Monday, 12 September 2016

Got a problem? Go to the best... we visit Lohen.

Impressive premises
I've been talking about this ongoing issue with Charlie the MINI since I pretty much bought it in January 2015. There was the horrible timing chain rattle as well as an undiagnosed misfire, and over the past year it had developed a serious fault when I was on long journeys and had filled up the petrol tank. As the fuel level dropped, it would more often than not suddenly just lose power whilst driving and I would have to pull over to the hard shoulder.
Loss of power on way home.

Y'know once or twice you might think this is an unfortunate accident or coincidence, but pretty much every time I was on the home stretch from a long journey it would cut out. My initial thoughts were that perhaps the fuel filter might be clogged up, or the injectors were dirty, or something from the fuel tank blocking the fuel flow which would cut out the power. After doing a little research apparently MINI claim the fuel filters are now miraculously lifetime items, and never need replacing. Well, from what I've heard, that is nonsense. And with my MINI having done over 130,000 miles, there's a good chance it's looking a bit nasty.

So, despite my quick fix from Mintech which helped resolve the power and air leak issue, there was still trouble brewing and so I booked an appointment with the best and most well known MINI specialist in the UK - Lohen.

Based in Staffordshire, pretty-much smack-bang in the middle of the country, it's a pretty easy to get to no matter where you are based. Even for me, up in rural Lancashire, it was a fairly quick hop along the M65 and down the M6. I was quite excited to visit Lohen's HQ. Having seen quite a number of classic and new Mini premises, it is fair to say that many can be referred to as 'sheds' and pretty underwhelming - but not in this case!

The large Lohen building in the centre of the industrial estate belies its facade - it looks big anyway from the outside, but once inside you realise it's huge. A large foyer has a fridge full of drinks for visitors before leading into an cool waiting room with large sofas, car magazines and a games console to play on. Well that will certainly make the waiting go by quicker!!

Next door is the awesome showroom which is stocked full of desirable goodies from ST Suspension coilovers, OZ Racing and Sparco alloys, to big-ass Brembo brake kits, loud popping and flaming exhausts, sexy K&N filters and colourful Forge Motorsport pipes. There's even a couple of engines on display with various the uprated equipment fitted.

But if you're really serious about your MINI, then you come to Lohen for work on the engine. We already know they stock the best products, including a large Alta and CravenSpeed range - and they have years of experience in all aspects of MINI - did you know they built and ran their own MINI Challenge racecar? - so they really do know what they're doing.

Want racecar performance?
That's why I'm here. My MINI has been playing up, and no one seems to have properly diagnosed the problem, so fingers crossed Lohen can. I'm told they see 2-3 R53s at the workshop every week for check-ups with many coming from far and wide just to have Lohen do the service. It says a lot.

But it's not just the in-depth technical work that Lohen are good at. They do the simple things just as well as anyone else too, again for competitive prices. So whether it's an oil change or an engine rebuild you'll find that Lohen can offer a solution for you - and with ultra friendly and knowledgeable staff why would you want to go anywhere else. It's like visiting friends, or an Aladdin's Cave, it's not just a trip to the garage but an event.

With Charlie then, they've agreed to do a vehicle health check for me. We head backstage into the mahoosive workshop with three ramps and four technicians to get the car looked over. This is where I meet Luke, who will be reeling of the list of problems to address. Around the corner is also dyno so they can check performance of your MINI, or if you get a bunch of club mates you could come down for a dyno day and see who is the power king! Sadly my MINI won't be going anywhere near that - I was just pleased we made the 100 mile trip without incident, we don't want to push our luck now do we!

Next time... the full diagnosis.

In the meantime why not check out Lohen's website and see what they can offer you and your MINI.

There are also some great deals on so have a look at those too and book early to avoid disappointment.

For Gen 1 Minis there's a couple of things to explore. 

Gen 1 Oil Service £69 (save £26)
Gen 1 Inspection 1 Service £99 (save £31)
Gen 1 Inspection 2 Service £149 (save £50)


Whilst owners of the 2nd Gen MINIs can take advantage of these deals.
Gen 2 Oil Service £69 (save £10)
Gen 2 N14 De-Coking £199 (save £41)

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