Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

MINI Cooper won't start

I’ve got a 2004 Mini Cooper. Since I’ve had it (about 6 months) it has had some minor trouble starting. If I get in the car and just try to start it, it will start right up but then die immediately. If I let the key sit in the acc position for a few seconds and then start it, it starts fine (sometimes it takes a longer period of cranking). That was working fine until last week, when it started to get more difficult to start (meaning it took longer cranking and then would start). This morning, I got in the car and let it sit in acc for a second and when it cranked it cranked slow, about one crank a second. I was thinking this was a fuel pump or pressure problem, but could this be all related to the battery?

If the engine cranks over normally the battery is fine.

Try this. The next time you go to start the car, turn on the ignition switch so the dash lights come for two seconds, and then turn the ignition switch off. Repeat this a half dozen times and then try starting the engine.

If the engine starts right up, it points to a problem with the anti drain-back valve in the fuel pump assembly.


How old is the battery?

8.5 years.

It was the battery today. I put a new one in after a successful jump start. We’ll see if the other starting issues come back with this new battery. Thanks for the input.

Slow cranking … instead of the normal rr rrr rrr sound you hear a sort of rrrrr rrrrrrrr groan rrrrr groan rrrrr … that is usually caused by some combo of a bad battery, bad battery connections, or a faulty starter motor. If you put the key in the position where everything is lit up on the dashboard, and you hear a buzzing noise from the gas tank area, that’s the fuel pump priming the fuel rail. If doing that a couple of times seems to help, that’s usually a problem with the fuel pump or its drain back valve as mentioned above. That wouldn’t normally be associated with a slow crank though.

In any event, since you replaced the battery and the problem appears to be solved, souind like you are back on track with a reliably starting mini. Good for you. If the slow cranking starts happening again, suspect the starter motor next. It’s not uncommon this time of the year to have to replace both the battery and the starter motor to resolve slow cranking problems.