Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Mini Convertible sports?
It may sound obvious, but inspect the operation of the roof with a fine-tooth comb, because a new canvas top or folding mechanism could cost more than the whole car is worth. Also, you’ll want to make sure there are no leaks, so put it through a car wash and inspect the seals for any seepage.
Rear parking sensors are fitted to most models, but because rearward visibility is still so poor, check for parking damage all over; that can be expensive to set right. Also take a good look at the alloy wheels and inspect them for any kerb damage. Repairing alloy wheels can also be expensive and a bit of a hassle.
The small size and premium image of a Mini make the Convertible ideal for those who want a classy small car to use in town.
What are the most common problems with a used Mini Convertible sports?
Diesel engine timing chain
The Mini Convertible was launched after the BMW-sourced range of diesel engines were introduced, so it doesn’t share the same oil starvation problems as early diesel Mini hatchbacks. However, some owners have found problems with premature timing chain wear in the best case scenario or complete failure in the worst. If the engine rattles at idle after start-up, you’ll need to budget for expensive repairs, since it is often a time-consuming, engine-out job to sort the issue.
There are reports of the six-speed manual gearbox failing and needing to be replaced, along with concerns about the clutch, which has been known to require expensive repairs.
The stop-start system has been known to malfunction and stall the car at junctions – and Mini 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 be fixed only by a dealer.
The dashboard and other interior areas 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 rattle and distort, and in some cases fail completely and need replacing.
Also, we’ve seen numerous reports of problems with the air conditioning system. Make sure you test it by first setting it to maximum heat, then switching to cold and noting how quickly the temperature drops. If the system is working correctly, it should go from hot to cold in seconds.
The Convertible's upright windscreen is very susceptible to chips, so make sure there aren’t any large ones in the area in front of the driver, because that could lead to an MOT test failure. Also, chips can develop into cracks. Smaller ones can be repaired, but bigger ones will require a replacement windscreen.
A small number of cars built between 20 August 2009 and 30 September 2014 had an additional water pump for the turbocharger that wasn’t particularly robust. In extreme cases, it could even melt and catch fire. A recall was issued for dealers to replace the pump on affected cars with an improved one to prevent this from happening. A Mini dealer should be able to tell you if this work has been done.
Is a used Mini Convertible sports reliable?
Mini as a brand came in 22nd place out of 31 manufacturers, which isn't a particularly stellar result.
If you would like to see the full reliability list for small cars, head to the What Car? Reliability Survey pages for more information.
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