Sunday, 28 August 2016

Electrical gremlins for the MoT and speed bumps take their toll

It was a quiet time earlier in the year after getting the new tyres fitted. I hadn't been doing much with the car except for the usual family duties of running everyone around, taking the kids to school and doing the shopping. The engine still wasn't running as it should and I was down on power for some reason but couldn't afford to get it looked at at the time. The MoT was due, and aside from some dash lights I thought it would pass OK.

The Tyre Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) has been illuminated pretty much since I bought the car but I check they tyres regularly and they are holding pressure well - and this isn't a fail on the test.

Elsewhere, the ABS sensor warning light was coming on. This, I think, was due to it being knocked or damaged whilst a garage was fitting some new bottom arms or bearings last year. A new sensor from Mintech Spares in Bury, sorted that cheaply - a lot cheaper than the £60+ they retail for! The brake wear indicator wiring had been damaged so that was replaced too.

The final job before the MoT was to get that airbag warning light off, but no matter how much fiddling I did with the wiring under the seats (the supposed hotspot for this common issue) it didn't help the issue, so I bit the bullet and booked it in at a local auto electrician. 

A few hours after I'd dropped it off and I got a call saying it was all fixed. Apparently there were three faults relating to the airbag, the main one being the pre-tensioner on the passenger seatbelt. £55 lighter and the MINI was taken straight to the MoT for a clean bill of health. Given my good mood, I even took the car for local hand car wash.

The team from Saville Park Mini
One little nagging issue that had blighted me since my R53 purchase, was the height of the speed bumps in Nelson, Lancashire. No matter how slowly, or at what angle I approached them, I just couldn't prevent the front of the MINI scraping against the tarmac. I cringe every time I hear it, and am waiting for, one day, when the front bumper rips off and I end up driving over it. 

Anyway, so fast forward a little bit and one particular day when I perhaps didn't take the speed bumps as cautiously as I should have done, there was a loud clunk noise - and then an even louder exhaust noise soon after...   Great something else to fix.

I stopped the car and took a look underneath to see if I could see anything broken or hanging off, or missing, but all looked to be in place and in order and good condition. Obviously I wouldn't be able to do much about it here, so I took a slow and loud drive home.

With funds tight I called in a favour from Saville Park MINI - a new MINI specialist I had recently discovered in Halifax. I called the breakdown service to transport the MINI to Saville Park MINI who kindly made time to squeeze my car in to have a look. Their modest premises belie their knowledge and their turnover of used MINIs is impressive. Around the corner larger garages have been acquired to help their expansion and deal with the increasing demand from customers.

What's more, they were even kind enough to lend me one of their cars for sale for a couple of days whilst they fixed mine. What gents!

Anyway, I get a call telling me the catalytic convertor has snapped in two and that they can get and fit a new one for me for cost price at £115. I'm impressed, but still short of cash. Well, without much choice I gave the go-ahead and scrabbled together enough money to pay them. I headed back over and picked up the MINI. 

Bruuuum... wow, what a difference. It still wasn't perfect, but at least I had a new cat on. Looking at the old one, it's been said that the break is so clean it could be welded back together, so I've kept it... just in case. That'll be the classic Mini owner in me!

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