Monday, January 05, 2009

MINI WUF Gets First Check Up

It seemed like it would never happen, but the Computer Based Service system on Mr. Mini Wuf finally counted down to the point where I could get my first service.  Amazingly, the computer calculated this to occur at about 20,200 miles.  I tripped that on the drive up to Flow Mini for the service.

Making the appointment was a matter of filling out an on-line form at the Flow Mini web site.  They responded the same day to let me know they could schedule me at the requested time.  That time was last Friday, January 2, 2009.  I pushed it into January so I was able to also get my State inspection completed.  Yay - no more window sticker.

The wait itself was uneventful.  Got to Flow Mini at about 8:30 a.m. and they were ready for my car.  They had a nice 2007 MSCa on the showroom floor.  Very similar to my car, but an automatic and a few upgrades like climate control and the add-on nav unit (next to the tachometer or revolution counter).  There was also a nice Pepper White MCS on the floor.  While making a work related phone call, I was checking out a nice Electric Blue (I think that is the right name - there are so many blues) MCS with black top and mirror caps.  That was probably my second favorite color, but they did not have any on the lot the day I bought mine to even be considered.  I think they had a lot of Minis on the lot - both new ones and pre-owned.  Even more than what they had when I bought mine and that was just before the gas prices spiked last year and Minis got to be so in demand.

One thing I noticed in the waiting area were some photo albums.  They were a bit old, so I think I may work on gathering some photos from the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club and putting them in a photo album for Flow to keep around.

The service results were interesting.  They indicated that it appeared something was trying to build a nest in my cabin filter.  Huh??? Considering it is a daily driver, I'm not even sure how something would have decided that would be a good, stable place for a home.  Maybe while it was sitting at the Flow body shop?  Anyway, no damage, and I got a new filter out of it.  I wasn't expecting it, but they put new wiper blades on.  They also replaced my exhaust tips per the recall.  I can tell a difference only because I knew where they were before.  I doubt anyone else ever would know.

I had also asked them to check out my clutch pedal.  It was making a horrible creaking sound - like a door in a haunted house movie - when it was depressed.  This only happened when the interior of the car warmed up.  I noticed it a few times in the summer if I was not running the A/C to keep the interior cool.  In the winter now it has been bad since I run the heat all the time.  They lubed it up good and it has been quiet since then.  If it starts up again, the next step would be to replace some bushings.

Alas, I'm not sure whether this will end up being the only service that I manage to get out of the included maintenance deal that comes with Minis.  If it is 20k miles for the CBS to call for service, that would be about 40k miles total, beyond the 36k limit.  Likewise, I'll hit that before the three year limit.  I did notice the CBS has started out at 10k miles.  When I got the car new it started out at 15k and then adjusted up to 20k.  So I'm not sure, but maybe the CBS thinks the second service should come a little sooner?  Or maybe the techs have some ability to adjust it and Flow is looking out for me so I can maybe get at least a second service before going out of the maintence zone?

I mentioned previously that the windshield looks to have been damaged.  On Saturday I washed the Mini (what Flow did was pretty bad in leaving water spots, but it may have been made worse by the little bit of freezing rain I had to endure on Friday morning) and put down some Epic on the windshield.  It did not really help.  All my research indicates there is nothing effective to be done, so I'll have to put up with it I suppose.  Until it gets worse or some other damage requires a windshield replacement.

I then went on another motoring adventures scoping out routes for the Covered Bridge Run.  Of course, I ended up having to go down a 3.5 mile dirt/gravel road right after washing the Mini.  There is one certain point I want to get the run to and thus far, it looks like the only way to get there is via a dirt/gravel road.  Be nice if Google Maps would indicate them before I got there.  I also took a wrong turn at one point.  I should be getting a new iPhone tomorrow and hopefully the GPS capabilities will help me avoid those kinds of mistakes.

Now I need to rotate my tires again.  It seems like the pair on the front have worn slightly less than what is on the rear.  They've been rotated once already, so maybe I've become a smoother driver during this run.  Anyway, I think I'm going to wait until after the THMMC run to Stone Mountain this weekend (Jan. 10) before doing it (assuming I make the run - you never know with three kids and all their activities).  Below is the route we are supposed to follow, though I think they may take a detour down Rifle Range Road - another dirt/gravel road.  Those who did the run last year commented on the road and the house with Confederate flags for drapes.  Sounds like the road I found the other day - but the Confederate flag was on a flagpole in front of the house.  Maybe I should carry a picture of my son with his first deer kill just in case of emergency!

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