I bought a 2007 Mini Cooper, used, at a Ford dealership in August of 2010. For nearly two years I loved this car and didn’t have to pay much in the way of maintenance. I bought the car at 55k miles, and now it has 92k. Over the past year, I have noticed a rattling noise at cold startup, and it was especially loud in the winter, and I also noticed that the car consumes oil. As the oil got lower, the rattling got worse, and whenever I topped off the oil the rattling stopped. I brought this up at the MINI dealership (where I get all my repairs on the car) during a routine oil change and they didn’t take it seriously.
Well, Tuesday morning on my way to work, there was a sudden loss of power and the engine started missing bad. I was almost to where I work when the car just couldn’t hold and idle and stalled. It wouldn’t turn over after that and it sounded really “sick”. I had the car towed to the dealer, where they told me the timing belt tensioner failed and it allowed the timing belt to jump “a great distance”. Apparently, these are “interference” engines (a term I learned because of this incident) so the screwed up timing destroyed the engine. The dealer said it will cost 8,000 to completely replace the engine.
I told them to hold on to it while I figure things out, as I cannot slap that money down. Since then, research has shown this has happened to others. I got in contact with one of them who is still in the process of a lawsuit with MINI USA since late 2010.
I have heard many different explanations for the rattling, something that has been well documented, but it’s hard to believe that the rattling, the oil consumption, and my car self-destructing is unrelated. Mini apparently issued a “service bulletin” to correct the rattling but it didn’t solve anything, and I do not know if it has been applied to my car by the previous owner.
So far I am still trying to figure out my options of resolving the issue. I still owe quite a bit on the car, more than it was worth before the engine self-destructed, and don’t have the money to pay for these repairs. I have contacted my USAA insurance on the hopes they can help pay for it, other than that my only option seems to be to take out a loan, or raise a stink about it with the dealer, which I’m pessimistic on considering what I’ve heard from others with the same issue.
Do you have any advice or ideas on how I can resolve the issue?