Mini Cooper

BMW Wheel Alignment is Critical for a Smooth Ride

Why you may need to get your BMW wheels’ adjusted for an optimal experience

When was the last time you checked the wheel alignment of your BMW? It may not seem important, but getting your BMW wheels checked can have a major impact on the quality of your drive. The wheels may have been perfectly aligned when your European luxury vehicle was brand new, but even the most careful drivers can encounter situations that set the alignment off slightly. If you feel your car pulling to a particular side whilst you drive, it is time to take your vehicle into an authorized service center in order to get the wheel alignment checked out.

What causes the wheels to come out of alignment in a BMW?

If you have ever gotten into a fender bender or other minor accident on the road, there is a high chance that it threw your vehicle’s wheels out of alignment. Accidents are one of the most common ways to instigate a misalignment, but did you know that the wheels can also come out of alignment if your vehicle runs over a curb or hits a pothole?
Many drivers encounter numerous potholes, curbs and other small obstacles every single day. Each time one of these is hit, the alignment of the car gets thrown off slightly. All of this adds up and results in wheels that are considerably unaligned after an extended period of driving.

Why is wheel alignment so important?

Wheel alignment seems like a small nuisance, but it can be quite dangerous and costly to be on the road without having your wheels’ serviced at an automotive shop. There are several things to be wary of when the wheels of your BMW are misaligned.
Tires tend to wear out unevenly as you drive around lose tread at a rapid rate. Not only is this dangerous, but it also negatively impacts the overall performance of your BMW. When driving on tires that are unevenly worn, the vehicle will start to pull to a side and it will take more effort to properly operate. BMWs are known for being a great, smooth ride and that simply isn’t going to be the case if you are struggling to keep the car straight due to misaligned wheels.
Another reason to get the wheels checked out is because unevenly worn tires guzzle gas, increasing your expenses considerably over a period of time. It’s always wise to keep your BMW as fuel efficient as possible, and this is just another way to contribute to lowering your bill.

Regular wheel alignment saves you money over the long term

Speaking of saving money, getting your tires rotated and wheels aligned by a skilled technician is a small price to pay when comparing it to the price of buying new tires. Add in the unnecessary gas your vehicle utilizes when the wheels are unaligned and you are looking at a major savings over the long haul. Don’t wait for disaster to happen, take your BMW into a BMW service center such as Haus of Minis & BMW today to get this minor maintenance performed.
Even if there are no warning signs indicating that your wheels are out of alignment, it is a good idea to have them checked if it’s been over a year. Regularly having them looked at by a BMW specialist will go a long way towards keeping your vehicle in top shape.

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Why You Must Take Your Mini Cooper to an Experienced Technician

If you own a MINI, you absolutely should go to an experienced Mini Cooper technician for regular oil changes and maintenance. There are no two ways about it and the reasons are simple. Here’s why: 

Nobody understands a MINI better than an experienced Mini Cooper technician

A Mini Cooper is different from most other vehicles. Not only does it look unique, but also it is also one-of-a-kind under the hood. There is no one who understands that better than a MINI certified technician, such as those employed by The Haus in Sherman Oaks, California.

When you own one of these distinctive vehicles, you want to be sure only someone who fully understands the intricate steps to maintenance it is the one working on it. It’s highly recommended to have your Mini Cooper serviced at automotive shop with mechanics who know these cars like the back of their hands and don’t refer to a manual every step of the way. That’s exactly what you’ll get when you go to The Haus and speak with their veteran Mini Cooper technicians.

A knowledgeable Mini Cooper technician will love the model more than any general technician does

You know that somebody who has taken the time and dedication to get certified in maintaining and repairing Mini Coopers enjoys working with this particular car as much as you love driving it. They will take great pride and joy in handling your vehicle. In an experienced technician’s hands, your MINI will get plenty of respect. Why subject it to anything less?

