Mini Cooper Brake Fluid

Question: 2002 Mini Cooper Brake Fluid
NOTE: I own a 2002 5 speed Mini Cooper. Can I purchase any brand of DOT 4 fluid or do I need to purchase DOT 4 from my local mini dealer….I guess the real question to ask: Is there a difference between DOT 4 fluids as they pertain to use in the Mini? The vehicle is driven very seldom and relatively gently, so the demands on the braking system are typically very low….

Hi Cary,
Thank you for your email.
The MINI calls for DOT 4 brake fluid – standard off the shelf fluid works fine as long as it is DOT 4.
MINI recommends replacing the fluid every 2 years. This reason for this is the hygroscopic nature of the brake fluid – it attracts water / moisture. Over time the water content of the fluid increases and may lead to reduced braking efficiency and possible damage to the ABS. Great article on Mini Cooper Brake Fluid
Hope this helps.
Best regards,

MINI Cooper Side Scuttle

I’m interested in getting the Union Jack Scuttles for my wife for Christmas. I want to know first of all, can I use the carriers that are on the car now? My Mini is designated as a 2012 R56 LCI. I want to make sure everything fits right.

Hi Jeff,
Thank you for your interest with Mini Mania and our products.
The stock MINI Cooper side scuttles are a ‘one piece’ units where the optional scuttles with the ‘patterns’ are two-piece units. So, if you want to add the Union Jack scuttles, you will need the carriers as well.
Hope this helps.
Best regards,

Mini Cooper cigarette lighter

Mini Cooper cigarette lighter auxilliary socket (NMI8640)
I have sourced an assembled socket to fit into my R53 Mini but I think it needs to be inserted in its component parts (as per your picture) in order to fit.
Are you able to advise how you disassemble the socket into the 3 parts shown so I can then fit it into the car?

Hello Alistair,
Thank you for your interest with Mini Mania and our products.
The luminous rings has plactic barbs at the 12 and 6 o’clock position (as oriented in the photo).
The bulb socket has barbs the hold the lips on the luminous rings.
I recommend you warm the parts in warm water before you attempt to dis-assemble. Otherwise the plastic luminous ring may be brittle and break.
Good luck,

DSC & ASC de-mystified

You’ve had some questions regarding Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) & Automatic Stability Control (ASC).
We here at Mini Mania would like to present the following information for your consideration.


for the MINI, integrated by BMW

ASC & DSC work with the ABS system to provide enhanced vehicle stability.

ASC – Automatic Stability Control
ASC uses speed sensors at each wheel and throttle position to improve traction by applying the rear brakes if the rear wheels spin faster than the front. It can also shut off individual fuel injectors and close the throttle valve to help maximize traction. ASC also acts as a virtual limited slip differential by detecting a spinning wheel and applying braking force to just that wheel until traction is regained. AWD models (the BMW xi) use ASC-X which monitors all 4 wheels to provide limited slip differential effect. The ASC system also provides traction control by modulating throttle, ignition timing and braking force to maintain traction.

DSC – Dynamic Stability Control
DSC builds on the features of the ASC system. While ASC functions only during acceleration and braking, DSC functions during all driving conditions such as cornering and emergency maneuvers. Additional sensors are added to acheive this level of stability such as lateral, yaw, brake pedal, and steering angle sensors. In DSC, each of the three subsystems: ABS, ASC, and DSC have jobs to do, and these are:

ABS: Cornering Brake Control, Electronic Brake Proportioning
ASC: Brake Intervention (or ABD-Automatic Braking Differential), Drag/Drive Torque Reduction
DSC: Dynamic Brake Control, Maximum Brake Control

Let’s dig deeper, shall we?

Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) is a suspension control system which goes beyond the single components of Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Cornering Brake Control (CBC) and Automatic Stability Control + Traction (ASC + T).

The steering wheel movement, vehicle speed, transverse acceleration and yaw are all used by DSC to register imminent instability when cornering. DSC then intervenes via the engine management system, reducing drive torque and activating wheel brakes when necessary to keep the vehicle stable. These events occur within milliseconds.

