Car trouble always seems to happen at the most inconvenient times; when we’re in a rush, on our way to an important business meeting, or trying to get to the bank before it closes. While it’s especially concerning when your car won’t start, and certainly throws a wrench in the day, it’s particularly upsetting when you own a European import, like a Mini Cooper. The MINI brand is known for high standards of performance, and when your MINI fails to start it can be a huge disappointment.
When your MINI runs into starting issues, it’s important to pay close attention to the exact symptoms to help get an idea of what could be causing the problem. You might notice that your engine is cranking but not starting, making clicking noises, or there are simultaneous electrical issues while attempting to start your car; these can all serve as clues to where the problem is originating. Enlisting the help of a MINI specialist is an important step in getting your car the help it needs, as the particular starting issue might be unique to the brand itself. Here are some of the possible reasons why your Mini Cooper is having starting trouble:
Issues with battery life are probably the most common reason for a car not to start. A battery that is diminishing in charge might show signs of failure leading up to the starting issue. If the source of the starting trouble is related to the battery, you might also notice simultaneous electrical issues; for instance, the dashboard lights may not illuminate when you turn the key. To avoid battery issues, you can have the battery examined and tested for the proper charge each time you service your MINI. You might need to replace the battery, and it’s important that you consult with your automotive specialist to ensure that you replace it with the correct battery for your MINI. You can also find this information in the owner’s manual. It’s rare that a newer battery will experience loss of charge if it’s working properly, so it’s important to look elsewhere for the source of the starting problem. Instead of the battery itself, the issue could be related to the alternator.
The alternator is what charges your battery as you drive from place to place. Sometimes the alternator isn’t able to fully charge your battery if you frequently drive your MINI on short trips around town; the short time period doesn’t give the alternator enough of a stretch to charge the battery adequately. Therefore, it may be helpful to throw in a leisurely drive down the highway once in a while. If the alternator isn’t working properly, then it may need to be serviced or repaired.
When we say “fuel issues,” we mean problems with the fuel system or the fuel itself. There are a number of different reasons why the fuel system could be related to starting issues. First, you could simply be out of fuel—crazier things have happened. Sometimes we forget to fill our tank after a long day at work and a subsequent drive home through traffic; filling the tank might be the last thing on your mind. Beyond simply being out of gas, there could also be an issue with your MINI’s fuel pump. The fuel pump is what sends the fuel to the engine for the ignition/combustion processes. Needless to say, if the pump isn’t working properly, it could cause your car not to receive the fuel it needs to start. Furthermore, in especially cold temperatures, fuel lines can accumulate moisture causing them to freeze.
Worn Timing Belt
Another common culprit of starting issues in Mini Coopers is the timing belt. At around 50,000 miles, timing belts are known to run into issues if they’re not replaced. Unfortunately, when a timing belt fails or snaps it can cause catastrophic engine failure. You will likely notice if the timing belt snaps while driving, as the MINI will go into limp mode to protect the internal engine components from damage.
How We Can Help
The pros here at Fast Lane European know that Mini Coopers are special vehicles, requiring specialized care and attention. If you live in the areas near San Jose, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Santa Clara or Campbell, CA, the colder winter weather can especially take a toll on the above-mentioned components of your MINI, causing it not to start. It’s important that your Cooper receive the care it deserves, from qualified professionals at an affordable price. To schedule a battery inspection or a routine tune-up for your MINI, please contact our shop directly.
* Mini Cooper S image credit goes to: ManuelGonzalezOlaecheaFranco.