It is cheaper in the long run

Sure, you may have to pay a little more when you go to a certified technician, but in the long run it will save you a lot of money.  Let’s say you go to your neighborhood general technician who handles a MINI a few times per year. Chances are they will treat it just like any other vehicle. If you take it in for a regular servicing, it will not get the precise maintenance that these sporty automobiles require to reach their optimum performance levels. If you bring your vehicle in to get a problem resolved, you run the risk that it will get sorted out by trial and error rather than expertise. Eventually, you will find that you need to get your vehicle serviced or repaired more frequently. Not only will this end up being more expensive but it will also damage your vehicle in more ways than one. It’s just not worth the risk. Take your Mini Cooper to The Haus today to get the best possible service for your vehicle!

How Regular Oil Changes Can Improve The Performance Of Your Mini Cooper

What Owners Need to Know To Get the Most Out of Their Car

Known for their unique look, great gas mileage, and cool customization options, Mini Coopers are a true joy to own and drive. Once you’ve driven one of these amazing vehicles, you’ll never want to switch loyalties to any other model.
While you do not need to do a whole lot of tinkering around to keep your Mini Cooper performing as efficiently as it should, there is one thing that you should not overlook and that is the importance of a regular oil change.

Changing the oil at the recommended intervals is the best way to maximize the life of your vehicle and keep it running at peak performance. Failure to do this can have serious consequences on your Mini Cooper. If you think your Mini needs an oil change or just a general inspection, call our automotive shop—The Haus—today!

A Look At The Role Of Motor Oil
Motor oil lubricates all of the moving parts in the engine. This lubrication prevents the friction that would otherwise result from the engine parts grinding against each other. It also reduces wear and tear of the components.

As the oil filters through the engine block, it collects combustion contaminants, metal fragments and grime and begins to get thick and sludgy. As the oil becomes less viscous and more gunked up, it starts getting increasingly less efficient and does not provide the engine with the lubrication it needs.
As the oil collects more deposits and gets thicker, it will start to build up around the crankshafts, valves and pistons, resulting in a lot of damage that may require an expensive overhaul.

Changing the oil regularly as recommended can prevent this disastrous scenario. New oil is contaminant-free and will improve the performance of your Mini Cooper tremendously. It will also extend the life of its engine, which is something you definitely want if you own one of these cool little vehicles.

How Often Do You Need To Change The Oil In A Mini Cooper?

MINI recommends oil maintenance every 12,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes first, however we recommend oil & filter change every 6 months or 5,000 miles to keep your MINI running properly and keep repair costs down. The conditions under which you drive your vehicle will ultimately determine how often the oil change service needs to be done. For the best advice and service, get the oil checked and changed at an automotive repair shop that specializes in dealing with Mini Coopers. The Haus is the best option for an oil check and change for a Mini Cooper in the Los Angeles area, conveniently located in Sherman Oaks.

4 Things Every MINI Cooper Owner Must Know

If you own a MINI, you need to be aware of these!

The MINI Cooper is one of the more unique cars on the road right now, and being quite a bit different from other vehicles means their owners must be aware of some peculiar quirks and issues. It’s no secret that MINIs require more attention than most vehicles, so not giving this car proper servicing every now and then can be a recipe for disaster. Here are the top-four things that every MINI Cooper owner should know.

Engine Oil Level
One of the most common issues that automotive shops come across when servicing MINI Coopers is low or practically non-existent oil in the engine. The computer system in this BMW-manufactured vehicle is programmed by the factory to only come on once a year or every 15,000 miles (1st & 3rd generation MINI at 10,000 miles), which is way too long. To avoid this issue, take a look at the dipstick in your MINIs engine at least once a month and change it every 5,000 miles. If you find it needs to be changed, come on by the The Haus shop in Sherman Oaks and we will help you out!

Change Fluids
On all generations of MINI, the factory recommends change brake fluid every 2 years regardless of mileage. For the transmission fluid on 1st gen MINIs the interval was every 30,000 miles, and change the coolant every 4 years. On the 2nd gen MINIs and newer, **MINI states that the coolant and transmission fluid are “are lifetime fluids and are not required to ever be changed”. MINI also states that the power steering fluid is also a “lifetime fluid” and never needs to be changed on all models and generations.

** It is our opinion at The Haus that these fluids be replaced at some point, this is based solely on our opinion, and experience working on these vehicles. Please consult with your own mechanic for their opinion on “lifetime fluids”. We are of the belief that fluid is cheaper than replacing expensive parts like transmissions, power steering pumps, and radiators.

