Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Mini: an extreme event

A week ago this past Wednesday I had something occur with my Mini that I never thought I'd experience.

Previous to that day I was getting an indicator light that said the engine temperature was going up. There's no needle in a gauge here, just two progressive icons (orange and red) that show how hot things are getting. Obviously something was wrong and I needed to bring her in for service. Only the orange light was coming on sporadically and on rare occasions when I was in very slow traffic. After stopping at an independent garage in North Hollywood that I was a little concerned with (not the best neighborhood) I made an appointment with Bob Smith Mini for their first available slot; two days later on friday.

Exactly one half hour after phoning in my appointment, and as I was driving to work, the orange light came on followed by the red...and the red stayed on. I knew I needed to get her off the road as soon as possible but I was stuck in a right turn lane in heavy traffic. I made the turn slowly with everyone else, making my way from the left lane to the right, finally pulling the car over. At that moment the engine died. I tried to start her a few times and nothing. You could tell she was trying to turn over but just could not.

I called AAA who responded in ten minutes, driving me with my my wounded car on a flat bed out to Bob Smith Mini. I really appreciated the driver telling me that it'd be less expensive to go straight there. Having a local garage check things out and possibly have to get another tow from there to the dealership would be double. After arriving at Bob Smith, they brought her in for a full diagnostic. The final word twenty four hours later: the engine overheated to the extreme and she'd need a whole new engine.

Immediately I thought about my warranty which had just passed one of it's major milestones; 50,000 miles or four years which ever came first. My odometer read 53,000. Negotiating with the service desk that, with this major a breakdown and my only being 3,000 miles over, perhaps some type of helpful extension or assistance could be provided. She spoke with the Southern California rep. for BMW/Mini and came back that they'd be willing to cover the labor while I purchased the engine complete. This would mean I'd be paying for three quarters of the cost. That wasn't good enough for me so I asked to speak to the rep. myself. A further negotiation with him brought the cost to half and half. Better, but still needing more. I told him about how I really love Bob Smith Mini and intend to come back there after my current one is paid in full to buy the next Mini...even knowing what color scheme and configuration I want! He suggested I contact Mini Finance to help with my side of it.

Mini Finance was very helpful and I am expecting to close the deal with them the first part of this coming week. The new engine needed to be ordered and will probably take a week to come in with installation taking another week. This process began last friday. So in six days I'll have my Mini back on the road with a new two year warranty and the odometer back to zero. Crazy.

I really miss driving her, even though it's only been a week and a half. Over the past few days that's been accentuated by a bevy of Minis I've noticed on the road. Soon, all will be back to normal!


At March 12, 2011 at 8:44 AM, Anonymous Allen Pinney said...

I know this has been traumatic but it's kind of cool you'll be starting a zero again. Wonder if that will help with your resale/trade in value?

At March 13, 2011 at 5:50 PM, Blogger LA Filmcutter said...

I certainly hope this will add to my trade in value when the time comes. Don't see why it wouldn't.

At March 14, 2011 at 7:53 PM, Anonymous Bismo said...

Damn, I'm sorry to hear that! 53K is awfully low, were they able to identify what the original overheating was caused by? Good job cutting your deal though, nice they were open to negotiations.

At March 15, 2011 at 9:50 PM, Blogger LA Filmcutter said...

The water pump failed. Found out it probably would have cost about $1,800 to have that repaired. I was certainly firm (but nice) about getting the best deal I could with the dealership....I mean seriously, only 3,000 over.


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