Stalling: Both MINI and My MINI

Thanks to the earthquake swarm near our house on Sunday I took Monday and Tuesday off to meet repairmen and clean up the house (the broken glass was already gone but lots of rooms had fallen furniture etc to put back). Monday I drove the MINI to meet Teri for lunch and after 10 minutes of stop/start driving at the traffic lights the car started to struggle at idle.

Turning into the car park I did my usual putting the car into neutral (possibly a bad habit) and as I did the revs went to zero, all the lights came on and the engine quit. I coasted into a spot and cursed a while. The car started up fine but quit again once it was idling.

Some lunch and I decided to take it to the nearby Pep Boys for some diagnosis. To get there I determined I would leave off the a/c (it was only 108F) and would not allow the car to idle when stopped. A few California stops later and I was there but they couldn’t help because there were no codes – the engine was no longer stalling when idle.

So I drove it home via some back roads where I wouldn’t have to stop much, a/c off, windows down. The car didn’t once come close to stalling though I think I sweated through my clothes, the car seats and into the earth beneath us.

It drove just fine today to San Diego but then it isn’t mo-fo hot here like it is there. I am hoping the car will last until the new MINI comes but I have my doubts. Part of me says to just sell it to a dealer right now, be done with it.

Which brings me to the other stalling: I still don’t have a production date for the new MINI. Arghhh!! The factory started back up this week so I am hoping I’ll get one soon but it has now been three weeks and a day and my baby isn’t even an apple in it’s father’s eye.

Poor Timing on the MINI

My motoring advisor had been pretty forceful in telling me I needed to make changes to my order quickly as it was almost certain to go into production “tomorrow or within 24 hours”. Of course I’ve been refreshing the Owners Lounge page every day to see where it is going and every day it has been the same:

So I queried my guy and he tells me that my order coincided with the annual summer shut down at the Oxford plant so nothing is moving there until the beginning of September. Argh!!!! So my wait is longer than I had hoped, just have to keep my fingers crossed nothing else goes wrong on my current one.

In other news, Teri and I were at a San Diego Hyundai dealer last weekend where we ended up getting a very nice 2012 Accent hatchback for her. I asked the salesman about the Veloster Turbo and he said that it was a mess, they expected one in October most likely. But then today over at the Veloster forums (yes I don’t know why I still read it) the daily dump of the Hyundai stock database shows they got a red automatic in yesterday. Seems bad when these things just show up and you can’t tell customers when or what.

One More MINI Then…..

Things can seemingly change rapidly, my next vehicle will not be the Veloster Turbo but this Orange Spice 2013 MINI Cooper S Hardtop.

I went to the dealer last night, signed some paper work and came away with a production number. My advisor says he expects it to go into production today or tomorrow but right now it shows up as “On Order”. He estimates 7-9 weeks for an actual delivery. So I just need to keep my current MINI running that long without incident…..

Speaking of which I’m off to collect it this morning, can’t even think about how much the repair will be. Maybe I will then try to sell it though I am not sure who wants a 7 year old MINI with 152k miles on??

Anyway, I am excited to be going through the MINI buying experience again. The tracking available to the dealer has become a lot more sophisticated, can even tell me what ship it is on and where it is heading, but still no snapshot pictures of your car going through the assembly line.

Broke Down Today

No, not as in “broke down and ordered a new MINI”, but came to a complete stop on the freeway. Halfway between home and work, just before the Border Patrol checkpoint on I-8, I could no longer press in the clutch. In fact, it had retreated so far up into the back of the car I couldn’t even find it with my foot.

AAA eventually came (after a thorough investigation from Border Patrol) and $300 later they delivered me to my trusty MINI mechanic. He says he will check it out this afternoon and hopefully I can have the car back tomorrow. He quoted some figures for price, none of them very nice.

Now I have a quandary. I had absolutely decided to order a new MINI this week but if I have to put $2-3k into repairs I feel like I should drive it for a while longer, get my money’s worth. Then again, the reason for wanting a change is my acknowledgement that at 152k miles it is time for some repairs and if the super charger were to go during this “worthwhile” phase, I’d be pretty much stuck.

A first world-quandary indeed. And I blame Hyundai. If they had made their Veloster Turbo more available I’d be in a different car already.


I don’t know what Hyundai are doing with the Veloster Turbo release, and I’m not sure that they know either. It’s been a few weeks now since the VT started showing up and there is a helpful guy on a forum who is posting the US shipping database every couple of days, and here is an example.

If you look real closely, you’ll see there aren’t very many in CA yet, and if you ask local dealers they will tell you they have no idea when or if they are getting anything. And what there is, is very automatic tranny-centric. I think of the almost 300 on that list there are perhaps 2 or 3 that match what I want, and none of them within 1500 miles of me. An Oxnard dealer says there are another 200 waiting at the port and he expects a couple, but has a waiting list of 35. All this suggests I am in for a very long wait on the Veloster Turbo.

Which got me thinking….. how does a new MINI stack up? So I got on the configurator and came up with this (ice ice) baby.

2012 MINI Cooper S 2013 Veloster Turbo
MSRP $27,350 (likely negotiable) $25,475 (min price)
Options Premium Pkg, Sport Package, Garage Door Opener Ultimate Package, Garage Door Opener
Extras Climate control, auto headlights, rain sensor, DSC 7″ touch screen, deluxe stereo system
Performance 27 / 35/ 30 MPG, 0-60 6.2s, 141 mph 26 / 38/ 30 MPG, 0-60 6.8s, 121mph

So a similarly equipped MINI is about $2k more expensive MSRP but I figure you can probable get under that these days. The biggest difference is that the MINI doesn’t have the technical package of the Veloster but in its favour is that I expect it will be of much better build quality, and of course much better handling. The other difference is that I can probably have the MINI I want in a few weeks rather than the (possibly) months for the VT.

Hmmm… indeed.