Brake scam? - 2015 Mini Cooper Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 09-18-2015, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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Brake scam?

Ok, so my Cooper has 13,500km on the clock and I don't drive like a granny, but not like a maniac either... I drive curvy B roads on a daily basis.

The other day the 'brake warning indicator' light lit up on my dashboard (!) with the corresponding message on the computer (!) which asks me to take my car to the service. So I do. They order new brake pads... Install them only on my front brakes as the back ones seemed fine... I pick up the car, I pay '274?' (not happy)... I drive away and within the first half a minute the same warning light/message shows up...

I literally reverse back into the garage and directly talk to the head of mechanics... He plugs my car into the system as sees that the back brakes are also indicating to be ready to be replaced, but that he personally saw them and can assure me there's at least 70% of the back brake pads left ... ... I obviously ask how is such a thing possible and can we please erase that warning somehow... He says, that he's seeing how they're implanting 'longer' sensors within the brakes more commonly; meaning that as the brake pad is used up, the sensor ('wire' implanted in the brake pad material to signal its wear) is intercepted sooner than it should... He then assures me the car is perfectly safe to drive for a long time and I should only worry when the 'red' (!) warning light comes on, prompting me to change brakes immediately, and that even then I'd have about 15% of the brake pad left.

Only solutions, to either put up with the super annoying warning light for another 7-8,000km every single time I drive the car or spend another '274?' to replace a set of back brakes that are perfectly fine to use for many many km or miles...

Not impressed, even if I feel this sort of practice is not a MINI only thing, more like the brands trying to make some money on unnecessary service requirements ... Wanted to share my experience to warn, and wondered if anyone has been through the same experience or knows a work-around for this. Don't really feel it's fair to be honest...

Any trustworthy OEM suppliers in Europe? Good idea to go that route?
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post #2 of 18 Old 09-19-2015, 03:47 AM
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After the latest developments with VW and Audi I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't a scam; I don't know if on the service side or Mini itself. When I bought mine, I was offered a free-of-charge-service, "free" so to speak because I paid something like 800Euros for all services within 3 years. This means that for 3 years, no matter what they find, they have to fix it including oil changes, filters etc. However, the catch is that the brakes are not included in this; yes, the brake diagnostic is included but not brakes/pads replacement. If I wanted also the brakes to be included then the premium was more than double, ~1800 euros. I thought (and still think) they did it like this because, probably, since this is a go-kart then people tend to use it to the max, as in spike accelerations and subsequently braking which increases the weariness of the pads etc. On my old car, a Renault Megane, I changed the pads only 3 times during its 9 years of life and only once the disc brakes so did not take this option from Mini.
But ... who knows...

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post #3 of 18 Old 09-19-2015, 04:54 AM
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Its more than likely a dodgy brake pad sensor, they are about £20 retail from BMW/Mini and its job is to wear with the pad so the car knows roughly where you are in the brake wear cycle. Once you get over half your pad worn it triggers a countdown (where it expects based on current milesge and last change) to make assumptions about when you should change your pads. If something happens to the cable (like its been nicked by a stone or sharp object) then it could trigger a false positive (once it goes it starts the countdown). I would of expected BMW to of swapped out the rear sensor at least if they are saying 70% of your pads are left because it wouldnt of actually touched the sensor until 50% left.
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post #4 of 18 Old 09-20-2015, 03:43 AM
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Never had issues with brakes in my MINI and BMW history. My first MINI had 125.000 km on the clock when I sold it and my previous BMW had 115.000 km...bot cars were driven like they should be...sporty. Never got the warning the brake pads or discs needed replacement. Service indicator on my BMW showed they it would take another 27.000 km before service was needed.

But nevertheless, I don't trust people that sell cars or insurances anyway
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post #5 of 18 Old 09-20-2015, 05:38 AM
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I'd think too the sensor is faulty very simple to replace,just slots into a gap in the pad and reset. My only issue is that mini are told to guess/predict disc thickness so if they put new pads in but the disc thickness will be under spec in the life of the new pad they recommend new discs too. I like to get full use of mine!

Surprisingly delighted to have moved to an f54((with a r59 in the fold for fun!)
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post #6 of 18 Old 09-20-2015, 08:48 AM
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Proud to be "old school"!...I hate all the electronic crap on otherwise great cars these days...just makes for more things like this going wrong. Formula 1 was so much better when they ran V10's instead of 4 cyl turbos...look at all the problems they have with the electronics these days...shameful. The more mechanical the car the better!
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post #7 of 18 Old 09-20-2015, 09:01 AM
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Slight correction for my post above....current F1 cars run turbocharged V6's (not 4 cyl)...just now watching the Singapore GP and Hamilton's car is "down on power" LOL! Not laughing at Hamilton but at the electronics on the car! I rest my case!
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post #8 of 18 Old 09-20-2015, 11:30 PM
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I'm OK with electronics on cars. I definitely agree with the "simple is better" mantra though. The biggest thing with electronics running cars is that its easier to shut out consumers who want to work on their car. I can get around weird designs in the engine compartment, etc..but if a company makes it so I can't reset the service interval without going to a dealer...then I'm going to get mad.
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post #9 of 18 Old 09-21-2015, 08:44 AM
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Two ways to look at this; having always done my own maintenance and even witth mini discs and pads plus oil changes etc, electronics look after the timing etc; now all you need to is change spark plugs; no gap to check no points and no timing issues ever till it breaks! in some ways this makes it easier for the home mechanic ie me! Diagnosis of a fault ; now there's another issue!
in other words it's all well and good if it is working! Agree with you though-if you cant reset stuff yourself; mind you an obd device on ebay wont be long coming-in fact i think its available!

Surprisingly delighted to have moved to an f54((with a r59 in the fold for fun!)
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post #10 of 18 Old 09-21-2015, 09:18 AM
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On the OBD issue, my Scangauge is Mini F56 specific as well as just about every other car with an OBD port, (the non Mini specific ones won't read all the F56 sensor outputs such as oil temperature,etc), and one of the other functions of the Scangauge is to decode warning lights and reset them.
I haven't tried resetting Mini lights yet, haven't had any, but it certainly works on my old MG which amazingly has an OBD port.
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