Mini Cooper R56 Problems to Expect

This Mini Cooper S is so much fun to drive, amazing style, has great features but unfortunately the build quality was lacking when these were built and thus there are some problems to expect. Of course there are a few variants of the R56 Mini Cooper. There are Non Turbo Cars with N12 Engine, Mini Cooper S cars with n14 engines and 2010+ non-s n16 engines and turbo S models with N18 engines.

Just because people have reported problems, doesn’t mean you will have issues with your car, but its good to know what you can expect. Normally, people don’t post about how reliable their car is.

Some general Mini Cooper problems that people report are:

  1. All minis have a little bit of a throttle lag which can only be solved by tuning, but not noticeable in normal driving.
  2. Some buttons within the cabin are poor build quality compared to the rest of the car. No much can be done here.
  3. Hood scoop warping on the S models – there is a heat shield that dramatically helps with this
  4. Ignition coils and plugs are common replacement and maintenance parts that go wrong
  5. You can’t listen to 10-15k mile changes by dealers
  6. Stay away from Automatic transmissions especially if there is a harsh shift

N12 Engine: mostly reliable engine with typical issues like timing chain tensioner and timing chains and water pump

N14 Engine: This variation of the car has the most amount of issues and you will often find pretty good deals on these cars, like I did on mine. If you are willing to do some labor, they can be a great deal.

  • Timing chain tensioner should be replaced as a preventative task before timing chain stretches and needs replacing. This will save you a lot of money in the future being that timing chain a much more expensive job.
  • Carbon build up is another big issue on this engine, you either will have to have it walnut shell blasted or install an oil catch can
  • Water/Coolant pump/Thermostat – probably the worse part of the engine as it is a terrible design and there isn’t an aftermarket solution as such
  • HPFP – as with most BMWs of this age, the high pressure fuel pump goes bad
  • Turbocharger – Oil line fails and leaks, turbo usually wears out 75-100K
    • This is because people don’t properly allow the car to idle down and cool off before shutting down
    • usually because people do not maintain it properly, you have to check oil all the time as it’s crucial to keeping the turbo cooled of
  • Oil consumption – N14 engines burn about 1 quart of oil every 2-3k miles once it has higher mileage.
  • Vacuum Pump – can fail and cause catastrophic failure as it can result in bent valves. Frequent oil changes will help as it will allow the oil better and not clog the tiny oil channel that lubricates the pump.

Stuff done to this car so far:

  • No issues until 50k miles
  • At 50k drive belts were replaced
  • At 80k miles water pump was replaced
  • At 90k miles water pump and water pump pulley replaced
  • At 102k ignition coils and plugs, car started misfiring
  • At 102k antenna corroded and navigation stopped tracking properly
  • At 103k miles water pump replaced by me

N16 Engine: Basically trouble-free other than water pump.

N18 Engine:

  • HPFP is an issue on only the early variants of the car, latest revision of the pump fixed the issue
  • Water pump and thermostat are still an issue on these engines just like on the n14

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