2013 Mini Cooper S Coupe Long-Term Update 1
A Service Stop and the Joy of Run-Flat Tires
The Mini's irrepressible character has yet to grow tiresome, even when I'm faced with the dullness of a dealer visit and a flat tire. The car began asking for its first scheduled maintenance with just under 8000 miles showing on the odometer, so I dropped it off at South Bay BMW/Mini, in Torrance, California..
Its stay was pleasantly uneventful. One interesting highlight is that the Mini key fob stores vehicle information, so to find out what service was due, my service advisor simply plugged the key into a port on his desk and the computer showed him. Otherwise, the oil change and inspection went painlessly, and thanks Mini's Boot-To-Bonnet maintenance program, there was no charge. The dealership even offered a loaner car for the day.
The pain came later in the week, when I experienced firsthand the annoyances of run-flat tires. I'll save you the rant about how deftly they combine poor ride quality and high replacement cost, but they can wreak havoc on your weekend plans.
After visiting family in Santa Barbara, I fired up the Coupe to find the TPMS light illuminated and multiple warning screens with exclamation points. Uh-oh. Fortunately, a display in the tachometer shows which tire is low. The big infotainment screen in the center speedometer repeats this information and gives you guidelines for driving: a max speed of 50 mph and only for a "limited" distance.
Here's where the fun began. I had already ordered new tires from Tire Rack, as the current set was showing decent wear – the victim of an open differential, front-wheel drive, and lots of torque. (Those track warm-up sessions by racing driver Randy Pobst didn't help, either.) With a new set of tires waiting 100 miles away in Los Angeles, I limped the car a block to a tire shop in hopes that the leak was fixable. It wasn't. Had there been a spare, I'd have simply put that on and driven – slowly – back to L.A., then installed the new tires. But because no spare exists, I instead had to pay $100 for a no-name tire that would get me back home so I could then install the new set.
On the other hand, had I installed the new set of tires the week prior, I probably would've punctured one of them. That's the cheery, glass-half-full perspective that the Coupe inspires every time I drive it.
|Service life||7 mo/11,421 mi|
|Average fuel economy||28.4 mpg|
|CO2 emissions||0.68 lb/mi|
|Energy consumption||119 kW-hr/100mi|
|Maintenance cost||$0 (oil change, rotate tires, inspection)|