It's a good job I know Minis enough to keep my breakdown cover updated. With the classic Mini it's pretty obvious why it's required (although you cold argue I could fix the classic myself nine times out of ten), but you'd think with a 'modern' car it would be more reliable. But I suppose with any second-hand car that has done over 120k miles you can expect some problems - unless you've already replaced everything! And having already suffered an engine failure and host of other problems since buying it 18 months ago, it should have been no surprise that something else was coming.
So, for a fair while I've had this issue with the car cutting out on me despite fuel etc..., and I had hoped the replacement engine I needed would have remedied this too, but it seems not. When I first got the replacement engine it was great and seemed to fly, almost literally sometimes, but more recently the power doesn't come on and it chuggs a bit and I am having to rev it more to keep it going sometimes. It's not right.
Well eventually this came to a climax when I was on my way to my cousin's daughter's party with my kids when suddenly there was a horrible knocking sound whilst I was on the motorway - and the car sounded like it was in real pain. I was bricking it. I managed to get it up a sliproad and limp it on to a roundabout layby and turned off the engine. I turned it over again but I didn't like the sound enough to keep trying. It sounded bad. Really bad.
As a began with, I'm wise to the way of Minis, so I was prepared. I had my breakdown recovery service on speeddial. FYI it's StartRescue. Cheap as chips and been as good as gold.
I'm surprised they don't recognise my number when I call, and I'm well versed in the script. It'll take upto an hour and they'll text me when approaching. Fortunately I know the local recovery company is only a few miles away, so it probably won't be long. So with the kids all dressed up, we were about a mile away from the party venue, so we walked down and I leave them with my mother while I head back to sort the car out.
When I returned to the Mini with the recovery operator, I explained my concerns about starting it, but I decided to try it again anyway. Brrrruuuum! Bloody typical isn't it... it started up fine. But I was still cautious though. Stuff like that sounds that bad doesn't just go away. I chat with the recovery guy and tell him my thoughts and he says he can escort me home to see if it is ok. So I agree.
We set off for the 10 mile journey, and before I'm even off the sliproad onto the motorway I can hear the clunking coming back. Yeah, this definitely isn't good. So I pull over on to the hard shoulder and the recovery truck does too.
He takes me home and the next day I give Mintech in Bury a call. These guys have been awesome since the day I met them and they have really looked after me. They sent out a recovery truck and took the MINI back. Within two days they'd replaced the engine again and it was all back and working. An amazing turnaround for a man in a desperate situation. I can't thank them enough.
After they'd had time to look at the other engine, they tell me I had somehow "knocked the crank out" somehow, either through poor maintenance, low oil or over revving... hmmm. I'm not so sure, but anyway it's sorted now.
Yes - this is my second engine in a few months, but obviously there was something up with the previous one so I'm not counting it ok!!
Mintech - No.1 in the UK for BMW MINI Spares - 0161 761 1615