Day Six with the MCS Convertible

The MINI Convertible suffers one major downside that is common to most open top cars – a huge blind spot. It's so bad that my lane change turn signal starts about 5 seconds before I make any kind of move. It's a signal that really means, hey I'm coming over… I can't see you, but I just wanted to let you know. In fact I'd feel more comfortable making hand signals or just yelling “anyone over there?”. Even with the top down it's still a bit of an issue.

But hey… this is a convertible. These types of little inconveniences should be expected I suppose.

  • TJKonarski

    Very, very true. Backing up is an issue, too. I've always been the kind of driver that twisted my head and looked straight back when backing in reverse. Since owning my MCSC I've re-learned to look forward and use my side-view mirrors when navigating backwards. MINI wasn't kidding around when they made the back-up sensors standard on all convertibles — they're absolutely necessary.

  • indimini

    Can you adjust the door mirrors to remove most of the blind spot? Seems on my hard top, I am able to do that.

    Lack of visibility and frame stiffness are my two main concerns w/ the convertible. Guess I'll just have to learn to live with them when the car gets here.

  • TJKonarski

    indimini: When backing up using the rear-view and side-view mirrors you can see everything except whatever is directly behind you from about rollbars on down to the ground (whether the top is up or down.) That's where the usefullness of the back-up sensors come in handy.

    This is the first car I've owned with back-up sensors. I've come to love them, even for reasons that have little to do with the blind spots. It's nice to back up as closely as I can to something (like when parallel parking or backing as closely as possible to the rear wall of the garage)and not have to worry about bumping whatever is behind me.

  • MadisonMini

    Yeah, the sensors are so important. The blind spots are scary…it would be a perfect application for rear cameras that are on all the time, not just when backing up.

    The only thing I don't like about the sensors is they chime when I'm backing out of my garage (single door)even if I'm not close to the door. But a minor inconvenience.

    Also my first car with these sensors, they are essential. I'm also doing the “lean forward/look in the side mirrors” thing, which can be scary since you're not watching what's in front of you while doing that.

  • TJKonarski

    Same here… I get 'false' beeps when backing up close along the side of my house or along the side of my fencing. However, after a moment the sensors seem to figure it out and stop beeping.

  • W Weldin

    Blindspots are not a problem if you adjust your outside mirrors properly. Most people set the outside mirrors so they can see behind the car. What you need to do is set the outside mirrors so you can see your blind spot. When they are adjusted this way you cannot see directly behind the car. Use your inside mirror for this. This setup takes some getting used to, but once you use it for a while you will see how much safer it is. You don't have to turn your head or rely on turn signals.

  • ChrisLW

    W Weldin, couldn't agree w/ you more. Here's a good article from Car Talk that explains how…

  • indimini

    ChrisLW, thanks for the link. I pretty much drive w/ mirrors this way now, but it's good to have a consistent approach to adjusting the mirrors.


    I always adjusted my mirrors to see part of the back of the car until I read an article like that about 6 months ago.

    Ever since I followed those instructions and got used to it, I am amazed I ever got by the other way.

    Great setup.

  • joe

    are there any special mirrors which can help with these blind spots?

  • Ken

    If your riding in heavy traffic next to someone and you feel you might be stuck in their blind spot, look into their side mirror. If you can see their face they should be able to see you. If you see some other part of the interior chances are their mirror is ajusted to see behind them. I small clue to help avid a sticky situation.

  • philamcsc

    You all are clairvoyant. I am on Day 4 with my mcsc and had no idea how to set the mirrors to avoid that lane change leap of faith (other than punchdown which is a no-no during break in). I cannot wait to try the CarTalk approach! For me the ride has gotten nicely better with drive time as break in progresses. Solidness is replacing stiffness and no creaking or rattles whatsoever. Great Car!

  • GSKChicago

    One simple thing is to also try to be constantly aware. I can't tell you how many times someone decides to change lanes without looking (or turns onto a road with cars speeding on and they don't even accelerate at pace to catch up, they make me slow down, etc). I can go on and one… It isn't that they have a bad blind spot… Often times it is a car with great visibility, just a driver that doesn't pay attention and has the “I am the only driver on the road” syndrome.

