Available in showrooms from 2001 to 2006, the first generation Mini Cooper was a hit from the moment it left the design table. During the clay model presentation, the executives in charge of the project were so pleased that they told the designers to keep everything exactly how it was, including the last-minute use of a beer can for the exhaust pipe—leading to the Mini’s distinctive exhaust system. One of the more common problems associated with Minis is unusual engine noises.
There’s nothing quite like the dismay felt when you start your car and a strange noise rumbles out with from the engine. Any knocking, clanking, clicking, chunking, or whirring that you’ve never heard before can mean any number of things. Often, Mini owners say that the check engine light also fails to come on during these moments, leading them to wonder whether or not there is any reason to worry. In some cases, the car’s oil light will flick on for a few moments, but nothing beyond that. So, what does it all mean?
The vagueness of the clicking—and the lack of a check engine light—could indicate a variety of problems. You might be looking at a broken hydraulic lifter, meaning that the engine oil isn’t getting to all of the places that it needs to (helping to explain the oil light coming on). Other common areas to check would be the timing chain tensioner and the harmonic dampener, both of which can make a bevy of strange sounds when they malfunction.
Driving around for long periods of time with strange noises, hoping that maybe they’ll vanish on their own, will only harm your car. If allowed to continue for any length of time, you might be seriously contributing to a serious breakdown of the vehicle, something that would require tremendous expense and time to repair. It’s much better to get the noises looked over by a professional. By taking your Mini to a specialized German auto service shop, you can prevent a more devastating problem from taking place.
Search for a local, independent Mini Cooper repair shop with Mini Cooper mechanics that have dealer-level expertise at a fraction of the expense.