Ask a MINI owner what the car's common faults are, and quite close to the top of the list will be steering pump failure.
MINI famously had to recall a load of cars in the USA over the fault and it gave them a load of bad PR. So with 150k miles on the clock and no service history, who knows what was going to fail next on my MINI.
So everything had been running smoothly for a couple of months on from my last entry, but then one day I started the car up and the steering was particularly heavy. I turned the car off, and on again, and this seemed to resolve it - temporarily.
Later in the day the heavy steering came back, this time whilst I was driving. A corner was approaching and I had already cottoned on to the fact the power steering wasn't working so I stuck my elbows out and gave it a big heave to turn it. It's certainly not light!
Having read the stories about power steering failure I can see why a lot of drivers worried. Having driven classic Minis - without power steering - I was sceptical about how badly driving would be affected, but now having driven without it, it's not something you'd want to do regularly. However, for a couple of days or so, it wouldn't be so bad and we all had a bit of fun when it came to driving and parking - low speeds were particularly tricky, but by the time it got fixed I could feel my biceps bulging out of my skin.
Doing a bit a research I found that sometimes the power steering pump's connectors can get dirty and this too can prevent it from working properly. Anyway, who do you call when in need of MINI help? You know the drill... it's Mintech of course.
With bookings up to their eyeballs, it looked like I might have to wait for a while to get it seen, but in the end they told me to come over and they would fit me in somehow.
In the yard the place was choc-a-bloc with MINIs everywhere and all the ramps full and Martin whinging about engine swaps and clutch jobs he has to do. Haha, it's a hard life!
Anyway I had to hang around for a bit whilst they worked on other jobs. The ramps were still full and time was ticking on and I had to get back home to pick the kids up from school. We had a chat and agreed to stick my MINI up on the autodrain using the forklift truck (how they move scrap MINIs around the yard).
Once up we could have a good look underneath and access the steering pump. Changing it over was quite a quick and simple job and before long it was all done.
Having discovered a hole in one of the exhaust backboxes last time it was up on a ramp, I thought I'd better inspect it again. And... meh... it had got a little bigger, but not too much. And it still sounded awesome so just added that to the list of future jobs to do.