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MINI Cooper bonnet collapse/warp

42505 Views 135 Replies 30 Participants Last post by  HumphryCooper

So I picked up my new volcanic orange Cooper last Thursday. 3 days and 202 miles later after a 40 mile drive I went inside and came back out to discover the bonnet had collapsed on itself around the 'power bulge'. There isn't a single mark, the 'dents' in the bonnet aren't actually dents, they are smooth and spot less. Not a single mark, blemish or crease. The usual suspects of an impact. Team this with the fact the engine was red hot and still hot when the MINI breakdown guy arrived 2 hours later!!!


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That was my initial thought! I had just pulled up, taken my bags inside and locked it. 3 mins later it looked like that and was roasting to touch. Popped the bonnet and could touch anything as it was so hot! So I think it cooked itself after I stopped as it was fine whilst driving as air was flowing. No warning signs - engine temp claimed to be okay during drive.

Arden Maidstone Mini cannot replicate it as yet so are basically implying I am lying :( I get told something different every time I ring up/go down there.

One thing they do agree on is that the paintwork is too pristine for an impact. Not even any swirls - so how an 'impact' can do that and not leave a mark I don't know ...and nor do they.
Thanks guys, some good advice. They are arguing that the paint would have bubbled too, however it wouldn't necessarily do that...remember the S hood scoops melting?
I'm not entirely sure it's purely heat related, any idea what else may have caused it?
Gokart7, they will replace the whole car if they think it's their fault. I have the consumer editors from whatcar and autocar very interested. Thinking of taking photos to my local coach works.

Autoexpress did a piece with me on my A5 problem - much noted on here

If I would advise you - it's a gimmick - they just use you to get a story out - their most important concern is to print not help you - as was my case - good luck - if you need further advice a lot of us are here now - also make sure you have pictures documented with time and place...
Autoexpress have contacted MINI HQ today to press for a resolution. Which is good as it means the they know the media are watching them too.
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Did you get it mended?
Nope, still waiting. At the moment I'm basically having to fight that I'm not lying! As they cannot replicate the heat they are leaning towards an impact. The car was left for 3 mins on the drive next the lounge window, would have set the car alarm off too. Mini say the alarm wouldn't have gone off, but I emailed Thatcham who agree it would have done. Also its not a dent, its more a ripple or distortion.
When I was "learning" how to close my bonnet I pressed down above one of the catches and the bonnet surface popped in... and thankfully popped out again. I was surprised at how flexible it was.
If the engine was that hot surely the radiator fan would be on... could it have been down to a faulty fan and thus the engine overheating when left stationary but hot? Have they checked operation of the fan?
Yeah the bonnet is really thin in places. Its actually made from 8 segments. Its just funny how the bulge which ruins the uniformity of the bonnet (creating a weak spot around the base of the bulge) is the area that has collapsed. If someone had sat on it the bulge would have indented.

Funny you should say that profiteroles as I don't recall the fan coming on and either does my dad, which is why the bonnet was fine all the time the car was moving, cooling it/engine.
Is the bonnet on the underside double-skinned and sealed in some way (including any sound absorbsion material and sealant)? I'm still waiting (and waiting) for my Cooper so I don't know the construction!

Purely as an idea, the type of damage suggests to me there was possibly a partial vacuum. So any air inside initially expanded with heat past any sealing then cooled slightly causing a slight vacuum which the panel could not withstand, so it deformed inwards or imploded?

I don't see that any temperature difference over a exceptionally hot engine normally would distort a steel panel without some other force being present.
When I mentioned the idea that the bonnet looks as if it was sucked in, the service manager at Arden perked up and seemed interested. The bonnet is the same as the others on this forum with the cut outs on the corners.
I've just taken a photo of my bonnet underside to show the lining on my S. (pic in 'my garage') I'd imagine the lining would of experienced at least some heat damage? It seems soft and spongy to touch and is held in place with plastic buttons.
What sort of heat damage? I wouldn't expect it to show anything such as burns or discolouration as the sole purpose of the material is to dispel heat.
I have noticed the bonnet/front remains hot for a long time after having parked -- as if having just parked. It seemed excessive, given I'd returned over an hour earlier.

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This is the same as mine, except it was 2 hours that I had been parked (in the shade). This is the reason that when MINI breakdown/recovery arrived he took the car off me. Recalling a new turbo'd peugot that had recently caught fire. I'd get yours checked if the heat is excessive. My courtesy car is a brand new 320d, and took the guy 2 hours to deliver. First thing we did is check the temp of the engine cover and it was cooler than mine was after 2 hours! Similar BMW Twin power turbo.
Do not take this the wrong my theory ... The Mini was parked on the street? May not have been such a basketball? Are hard, and heavy rubber which could have made it ... Good luck in solving :(
Parked on the drive under the lounge window. Car was covered in dust from the storm and rain. There was no signs of impact in the dust and when clean not swirls, marks, marring, creases, or anything. My theory is a massive bean bag dropped from a crane.
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I appreciate this - but trust me with the Audi I did more myself - I have the autoexpress copy of my story - trust me it only goes so far if you are not happy with the outcome you personally have to pursue it - it's tricky - I didn't get connected to the public so to speak - plus the story had inconsistencies and lies - apparently Audi apologised to me for what was happening and they were in contact

