, kal

  • Mike

    Hi. I'm interested in getting an 05 MY MCS w/ the new auto transmission. Will the hp in the automatic MCS be less than a model equipped with a manual? Also, will the auto transmission MCS's be availible with the LSD?

    Thank's, Mike

  • Joe K.

    Has there been any sightings of the new factory armrest?

  • My '05 MCC is on order and will be built in a week or so. I've ordered all of the options I want, but haven't been able to find out about or read about a factory alarm system. What does it cover? How does it perform?

  • GSKChicago

    James Gleason-

    I have the alarm. It was actually installed at the dealership prior to my taking delivery. But it's nice. It will go off if the car is towed. It will go off if someone breaks the glass. It has a fuel system cut-off if the alarm is going off. You can leave the windows open and doors locked with the alarm activated and you can literally reach in to pull the door handle and it will NOT open. The alarm does not go off immediately, but it goes off very soon thereafter. The more active you are in the car, the sooner the alarm goes off. The is also a pretty discreet alarm indicator on the windshield wiper thingy (don't know the technical term for the little stick thingy on the steering column). :o) The indicator is red and flashes as the alarm is active. Here's a picture of the little red indicator:

    Hope that helps. Email if you have more questions.


  • Pepe

    Hi my question is this one:

    Im expecting delivery this week or next one of my 2005 Mini Cooper S, as I live in Mexico City, we dont get the chance to configure our cars “exactly” as we like it, but we have 3 “combo packages”, and neither of them comes in mexico with the Garage Door Opener in the mirror, well my question is, if I buy the mirror in the USA, can it be installed in my MCS in Mexico?

    Thanks a Lot

  • pete

    for the past 3 months, ive been having a damn window squeel whenever i roll up or down my windows, and it has been driving me crazy. i havent had any time to take it in, but i was wondering if there was a diy fix? thanks!

  • Jay

    How soon can I order a 2005 MCS with the new auto transmission (yeah, I know, but I have a bad knee — give me a break). Assuming I can order it in September, will the projected delivery date be in February (I am in Dallas).


  • Zach Senders

    Throughout the US, about how much time does it take to recieve your MINI after the date of order? Obviously the timeframe fluctuates due to location and other things, but what is a round about figure on how long it takes from order to delivery?

  • Hi

    Great cars. I have my order for a third (a MCSC) in house now.

    Which brings me to my question. I am planning a trip to the northern hinterlands just before my scheduled delivery in Feb '05, the date of which I would LOVE to move up anyway.

    It will be cold. No, I mean, C O L D. Is there any noticable difference in the insulating qualities of the metal vs. cloth roofs?

    I can't imagine it's just a piece of fabric.

    I guess a better question is, does BMW plan on marketing the MCC variations in Scandanavia, etc?

    Thanks! DUCTTAPE

  • A. Sadwin

    Two questions.

    What sort of oil consumption should I expect?

    Why do all MINI Cooper Ss have a dark oily looking film on the inside of the tailpipe? I am sure the car is not running that rich.

  • Robert

    Gabe: miniusa in it's wisdom are now delivering 05 cars minus the extra toggle for the rear fogs.
    Had them in 04 builds. But again in 05 removed them. What were they thinking????

  • Ken

    Windows down using your key pointed at your head. Holding the key in either hand point the blade toward your MINI then bend your elbow until the blade is pointing at your chin. Press and hold the unlock button and it should help increase the distance of operation. It's 100% but it does make a difference. I'm a little taller than average so that might make a slight difference.

  • Matt

    I am getting my new MCS on Nov. 1 with the HK sound system upgrade. I need to know can I get the Bluetooth kit installed at factory with this sound system or not? I hear different stories about all of this…

  • Mark

    Aero Grille in Stock Bumber: I know there already is a how to guide regarding this, but I am still having problems envisioning what needs to be done.

    My question is, how hard is it to return the car to stock if I ever changed my mind? During the installation process, is it required to make cuts into any stock items or the car body itself? Like I said, I know this has been addressed, but I don't have my MCS yet, so it is hard to envision.

  • GSKChicago

    What about gas mileage. I am averaging about 18 to 19 mpg with both city and highway driving combined into that average. I have an '05 MCS. I do accelerate somewhat quick and of course, being in Chicago, stop and go traffic is innevitable. Is this mileage normal? Will it get better as I add miles and she is broken in more?

  • gz

    What will be the HP in the 2005 MCS with the 2005 JCW?

  • gz

    I have seen after market performance enhancers such as cold air intake systems and performance pullys and air filters ect which individually claim to add as much as 15 hp. Will any of these invalidate the warranty?

  • Kev

    To GSKChicago- In regards to your navigation database question…

    The maker of the data is Navteq and you should be able to go to their website and let them know about something inaccurate.

    As far as updating, it generally takes a year or two for an update to be made to the database and then be rolled out as a product.

    Hope that helps!

  • GSKChicago


    SOLID, thanks!. At right now checking them out. Wonder if maybe I can even order a new DVD with a British accent. :o)


  • How much power can the 2005 Cooper drivetrain (tranny and crank in particular) handle?


  • BillW

    Someone already posted something similar but…

    I am ordering an '05 MCS with the limited slip later this fall for early '05 delivery. Getting the Octagon Red Cloth/Black Leather combo. in a Pepper White MCS.

    Details I know, but can I order a Chili Red dash and have it installed at the dealer?

  • MiniGuy

    How can Driving Light vibration be stopped?

  • Tom Sizemore

    When the heck is BMW going to get with it and allow MINI's to be serviced at BMW dealerships? My closest MINI dealership is around 100 miles and two hours away. The closest BMW dealerships are 25 and 39 miles away. There are seven BMW dealerships within 100 miles of me. With the service department at my “local” MINI dealer not having any Saturday service hours and working 8 to 5 Monday through Friday, how the heck am I supposed to get my car serviced without burning a day's or two pay. I have a number of issues that need attention, including a non-functional passenger window, but just starting a new job I can't get or afford to take the day off. And a 200 mile, four hour round trip for a “free” oil service just doesn't make sense.

    While I love my MCS and hope to replace it with another with a LSD in a few years, the service issue could be a spoiler on this. Before I ordered my MCS it was hinted that eventually either there would be a closer dealership opening up or I would be able get it serviced at BMW dealers. So far none of the above has occured. If you can get a Lincoln or Mercury serviced at a Ford dealer, a Cadilliac or Buick serviced at a Chevy dealer, an Audi serviced at a VW dealer and so on, why can BMW put this together?

  • Rick Lephew

    I have an '05 MCS “waiting for transport”. I am having the factory driving lights installed at the dealer but would like to add a similar set of aftermarket fogs. I know PIAA makes a set of driving lights specificaly for the mini, are you aware of any fogs that would work???