07 MINI Cooper oil light woes

My 07 MINI Cooper has been giving me heck.

We ordered her special, and she arrived to us with less than 10 miles on her. At 6 months/7k miles, the red oil light came on. I was a few miles from home, so I kept driving, figuring I’d call the shop from home. A couple of blocks from my house, she started losing power, then the red engine light came on and she died just feet from the driveway. Diagnosis: failed oil pump which cracked the block. Oil pump and block were replaced.

About 5 months later, around 13k miles, the red oil light came on again and she started losing power right away. I pulled over quickly and called a tow to the shop. Diagnosis: an O2 sensor in the catalytic converter was broken. They replaced it.

A month after that, at about 14k miles, the oil light came on again. I pulled over right away and had her towed before she could lose power. Diagnosis: DMTL pump was broken. They replaced it.

A week and a half after that, at about 14k miles, the oil light came on again. I happened to be a few miles from the shop, so chanced driving straight there and thankfully made it without power loss. No diagnois yet. In fact, the shop can’t get the red oil light to come on for them.

My husband thinks that the initial oil pump failure is having a domino effect since they replaced only the pump and the block, but not other parts that may have suffered from loss of oil.

I was a diehard MINI fan, but now am looking longingly at Hondas on the road. I mean, it’s all warranty work still, but I don’t fancy being stranded on the road in the heat/humidity/dangerous neighborhoods I occasionally have to drive through. Is there any hope for my MINI?

“Is there any hope for my MINI?”

Truthfully, I wouldn’t be very optimistic, given the abuse that the engine has suffered. Since you continued to drive it for several miles after the oil pressure light came on during the first incident, there is undoubtedly damage in addition to the cracked block that was replaced. Most likely, your big mistake of continuing to drive it caused excessive wear of the main bearings in the engine, and these worn bearings now cause chronic low oil pressure in the engine. The chronic low oil pressure continues to further damage internal components, due to inadequate lubrication.

Then, at a later date, you again drove the car for several miles after the oil light came on!

Your husband is correct that other parts suffered damage, in addition to the block, but since owner negligence was involved, those parts wouldn’t be covered by warranty. I’m sorry to give you the bad news, but if you had pulled over IMMEDIATELY and had shut off the engine during the first incident, it is likely that most of your other problems would not have occurred.

Whether you buy another Mini or a Honda, or any other make of car that strikes your fancy, you will again destroy the engine if you continue to drive it for more than a few seconds after the oil pressure light comes on. This is a hard way to learn about this necessity, but I am confident that you will treat your next car better than you treated this Mini.

And, I would suggest that you also read the Owner’s Manual of any car that you buy, so that you are familiar with the meaning of the various warning lights and gauges on the dashboard. A brand new car can be turned into junk by ignoring things like an oil pressure light that is illuminated, or a temperature gauge that is showing an abnormally high temperature. If you familiarize yourself with these things, you should have a better experience with your next car.

With the engine loosing oil pressure and the block cracking(this consequense is odd to me,a cracked block?why not damaged crankshaft,camshaft etc.?)why did you allow Mini to repair your engine and not replace it?Was a request to Mini for a entire new engine made but rejected?I must admit I dont know what DMTL pump is and it relationship to the oil system and the low oil pressure light,could you explain?

What’s a DMTL pump? Never heard of it.

My son has a Mini, and he loves it. I think your car is a lemon (an exception to the rule, as most Minis are not problematic), and you should get rid of it before the warranty expires.

Don’t assume all Minis are like yours. You got a bad one, unfortunately. Be thankful for the warranty, but DO NOT try to keep this car. Dump it, at a loss if necessary, but dump it before it bankrupts you.

Then go shopping for a new car. Mini, Honda, whatever.

I agree. I ordered my Mini in 2003 and I’m still driving and LOVING it! I am not a car expert (which is why I’m on here!), but my Mini is an outstanding car. In these five years and 84,000 miles, I’ve maintained it with oil changes and tire rotations/alignments and it hasn’t malfunctioned for engine service yet. I hope you can retire this Mini and replace it with the car you ordered!

My 07 Mini has been great. When you get a red waring light in a Mini you need to shut if off right away. The yellow warning light you can keep driving, I read this in the manual.

Is the oil light red? Is this a case of confusion about what light is on.DTML I cant place it,something in the evap. emmisions system?Never even looked at a Mini’s warning light layout.But who would take the innards of a oil deprived engine and transfer them to a new block?Hope the OP answers this one.

First off, a car should not be driven one inch with the red oil light on.

Second off, I haven’t seen anything in the original post about ever checking the oil level, whether the oil level is very low or empty, etc.

Questions. Are you checking the oil level on a regular basis; say every 2-4 weeks?
Did you ever check the oil level at all in that first 7k miles? Or in the next 6k miles?