These are lies - I had no apology from no one and no one was in contact - I was the one keeping up with them until I knew it was too much they were not going to do anything so I took it back and sold it

That is why I am here

And I had it with Audi for over 5 months - at the end I was so bruised and battered by the experience that I know now what the whole point is

Fix it or reject it - because it's as easy as that - from the end of the year the consumer directive is changing we will be able to reject cars much easier to the detest of motor manufacturers and it will go into law - codes SMMT and dealerships are sweating over this - so again you have to lay the law down yourself - they have to blame it on you or they don't from that point on you can fight clearly.
Oh wow I'm sorry to hear that, Im glad you're with MINI now though! This is my second brand new MINI from Arden. Im definitely having to do than I thought I would have. Being 3 days old and absolutely distraught I thought I would have more support from the Garage. I had to go there monday to chat to the mum was told over the phone it was only so he could 'suss me out' being a youngster he though I was going to be irresponsible :( obviously they now know thats not the case.
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Ah it is for heat dissipation then... I wasn't sure whether it might be sound proofing. I can see that it would absorb a lot of heat (being matt black)... but where is the heat supposed to go after that?
Well out through the bonnet I suppose. Its a heat shield. Now it can't just shield it by keeping the heat in surely? Its definitely for heat not sound. Theres a big market for aftermarket covers for R56 cooper s's as the turbos were distorting the bonnet scoops. Theres a lot about this online.
I think jamesant (did I get that right?) is on the right track that it's a stress-relief (sort of like oil-canning) in the metal stamping. That is, if it's not in fact your neighbors messing with you. Regardless, it's not "heat" (you really mean temperature) causing steel to melt. The paint would be long gone before that would happen..... ]

I think that you're on the right track with regards to stress causing it. Its what my Dad has said all along and also an lead engineer at Jaguar-Landrover we know...stress/heat distortion.

Definitely not our neighbours as they are all retired haha (we live in a small country village).

I did have the air-con on full wack that day and it was pretty hot out putting a lot of load on the engine. Team that with the fact that engines tend to run a little hotter when new in the running in period due to tightness.
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On the first picture of the bonnet, the dent looks almost too perfectly symmetrical, and what looks like a circular shape which again is too perfect to have been accidental damage.
Thats the exact thought of everyone that has seen the photos and the bonnet. Its too coincidental that the power bulge hasn't dipped but all around it has.
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What's the latest?
I've still had no news since Tuesday although I'm told by MINI UK that I will find out today. I'm expecting bad news purely based on how the dealer treats me everytime I ring up :( ...get spoken to like I'm an idiot
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Call me

I'll come down

I have five months experience with Audi management executive office Audi UK Audi Coventry and Audi Worcester

I know how to deal with them
Haha might have to, you're pretty clued up!! Can't thank you enough for all the advice I've had so far! Just really wanna get my car so I can start driving it and uploading pictures.
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I too have had exceptionally bad experiences with dealers, but after a while I realised that not every dealer or head office for the brand they represent share their views. If you get no satisfaction from your dealer and they treat you badly, then cut them out of the loop and progress with contacting Mini/BMW directly, or as it's a warranty issue they can't refuse you at another dealer.

Also if the car is financed you are in a better position as you also have your finance company to act as the middle man. When my VW dealer kept promising the world and delivering nothing then telling me they never promised anything, I got my finance company to get involved as they too have a legal responsibility to you. The finance company then acted as the middle man, and when agreements were made to correct the mistakes that they made they had to go through with them, as it was no longer me VS a company, it was another company who record phone calls etc.

Anything you do in this respect must be in writing for it to be official. And if you need proper legal advice call citizens advice consumer services, and they will help you with the legal jargon for any letters you wish to write. They have always advised me well and it's free.

I made assumptions here that you were from the UK, so I apologise if you aren't. Most of this may only apply to UK buyers.
No you're correct I'm from the UK. I had a phone call today from the dealer, not to inform me on any progress but to ask why I had given them a bad review in the mini survey I was sent. Oh sorry of I've hurt you're feelings mr dealership, how do you imagine I feel?!
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I don't know, but I kind of assume that these days they would be able to download a log from the car that details what happened for a given period... surely they could tell whether there was any excessive heat build up?
Nope there is no over heating evidence as such as nothing showed up all the time the car is moving. Probably because the airflow through the car and the fan would have been cooling it down. So as the car was turned off and locked I'm assuming no data would have been recorded?
My UK car was not built with that option.
Mine doesn't have that option either.. Clearly!

So just had an email from Arden (the dealer). Photos of my car are now being sent to Germany where the decision will be made. Let's hope they have the Same common sense as all of us as the decision will be made with out the bonnet being analysed or any testing being carried out on it :/
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My UK car was not built with that option.
Mine doesn't have that option either.. Clearly!

So just had an email from Arden (the dealer). Photos of my car are now being sent to Germany where the decision will be made. Let's hope they have the Same common sense as all of us as the decision will be made with out the bonnet being analysed or any testing being carried out on it :/
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