2003 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl S/C 6M)
Just starting from the time I got the car- I Purchased my mini last year (in 2014). The seller did not do any maintenance to the car since he owned it (for 3 years) and no record of what was done to the car. I could tell there was something going on with the belt at the time I purchased it. (ended up being belt tensioner)
We have done tons of maintenance that was overdue along with preventative maintenance to keep it running strong.I literally drove my mini from Florida to California, then from California to Iowa, then from Iowa to Florida and had no issues. Not to mention the little car was weighted down most likely beyond its capacity as I was moving around the country a lot at the time. Here is a list of typical things that need to be replaced for higher mile minis and I highly suggest you look into these parts for replacement if you do own a mini:
*Spark plugs and wires
*Coil Pack (usually rusted connection causing acceleration issues)
*Map Sensors (preventative not really needed at the time)
*Timing chain tensioner
*ATI super charger damper crank pulley (highly suggest you go with a higher grade crank pulley- the stock ones are known to not last)
*Power steering pump (always known to eventually go bad)
Oil pan and seal
*Suspension bump stops
*Engine Mounts (mine were literally done for falling apart- i went with poly mounts however it will make the car more rigid so more vibration)
I am a mother with a 3-year-old son. I have a large Recaro Car seat that fits in my car. I drive my car daily and I make road trips in my car. You have to decide personally why do you want an older R53 mini? My husband and I work on our own cars so we don't pay for a mechanic; We only pay for the parts. I highly suggest Way Motor Works or ECS Tuning they have the best deals on parts from what we have found for my mini.
The car is small and rigid so the ride is not as smooth as our 335Xi BMW. If you want something that drives like a Cadillac then think about getting a different car. This is a fun little car that I enjoy modding and driving and I plan on replacing the engine when it comes to that point. I don't plan on ever getting rid of my mini. Is there some maintenance sure what car does not have maintenance especially once you hit 100k miles. Mini coopers are not your Toyota Camry or Honda Civic standard car they are for the unique few who find an interest in the silly character and the up and down pro and cons of what all involves the mini.
2003 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl S/C 6M)
These little cars are very seductive, but beware--the early model Minis are quite trouble prone and as expensive to maintain and repair as a Porsche (not an exaggeration---I checked this thoroughly). Clutch? How's $2400? Engine? How's $6,500 on up? Automatic transmission? Don't even ask. Front brakes? $500. Broken AC? $1200 on up. New catalytic? How about $1800? Broken sunroof glass? Again, don't ask, you'll have a heart attack.
Plusses: Fun to drive, great acceleration on the S model, plenty of leg and head room for tall drivers, decent fuel economy, great handling and braking (to a point--a Mini does like to hop around a bit).
Minuses: AC sucks, punishing hard ride, jittery handling on rough roads, extremely high repair and maintenance costs.
In short, if you can't throw $150 a month at a car to keep it running and safe, then don't buy an R53 or R52 Mini Cooper.
Bought my 2003 over a year ago with 73,000 miles. Now at about 104,000. Had to replace the rear brakes/calipers/rotors/pads, and was not cheap. Replaced front rotors/pads. Replaced front left hub/bearing at $300 just for parts. Within the last couple of days my windows started opening by themselves, and the doors started unlocking themselves. When I go out in the morning, it's unnerving to see the windows open, and all the locks unlocked. Don't
know what's up with this. Called dealer, and asked about oil/filter, and replace radiator hoses, and thermostat. $365. Seems a little high. Anyone have info on the mysterious window/locks working by themselves?
Like many others, I have had nothing but problems since I purchased this car used less than a year ago.
When I got it I seemed to be in ok condition even after 2 previous owners and 140k.
Starting in the 2nd month o ownership I began having to replace things--each time a cost of $500-$600 mainly due to the high price of the parts.
Every time I fix something, I have another problem.
I am looking to get rid of the car as soon as I can because I cannot afford to keep fixing it nor can I spend all of my time at the shop.
Great car in its younger years--definitely not a primary vehicle or one that will hold up over the years.
I love hownthe car drives and how you feel connected to the ground.
Other small cars feel like the wind can knock them over--not a MINI.
Still feels spacious even as its so small.
Everything is in mini form--cup holder included.
Also, the windshield is shaped in such a way that when you pull up to a traffic light you often cannot see the light without craning your neck--I am only 5'5"...
MINIs have a recall on the power steering pump--mine went out just 4k over the 150k limit and the dealer wouldn't budge to help me cover the cost--$1200.
I hope later models do not have this same tendency or if they do, BMW needs to correct it.
MINI makes shiny, cute cars but shorts the consumer in ways you don't find out until later.
Not an everyday, primary car though the company promotes it as so.
I was given this car in 2004 as a gift from my parents. I could not have been happier. After having it for over eight years now, I am ready to drive it into the Hudson. This car has been nothing but one major problem after another. The first year I got it I was on the highway and the car just stopped switching gears above third gear. Luckily that was covered under warranty. Since, I have had the air conditioning go out twice, the power steering go out, windows stopped, door locks stopped, numerous overheating episodes, etc. My poor father has spent numerous hours and dollars repairing this thing. Thank goodness I have him though, because I would have spent several thousands by now