Dear MM: In response to your Sidetrack section in the November-December 2013 issue, I do actually think that MINIs have become too ubiquitous. You only need to look at the latest Countryman and Paceman models to see that brand values have been lost in the name of making money. In my opinion too many of these bloated models have been sold to school run mums with more cash than sense. Look at the online classifieds and the latest trends show more MINIs being sold for less than what we know they're worth, therefore devaluing all our cars. I believe BMW should put a freeze on any new models, short of developing the existing ones.
Q: I own a 54-plate Cooper S and the ABS and handbrake light has come on. We checked the code’s history and it said: ‘low voltage, offside and nearside speed sensors not working’. We have checked the resistance on them and both are 4Ohms. There is no damage or corrosion in the plugs. We cleared the fault but it comes back after a mile or so. Can you suggest what to try next, before looking at the ABS unit?
Q: When I approached my local MINI dealer regarding fitting a tow bar to my 2012 MINI hatch, they said there were no tow bars available for this model. I got in touch with a reputable tow bar fitting company which said they could do this. Unfortunately they had fitted the tow bar and were about to commence with the electrics when they noticed on the inner door plate, a ‘0’ for towing weight, whereas on my daughter’s older MINI it does state an actual towing weight. They removed the tow bar and told me to get in touch with MINI, asking them if it’s permissible to fit one.
Q: I’m a big fan of your magazine and I’ve been an R50 MINI hatch owner since October last year. I have had the car diagnosed as needing the timing chain tensioner replacing, which I then bought from Wollaston Northampton MINI. When I phoned around a number of places to get it fitted, I was told that they didn’t have the timing pins to do the job.
I then called Wollaston to enquire and was told that replacing the timing chain is a straightforward job that requires no specialised equipment.
I'm looking at getting a mobile mechanic to do the job, but he is also concerned about pins for the timing chain. Can you solve this mystery for me and explain what the confusion is?
Q: We are in France visiting family and noticed that the nearside rear body has dropped and is almost touching the body on our 2002 Cooper. It looks as though there is a very heavy weight on that side of the car. The nearest MINI dealer here in France is 25 miles away and I am concerned about driving there. Does this sound dangerous and do you have any idea what the problem might be? I felt underneath the car and there is a sharp pointed bottom to the spring. Does that suggest the spring may have broken?
We have had the car for six months and bought it from the original owner in extremely good condition. It has factory fitted S-Spoke 17in wheels with runflats.