Possible Causes of a MINI Failing to Start
16 Jan, 18
MINI is a brand synonymous with excellence, quality, and reliability, which is why it can be devastating to encounter starting problems in your Mini Cooper. It’s not easy to commit to ongoing vehicle maintenance; however, your MINI depends on it for optimal functioning. It is unlikely that a car simply won’t start out of the blue one day, but in fact quite typical for a car to experience issues leading up to the failure to start. Some of the signs and symptoms associated with starting problems can be related to fuel issues, battery issues, or other more complex systems that over time become worn out or damaged.
It can be stressful dealing with starting problems in your MINI, especially because such issues usually occur at the most inconvenient times. When a driver is experiencing difficulty starting their engine, an automotive specialist will perform a differential diagnosis by going down a laundry list of potential origin issues, beginning with the simplest explanation and eventually moving to the more complicated explanations for the problem. If your MINI is experiencing starting issues, these could be the potential sources of the problem—ranging from simplest to more complex:
Empty fuel tank
When was the last time you filled your gas tank? Many drivers tend to put off getting gas until it becomes absolutely necessary—i.e. you’re running on fumes alone. This is not only devastating to your engine over time, but it can certainly cause your vehicle to not start. Without fuel to inject into your engine, the combustion or ignition processes cannot begin. If you think you might be out of gas, put a few gallons in and try starting it again. A more serious fuel-related issue that could certainly affect your car’s ability to start is clogged fuel injectors or fuel filters. If the gas cannot freely flow through the system and disperse out the injectors, then the ignition process cannot take place.
Battery has died
Another simpler explanation for your MINI not starting is that the battery has died. Batteries are charged while the car is actively engaged in driving—the alternator generates power that charges the battery which keeps the charge going even while the car is off and parked in your garage at night. If the alternator isn’t doing its job, and/or the battery cannot hold a charge, then your car will be rendered useless. To rule-out battery issues as the source of the problem, you can ask a trusted friend or neighbor for a battery jump.
If you tried to start your car and all you get is a lousy, pathetic clicking sound, or grinding noises, then you could have a starter-related issue on your hands. A broken or failing starter is fixable, but generally not cheap. In certain MINI models failing starters are not uncommon, but that doesn’t make the problem more palpable. When the starter fails, it’s not able to start the ignition process by engaging the appropriate parts, such as the flywheel. Your MINI specialist should know how to properly differentiate a failing starter from other potential causes.
As previously mentioned, the more serious the problem with your engine starting, the more likely it is that you’ve experienced other symptoms leading up to the starting problem. For instance, a failing ignition switch is usually accompanied by stalling and power loss. The car may stall while it’s driving, or while attempting to start. In either case, these are red flags that you need to bring your MINI in for an inspection.
At Santa Barbara Autowerks, located in sunny Santa Barbara, CA, we take pride in our thorough inspections—after all, good repair work begins with an accurate diagnosis. We have a passion for German-engineered cars, such as Mini Coopers, and our clients continue to patron our shop because of our obvious dedication. Furthermore, we offer competitive pricing on our services because we believe that all European import owners should be able to afford ongoing care and maintenance. As the leading premier German automotive facility in the area, we are committed to upholding our name as well as the name of brands such as MINI. If you are experiencing a starting issue with your Mini Cooper, contact us immediately to schedule an appointment—it’s our job to get your MINI safely, and affordably, back on the road.
Wet Mini Cooper image credit goes to: Marco Rosario Venturini Autieri.