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Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Mini section

This is area is for Mini. The modern Mini has been my passion for over 6 years now. People close to me always have many questions for me. From common issues to performance, accessorries, apparel, you name it! Let's start with the Pink one at the top. I have seen a few pink ones already. Hello Kitty Pink, Hot pink, pink lilac, there are a few out there. The JCW models maybe the best and most exciting car to drive for under $35,000cdn. Please also check out many of my discussions on


  1. Hi Cal,

    My lease for my BMW is up in November. I'm thinking of purchasing a used mini instead. My budget's $17,000CDN. What should I look for when purchasing a car? What years should I be looking for?

  2. Hi Michelle
    $17000Cdn is a very decent budget when shopping for a Modern Mini. The main choice is... do you like the first generation (2002- 2006) or the second (2007 and up). I am assuming you are looking for a hardtop (coupe) and not a Cabrio (convertable). As 2011 comes up the 2007s will be out of factory warrenty and the price will come down considerably in the open market (buy/sell and private sales)
    In my opinion the last year of production for a certain model is usually the best. The factory has had time to review common problems and fix them accordingly. A 2006 Cooper S is a very appealing car. Very fun to drive and labour costs per service/repairs are lower than the newer model. The later 2006 models are also "special" editions as they are branded either Rallye for Cooper S and Soho for regular Cooper. Cooper Classics are still branded as normal and not considered special. If you do not need the additional power of the Cooper S then maybe a 2008 Cooper maybe more what you are looking for. Newer technology and better fuel economy than the Cooper S. In my opinion the Cooper S is very fun car to drive and the Cooper with less power dilutes the experience a quite a bit.
    A must when buying a modern Mini or basically any other car is 1. a set of winter tires. Even if it does nt snow it will go below 5 degrees and most likely below freezing so you need winter tires. 2. a service history along with a Carfax to verify its history of repairs, accidents, insurance, registration and general maintenance and 3. a pre sale inspection by a third party. A dealership can do this for you and it takes about 1 - 2 hours. Good Luck in your search !

  3. For everyone who has owned an early R50/R52/R53 you probably had the thermostat replaced at least once. For the small few who havent you eventually will. The thermostats in these cars are not any different from what you would find in Chrysler models from like the 1950s and on. They are reliable in their operation but the rubber gasket that comes on R50/R52/R53 is not very durable. The newer part comes with a Silicone gasket and when replaced a small coat of silicone grease to seat and seal the gasket is used. Basically with all of the new units I have seen have not had a problem since. Then again, just like factory warrenty thermostats are really only good for 4 years. Switching to aftermarket coolant does not help either... in fact they seem MORE prone to leak with Prestone or anything aftermarket used. If you have a water pump or radiator that leaks and needs replacement definatly consider replacing the thermostat. Since the vehicle is apart it cuts down on labour costs and its a real pain to bleed the cooling systems when only half full. Especially the the W10 engine (all R50 and R52 cooper) Replacing a thermostat is cheap insurance when you consider an overheating due to such a small part.