Written By Don Burnside
It’s official as you can see from the photo. My MINI eclipsed the 200,000 mile mark recently and thought it would be a good time to give you my thoughts about this car since it has more than 10 years worth of normal driving miles on it.
I got my MINI on March 9th, 2003 and hit my first 100K miles on October 7th, 2005. Lots of miles for work, lots for SCMM events and just general motoring.
This 100,000 miles did take a little bit longer, mostly due to the extreme increases in the price of gas. When I bought my MINI, I was paying $1.899 for a gallon of premium in SoCal. We all know the rest of that story. I also drove less for work, which is another reason why it took a bit more than 3 years to hit this 100K versus 2.5 for the last.
I’ve said this here many times before, but the MINI is the best car I have ever owned. Except the alternator going out and getting 1 flat tire, this car has never left me stranded and never not started. I’ve driven this car in pouring rain, searing heat and even snow without a hitch. Never thought I would lose control and have always felt safe, even driving next to 18-wheelers with 60MPH gusts!
The following is a recap of the life of my MINI. Follow the jump!
Where I have been
Thanks to this amazing little car, I have been able to do some pretty cool things, meet almost all of you plus other great people and go to places I’m sure I would have not gone to otherwise.
- Helped to start one of the largest MINI Cooper Clubs in the world, Southern California MINI Maniacs (SCMM)
- Started a little podcast called White Roof Radio with Todd and Gabe. Thanks to you, it is one of the most popular automotive podcasts in the world!
- Been an editor at Motoringfile.com for more than 2 years
- Been the “Official” something at AMVIV, MTTS (covered it twice) and MINI United 2007.
- Driven to the Grand Canyon
- Driven on the track over 40 hours!
- Driven on the Las Vegas Strip with over 200 other MINIs, more roads than I can count with 30 or more
Pretty amazing stuff, all because of the MINI!
Since my MINI was built in the first year (11/15/02 to be exact), the first 50k miles were slightly problematic, but covered under warranty. Steering wheel, seats, latches, numerous software updates and a new transmission are on the list of things that were replaced or repaired. In total, my MINI spent over 1 month at the dealer for the first 50K miles. Did I mind? Not even a little bit.
From 50K to 100K everything was exactly perfect except for the A/C pump going out during the hottest summer we have seen in 20 years. It was replaced and now my MINI has a part on it that can turn sub-12 second quarter mile times, should I ever need to do that.
Once I was passed 100K, wear and tear started setting in. First thing to be done was a tune-up, which is fairly minor. I was amazed it didn’t need it until 120K miles. After that was the battery at about 145K. Should you need this, I highly recommend going to the dealer. I’ve recently tried a battery that was non OEM and the bracket to hold it in it’s little box wouldn’t fit correctly.
Next up was the power steering pump. And it wasn’t cheap. If you are getting up in miles and think yours might be failing, be sure to have an extra $US1,000 handy for the job.
Following that, I had a control arm break. Scary, but cheap and easy to fix.
Finally, at exactly 200K miles, the alternator decided to give up the ghost. While I was driving in the middle of the California desert. At night. It made for a fun experience.
I’ve really not had to do to much to my MINI to make sure everytime I put in the key and turn it, it starts. There are still some things that I really need to get done, hopefully sooner than later.
- Complete suspension rebuild, including new upper control arms for the rear, shocks and springs. And all the parts that make the MINI front-drive.
- Radiator. It doesn’t really leak, more like a slow steam. Not a concern now, but I want to replace it before it becomes one
- Belts and hoses. After installing the alternator, replacing the main belt on my car might be doable, if not terribly time consuming. Hoses shouldn’t be too bad either.
- Wiring harness. This is a concern for many reasons. I’m hopeful that getting it replaced will also turn the airbag light off. Pretty sure this one will have to happen at the dealer
- Brakes. New rotors and pads this time around. Power slot rotors have lasted me 170K miles, so I’m pretty sure I will use them again.
There isn’t anything that I don’t like about this car. I can keep up with you in your MCS on the track and get 35MPG on the drive home. I can cruise at 70MPH all day long in comfort. I can suffer in bad traffic or dodge the cell phone using idiots on SoCal freeways with ease.
Besides the cost of dealer service being extraordinarily high in my opinion, this car hasn’t even cost me too much. Sure the repairs I need to do will be a bit spendy, but my car is, essentially, 10 years old (depending on who’s math you use). Most cars that are as old as mine always require something.
Like I mentioned above, Roxy has always started when I turn the key. Always moved when in gear and has done so with more style, flair and fun than any other car I have ever driven. This is a car I hope to keep in my driveway for as long as possible!