What should I look for in a used Mini Clubman estate?
Not all Clubmans came with parking sensors, and in many cases it was an expensive option, so look out for dents and scratches to the bumpers and bodywork. Also, watch out for poor-quality paint repairs, because these could lead to future rust issues.
This is more of an issue for Cooper S and John Cooper Works models, since they have larger alloy wheels that protrude further out and could be susceptible to kerb damage. Not only is repairing excessively damaged alloys expensive, but it could also be a clue to further suspension damage.
The Clubman was designed to be a more practical version of the Mini hatchback for families, so look out for wear from child seats, scuffed plastics and stains to the interior. Make sure all of the switches work when you go for your test drive, too.
Signs it’s been looked after
Since some versions of the Clubman are 12 years old now, look for clues that indicate the example you’re looking at has been cared for – things like matching tyres on all four corners, stone chip repairs, a tidy interior and a fully stamped up service booklet.
What are the most common problems with a used Mini Clubman estate?
Early 1.6-litre diesel engines (also used in Peugeot and Citroën cars) can destroy their turbocharger with oil starvation due to excessive carbon build-up. The fix requires a new oil pump, pick-up pipe and, of course, turbocharger. Cars from 2008 onwards used modified parts that avoid this issue.
Timing chain rattle
On Cooper S models with the turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine, listen for a loud rattle upon start-up from cold. This is due to a weak timing chain tensioner that fails to maintain tension over time leads to the rattle. It could be a case of just performing a service and replacing the tensioner or replacing the entire chain and chain guides.
Some owners have reported that the clutch can wear out quite quickly on a Clubman, so do some checks before you buy. Make sure it doesn’t slip when you put your foot down in a high gear. Also, try pulling away in a high gear from rest; if it stalls, the clutch is probably fine.
The stop-start system has also been known to malfunction and stall the car at junctions, and dealers often struggle to diagnose the fault. The system has also been reported to stop working altogether, leaving an error message on the dashboard, which can only be fixed by a dealer.
The interior and dashboard have also suffered from rattles and creaks. Some owners have insisted on having new dashboards fitted, but this doesn't always solve the problem. The speakers can also rattle and distort, and in some cases they can fail completely, so will need replacing.
The Clubman's windscreen is very susceptible to chips and cracks because of its upright position. Check carefully for big chips, because these could develop into a crack that will require you to replace the screen, and if they’re in the immediate area in front of the driver, they can cause an MOT test failure.
We’ve heard about numerous reports of problems with the air conditioning system. Make sure you test it by first setting it to maximum heat then switching it to cold and note how quickly the temperature drops. If the system is working correctly, it should go from hot to cold in only seconds.
Is a used Mini Clubman estate reliable?
This generation of Mini Clubman was too old to be included in our latest What Car? Reliability Survey, but Mini as a brand didn’t do particularly well, finishing 22nd out of 31 manufacturers.
Our advice is to make sure you get a car with a full service history so you can guarantee that it’s been looked after according to the service schedule.
If you would like to see the full reliability list, head to the What Car? Reliability Survey pages for more information.
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