Service Update

Picked up my car last evening:

  • Leak confirmed as coming from the thermostat housing, it was replaced and the system refilled
  • Brake fluid flush was done
  • Rattle was observed and traced to the muffler which was replaced. I swear I heard the clanking noise on the way home last night but didn’t hear it this morning
  • Rubber seal on passenger door was replaced, except that I have no idea what that actually did as the rubber that needed replacing is still there.
  • Inspection of the top found “no abnormal wear”. Yeah, not abnormal for a MINI but certainly abnormal for any other car. Grrr.

Don’t know what to do about the top. A year ago the service advisor was willing to do it but said I should wait and have it done only once. I’m not a pushy person so will probably just leave it.

Back to Brecht

I’m currently the slightly embarrassed driver of a silver Chevy Cobalt while Carrie gets taken care of. Since I knew I was going to have to rent a car I loaded them up with things to look at:

  • the fluid leak – almost certainly the coolant system as the reservoir tank was near empty this morning after topping it up yesterday afternoon
  • brake fluid flush – now a freebie item under the warranty
  • replace rubber seal on passenger side door next to window – it’s slowly wearing away, can see metal through it already
  • advise on new top replacement – the ‘standard’ MINI convertible wear is clearly showing so I want them to see whether I get a new one or not
  • metal on metal clanking noise in rear – been very noticeable ever since Vegas, maybe before. It sounds like there are two pieces of metal hanging from the roof that sway with the motion of the car and clank against each other. I’ve looked and looked and can’t find anything broken.

I am sure the first two will be taken care of, not sure the description of items 3 and 5 will be sufficient for them to find or fix the issue. Given what I read on the boards I think I should get a new top but we’ll see.

Taking a Little Leak

[Update] Looked in the coolant tank at lunchtime and there is hardly any coolant left. Car is going to Brecht first thing in the morning but in the meantime I will top it up with something. Grrrrrr.

Drove the car out of the garage on Sunday to give it a bath (the rain on Friday had made the car filthy) and noticed some fluid on the ground where it had been standing. Scooped it up with a paper towel and it appears to be blue, possibly green, and feels oily rather than like water. This morning when I left for work there was a tiny spot so my hope that it wasn’t coming from Carrie appears in vain. A little web research suggests the fluid is either windscreen washer fluid or coolant but I suppose I’ll take her to Brecht as soon as they can see her.

Only 5.5k miles left on the warranty, soon be time to get all the little annoying things take care of while I can.

Can the DMV Pat It’s Head and Rub It’s Tummy At the Same Time? (HINT: No)

Back in July I received the pink slip from my bank enabling me to transfer my MINI’s title to my name. Around the same time I got notice that my registration was due by Aug 22. I sent the transfer form, pink slip and cheque for the transfer fee to the CA DMV in late July and early August I went online to pay my registration: no luck, the online registration was no longer accessible to me because of the pending title change.

So I waited a bit, and just before the trip to Alaska I got a letter from the DMV returning the pink slip saying I needed to pay another $226 before they could complete the transaction. Well, this was the registration amount so it looked like they couldn’t do one without the other. I sent them the cheque return mail.

When we got back from the cruise there was another letter from the DMV. This one had a receipt for my cheque but a demand for me to send back the pink slip. I suppose it was foolish of me not to send the pink slip back the first time but I figured that if they had needed it they would have kept it? Plus, the letter said quite clearly “send the following items: check for $226”, no mention of the slip. So now it’s way past Aug 22 and I have no title or tags, and I’m just waiting for the CHP to stop me and for me to try explaining my situation.

MINIs in Alaska

Before I went to Alaska I highly doubted I would see a single MINI, after all there are no dealers in the state and a rugged 4×4 seems like it would be more useful half the time. So it was with some surprise and delight that I saw my first MINI within minutes of getting in the taxi from the airport in Anchorage. Over the trip I saw maybe 5 or 6 MINIs, including one in Juneau which is only accessible by boat or plane, and has maybe only 50 miles of roads – seems an awful shame to have a MINI and not be able to go on any long drives.