Finding the Perfect Used MINI – Your Stories

For so many years MotoringFile has focused on whats new and recently released. However with the price of 2002 MINIs now well below $10k there are great used MINI deals to be had. So great that I’ve recently found myself magnetically drawn to eBay looking for a MINI project car.

But that’s another story for another time. Instead we want to hear your stories. Who’s bought a used MINI? What was the experience like? What was it like to buy someone else’s creation and make it your own?

And if you’re looking for a used R50/R53, don’t forget to check out our used MINI buying guide.

  • Matt

    I had a 2007 MCS when my neighbor approached me – asking if I’d be interested in buying his Laurel so he could get a GP. 3 weeks later, my MINI was sold – without any negotiations and with people lining up – and the Laurel was mine. Only hiccup was that my “new” one needed the full timing chain treatment, but luckily it was covered under warranty. An interesting note – the timing chain was something every person asked me about while I was selling my 2007. Since it had been done – it wasn’t a concern. I felt as though if it hadn’t, people would have stopped the conversation immediately.

  • Rob T

    Well my daughter has just turned 16 so she is now petering us for a MINI. I am looking for a Blue 2008 S Auto. I told her that she may have to compromise because it is incredibly hard to find. This will make us a three for three MINI family. My JCW Roadster [replacing my ’10 JCW], my wife’s R60 S and now my daughter’s R56. We’ll all be fighting for garage space but the Roadster will ALWAYS win.

  • Mike

    I’ve bought (used) and sold an 03 R50 and 04 R53, always private party. Zero issues with either (minus the all too common oil pan seep which we monitored). I disclosed the seeps and the buyers luckily were aware of how common it was. No problem. Both sold for full asking price.

    My latest buy was my current 06 R53. Only 35k miles, LSD, black English leather.. The one I’d been looking for. Got it at an incredible price and 2 weeks later realized the damn passenger seat airbag sensor needed to be replaced.. By the dealer ~ $1300.. Doh. And I’m sure it’ll need to be replaced in another 3 years.

  • MiniMaestro

    Just bought a 2011 Clubman S with 12k Kms from a MINI Dealership who sold it to me for what he had just traded it in for with a member of our local MINI club. Car is immaculate, has all the chrome blacked out already, and a short shift in it. Was not looking for something this new but the price, low kms, and the fact I knew the previous owner made me make the jump. Now every morning I go and gaze out the window at my baby.

  • Scooter 162

    I had a 2007 MCS Auto which I bought used in 2009. I loved it but it developed the common R56 issues. Carbon build-up, timeing chain tensioner, turbo oil feed line leak and on top of all that the tranny went south. Most of the issues were covered under warranty. I had got it with 18,000 and traded it last year with 75,000 miles. I traded for a 2008 MCS with JCW tune and aero kit. It has more of the things I wanted with my first MINI and it had fewer miles on the clock. So far no problems have come up with this one. I have aquired both of them used and would do it again.

  • yetti96

    I bought my ’09 MCSa used in 2010 at a Dealer and loved the car…so did my wife so I ended up getting a ’02 MC to commute in and it was a fun car with a CAI and exhaust but it made me glad I got the extended warranty ($9-10k car and 4 repair orders totaled $11k in 9 months. Got rid of the ’02 after 14 months as I was tired of it being in the shop and the AC wasn’t great (broken diverter flap). Fast forward to Mid/late 2012 and my R56 was going good at 53k miles and I found a R55 that I wanted, CPO 10k miles, 2010 and same options plus HK. Been driving the R55 for 13 months and put 30k miles on it and haven’t had any issues. It’s hard to figure out what you want in a MINI, specs can be varied wildly but buying one exactly like I want is just too pricey at this time.

  • Jeremy Tentis

    I dreamed about getting a MINI since I first saw one in 2002 and I finally got one last September. An 2009 Oxygen Blue R56 Cooper from the local MINI dealer. Unfortunately we have had bad luck with it.

    Had to replace the timing chain a couple months ago (ugh). Then, less than two weeks ago, the A/C drain tube somehow broke and melted onto the heat shield causing it to clog and have lots of water leak into the driver’s side floor. It caused lots of issues and the original repair was going to cost over $7,000! It was later decided that less had to be replaced than originally thought and the repair was going to be about $1,400 but we talked them down to $700.

    It took a lot of convincing with my wife to get a MINI and this has obviously not been a good example to her. I’m really bummed about all of this but I still love the MINI brand and hope to have a MINI in my garage for life.

  • AMS

    If I happened across the particular (idiosyncratic) combination of options that I value, I might consider a CPO MINI, but that’s as far down the food chain as I’d be willing to fall. The MINI just isn’t a car I’d be willing to own without a warranty.