DSC is, in fact, a further development of the ABS and ASC+T slip control systems.

While ASC + T analyzes the longitudinal forces occurring in straight-ahead operation, DSC additionally registers and analyses lateral dynamic forces.
When cornering at high speeds, DSC counters unstable vehicle states such as oversteering (rear of car brakes into a slide towards the outside of the curve) or understeering (front of car pushes towards the outside of the curve).
The DSC feature can provide maximum stability when cornering.
With DSC there is a significant reduction in the risk of skidding.
BMW’s Dynamic Stability Control system has been available on a variety of BMW models over the last three years.

Here’s how it works:

DSC constantly compares vehicle speed, wheel speed, steering angle, and yaw rate with a benchmark of plausible and optimum driving conditions’ data. In a fraction of a second, DSC recognizes a threatening instability and a danger of skidding. The DSC system can correct an unstable driving condition by applying precise braking action to the individual wheels. As with ASC, DSC will if necessary also cut back the engine speed to automatically stabilize the vehicle.

The ASC + T system will reduce engine output until the vehicle can move or or until acceleration can occur without the wheels spinning. If this reduction is insufficient, each drive wheel is braked individually until both wheels have optimum traction.

This makes it possible to drive on snow, wet roads or other slippery grounds without the wheels spinning. Even if the back wheels suddenly lose traction in a bend during acceleration, ASC + T intervenes so quickly that the vehicle is stabilized before it can oversteer and swing out of the bend. The instrument console informs the driver of any control intervention and the relevant situation.

The DSC computer constantly calculates an ideal driving condition that is compared with the current status. If the vehicle oversteers or understeers, the calculated ideal deviates from the measured status, and DSC will intervene within a few milliseconds via the engine management system by reducing the engine torque and applying the brakes on individual wheels where necessary.

DSC makes use of the ABS wheel-speed sensors and the following additional components:

steering angle sensor to detect the driver’s chosen path.
lateral-acceleration sensor to define the lateral forces which must be transmitted to the road by the tires.
rate-of-turn sensor to define the vehicle’s degree of rotary movement.
brake-pressure sensor to define the longitudinal forces acting between tires and road surface under braking.

The control button on the center console is used to deactivate the ASC/DSC systems.


A indicator lamp between the tachometer and speedometer is used to show ASC/DSC status.
A flashing indicator lamp indicates the system has activated.
A steady indicator lamp indicates the system is turned off or inoperative.

On the ASC system:
Press the ASC button to disable ACS while leaving ABD active.

On rear-wheel drive DSC systems:
Press the DSC button to disable DSC while leaving ABD active.
Press and hold the DSC button for 3+ seconds and the “BRAKE” instrument panel lamp will light yellow and disable all stability/traction systems.

On all-wheel drive (xi) DSC systems:
Press the DSC button to disable DSC while leaving ADB active in maximum output mode.

On ALL systems:
Pressing the ASC/DSC button again will reactive the system. If the indicator lamp does not go out or if it should come on and stay on during driving, a component has failed and should be serviced.


If the ABS, ASC/DSC, and BRAKE lamp should all come on during driving, DO NOT drive the car and have it serviced immediately.

These different systems all work in unison to provide a very safe and stable vehicle under almost all circumstances. Remember, physics does still apply and even our MINI’s have their limits. On numerous occasions, however, I have felt the DSC system kick in on slippery surfaces and jerk the car back straight without any input from me. It is quite impressive to say the least. While some may feel that ASC/DSC limits their MINI’s performance, the payoff in safety on the road is too great to gamble with. At the track… well, that’s a different story…

High-tech Spark Plug Wires for your MINI Cooper

Interestingly, some high-tech spark plug wires can provide an alternative to the Plasma Booster to accomplish the same task of increasing the intensity of the spark produced by the spark plug and thus provide the same benefits.

