Flat Battery

This morning I came out to the car and it wouldn’t start. I had known something was wrong over the last week or so because the car would start but there would be a noticeable delay between the engine turning over and the oil/fuel guages coming alive. I called AAA and they were here within 15 minutes, diagnosed the battery as completely flat and gave me a jump start. I had called San Diego Independent Mini ahead of time to check that they were open and drove over there right away.

Another test showed the battery was bad but the alternator was still good so they did the battery swap. I pointed out my twisted seat belt and they were able to straighten that, its been twisted for over a year but I couldn’t work out how to do it. Then, as part of simply driving in, they topped up my fluids and gave the car a pretty thorough wash and interior clean. And they gave me some free advice to pass on to a fellow MINI driver on twitter who is having problems with his OBC.

All in all, I think it’s a pretty good place to take the MINI. Cooper was there again but he was a bit feisty today, running around and kept jumping up on me, maybe he likes my shower gel smell?

Is it me or the car?

I’m in stop/go traffic, gaps between cars are nil to a few inches but no matter what the gap between me and the car in front I am always chosen as the vehicle that is going to be inconvenienced by someone just pulling over and assuming I will get out of the way.

Is it something about my style of driving? I do tend to keep a bigger gap than most which might be inviting but even when, like tonight, I’m keeping it real tight people still just pull out right in front and force me to stop for them.

Is it the car? I know they see it (well many of them anyway). Do they think I won’t possibly risk my precious baby getting scratched? Or do they perhaps think I’m driving a worthless pile of junk so they don’t care about hitting it?

Whatever it is, it’s so predictable that it isn’t funny anymore.

Trying a new MINI Shop

No posts for weeks and then come three at once!

I did some research about places to get an oil change and found SD Mini which was advertising a $100 oil service including filter change, brake inspection etc. Even better was that it was only a few miles from work. They said to stop by anytime so I left work early.

When I got there I was greeted by Cooper:

I got a tour of the shop while the guy worked on the car. Naturally there were things to point out to me. I knew the brakes would be low, rear pads were almost on the metal. They also showed me a coolant leak which was obviously fresh.

I’m very close to the next Inspection so he offered me a deal on doing the Inspection right now. It wasn’t a great deal but better than nothing and it included some things that I don’t think have ever been done. Also, the service includes an alignment which I had already set up elsewhere, so that would save $80 or so. Finally it includes a full detailing inside and out so I decided to get the windshield replaced because it’s going to look like crap otherwise with big cracks in it while everything else looks factory new.

So I left the car there and they gave me a loaner MINI in the meantime. Not sure what year it is but it’s an automatic hardtop, original model. Driving it out I had a hell of a time mastering the transmission. In D there was absolutely no acceleration. I worked out how to put it in SD which seemed better but I don’t know if I was thrashing it or not, revs never went above 4k so probably not.

An expensive $100 oil change for sure but I’m hoping that a little preventative maintenance now at 116k miles will keep Carrie going for many more at minimum cost.