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My 2005 Mini Cooper S had 3 episodes of overheating in traffic over the past 6 months. Each time, I can hear the fan running loudly after I park the car. When I hear that, I know the next drive will be problematic. The problem accurs when driving on the interstate and then slowing down or stopping because of traffic. Suddently the air blown by my heater becomes really cold (heater stops heating) and I can watch the temperature gage climb in tyhe red in only a few seconds. So far the car has not exploded. First episode, ,ocal mechanic did not find anything else than an overdue oilchange which seemed to solve the problem. Second timeadded coolant fluid which seemed to solve the problem. This time I am asking for good ideas before I bring the car in again. It seems to me like the problem is more one of timing and that sometimes, the fan does not kick in when it should. What would cause that and what part to change?

Catherine from Duxbury MA

I Believe You Have A Coolant Leak.

This car needs to go stay with a competent mechanic and be thoroughly checked out. Low coolant can cause overheating, engine damage, and the fan sensor to become erratic. An inspection and a cooling system pressure test may have to be performed to locate the problem(s). Continuing to drive it will only do more damage and lead to more expense.

Also, just an observation, but if a mechanic finds an “overdue oilchange” then you are not doing your job as a car owner. This is possibly a case for car abuse. Get it fixed and get on a better routine for maintaining and inspecting the vehicle or you will continue to have problems, eventually huge problems. Ask the technician who finally fixes it to show you what to check and how to maintain it. Read your Owner’s Manual as well.

There Are A Couple Of TSBs (Technical Srvice Bulletins) For 05 Minis …

… pertaining to the cooling system. One deals with air pockets trapped in the system and bleeding (purging) instructions. Is your car an automatic? The other one deals with an upper radiator hose problem on automatics. The hose rubs and needs to be replaced with an improved part. The bulletin gives the part number.

Make sure that whoever works on your car can access TSBs and knows what they’re doing.

Seriously, don’t keep driving it like this. It’s not like your car has the sniffles. It’s more like your car needs the emergency room to find out how serious the problem is before you keep driving it.