Q. My 2007 R56 Cooper S developed a flat battery overnight – it’s a brand new battery so clearly something was draining it. My guess is that it was the mobile phone charger left plugged into the cigarette lighter. Anyway, I recharged the battery in situ and fully expected to fire the beast back into life - wrong!
I have now got a red steering wheel/triangle symbol which the handbook suggests means the steering lock is engaged and confirming that the car will not start in that mode. Is this something that is common and easily solved or does it mean a visit to the main dealer?
Q. I have recently purchased an 05 plate Cooper S, which overall is in good condition. However, for some reason the rear plastic panels on the front seats have a number of bad scratches. I have enquired at my local MINI dealer for a price to replace these panels and the cost of £37 each seems quite reasonable. To avoid any further expenditure I propose to replace the panels myself, although I am a bit hesitant about the airbag located in the seat. Can you please advise if this is a DIY task and how I should go about replacing the panels?
Q. I hope very much you can help me as my 04 Cooper is starting to get old and it’s starting to suffer from a few age-related things. First, the brakes are noisy when they get hot – the calipers make a nasty clicking racket. The brake pads and discs are OK and the brake fluid was recently changed, so could it be the master cylinder or has the system got air in it?
The engine sounds and feels like it’s misfiring. The revs will suddenly drop when the engine is under strain eg driving uphill. I’ve changed the air filter to see if that helps.
The power fluctuates sometimes causing my power windows to stop working and my headlights dim when you turn the steering wheel. Could this be part of the same problem with the engine? There is also a funny squeak coming from the shocker on the rear driver’s side. The bushes seem OK and the damper isn’t leaking.
Q. Seeing as it is getting to that time of the year when the evenings draw in and the temperatures drop, I thought I would soon be scraping the windscreen again, but not if I could retro-fit a heated windscreen. I’m aware that MINI doesn’t offer a retro-fit kit but are you guys able to advise how this would be done? I can easily arrange for the correct screen to be fitted, it’s just the wiring/control side. I’m sure other MINI owners would be very interested in this too!
Q. I have just bought a 2008 R56 Cooper and have a couple of questions that I hope you can help me with. On page 86 of Modern Mini Sept-Oct 2010, can you tell me the manufacturer of the alloy wheel shown in the upper photo? I'm also trying to find a black or colour coded radiator grille to replace the standard chrome one. Are these only available as part of an Aerokit?