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Mini Cooper Oil Change

Please help me and my boyfriend! I have a new Mini Cooper 2010. He says the oil needs changing every 3,000 miles. I say the Mini folks recommend once a year, or 12,000 miles. Please help! Our relationship is in danger.

Who is paying. If your boyfriend is paying let him change it at 3000 miles and pay for the required synthetic oil.

If your paying do what you feel best. Personally I think its between those numbers.

Right, I would go with 5000 miles for normal driving and go 7000 miles if only highway driving. The oil for this machine is a premium European spec and very expensive!

If the proper synthetic oil is used that meets Mini Coopers specifications then your boyfriend is absolutely wrong. I would go by whatever the owners manual says and see if there is a severe service recommendation and if your driving habits fit into it then follow whatever interval is stated.

Personally I don’t go more than 4 or 5k between changes but it is your car and your choice. Is there a severe service schedule for the Mini, follow that if there is any city driving involved.

If you decide to go with the factory recommended interval, please get into the habit of checking your oil on a regular basis (once a week maybe). All cars use a little oil, consumption that might not be noticed in 3 or 4k miles, might be fatal over 12k miles.

When you check the oil, it’s also a good time to check the other levels, i.e. coolant, brake, and transmission. For example, drops in coolant level on my 2000 Blazer were due to a leaky intake manifold gasket and a crack in the radiator on separate occasions. Both repairs were a few hundred, however if not discovered repairs would have been in the thousands. Recently, I discovered the air filter lid had come loose on my 2010 Cobalt, again an easy fix.

Ed B.

Grandpa changed his oil every 3,000 miles so you should do the same. Maybe not. Grandpa (I am a grandpa) may have driven cars that needed changes every 3,000 miles and those who did not suffered.

Today’s cars are far different, as are modern synthetic oils and even filters are better.

In grandpa’s days there were lots of cars that ended up in the junk yard because of oil related problems. Today, there are very very few cars that have oil related problems, as long as the owner’s have complied with the car manufacturer’s recommendations for oil and oil change times.

WARNING, if this difference is putting your relationship in danger, then I would suggest the relationship needs some maintenance.

My recommendation is to open your glove compartment and see what the owner’s manual suggests what the oil change interval is.

If your relationship is in danger over something like this…

I think the important thing is the conditions under which you drive the Mini Cooper. If you do short hops of less than 5 miles and the engine never fully warms up, your boyfriend may have a good idea. On the other hand, if you are doing highway driving, your oil should be good for a longer distance.
The 2006 Chevrolet Uplander that I just sold to my son had an oil minder. In the winter when I drove short distances, it would indicate that the oil needed to be changed around 3000 miles. On summer highway driving, the indicated oil life wouldn’t be depleted until 7500 miles.
The 12,000 mile oil change seems a little long to me, but then the oil change interval in the owner’s manual for my 1965 Rambler seemed long to me at that time–it said that the oil should be changed every 4000 miles. In those days, many people changed oil every 1000 miles.

Mini dealer will want you to run until the oil service indicator comes on, which could be more like 15,000 miles. I think this is too long for a reasonable change and for my 2009 MINI I drained the oil @ 7,500 miles and replaced with 5W30 full synthetic without changing the filter. I didn’t reset the oil service system and then plan on changing oil and filter @ ~15,000 mile or whenever the system indicates it is time to change. Talk to your dealer about the service. I wasted a trip to the dealer 3 hours away. Since the oil service light indicator was not “on” they refused to complete the oil change under “free maintenance contract”.

Yep. Follow the maintenance minder (whatever it’s called on the mini) and use the approved oil. If your boyfriend wants it to be maintained to a higher standard, let him buy the approved oil (MAKE SURE IT IS THE APPROVED FLUID - OIL IS NOT JUST OIL ANYMORE in all cases = ask VW/Audi around 2000/2002) and have him do intermediate changes as he sees fit.

Is there any particular reason why he feels the need to have mastery over the maintenance of this machine?

I have a Mini Cooper S 2010 (Hi! His name’s Irving!:)) and you’re exactly right - Mini recommends an oil change every year - around 10,000 or so miles (they said it can be flexible). If you are too concerned though and decide to go with your boyfriend’s thoughts - Mini’s oil changes are supposed to be free for the first year, so no harm no foul should you decide to do more.
Best of luck to you and your motoring!

There’s no turbo, right?
I wonder if this engine would be OK with conventional oil every 3-5000 miles (once it’s out of warranty.)
A city car (what the Mini is best at) might take a year to put on 5000 miles.

The Mini folks are dead wrong. This could be verified if a study was done of every car that suffers premature engine damage, has oil consumption issues, etc. That 12k miles oil change interval is just as ridiculous as a dozen other way off-base factory recommendations.
Thank the marketing department for recommendations like this that promote a gee whiz, my car needs little attitude.

If you do a lot of short hop, stop and go driving then 3k miles is the correct one. If it’s mostly highway driving or a 50/50 mix then you could go 5k miles.

Here’s the top of a BMW engine with 45,000 miles and two oil changes (at 15K and 30K):

Looks fine to me…NOT.

Changing the oil sooner then is recommended is NOT going to hurt anything except your wallet. Personally I don’t care what oil you use…I’d NEVER go 12k miles between oil changes…5-7K at MOST…