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Mini Cooper Key Issue

My co-worker just arrived with a question about her Mini. Her key has a built-in door opener/security feature. This morning, her door would not open. She went “manual” and physically opened the door with the key. She tried to start the car and nothing happened.

A few minutes later, she came back out and opened the hood (I have no idea what she thought she might see, but good for her for looking…)and tried to start it…nothing.

She closed the hood and tried one more time and was successful…

Does the key have some sort of security feature that would disable the starter if the key’s battery ran low?

3 times i’ve typed a detailed answer to this? & 3 times it has vanished into cyber space. Whats up with that?

Maybe a short/brief answer will work Tell the lady to look in her owners manual.

Maybe the 5th time is the charm.
So here we go again.

About 8 years ago at a parking lot in Vegas I had the very same problem with my wifes 02 Sonata.

Theremote would not unlock the doors. Opened it with the key & the (*&^$# alarm went off.

What to do, what to do.

A quick look in the owners manual gave me the answer.

From the manual:

"Only the remote can disarm the armed alarm. If the remote does not disarm the system, it is necessary to take the following steps:

  1. Unlock the door with the key, which will cause the alarm to be activated.

  2. Insert the key in the ignition switch & turn it to the on position.

  3. Wait for 30 seconds.

After completing the steps above the system will be disarmed.

This did the trick & the car started right up.

Apparently this was a one time electrical glitch as we’ve never had the problem again.

Edit. Take a look at the back of the owners manual in the table of contents. There should be a listing for “alarm system” or “anti theft system” or “theft system” or some such.

Mini has by all reports (that I am aware of) very good customer relations, why not give a Dealer a call or drop by?

She has lost faith with the dealer after a failed attempt to repair a coolant leak…
She presented with a coolant leak/overheating, so they replaced the thermostat. She has to continuously feed the coolant recovery tank due to the leak. She came to me for the first time today and told me what was going on…
I looked under her car and could see that the under-engine splash guard was soaked with fresh coolant. What a nightmare under the hood…how can anyone work on this jumble?

I congratuladed her for at least keeping an eye on the coolant…most folks ignore it. She thought that coolant consumption was normal…no telling what the dealer told her. She is taking it back to the dealer today to question them about the need to replace the thermostat when it seems to have nothing to do with her leak…

The simple answer is that yes, the key does have some sort of security feature that would disable (not enable) the starter if the key’s battery went dead.

This should be discussed in her owners’ manual. And new batteries are cheap.

Because I don’t know the parameters of the repair I cannot say if losing confidence is justified or not. You do want to keep some level of communication open with the Dealer as you just may need what is known as “Goodwill” from the Dealer.

Probably a non-iussue this late on, but for what it’s worth the leak sounds like a common Mini issue. The plastic resivor/expansion tank above the splash guard has likely failed at the seam around the middle. A new tank is around $50 (I think) and it should take minutes to swap out. (I hose and a couple of bolts.) The thermostat is another common issue on 05-06 Minis (and my current issue) and is a $40+$40 part (depending on if the housing is also done) which takes 1-2 hours to swap.