The Nology company makes a set of spark plug wires that each incorporate a capacitor and separate ground connection. With this addition, the spark plug wire itself stores up the energy of the spark until it reaches a high intensity level, then releases it in a shortened burst that provides a quick, clean ignition of the fuel/air mixture.
The manufacturer claims an increase in spark intensity of over 300 percent, which measurably increases horsepower and mileage, and reduces emissions by providing more a complete burn of fuel. An added benefit is that the substitution of the high-tech spark plug wires is legal under California Air Resources Board regulations.

Great information can be found here:

Mini Cooper 5-speed Transmission

The MINI 5-speed gearbox GS5-65BH found in the Cooper models (non-S) built between 2001 and July 2004 is commonly referred to as the R65 or ‘Midlands 5-speed’ Gearbox.

The front mounted transverse configuration was a major design challenge when it came to the length of the engine/gearbox unit. In designing the MINI, maximum crash safety and therefore optimum configuration of the longitudinal members in the engine compartment and front body section were priorities. This requirement imposed an additional limit on the permitted length of the engine/gearbox assembly. Because the length of the engine is largely fixed, depending on the spacing between the cylinders, the length restriction on the powertrain as a whole determines the length available for the gearbox.

There was therefore no room in the MINI’s engine compartment for a conventional two-shaft gearbox with all the gears arranged one behind the other. BMW had wanted the car to have a Getrag gearbox, but the original UK engineers put in the R65 gearbox instead, because it was $170/car cheaper, more compact with a two-shaft as opposed to a three-shaft layout, and no inherent cyclic vibrations, so a mass damper was not needed.”

The R65 was an existing major component, which was already being manufactured on the Longbridge site, and was in large scale use in other Rover Group front-wheel-drive cars. Originally a PSA (Peugoet-Citroen) design, it was well-proven, and well thought of.

Chris Lee (MINI Product Leader ’96-’99) and his team stuck to their convictions, produced rafts of evidence regarding costs, performance and service experience. Back-to-back tests, evaluations on the road and comparisons of torque capacities were all made. In addition, major improvements to the R65’s change quality, a reduction of free play and healthy attention to warranty claim records were all needed before Rover’s R65 won the argument.

Although not widespread, there have been numerous reports of failures with the R65 Midlands gearbox over the years. Compounded with MINI USA’s policy to replace instead of repairing these gearboxes with factory rebuilt units, the owners are faced with hefty repair bills from their local MINI service centers.

Fortunately, repair parts are available for the R65 Midlands gearbox from suppliers such as Mini Mania Inc. Qualified independent transmission repair shops are able to repair these gearboxes at a fraction of the cost of replacing the entire gearbox.

Mini Cooper 5 speed transmission

Mini Cooper 5 speed transmission

New Brake Cooling System under Test

Performance Mini Cooper Brake Cooling System upgrade for your front brakes reduces peak operating temperatures for improved braking performance. Greatly reduces brake fade with stock brakes and lowers peak temperatures on big brake kits. This kit is recommended for track use.

nmb4000bThe PBCS diverts high velocity air from under the lower control arms and directs the flow to the rotor. This track proven set-up greatly reduces peak operating temperatures for consistent and predictable braking performance throughout an event.

The PBCS for the MINI uses a design commonly found on Porsche and BMW track cars. Unlike other kits that require ‘cutting’ of the bumper and inner panels, this is a complete ‘bolt-on’ kit that requires NO modifications to your MINI. This is a track set-up due to reduced clearance under the inlet scoop. If the car is driven to the track on the street, we recommend you remove the inlet scoop to prevent possible damage from road debris – you simply remove a hose clamp and zip ties to remove the scoop.

This kit consists of a pair of custom high quality TIG welded black anodized backing plate, a pair of highly durable Polyethylene Intake scoops designed specifically for the MINI, 500°F Silicone ducting, and all hardware for a complete installation.

This product is currently only available for the first generation of the BMW MINI Cooper (2001 thru 2006 models) but the great news is that testing is now under way to provide a kit for our later models!  Keep an eye on the New Products page of Mini Mania.