Mind the Timing Chain
If you hear rattling coming from the engine of your MINI, there is a good chance it is due to a faulty timing chain located on the front right side of the car. This rattling noise is especially noticeable when starting up the car and is a red flag to get your vehicle serviced immediately. Should the chain come loose, it will absolutely wreck the engine and end up being a very costly repair. Don’t let this issue linger, please call The Haus as soon as possible if you believe there is a timing chain problem in your car.

Carbon Build-Up Can Cause Problems
MINI Coopers S models use direct injection engines, which means that carbon tends to build up on the intake valves. When higher levels of carbon to accumulate on the valves it can cause problems. If you haven’t had your MINI serviced in a while and notice that it is suffering from hesitation or misfires this can be due to carbon build-up. The intake manifold needs to be removed so intake valves can be visually inspected for carbon build up. If there is carbon build then it needs to be cleaned by blasting valves with walnut shell dust. The walnut shells act like “sand blast” and remove the carbon. Walnuts are used because they are soft and will not damage the engine if some are left behind after carbon blasting has been performed.

              

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Seasonal Car Care Checklist for MINI and BMW Vehicles

Follow these handy guidelines to make sure your car is ready for the season!

Now that the new season is on the horizon, it is time to make sure your MINI or BMW automobile is ready. These maintenance tips are important for all car owners to be aware of and could make the difference in keeping you and your vehicle safe as the weather changes. If you find you need any of the following services done after self-inspection, please give The Haus a call to schedule an appointment.

Deal with any critical problems, check your mileage and get any regular service done: These should always be top of mind for all vehicle owners, regardless of the season. Any major difficulties—such as warning lights, problematic starts and concerning engine noises—should be dealt with immediately by bringing your vehicle in to the automotive shop. If there are no serious issues, take a peek at your owner’s manual and make sure you have had your oil and filters changed most recently within the factory’s recommended amount of time or miles. Ignoring these regular services can be the cause of bigger troubles down the road. With that out of the way, here’s some seasonal items to be aware of:

Refresh the coolant: Take a look at your coolant level and see if your engine has enough to get through the upcoming warm season. It’s critical to also check the condition of the existing coolant, as poor quality or low levels of coolant can lead to breakdowns as temperatures rise.

Take a look at tires: The two things to test here are tire pressure and tread condition. During changes of the season, there are often wide variations in pressure between the tires. Under inflated tires are a risk and negatively impact performance of your vehicle. Worn tread is also dangerous, especially during the hazardous wet conditions of a rainstorm. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need a tire replacement, or just need trained technicians to take a look and make the call for you.

Adjust hoses and belts: Take a look under your hood and see if your vehicle’s serpentine belt needs to be replaced. If there are any cracks, fraying or visible damage to this belt, you’ll want to immediately give The Haus (or your local automotive shop) a call to get it changed.

Replace old wiper blades: Sometimes nothing is better than adding a set of fresh wiper blades to your vehicle. The difference in visibility will be noticeable right away, as chilly temperatures cause rubber blades to lose their effectiveness over time. New wiper blades make driving your car more enjoyable and—more importantly—they can keep you safe during heavy rains and other difficult conditions.

 

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Understanding How BMW’s are Named

BMW has been around as a company since 1916 and making automobiles since 1928. Millions of cars have come off the German manufacturer’s assembly lines in those 80-plus years, which is why it can be quite helpful to understand exactly how they are named.

If you count yourself among those confused by the system that BMW uses for its luxury autos, don’t worry—you are not alone. A lot of people aren’t sure of the distinctions between a BMW 740iL and a 318ti, so The Haus is here to help you get a grasp on all the naming conventions that BMW employs.