There’s something missing or being misinerpreted in all of this because an O2 sensor has nothing to do with the oil light and I’d be a bit dubious about an alleged cracked oil pump being the original cause of these problems.

It would be very interesting to know the details behind these engine problems and how these warranty claims passed muster.

I can’t agree.

  1. The car suffered on failure, the oil pump. All the rest was driver failure for not reacting properly to the warning light. You got to read the owner’s manual.

  2. Repair or dump: that decision should be based on the additional cost. Once it is properly and fully repaired, it should be fine. The owner needs to make the decision. I would guess from a $$$ point of view, it should be repaired and kept. However from human point of view, that decision should be made based on the owner’s feelings, and right now I would guess they are going to say dump it.

My one suggestion and I typically do not recommend is buy the exteneded warranty now.

Wow, no need to be so nasty and condescending! Perhaps you need to read more closely.

I did not drive “several” miles at the first problem. The oil light came on, then went off again. In fact, in all cases, the oil light did not stay on, but went off after a second or two.

On the first incident, I was three miles from home at most, and did not have a safe place to pull over until I got to my neighborhood. My personal safety comes first; sorry to disappoint you with putting my bodily safety above a material possession. Maybe you don’t have a problem with yourself or your significant other being alone in a dangerous spot while waiting for a tow, but I do.

On the second incident, you’ll notice that I said I pulled over quickly. I did NOT drive several miles then, either. In fact, the longest drive was the most recent one, which was to the shop which was nearby, and once again the light had gone off after only a second or two–and if you read my post, you’ll see that the light now will not come on again for the folks at the shop.

Maybe you should read more thoroughly–and consider a little kindness and benefit-of-the-doubt–before being so condescending.

We asked for a full engine replacement. They wouldn’t do it. They insisted that the block & pump replacement would be sufficient.

I also have little idea of how the DMTL pump, which is related to the exhaust system (as it was explained to me) is related to the oil light. What I was told is that there are just two warning lights–the oil light and the engine light, and that if a problem exists that doesn’t necessarily have to do with either, either one might come on. Sounds weird to me, too. But then again, we’re talking about a car that doesn’t even have an oil gauge.

The oil light went off again quickly in each case. And as I’ve written above, my personal safety is a priority, and I can not justify pulling over until I’m in a safe place.

The oil level has been fine throughout.

The shop tells me that any engine problem might trigger either the oil light or the engine light, no matter what the cause. This sounds strange to me, but that’s what they told me.

“The oil level has been fine throughout”

The oil level has nothing to do with whether the oil pump is functioning properly. The presence of the oil light, coupled with the damage that the engine apparently suffered, is pretty good evidence of having run the engine while the oil pressure was dangerously low.

As I, and ok4450, and Mr. Meehan already stated, driving for more than a few seconds with an oil warning light illuminated is one of the fastest ways to destroy an engine.

When you say the block was replaced, do you mean the short-block or the bare block. A short-block is the lower half of the engine, completely assembled, the install the old head and timing belts/chain. If they did this, then most of the components that would suffer from lack of oil would be replaced.

A bare block would be just that, all internal parts from the engine would be transfered. Considering the cost of labor, this is usually not done, too expensive.

In defense of VDCdriver, I don’t see in your initial post where you said the light went right out, only that it didn’t come on for the mechanics. If you drive with the red oil light on for any distance, then you would deserve a chastising though I don’t agree that this is an appropriate place to deliver it. But if the light only blinked on for a few seconds, then I would not blame you for continuing to drive it. I probably would too.

If the red light does come on continuously, you should pull over immediately, even if you are on the freeway. Except for a few freeways in the center of Los Angeles, they always have a wide shoulder with an emergency lane. You just have to get to it safely which may involve driving for a few seconds with the light on. Then you can call for help from your cell phone.

“At 6 months/7k miles, the red oil light came on. I was a few miles from home, so I kept driving, figuring I’d call the shop from home…A week and a half after that, at about 14k miles, the oil light came on again. I happened to be a few miles from the shop, so chanced driving straight there”

I am merely responding on the basis of what you posted. If you re-read your own words above, you will see that I based my opinion on the information that you provided. Yes, there were also incidents where you apparently pulled the car over immediately, but the two incidents that I copied verbatim above do not appear to have resulted in immediate shutdown of the engine–thus leading to probable engine damage.

Should someone keep his/her personal safety paramount? Clearly.
However, there was nothing in your original post regarding driving through dicey areas, and I was responding on the basis of the information that you provided.

I don’t wish to debate this in terms of personal safety, as I was of the opinion that you wanted an opinion on the state of your engine at this point, following what has occurred during several incidents, and that is the essence of my response.

Yes, one should keep one’s personal safety in mind at all times, but if you want an opinion on the state of the engine (and also a suggestion of how to prevent a recurrence of this situation with your next car), then I stand by my previous statements.