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Why is my Mini Cooper Making a Rattling Noise?

Brian England, Thu, Apr 24, 2014

When it comes to rattling noises, we’ve gotten a few questions and comments from Mini Cooper owners like these:

  • Why is my Mini Cooper making a rattling noise?
  • My Mini sounds like a diesel it rattles so loudly. Any ideas?
  • My Mini has developed a rattling noise from the front passenger side. Do you know what’s causing the noise?
  • Will Mini pay for my timing chain replacement? I hear it is a common problem.
  • What is a timing chain? I have heard of a timing belt. Will I have to change the timing chain at a certain mileage?
  • My boyfriend is good at working on car and says he can replace the timing chain, but I am nervous. It seems like a complicated job.

Based on the questions we’ve grouped together most of you have probably guessed that the common rattling noise heard from the right hand side of the engine (that is normally worse upon starting) comes from a loose timing chain. The timing chain is what joins the camshafts to the crank shaft. The chain runs through guides, and a tensioner takes the slack out of the chain.

At the first sign of a rattling noise coming from the engine you should have an auto mechanic check out the noise, confirm the problem and recommend a solution.  The solution usually involves replacing the parts shown in the photograph below.

Parts That Should Be Replaced if the Timing Chain is Rattling

It is wise to do have the rattling problem checked out and corrected as soon as possible because if the chain comes loose and jumps it will destroy the engine. The manufacturer has paid for this repair in certain circumstances, so if this should happen to you check with them first before taking your Mini the auto repair shop.

This repair can cost from $1700 to $2400 depending on local labor rates. This job requires a lot of skill and should only be done by someone who has done similar repairs. Additionally special tools are needed. Be sure to do as much research as possible before making up your mind to do the job yourself.

The timing chain can been seen in position here, in the bottom left hand corner of the photo below.

Timing Chain on Mini Cooper

If you think you are experiencing a problem with your timing chain, or your Mini is making a rattling noise give us a call at 410.381.2700 or click on the link below to schedule an appointment.  You may also want to check out the “Noise, Vibration, or Harshness” Diagnostic form.



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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.