Ask MF – When Do You Give Up On A Troubled MINI?

Many of us have been there. A surprise repair is one thing. But it’s another thing when there’s an extra digit and the first number starts with a 4. We get a ton of questions here at MF that we typically answer offline. But every so often we get one that we feel the broader readers would find interesting and want to help answer. This is definitely one of them.

So with that we’re going to turn it over to reader Matthew O’Brien to tell his story:

I have an 09 Cooper S – with all of the packages, and 60,000 miles. It’s paid for, but it’s been having lots and lots of issues and repairs. Today, we have another $4,000 repair. MINI USA is covering half of that (and we’re obviously out of warranty at this point) – but still, we’re on the hook for $2,000. I’m wondering if you can give some MINI advice – is it time to dump the car? And if so, do we private party sell it or do we trade it in somewhere?

It’s really heart-breaking because I ordered this car in 08 and waited 3 months for it – but it’s been nothing but problems since the second day I’ve owned it…(they actually had to tow it out of my garage on day #2 because of a loud “knocking” sound). I was planning on keeping the car until it died – many more years and miles. But it is just getting silly with these ridiculous repairs for it. I feel like we’re throwing money away for a car that just can’t seem to stay out of the service bay. Why is this? Are these MINIs just really that bad of cars? Have you had any other readers with issues like this? Any advice you can give? Thanks in advance – Matt.

PS – It’s extra-sad because I did love MINI so much. I’m a designer and I love the design of the car. There really is nothing else I’d consider – but I just don’t know if I can bring myself to buy another MINI again.

Sad story for sure. Our take is that yes, it might be time to dump the car. Selling it via a 3rd party site like Cars.com is typically what we recommend for top dollar. But what to get next is the real question. The F56 is a new car with a completely designed and manufactured BMW powertrain. It’s proving already to be more reliable but the jury won’t truly be in for another few years. Still we’d look at a new MINI given the radical changes they’ve seen since the R56 generation.

That’s our take. What’s yours?