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Service at Sandia MINI Improved?

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Service at Sandia MINI Improved?

Post by BarryWind on Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:03 pm

I've kept this [service experience at Sandia MINI] to myself for about five years now. The short history on the service of our '05 S follows...
The first service interval - took it in and they found a power steering pump/hose leak, although there was no fluid dripping onto our garage floor before the visit. When I picked up the car, I was given a partially filled can of Castrol power steering fluid [that was a nice gesture] and told to check / top-off the fluid until the replacement part arrived and the car was returned to the dealer to fix the leak. Got the car home and yes, it was now leaking fluid. About a half-dollar sized puddle every night or so. Enough to make the bottom of the car a mess in the week-ish time it took for the part to come in. Funny thing - the level of the power steering fluid reservoir never lowered.

2nd visit to fix power steering leak - At the time of pickup, I was curios and asked to look at the 'bad' part that was going back to MINI for the warranty. The 'bad' part was the oil filter housing. IMHO, the oil filter housing was cracked during the first Sandia oil change by the mechanic who cross-threaded the filter housing. Pure speculation on my part, but how else could it have happened? I guess your average owner wouldn't have put one and one together and the cover-up story would have been swallowed. As far as I know, nothing in the power steering system was ever leaking or replaced. I had to ask for a car wash at the time of pickup, because oil had blown all over the bottom and onto the hatch.

For the rest of the warranty period, three more visits, I never could get Sandia to 'fix' the air leak around the sunroof that drove me crazy. However, they were successful in stopping the dash squeak, but that returned right after the warranty expired.

Sandia MINI service experience, Strike-2 !!

Having been a motorcycle mechanic in a former life, all post-warranty issues and service were carried out in my garage...

Going back even further, to Stike-1...
For a few years before the MINI purchase and before Sandia MINI opened, I was a BMW CCA member ['90 325iX] and attended club clinics at Sandia BMW. With news of Sandia opening a MINI dealership, over a period of about 18-months, I talked to Sandia salesman every time I was in there and said I'd be a customer when the doors opened. I did not want to own a MINI and have to drive to Phoenix or Denver for service. Sandia's talk was always of suggested retail pricing, in contrast to retail-plus pricing that was occurring on the West and East coasts. At the point when the MINI dealership got to the trailer-in-the-parking-lot level, I went in to talk for real. This time the dialogue was retail plus something like $2-$3K worth of dealer installed accessories. Hmmm... The next week, I got online, found Jackie Cooper in Oklahoma City, formalized my order without having to buy high-profit accessories from the dealer, waited about seven weeks for the build and transport, booked a flight to OK and drove our new pride and joy back to ABQ.

So, with keen interest in getting a new snowmobile, a.k.a. Countryman ALL4, I'm wondering if things have changed at Sandia, since we sold the '05 MINI three years ago? Avoiding Strike-3 would be nice...


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Re: Service at Sandia MINI Improved?

Post by Jameseye on Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:28 pm

I had trouble with my '07 Cooper Conv after first service. They damaged the rear bumper cover and had to replace the whole piece. They were friendly enough at the time of the event and I had a rental car provided when the time came to replace the part.

My impression is the service techs have a good mind but are new to the game; they try to fix things the way they "used to" on other platforms and don't realize the nature of the materials in the MINI. After ham fisting parts they can't figure out why the car doesn't work afterwards.

I have an '09 Clubman S now and my service visits have been ok... no issues.


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Re: Service at Sandia MINI Improved?

Post by metropolmodern on Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:52 pm

Welcome to the NMM Club! I have had mixed experiences with Sandia Mini as well but unfortunately, more bad than good. I think I only trust them with an oil change at this point. The very first visit I made cost me $1200...supposedly the suspension's arm bushings were worn out & needed replacing. I was only there to buy an extended warranty & was on the BMW side buying one when they called the "gentleman" I was speaking with & told him what they had "found". I hadn't asked them to check the car out yet & they refused to sell me the warranty until after after they fixed what they "found". They did show me the area that supposedly needed to be fixed but I'm not a mechanic...I trusted them & because I had bought the car to drive extensively for my job at the time, I didn't have much choice. Second time I went to them was to fix my driver's side window that wasn't opening, which took 2 hours to fix & they kept me waiting about an hour past the time it was finished. Instead of an apology, I got an excuse about how "someone else should have noticed the car was finished a while ago." Nice, huh? Of course, the window was not installed correctly & I ended up having to go back for them to fix it but that only took about 40 minutes that time. The best thing I can report on was the one oil change they did on my car in the same visit as the first window fix & the car drove noticeably better after that. Maybe I just wanted to believe they did something well for once. In their defense, the service people have been, for the most part, very nice & accommodating in their availability of appointments. I hope this helps & please realize, this is just my story. I hope there are plenty of great experiences to weigh the pros & cons to. Question Exclamation

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