 

Series and Models

There are 10 groupings that BMW utilizes for their vehicles. Here they are:

 

  • 1 series – small, convertibles, coupes, and hatchbacks
  • 2 Series – small, two-door convertibles and coupes
  • 3 Series – small, four-door sedans and sports wagons
  • 4 Series – small, two-door coupes and convertibles, also available as a 4-door Gran Coupe
  • 5 Series – mid-size, four-door sedans
  • 6 Series – mid-size, two-door coupes and convertibles, also available as a 4-door Gran Coupe
  • 7 Series – full-size, four-door sedan
  • BMW i – electric and plug-in hybrids
  • M Model – stands for “Motorsports”, BMW’s sports cars
  • X Model – SUVs and crossovers
  • Z4 Model – roadsters

 

Nomenclature

BMW vehicles follow a certain nomenclature, which is usually a 3 digit dumber followed by 1 or 2 letters. The 1st number represents the series number and the next 2 numbers traditionally represent the engine displacement in cubic centimeters divided by 100. This has changed in recent years though to use the 2 numbers as a performance index such as 116i, 118i, and 120i (all are 2.0 gas powered engines) that share the same engine block while adjusting engine power through turbo-charging and set up.

 

Fuel Lettering

As if the numbers weren’t tricky enough, BMW throws another wrinkle into their naming conventions with fuel letters. Fortunately there aren’t too many to keep track of and they represent which fuel the vehicle takes. You need to know the following:

 

  • i – fuel-injected, gasoline
  • d – diesel
  • There was a recent break to this trend, with BMW using ActiveHybrid to signify a hybrid engine

 

Other Lettering

Now that you know what BMW uses i and d for, it will be easier to note the remaining letters and what they stand for. Some are no longer in modern use, but here they are:

 

  • L – long wheelbase
  • C – coupe or convertible
  • ti – Touring International (hatchback)
  • T – Touring (station wagon)
  • e – eta/economy engine (smaller and less powerful, more fuel efficient)
  • x – all-wheel drive
  • g – biofuel
  • s – sport
  • es – eta sport

 

sDrive vs xDrive

This is fairly straightforward, with sDrive meaning that it is a 2-wheel drive vehicle and xDrive representing 4-wheel drive. xDrive and sDrive is fully spelled out to avoid confusion with the X model of SUVs and crossovers.   

 

Lines

BMW offers a number of lines that add further customization options for customers to choose on their vehicle. These include:

 

  • Sport – more powerful, upgraded wheels, steering, seats and more
    • M Sport – even more customization options and power to the sports line
  • xLine – enhanced wheels, rails on the roof, steering and more
  • Luxury – upgraded luxury wheels, steering, trim and more

 

Brand-Specific Vehicles

Within each series there are unique models, such as the below:

 

  • Gran Turismo – four-door sedans with wagon trunk and raised roofline
  • Gran Coupe – four-door coupe
  • ALPINA – a separate, BMW-owned company that makes upgraded versions of certain models

 

Still feel overwhelmed? Want to understand your BMW better or get advice before purchasing? Give The Haus a call today and speak with one of our expert technicians. Better yet, stop by the shop in Sherman Oaks, California with your luxury European auto for a free inspection.
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Regular Service

Regular Service
It’s critically important to have your BMW, Mini, or any other vehicle you may own serviced regularly. At The Haus, our highly-trained, expert technicians specialize in routine maintenance and always go the extra mile to provide outstanding service at a rate you can afford.


Establishing and scheduling your regular check-up is easy. Owners of imported European cars can contact us today in order to book an appointment or schedule a series of periodic check-ups. Consider coming by our shop in Sherman Oaks, California every 6,000 miles or 6 months–whichever comes first- for a variety of safety and oil services.


Don’t forget to check in with our Southern California BMW and Mini specialists every 30,000 to 60,000 miles for a more thorough inspection that includes a look at the tires and wheels, engine examination, body, interior, underneath the car, and more.


The Haus performs a rigorous 32 point inspection on your vehicle at every check up or at customer request, so that little problems do not become big problems later.
 
Brake Check
Safety should always be a top priority for drivers, so it should come as no surprise that regular brake checks and maintenance is key to keeping you protected while driving your domestic or imported vehicle. Brake fluid levels should always be tested, for having a low amount will cause soft brake pedals and delayed reactions. Brake fluid with high moisture content will boil at a much lower temperature than good brake fluid and this can cause brake fade- partial or total loss of braking power in a vehicle brake system. 
MINI & BMW both recommend brake fluid changes every 2 years, regardless of mileage.