Sprint Booster- ‘A must have!”

After reading about the Sprint Booster on earlier postings, I was able to track down some info at

After an email exchange with Ken at:, I decided to take the leap and order one of these units. Without dragging this out, let me just say that it is SUPERB and worth the cost (IMHO)! I finally figured out how to install the thing (it was easy, but, of course, I tried the hard things first) and it works as advertised.

Gets rid of all throttle lag – much MUCH faster throttle response – makes the car feel like it has at 10-15% more power (though, of course, that is really unchanged) due to the quickened throttle-engine response. I believe that this is much the same feeling that one would get with a “chip” flash. It chirps tires in 1st and 2nd without trying to do so and the backend squirms as the power is “put down” faster… Impressive for a plug-and-drive device.

All of the usual “doubters” out there will be questioning this, I am sure, but until you’ve tried it – save your comments and doubts for yourselves!!! I got the same reaction to my news on the InaZma Max Voltage device and those of you who have tried it know what a great unit that is!!! This is even better!

Mini Cooper Transmission Problems

* UPDATE 8/22/13:

Seems as though we have had a recent rush on questions and problems related to the various transmissions that have been used in the MINI Cooper since it’s introduction in 2001 (we have a solution, see below).  Most people had heard about the update of the internal gears in the popular 6 speed manual transmission as used in the MCS.  And we are finally hearing from some people actually trying to take advantage of the improved ratio by simply swapping a late tranny for the early one. From all reports the mechanical swap is not a difficult one and the results reported from more than one person can be quoted as ‘stunning’!  But there is a drawback!

In return for all that greatly improved old fashion acceleration you will have to give up a modern sought after feature: cruise control.  While not specific to the transmission upgrade, the ECU for the MCS for ’05/’06 models and the only feature lost in this trans swap is the cruise control.  Those that we spoke to said it was the only issue and was a small price to pay for the improved performance.

mini cooper transmission

On  a negative front , we have also now heard from several people who are having problems with their automatic transmission as found in the very early MC & MCS.  These CVT were innovative when introduced and engineered to use the best torque and HP from the MINI engine to provide smooth and effortless movement.  But reliability was is biggest issue and while the tranny was replaced a few years later with a more convention automatic with their heavy torque converter, etc, the upgrade was proof that even the factory was convinced that the CVT could be used for the long-term.  The real bad news that as the factory forecasts come true with CVT failures (most of them “out of warranty”- the current owner is faced with the reality that the ONLY solution is a newly rebuilt CVT transmission.  I would thus advise anyone considering a MINI Cooper automatic to stay away from the CVT version!

However, if you have already taken the plunge and have found yourself in need of a new transmission for your Mini Cooper you are in luck.  Mini Mania is now offering a Re-manufactured CVT Automatic Transmission for 2002-2008 Mini Coopers at less than half the cost of replacing with a brand new CVT transmission.  In addition, the transmissions come with a 12 month/12,000 mile limited warranty.  There are specific steps taken to ensure the quality of these transmissions.

* Transmissions are completely disassembled

* Cases are inspected & cleaned

* Gears, bearings, pulleys & valve body are thoroughly inspected & replaced as needed

* Belts, seals & gaskets are replaced on all transmissions regardless of mileage

* Transmissions are then carefully re-assembled in a consistent manner

Check out the Rebuilt Mini Cooper Automatic Transmission.

MINI Cooper S Convertible Spare Tire question


I have an ’05 MCS convertible. I am sick and tired of the run flats. they have useless tire life and are hard and noisy. I have gone through 6 in 19000 miles.

My question is will the spare ft in the trunk with the top down or up? Where do you put the spare if it does not fit? If it will. I am inclined to replace the run flats with normal tires and get the spare.

Yes, not many people stay with the runflats for the reasons you mentioned.

