Last night I took my MINI back to European Coach Auto Repair for their $100 oil service. You may remember that last time I went there I walked (or rather crawled) out having spent $2000 on a major overhaul so it should probably be no surprise that I lost more than a $100.

For quite a long time now the car has been making an awful noise when hot, sounded like a half-full kettle about to boil, so I was hoping they would find that problem, and they did.

During the oil change their technician Oscar called us over to show us blue fluid over the transmission and under the car. We could see it slowly dripping and there were places where it had been dried on for a long time. The culprit was a leaking thermostat housing so I had to have that replaced. Thinking that must have been my noise problem I figured we were done but then Oscar was testing his work and he set off my noise. I always thought it sounded scary from inside the car but from outside it sounds like total car death is imminent.

Again he called us over and showed us the culprit – the fan that cools the power steering had a bad bearing and this was making all the noise. It was still working so I/we debated not replacing it but in the end the noise just sounded so frightening that I said do it.

So all in all I walked out $700 poorer than I was but the MINI is probably in good shape for a few more months at least. I’m up to 137k miles now, doing my best to catch up with db, so you have to expect more of these kinds of repairs as things wear out.