Sunday, April 08, 2012


Leaving your Mini alone in a garage for 6 months can cause problems. There are the usual problems such as stale gas, dead battery, flat spots on tires, vermin eating the wiring etc. However, with the BMW Mini you have to consider that your FOB can go dead and keep you from getting into the locked car. Instead of the FOB having a battery it charges through the ignition lock and sends a radio signal to a sensor in the rear-view mirror that opens the vault.

It reminds me of the Super Beetle I bought used for CP. It only came with one key. Getting a second key wasn't a matter going down to Tru-Value. No way. We had to make three 260 mile round trips to the dealer in Pittsburgh. The key blank, which had more gigs than a lap-top, had to be sent from Germany. The only person who could program the key traveled around the world with the codes in a briefcase handcuffed to his left arm. On top of all that there were only two machines capable of cutting the keys in North America; one of them wasn't due to be in Pittsburgh for 6 weeks. Finally, when Otto and the machine and the key blank all were in Pittsburgh the machine screwed up and ground up the one and only micro-chipped key blank . Four months and 1,200 miles and $450 later we finally got a second key.

The Beetle also lacked an owner's manual. I was silly enough to believe I could just ask for an extra one. No way, the leather bound manual printed by Gutenberg cost $295 and had to come from Stuttgart.

A locked car with a dead battery in a German car isn't an easy fix. I hope Otto isn't busy on Easter Sunday. Ben should go down to the Coliseum, find a Centurion and put him outside his garage. Short of a miracle there is no way that Mini is opening up.

1 comment:

D- said...

Funny how BMW made the former British go-kart so complicated. Scott's UK built Mini was just an ordinary over grown go-kart. No frills, just transportation. Sorry to hear Ben has had so much trouble.