I drive a 2005 Mini Cooper (standard hardtop) with 98k miles on it. I’ve been having this problem with the brake sensor off & on all this year.
Early in the year, brake pad warning light comes on - seems a bit soon, but I run it by the brake shop for a look. They call me back, say my brakes are nowhere near needing work, but that replacing the sensor (left front, if memory serves) fixed the light. OK, that works. About 3 months later, light comes back on, take it back in, my brakes still look good, but disconnecting & reconnecting the sensor did the trick. Repeat a couple of months later. A couple of months after that, comes back on again, but I was busy and I knew there was no way my brake pads had gone from awesome to rotten that fast, and the light turned itself off in about a week. A week after that, and it’s back on again. I don’t know what to do or where to take it. I don’t want to ignore it, I like having working warning lights. I’d rather not go back to the brake shop again, lest I end up doing this again in the dead of a Colorado winter. The nearest Mini dealership is about an hour away, and it always seems that dealerships charge an arm and a leg. There are plenty of import auto shops around here - I found one that seems promising based on a door latch repair, but haven’t tested them out on anything bigger, and the one that I know specialized in BMWs and the like couldn’t even be bothered to give me an estimate previously. Most of the rest specialize in Subarus, the unofficial official car of Boulder County.
So… what do you guys think? I have little prior experience getting a car fixed that isn’t under warranty, or where I don’t already have an established relationship with a local shop. Mechanic shopping is a bit new to me.
Is this likely something (relatively) simple & cheap that I should run to the local shop, or does it need to go to the dealership (and I eat Ramen for the next month)? Any ideas what the real problem is likely to be?