The spare fits upright in the boot area although it does take up a fair bit of space. The only alternative is a flat repair kit like our Mobility Kit or the roadside assistance from your car insurance carrier. In either case, you may need the tools to change the tire, not all MCS came with them. You should have these tools.

Cooper S Body Kits


Just wondering if you has any comments on the fit of your aftermarket body kits (CarZone KIT). Do you also sell Hamann kit for this body style. I am picking up my JCW Cooper S today and would like to get a nice body kit for it which does not look aftermarket asnd fits like factory, your comments are appreciated.


Almost all body kits including Carzone and Hamann, will require some ‘finishing work’ to get the pieces to fit just right.  Some body kits will require some fabrication for the mounting.  We don’t know of any body kits where you can simply paint and install.

The Orciari body kit is one of the better quality body kits we have seen.  This kit is made from ABS plastic instead of fiberglass (like the Carzone and Hamann).  ABS plastic tends to have better fit and finish.

Since you have a convertible, your MINI has the rear proximity sensors.  Most body kits do not accommodate for this feature and will require additional work to adapt this to the body kit.

If you want a factory looking body kit on your convertible, I would recommend the factory Aero Kit from your MINI dealership – they have options for the rear proximity sensor.

What is the oil capacity on a 2007 Mini Cooper


What is the oil capacity on a 2007 Mini Cooper, non-S, with filter change? Is 5W30 preferred over 5W50? Why?


For your 2007 MINI Cooper non-S, I would recommend you use whatever viscosity is specified on the decal on the valve cover of your engine. MINI specifies API SH specification or higher on the synthetic motor oil with a volume of 4.2 liters or 4.4 US quarts when replacing the oil filter. On our Cooper S, the label states 5W/30. MINI approved oils belong to the 5W-40 and
5W-30 classes.

They also caution not to overfill.

I strongly recommend you stay with the recommended viscosity due to various components in the 2007 engine affected by hydraulic pressure. This includes the VANOS variable valve technology, on-demand water pump, and on-demand oil pump.

Mini Cooper Window wiper failure

hi just wondering can u help me what it is that my mini cooper front window wipers have just stop working.but the back ones are stil working and i have no idea wot it can be. Please can you help.

It’s difficult to tell without inspecting the car, but I might suspect a problem with the washer relays (there are two in the fuse box in the engine compartment, one for speed, one for on/off).

If not the relays, perhaps the wiper motor…

The only fuse for this system is common with the General Module, so that probably isn’t it since your rears work.

Mini Cooper Air Filter

The amount of horsepower an engine makes is directly related to the mass air flow of the engine. Mass air flow is determined by volumetric efficiency VE, and the density (pressure-and-temperature) of the air. In turn, if you know the actual efficiency of the engine, and energy content of the fuel used, you can predict horsepower. Assume a 97.5% VE at 5400. At standard temperature and air pressure (77 degrees Fahrenheit, and 14.53 psi) this equals 22.56 lbs/hour air. Assuming 19000 BTUs per gallon of gas and a 0.33 (mechanical x thermal) efficiency this should produce 228 hp. Converting the mass flow to CFM = 309CFM. Now, add a K&N cone air filter into the picture. It may positively impact VE due to a lower air pressure drop at 309 CFM than the stock filter. Let’s say VE goes to 98%. Mini Cooper Cold Air Intake System

Based on the same calculation, the mass airflow is now 22.68 lbs/hr or230 HP. However, consider the temperature of the air. Under the hood, without any type of insulation, the temperature is probably not far from the temp of the thermostat. To be conservative, let’s say the new cone filter is breathing in 160 degree under hood air instead of 77 degree air. Using the previous formula, but adjusting the air temperature what is the mass flow rate? 19.64 lbs/hour. That amounts to 199 horsepower. Here are calcs for a couple other temps at 98% VE:


Mass Air Flow

Predicted HP























Which means that for every 60 degree C the density changes by 10%. Assuming the engines volumetric efficiency stays the same, then we get 10% more power out of an engine, if we can reduce the inlet air temperature by 60 degree C.