    • jbkone

      I do all my own work. I’d much rather have a 1st gen and have to replace all the stuff around the engine (alternator, steering, fan, transmission, supercharger) than have to dig into the engine for repairs (timing chain). If I didn’t have another car, or couldn’t do my own work, I wouldn’t own one without a warranty either. It’s a shame that with today’s advanced engineering BMW/MINI can’t make a car that doesn’t need fixing in 100,000 miles.

  • JakeKayak

    No complaints with my 2004 MCS (R53) which I purchased used from the local Mini dealer in 2011. It had 80,000 km and now it’s up to 105,000 (just over 60,000 miles for those of you who are not bilingual). Minor oil pan leak and had a cable slipped off the driver’s door release lever ($60 repair). Otherwise, zero issues. I’ve had door dings, a minor body panel repair (my fault!), and driver’s seat bolsters reupholstered (maybe avoid the ‘leatherette’ if you can)…car is near-new condition now. I hope to run it into the ground unless future potential repairs end up costing more than the value of the car. No regrets here so far.

  • usvibud

    Bought from certified used dealer in San Antonio Texas. JORDAN FORD. 55K. Only problems have been a strut mount, and crank pulley. All else is perfect. No oil burn. Perfect s-lites. Stock, no mods. Now I’m pushing 215+ with methanol and she’s never been happier.

  • Chris

    To my surprise and delight my Dad decided (almost overnight) that he wanted a Countryman. So I searched for a few weeks and found some amazing deals. My parents move to slow on these things and passed on a few. They also weren’t too big into travelling too far to check them out. I eventually found one about an hour away. I didn’t tell him for a while as it wasn’t an All4, but when I finally did he went to check it out. 2500 miles and not a dent, scratch or even nick on it. Scored a great deal too. He loves it and thinks he’s a teenager again. If only he could sort out the MINI connected.

    Found an even better deal on an S Roadster. 800 miles, some great options and a 2013. She waited a day, against my advice, and it was gone. Was at least $4k below Bluebook retail too.

    Some great deals to be had out there if you take the time to look and do the research.

    • Chris

      Would just add that I found an amazing deal on a used Paceman/R61. Probably about $6k below BB retail. Low miles and almost fully loaded. I won’t post a link since I don’t want to break any rules, but I have no affiliation with the vehicle or the seller. Just found it and it looks an amazing deal.

  • Chris Bamford

    I bought an R53 new in 2003, and an R56 new in 2006. When I bought my last car I missed the R53 so much I bought a 2005 Convertible R52 S. To be honest I didn’t like the R56 that much at first, but it grew on me, and now I miss that too. Can’t say which of the three is best, the 56 is the quickest and most frugal, the R53 more detailed and solid. I loved them all – just glad I got the chance to own them.

  • Erik

    I loved every Mini I have owned. I bought a used 2007 Mini Cooper in 2009 that had 48,000 miles on it. I took it up to around 130,000 miles and traded it in on a 2009 Clubman S that had 68,000 miles on it. I ran the clubman until I hit around 115,000 miles and then traded it in on a new Jetta TDi(I love the 53mpg fuel mileage but it is a bore to drive) to use as a commuter. People ask me if I miss my Mini, my answer is “Don’t remind me….” The guy that bought my Clubman tracked me down to answer some history questions about it. He said anytime I want to take it for a spin to let him know. 🙂

  • Chris

    I bought a ’04 R50 w/ 28K miles on it in 2009. The owner was climbing out of it in the parking lot next to my office, and I mentioned he’d spec’d it the way I would have (Chili red/white, Prem. pkg., Mini-fini armrest, etc). He said he was thinking of selling it and I gave him my business card. Two months later I bought it (along with an aftermarket warranty). The oil pan and idler leaks have been fixed under the warranty, as was the power steering pump and wiring harness after it melted (so the warranty has already paid for itself). I’ve had to cover the control arm bushing replacements and tires, but the maintenance has been about the same or less than my ’03 Honda Pilot, which I consider a very reliable car. I’ve only been stranded once (power steering pump) in my 4 years and 30K miles of ownership. As it was spec’d pretty much the way I would have, “making it my own” has consisted of adding the factory AUX-in and a phone charger. The only change I’d make (if it was not so cost prohibitive) would be sport seats.

  • Kim

    I just bought a 2010 Mini Cooper S Mayfair edition with only $18,000 miles on it. It could not have been more perfect. The car is amazing, and since flashy car colors is not my thing, the hot chocolate brown suits me great. Absolutely Amazing!!!