02 September 2009

My Mini's not 100%!!!

I realized I never posted what happened after Mini-E #339 went in for her check-up.

Well, nothing.

At least, I thought everything was fine until today!

I picked her up at the end of last Tuesday and Aleks, the Mini service dude at BMW Mini Manhattan, said she came back with a clean bill of health from the "flying doctors" who came in and physically checked her out.

"Just keep doing what you're doing and you'll be good to go," said Aleks. "Next check-up, by the way, is 5,000 miles later. 8,000 total."

"Super! " I said. "So, ummmm... You guys don't mind that I sometimes... ah... 'push' her a little hard??" I ask.

"No, we want you push. Drive like this Mini like you would any other."

"Really? Even if I'm a bit... ah... 'heavy-footed'?"

"Well... How 'heavy'?"

"Uhhhh... Well... I know the Mini's [speed] governor kicks in at 95 MPH... And ah, I'm not sayin' that I... uh... consciously go that fast all the time.... Or even that I really want to or need to go that fast... But..."

"Uh , yeah... Well, the car has a governor for a reason, you know," said Aleks. "Wait... Where in New York [City] do you drive where you can hit speeds of ninety-five miles an hour???"

"Uh... I'd rather not say." And I flashed him a sheepish grin. "And uh... Like I said... It's not like it's a habit for me or anything...." (at which point my sheepishness turned to a slightly mischievous smile.)

"Ummm... Ok... Well, I suppose you know you can't sustain that kind of speed for any length of time..."

(Oh boy... you don't have to tell me about that, brother! I found that out all too... ahh... "suddenly." But that's another story. Maybe.)

"Yeah, I know," I said. "But 70... 75 miles per hour... That's about normally where I cruise..."

"Oh... Well... You should be fine with that," he said. "Of course, you know, constant travel at that speed will impact range."

"Yeah, I suspect it's why I'm not getting anywhere close to the estimated 100-mile range." (Me and 339 are getting around 80- to 92-miles per charge.)

"Yep. That'll do it," said Aleks. "But if you're ok with that -- and as long as you can make it back home to charge -- there should be no problem with driving it as you have been. Just keep doing what you're doing cause BMW wants to know if these cars will handle various driving conditions."

"Super!! I'll see you in 5,000 miles, then!"

At least, that's what I thought.... Until I answered my cell phone just now.

"Paul? It's Aleks over at BMW Mini Manhattan."

"Oh. Hey. What's up?"

"When you bought your Mini over for servicing last week, the engineers did a full download... and they found a problem."

Ut oh. I haven't, for various reasons, driven her daily since I picked her up last week. And when I did (like today, to get to work), I really did do an easy commute. Really. (The fastest I drove her this morning was 60MPH. And boy... Was it The. Most. Boring. Commute. EVER. Ev-ah!!!)

"What kinda problem?"

"It seems battery module #42 is faulty."

"What? 'Battery module #42?' 42 out of how many?" I joked half-heartedly.

"I don't know. All I can say is this is what the field engineers are telling me."

"Oh, ok... So... How bad is it? I mean I drove it this morning and I didn't have a problem with it. But to be honest, I'm wondering if that's why I'm still not getting anywhere close to the 100-mile range per charge?"

"What are you getting?"

"Well, I practically left it constantly plugged in since Sunday night. And this morning, the gauge still only estimated 94 miles."

"Well, I don't know," said Aleks. "Could be. All it says in their [field engineer's] politely-worded e-mail is, 'Please advise customer to bring Mini-E in at earliest convenience to replace faulty battery module #42.' How they can tell exactly which module is 'faulty' and what's wrong with it is beyond me, but... anyway... So when can you bring it in?"

"Well, how long will it take to fix?"

"Well, we actually have to ship the car back to..." ("Uh oh," I thought. "Not back to Germany!")

"...We have to flat bed it back to them in Jersey where the engineers can take it apart and replace it and run diagnostic.... I'm told about a week."


"A week? Really?"

"Yes, unfortunately," he said. "But obviously, we'll arrange a loaner for you."

(Gee, swell... unlike last time?)

"I'll assume you'll want another Mini," said Aleks. "And depending on when you can bring it in, that shouldn't be a problem. But on the off-chance, I can't... I might have to give you just a BMW. I hope that will be ok?"

"Oh, well... If I have to.... I suppose I miiiight be 'ok' -- Juuuuuust 'ok,' mind you -- with a 'lowly BMW'... I mean, honestly... If that's alll you have..." I said with obvious good-natured ribbing.

"Hang on a sec," I said. "Could you find out how urgently this repair is needed? You see, I'm going on vacation soon.... And well, since I wouldn't need the car anyway...."

"Let me check and get back to you."

Needless to say... That's where things stand.


A whole week without 339! :-(

But maybe a whole week with a Beamer???? Hmmmm... I suppose a 128i coupe? Or a 328i sedan? dare I dream of a 5- or 7-series? Maybe an X3 or an X5?

Oooooh... How about a moto? Maybe a K 1200 LT!!!


  1. Over 95 mph?? No wonder you've been driving like a mad man in your CR-V! Ugh!!