If you own a MINI vehicle, you know that these cars offer exceptional handling and reliable performance. They also require regular maintenance to avoid damage over the lifespan of the vehicle. Automatic transmission failure is, unfortunately, a common issue that MINI cars can experience. MINI owners need to know what they should do to prevent early transmission failure as well as how they can detect any issues that do arise.
How Automatic Transmissions Work
Unlike a manual transmission, where the driver controls the gearbox and clutch, in an automatic car, the transmission independently engages different systems that transfer engine power to the wheels.
In a manual car, the driver engages the clutch to change gears, while an automatic car follows instructions from an internal computer called the control module. It evaluates driving conditions to select the best gear. If a car’s automatic transmission begins to fail, there is no way for the driver to control how the car’s gears shift as they drive.
As the transmission worsens, it can have a delayed response to the instructions that the control module gives. This delay can result in gears grinding into one another and worsening, the longer that malfunctions aren’t addressed by a knowledgeable technician.
Repairing or replacing a transmission can be one of the most expensive repairs in a car, so preventing transmission issues with appropriate maintenance is key to avoiding these issues or catching them before the damage progresses to transmission failure.
Proper Maintenance for MINI Transmission
Having regular maintenance services performed on your car can lengthen the life of your automatic transmission. When your car is regularly inspected, a certified mechanic can help prevent unnecessary damage by identifying issues that will need attention that would otherwise cost you a lot of time and money to repair down the road.
You should regularly check both the color and the level of the transmission fluid in your MINI. To check that your transmission fluid level isn’t too low, you need to turn on your car and leave it idling. Locate and remove the transmission’s dipstick, which usually has a bright yellow or orange circular handle and can be found near the front of your engine.
Transmission fluid should be bright red and have a faintly sweet smell. If the fluid is dark or black or has any other smell, you need to have your car inspected right away because the fluid’s change in color or scent can indicate that internal parts of your transmission are degrading due to abnormal friction.
After wiping it clean, reinsert the dipstick into the pipe. When you remove the dipstick this time, you should have an accurate reading of the transmission fluid level. Based on the temperature of your car’s engine, the fluid level should be up to one of the two measurements on the stick, either “hot” or “cold.”
If the amount of fluid is lower than it should be, you’ll need to add transmission fluid so that the transmission parts are properly lubricated and can function properly. If the fluid level is persistently low or you notice any of the following signs of transmission failure, you need to have your car inspected for transmission failure as soon as possible.
Common Transmission Failure Symptoms
If you notice low transmission fluid but are unsure if your automatic transmission is at risk for failure, watch out for these symptoms in your MINI:
- overheating engine
- leaking transmission fluid
- check-engine light comes on
- rough gear shifts
- vibrating or shaking when accelerating
Many of the issues that can affect your MINI’s automatic transmission and cause it to fail are related to insufficient lubrication with transmission fluid. If your MINI’s automatic transmission is failing, your car’s gear will begin to grind or won’t shift smoothly when your car speeds up or slows down.
The underlying cause can be a small problem with a simple fix, such as a clogged transmission fluid filter that is clogged and needs repair. However, if you neglect to have these issues addressed promptly, the damage to your car can get worse over time and the cost to repair these problems will only increase.
Schedule an Appointment Today at Germany’s Best
The specialists at Germany’s Best, Inc. are ready to inspect and repair your MINI vehicle if you notice issues with your automatic transmission. Our knowledgeable mechanics have been providing quality service to our customers for over 25 years. Call us at (510) 658-8948 to have your MINI inspected and serviced at our locations in Berkely, Emeryville, Piedmont, and Oakland, CA.