Good News
If you own a 2007-2010 Mini Cooper S over 30,000 miles on the odometer, you’ve likely paid to have the timing chain system, or perhaps even the engine, repaired or replaced.

* Important – We literally receive hundreds of phone calls per year on this issue. Please note that unless you are a service customer of AMC, or live in the state of Maine, or are willing to transport your Mini Cooper here for service, we can not answer questions about out of state vehicles, and would refer you to the the local Mini Cooper dealer in your state for assistance. If you are a current customer of AMC, then we will do everything in our power to assist you with your issue, or properly handle any and all service work.
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Background
On the 2007-2011 Minis, the timing chain, an important internal part, and it’s associated drive system, have been failing at a very high rate. Timing chains, with proper care, generally last for the life of the engine. Failure of the chain leads to engine running and drivability problems, and can result in severe internal engine damage.

As the largest independent Mini Cooper Service facility in Maine it has been our opinion, and is now apparently also the opinion of the courts, that this premature failure is a design defect. In our experience, this is often brought on by the very extended oil change intervals of 15,000 miles (which is why we strongly advise oil changes on Minis at 5,000 to 7,500 miles).

As Promised
If you’re an AMC customer, you might recall we suggested you hold onto your service and repair paperwork, as we had been following this problem very closely, and saw help on the horizon for Mini owners.

Good News
Up until last year there was a class action legal settlement reached with Mini and Mini owners.
The bad news is that the class action settlement is now closed, but the good news is that you are not on your own! If your car still needs a timing chain repair, we can save you hundreds, and in one case, thousands of dollars over what the Mini dealer, or other shops charge for this repair. And we warranty our work for 2 Years Nationwide for your peace of mind. Note that in our experience the “N12” engine timing chains fail just as often, perhaps more so, than the “S” models.

We Really Do Love Minis
First, let me start off by sharing that we really LOVE Minis, ask any of our customers, we are very passionate about these cars, they are fun to drive, quite safe, and generally very reliable. Every car has it’s “Achilles Heel” and the later Coopers have a big one in the form of timing chain failures.

Good News
The good news is that, with proper care and service, even if your Mini has suffered a timing chain failure, it can live again…but you need to get it into the hands of someone who knows this problem inside and out, a specialist..like us. Then, once the repair is done, you need to follow a slightly different maintenance schedule to prevent it from occurring again.

The Problem
First, Mini doesn’t really acknowledge this is a problem, they’ll hem and haw about the matter, but not acknowledge it as a pattern failure, not cool. Suffice to say if you are driving at R56 Cooper, with the N12 or N14 engine, its a matter of time, rather than if, you’ll have a timing chain problem…if you follow the standard Mini oil change interval. See most of these cars are on the Mini service plan, and only having the oil changed every 15,000 miles.

Why This Happens
We don’t think that 15,000 mile intervals are a good idea for any car, much less a smaller and higher stressed engine like a Mini Cooper. The N12 and N14 engine consume oil, any engine does this, and since they hold just over 4 quarts of oil, it is highly unlikely that the car will make it to the 15,000 change interval with all the oil intact.

Go Check Your Mini
Chances are you’re going to be low on oil in the 7,000-7,500 mile range…we know, almost every Mini that comes in for service is checked and found to be low on oil, go check yours now, and see how much oil is left. Low oil, and dirty oil…yes, oil gets dirty after 5,000-7,500 miles, accelerates timing chain wear, which leads to a very expensive repair, or at times, even engine replacement.

Death Rattle
We’ve seen a surprising number of Coopers, come in with a knocking noise in the engine, this has been dubbed the “Death Rattle”. Should you hear this noise on your car, DO NOT IGNORE it, we have a car in the workshop today in which the timing chain has failed, damaging the engine. Mini has released a service kit addressing this problem, the key thing to correct it BEFORE failure.

Sounds – Cold and Warm
This noise is especially pronounced when the engine is cold, sounding almost like a diesel engine with a rapping or knocking noise between 1500 and 2000 PRM. When the car warms up, the noise will abate to a degree, but in advanced cases still be present even with a warm engine. We’ve had this occur on cars with as little as 12K on the odometer, so this is not a high mileage problem.

Prevention Is Easy
The best thing you can do to PREVENT this problem in the first place is to change your engine oil and filter every 7,500 miles, not the Mini norm of 15,000 miles, always use a high quality synthetic engine oil and factory filter.

Correction
For cars which are in warranty, we can work with Mini to confirm coverage for this fault, for cars outside of new car warranty, we have the ability to correct this for once and all. Mini has released a service kit addressing this problem, the key thing to correct it BEFORE failure. If you have this problem, call us right away, before failure. Rest assured that we have the tools and experience to put the fun back in your Mini!

We’re Here To Help
This is not a problem to left to a general repair shop, there is a very special…and expensive…set of tools required, and one needs the knowledge, experience, and training to do it right, the first time. That’s what we do here, we’ve done countless Mini timing chain tensioner, and timing chain updates, and we know exactly how to do it right, the first time, every time. Questions, just call us (207) 882-9969, peace of mind, that’s what we do!

Not Yet Replaced or Timing Chain/Engine Failure?
As an AMC customer, we have kept an eye on this problem in the past, and will continue to check every time your car is in for service. If we note a timing chain issue, we will contact Mini on your behalf, verify warranty coverage, and make arrangements for the work to be carried out, at no cost to you, yep, that’s just what we do, we wear the white hats.

Already Paid
If you’ve already paid to have this work done, or have it done currently with us, we simply suggest that you contact Mini with a copy of the service order to the phone number or email on the letter for reimbursement.

Read More
If you want read more on the Mini Cooper timing chain issue, or any other common issues with vehicles we service, be sure to check the “Mini Timing Chain 101” on our “Case Studies” page – http://casestudies.atlanticmotorcar.com/case-studies

Your Advocate, On Your Side
At AMC, because we are independent and locally owned, we are YOUR advocate, and our team makes a point of checking recalls and service campaigns from the manufacturer on every visit, and keeping our customers up to date.

* Important – We literally receive hundreds of phone calls per year on this issue. Please note that unless you are a service customer of AMC, or live in the state of Maine, or are willing to transport your Mini Cooper here for service, we can not answer questions about out of state vehicles, and would refer you to the the local Mini Cooper dealer in your state for assistance. If you are a current customer of AMC, then we will do everything in our power to assist you with your issue, or properly handle any and all service work.

Questions
If you have any questions, or need a copy of your service history, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. (207) 882-9969.

Thank you,
Bruce and the AMC Team