The Haus is capable of servicing your European car’s front and rear brakes, installing new brake pads and anything else that may be necessary to upkeep quality performance and safety.
 
Engine Check
The heart and soul of your car is the engine, if something is wrong under the hood and goes unchecked, it could leave your vehicle catastrophically damaged. Should your check engine light come on for any reason- please contact us immediately in order to get an inspection and the service your vehicle needs before it becomes a serious issue.


Don’t let regular wear and tear bring your car down. A regular inspection at your local automotive shop, such as The Haus, is always a safe bet and worth the small investment.  

R56 ERA MINIS 2006-2014 OIL CHANGE INTERVALS

A common conversation we have with our customers is the importance of frequent oil changes, especially on the 2nd generation MInis. It is our opinion that the factory specified interval of 1 year or 15,000 miles is way too long! From 2007-2011 the interval was 1 year or 15,000 miles, but then suddenly in 2012 they went back down to 1 year or 10,000 miles. Given the number of oil related troubles the 2nd gen. Minis have had, it is no wonder that MINI/BMW would reconsider the longer interval. We have no knowledge as to why MINI dropped the interval back down to 1 year or 10,000 miles, which was the original service interval for the R50/R53 models, but we suspect that the high cost of repairing engines under warranty finally prompted MINI to re-think their longer service intervals. This may also be due to consumer behavior, as in the consumer not bothering to check the oil unless a warning light appeared or it was time for their scheduled service. We don’t feel like MINI will ever acknowledge there is a problem with their longer service intervals because it would obviously open them (MINI & BMW) up to future litigation.

What MINI considers “normal” oil consumption is 1 quart every 800 miles, so you can see how waiting 10,000-15,000 miles to change the oil could damage the engine. These engines only hold 4.4 quarts of oil, so even being just 1 quart low on oil can be detrimental to the engine. When the engine gets to be even 2 quarts low they can jump timing and cause all sorts of other damage. Low engine oil can cause the timing chain and/or guides to break from lack of proper lubrication. Low oil can also cause the check engine light to come on because of engine knock or vanos (engine timing) codes related to low oil flow. The majority of the problems these vehicles have is directly related to the long service interval and not checking the oil regularly.

These cars are not equipped with “low oil level” warning lights only a “low oil pressure” warning light and there is a big difference between the two even though they are related. When most cars have a “low oil level” light come on it just means to add oil to prevent damage. When you have a “low oil pressure light” come on it means that NO oil is circulating through the engine which can cause catastrophic damage. Oil is the life blood of your engine and when you starve it of this vital fluid it can cause not only immediate damage, but long term engine damage from lack of lubrication. Your engine spins at thousands of revolutions per minute (RPM’s) so you can imagine what would happen if all of these metal parts are making contact with each other, and there is no oil to cool and lubricate them. If you are ever driving your MINI and the “low oil pressure” light comes on, pull over and add oil as soon as it it safely possible.

Whatever the reasons, it’s a good thing to see the interval shortened. At Haus of Mnis & BMW we recommend changing your oil every 6 months or 5,000 miles whichever comes first. If you follow our recommended interval you will save yourself thousands of $$$ in repair costs and a lot of heartache. We also recommend checking your oil in between oil changes to be safe and we are happy to check it for you FREE of charge. These are great little cars when they are maintained properly. The maintenance interval you see in your owner’s manual is the bare minimum that the factory recommends to keep your vehicle covered under warranty, but if you plan on keeping the vehicle past the warranty you will save yourself a lot of money in the long run by changing the oil more frequently than what the factory recommends.

An oil change for your MINI at The Haus is $59.95 so doing  2 oil changes a year would cost you approximately $120.00. To replace an engine on one of these cars costs between $7,000-$10,000 depending on whether you went new or used, so it would take roughly 58-83 years worth of oil changes to equal the cost of an engine replacement. Oil changes are an inexpensive and effective way to keep your MINI on the road and your ownership costs way down.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment to get your MINI’s oil changed please give us a call at 855-572-MINI (6464)

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