Rover Mini 1991-2000 Review | Autocar - Latest Global News

Rover Mini 1991-2000 Review | Autocar

Is the Rover Mini reliable?

Minis of this generation are able to keep going even when something is not quite right. Failure usually occurs when an additional part gives up the ghost. This is a generalization, but it is an experience that many owners have had. It might be worth looking into how to maintain and/or repair them yourself, as they are mechanically quite simple and this greatly reduces the chances of breaking down.

However, there are more obvious things you should know before buying. Let’s go through them:

Engine: Check for oil leaks. Worn seals or sealing rings are a problem, so make sure regular oil checks have been carried out. Plan to spend around £200 to repair any leaking seals or sealing rings. Some owners report that their car stalls when disengaging the clutch to change gear. This could simply be a bad connection between the alternator and battery, or a blockage in the fuel system. Alternatively, check that the battery has enough charge: it can run flat and cut out the engine.

Engine mounts can rust or become loose, causing rough running and vibration in the gearshift and clutch pedal when idling or accelerating. Make sure the car revs smoothly, preferably by taking it for a test drive, to check that it behaves normally.

Brakes: Look for stuck brake pistons and calipers. If the car pulls to one side or squeaks excessively when braking, this could be the problem. Check that the pedal travel is not too great before the brakes engage. Also check that it is not a problem with the hydraulic pressure. Press down on the pedal and make sure that it can be fully depressed: if it cannot, it is probably due to the mechanics of the brake.

Electrics: Wires that feed the stereo, starter and headlights can fray over time, making the car virtually undriveable if all the wires fail at the same time. Ask before buying (or check if you have bought one) that they are in good condition; they sit behind the stereo.

Body: The thin steel used to construct the Rover Mini rusted more than other Mini generations. Check the front and rear subframes, door sills, A-pillar, windscreen, fuel cap and bumpers, and under the floor mats. Moisture collects under the headlights, which doesn’t help matters. Look closely for blistering in the paint. Forums are full of owners pointing this out, and it usually happens after a careless repaint; either that or water has gotten under the paint. A professional can touch it up: plan on around £1,200, depending on the size of the spot.

Inner: Inspect the interior for signs of water ingress. Water can enter through the doors and around the B-pillars if the seals are cracked or poorly seated. The sunroof seals can also fail.

An owner’s perspective

Neil Burgess: “Minis are incredibly addictive! Mine is a 1993 Cooper, mercury with a black roof. I bought it in 1997 as a stolen car that had been completely stripped down. I turned it into my first racing car, mainly for racing but also for rallying. The stock fuel injected engine proved competitive and Corgi even built a model of it! I still own the car – Purdey – and it is a beloved family member whose track days are behind us.”

Also worth knowing

There are many special editions. The British Open Classic, for example, was available in British Racing Green with a sunroof, full-length Webasto roof and half-leather/houndstooth seats. The Sprite-based 35 had electrically adjustable headlights, opening rear windows, silver bodyline and blue, red or white paint. And the Cooper S-based 40 had gold or black badges, an aluminium alloy dashboard trim and twin headlights.

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