    I am not perfect, but I do try to pay attention to what and who is around me at all times. It's easy to get distracted, but paying attention is a huge help… I will say, I briefly drove the MCSc and as far as seeing behind you… Yeah, it might as well be Stevie Wonder backing up. But otherwise, it's manageable.

    We are shopping for a new car for my fiance and every single car she gets in she is concerned that she can't see the front of the car or the rear of the car or both. Me… I feel I will adjust to it after driving the car a few times and then I will know my “reach”. I keep telling her that paying attention will help… She's a good, safe driver (yuck!) :o) but she can't get it out of her head that she must be able to see the front and rear of car… Mirror's help some but so does awareness. :o)

    Okay… Soap box is put away now. :o)

  • I totally agree with the assessment that there is a much larger blind spot on the Cabrio. “Adjusting the mirrors” doesn't solve the problem completely either.

    The cabrio I drove had the Park Distance Control warning system. It was the first time I had driven with a car that had it. Up to this point I thought PDC was a rather weird option for MINI to offer on a car where you could see the corners of the car, but with the Cabrio I was very thankful to have it.

  • Bud D

    Just picked up my MINI convertible from the dealer this morning (11/2) and have to tell you after driving 100+ miles on the California freeway system that the “blind” spot is not that big of deal. I can name a number of other six-digit dollar cars that have NO rearward vision, so quit the complaining and drive. Enjoy the car for what it is, put the top down and motor. Also, the HK system has an outstanding sound, in spite of all the other nay sayers out there.

  • I agree – the HK is great. Not sure what all the noise was about the other day.

  • Larry

    One suggestion on the blind spot. Get a small wide angle mirror from a auto parts store. they're approx 2″ in diameter and have sticky tape on the back. Place it on your mirror, it will increase your field of vision by leaps and bounds. If placed properly it should all but eliminate the blind spot and not take up too much room on your mirror, for normal use. I have one on my Honda and it eliminated the blind spot.

  • Graham

    I have been driving a Mini One Convertible in scotland since the begining of July. You get used to the blind spots when the roof is up. But there is no getting away from the fact that sometimes is mirror…..signal…..and here goes !!!!

  • Melanie

    Larry, I was going to say the same thing you did about the add-on mirror. A friend of mine has one on her Honda CRV and when I have driven it, it REALLY increases your angle of rearward view – you can see across a couple of lanes. I was already planning on getting one for my Mini when it arrives, having noticed how little rear visibility there is while sitting in the car at the dealership – probably won't look great, but I drive on the freeway all the time….

  • MiniLifeCrisis

    Has anyone thought about a small refractor lens for the back window to give you a wider rear view? Similar to what you might see on an RV's back window. Granted those are huge when compared to the back window of my MCSC. I wonder if it would still work out if it were cut down some. Of course, I wouldn't want it to cause a problem with the rear defrosters either.

    RAIN: I did have a little issue with the hard rain the other day. A rear wiper would have been nice. There didn't appear to be enough turbulance to pull of the rain drops. Since it's real glass, I though I might try some 'RainX' on it. The slickness might get rid of the rain drops.

  • Ian Leonard

    Has anyone had a problem with a clunky gear change? Also how do I get the comfort opening to work for the soft top? Many thanks.

  • MiniLife Crisis:

    One soluton that works for me is to turn on the rear window defrost.(it doesnt matter what the outside Temp is) The rain drops will start to stream off and it will clear up the view for you in a few minutes. Works everytime for me. Hope this helps.

  • Pete S

    I discovered a neat product called Autobahn mirrors that can be self installed easily inside on the windshield and be very helpful to expand ones vision on Interstates when other cars are passing you. They are very inexpensive at around $ 18.95 each. The German police are required to have these on all of their cars. Use a search engine and ask for Autobahn mirrors to find their website.