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Do-it-Yourself Mini Cooper Auto Repair — When Can it Cost You More?

Brian England, Tue, Apr 10, 2012

While interest in tinkering with cars as a hobby has been waning, when it comes to the Mini Cooper, things are different.  There are still a lot of people who enjoy working on these cars as well as having fun driving them.

In the 1960’s it was the “in thing” to modify and tune up a Mini. Working on them was fun, and with a little mechanical knowledge it was possible to do most things. Fast forward fifty years and things are a little different. Electronics have entered the picture, and convenience features like electric windows and door locks are standard.  However, these features can present a challenge to those who haven’t completed professional training.  Sometimes it can be difficult to determine what problems can be dealt with at home and what should be left to a skilled auto mechanic.

With today’s intricate electronics and automobile computer systems, it’s fairly easy to quickly find yourself outside of your depth of knowledge.  It’s not always easy to know in advance how complicated a repair might be. Many assume they can just go online and find the solution to the problem. Instead they may find many solutions online and may not know which is the right choice to repair their vehicle. Some car owners may choose to start working through the list, and this can be costly if you don’t choose the correct solution first.

In the video above the car has been taken apart, and parts have been replaced unnecessarily because the car owner was not able to diagnose (trouble shoot) the problem.

Ben, the technician who worked on this car, has spent many years going to college and receiving training on the job to become a skilled technician. When Ben explained to me how he found the problem with the electric windows on this car I was not surprised with the outcome. Ben started by checking the basics (battery and ground) and then printed the wiring diagram for the circuit he was working on.  He then traced the problem by performing pin point voltage drop tests along the wiring until he found the problem.  In this instance, the problem happened to be related to a dirty connection.

The customer paid a couple of hours labor for us to find the problem.  Unfortunately, this was after he had spent several hours of his time and quite a bit of money trying to solve the problem.  In this instance, if we had been involved from the start, we could have saved this Mini owner lots of time and money.

Knowing when a problem falls outside the scope of a “do-it-yourself” project is very important whether you’re completing a job in your home or on your car.  Knowing that there is a Mini Cooper repair facility right here in Columbia, MD should help to make the decision to consult an auto repair professional a bit easier.

 

About Brian England

 

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care) got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in the northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD, and a few years later, started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. A big believer in preventive auto maintenance, Brian's philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of adhering to a regular maintenance plan.