Mostly about my amusement

Tag: Cars (page 1 of 1)

Arg! MINI Cooper problems

MINI S from Stefan's set

Back in September I had the MINI Cooper S serviced by the dealer.  There were two problems with it:

  1. The window wipers would seize up in the middle of the screen and stop working.
  2. There was a sympathetic rattle in the dash board.

The rattle drove me insane and driving the red go-kart with that rattle just plain sucked.  The wipers? That was serious business and they had stopped working in the middle of a rain storm. So I left the car with the dealer and three days later they eliminated the rattle.  The wiper problem? No fault found.

Since September I have not driven the MINI S much.  When it’s cold and there is ice on the road, the red go-kart becomes a red hockey puck.

Today it’s cold but really sunny, so I backed up the MINI S and charged the battery.  The windows were dirty so I turned on the wiper washers.  The right nozzle did not pass any cleaning fluid.

The wipers seized up in the middle of the screen again.  I told Lily I was going to the dealer and went right there.

The service garage is closed on Sunday.  The sales people were very nice and professional but they’re not mechanics. I need to bring it back tomorrow morning at 7 AM and talk to the service manager.

Sigh. This does not happen really with my Mercedes ML-320.

NY Autoshow

Picture of the family in front of the concept Jeep

Monday we took the kids to the NY Autoshow. The kids liked it and they came home exhausted.

It was like they turned Jacob Javits into one huge car dealership. There were very few concept cars. The cars were cool but I could have seen much of the same thing just by visiting the car dealers in my neighborhood.

The photo was from a promotional thing that Jeep was doing. They take your photo, you get it online and get exposed to way too much marketing material. I took pictures too and will probably upload them to Flickr.

The high point of the day was when the kids pulled off the center mirror on a Smart Car they were crawling over. After that I did not let them into the cars anymore.

The Mercedes Experience

Our Mercedes experience is less than perfect. In fact, a lot less than perfect. It is not an experience one wants to have if one can avoid it.

We have the 2000 year model of ML320, the Mercedes SUV. Granted, it is a 7-year old car. But still, it is a Mercedes. It is supposed to be a premium luxury car, not a Honda.

We have issues with this SUV since day one. In the first year, we had trouble with the running board. Then not until when we had to replace the side mirrors did we realized that we did not get the auto dimming feature on the mirrors that we paid for as part of the premium package. Then, there was the recall on the steering wheel fuel connector. Early this year the muffler had a hole and was making such a loud noise that I was embarrassed to be driving in it. Then came the last incident on July 30th.

It was Jan’s first day at work and I volunteered to drive us to the train station. I forgot to turn off the light after I parked the car. The car did beep but I thought it was the seatbelt and ignored it. I thought about it after we got on the train and rationalized that the car will turn off automatically so didn’t bother to ask Jan. When we got back to the train station on the evening, the battery was dead and we needed to jump start the car. At first Jan called his dad but then I came up with a great idea. Why don’t we ask the taxi driver at the station and see if he can help us to jump start the car. Great idea….. only if we can open the hood! We got the taxi to come with us to our car only to find out that the hood of this POS (Piece of Sh*#) wouldn’t open. I called AAA and they promised to send a tow truck in an hour. We waited over an hour and finally the tow truck came. He couldn’t open the hood either so we had to have it put on a flatbed to our house.

The next day my father-in-law came up with an idea by using the cigarette lighter charger port to charge the batter. At least we didn’t have to flatbed the car to the dealer. Jan made an appointment with the dealer for Saturday morning at 7:30.

So we went to the dealer Saturday morning and guess what they told us! There is no secret way to open the hood other than to break the perfectly OK grill, open the hood, replace the mechanism and replace the grill! I have never ever heard of such an absurd way of opening the hood but we had no other option. It would take a couple of days to get the car back because they have to order the parts. Total cost, over $1,100 to open hood. What kind of car the hood won’t open! Well, a Mercedes!

We love the Mercedes experience so much (NOT) that we decided to get a BMW X3 or Lexus for our next car which we are hoping to get in a few months. I want the 2008 model and BMW’s 2008 model year is not out yet.

Picked up MINI Friday

MiniandmlGetting a new car is always very cool. The family and I picked up the MINI Cooper S at the dealer Friday after 4 PM. It’s a fun car and over the weekend we put about 150 miles on it.

After driving an SUV for 6 years this will take a lot of getting used to.

It’s got

  • Automatic wipers
  • Automatic headlights (day running lights)
  • Climate control
  • Bluetooth phone integration (being able to press a button and say aloud “dial 12125551212” and having it actually confirm and dial that number is just too cool)

We took it over to a friend house and I let him drive me around his neighborhood.

Apparently I am a conservative driver. He was zipping around like you’d expect someone running around in a red MINI Cooper. Took this one corner with the tires screeching and got a “Please don’t do that again” from me.

The car is a lot of fun and I think I’ll actually enjoy driving to New Jersey in it.

The go-cart is at the dealer

I mentioned to my Dad that the MINI is on the ocean. It was originally supposed to arrive sometime in October and I had just mentioned it as part of a status update. I had no idea how long it takes to ship a car.

Without saying anything about it Dad cleaned up the entire garage to make sure I have enough room to park three cars. That was a really nice surprise and his timing was perfect.

I got a call from the dealer. The MINI Cooper S has arrived at the dealer and we can pick it up Friday afternoon.

I keep referring to the mini as a go-cart. After driving the SUV for 6 years it will be fun to be closer to the road. Lily has already begun driving the SUV whenever she is in the car. Looks like the SUV will be her car and I get to drive the new car.

Very cool.

Small cars and children car seats

250px-MINICooperSYesterday after work Lily and I took the kids to see a MINI and BMW dealer. The idea is that we get one car for daily driving and an SUV for family trips, grocery shopping etc.

Right now I drive a 2000 ML-320. It’s a nice SUV but after 6 years I’d like to get something new. SUV’s are cool but gas is getting expensive. I am betting that before or on Labor Day this year gas will go over $4/gallon.

We went to the MINI dealer and looked at the floor models. The kids loved the car dealerships and they let me bring in both kids car seats and install them into a 2006 floor model. Me, Lily, both kids were a little cozy but it did fit.

I wonder how often a MINI dealer gets that request? “Excuse me, I want to check out how this zippy 4 seater does with the whole family. And do you know how many clowns we can fit in there?”

The kids car seats are pretty big and they have been using them for a long time. If we do get a MINI I’ll probably replace the kids car seats with (legal, safe, approved for their ages) smaller booster seats.

My current ML-320 SUV gets two complaints. First the cup holders are silly. They can only reasonably hold a small cup of coffee. Anything bigger and you need to get ready to catch the cup when it tilts out. Sodas from a fast food chain are just not worth the trouble.

The second complaint is the noise. Outside noise gets in very clearly. So when we checked out the X3 in the BMW dealer I was really pleased that when you closed the door, it kept out the muzak and conversation from the outside. This with other windows open (not the one in the door I was seated at). It maybe that the X3 is not the quiet and that my car is just loud. But the X3 seems like a well engineered vehicle.

We may keep the existing SUV and get the MINI. No rush so I think we’ll wait at least 2 months before making a decision.