- My 1990 Rover Mini City

How many breakdowns does it take to make you hate a car?

The struggles of automotive enthusiasm.

5w ago


In my first 6 weeks of owning my 1990 Rover Mini, it broke down each week, without fail.

By each week, I really do mean each week - having only just driven it home, I returned from a family trip a few days later to find it sitting in a puddle of its own oil. It was a driveshaft seal leak, local garage, £200, just a small hiccup right?

Week 1 - Leaky McLeakface

Week 1 - Leaky McLeakface

This was just the beginning. The Mini was out to get me, it was out to bankrupt me, it was out to ruin my relationship with my family. 6 weeks, 5 breakdowns, 3 RAC callouts, 2 new tyres and a plethora of parts later, my attitude towards the little blue blob was still unchanged. I didn't trust it that was for sure, but I didn't despise it in the way it perhaps deserved. Also for those saying "its a classic car things go wrong blah blah blah" unreliability was to be expected, but seriously once a week?

The floor of my parents garage looked like someone had been murdered on it, to this day it remains an amazing contemporary patchwork of black oil stains and orangey red coolant stains. Unhappy with the floor, they were also growing tired of my blind optimism towards a car that was useless in nearly every sense of the word. It took 10 minutes just to get the bloody thing over the speed humps on the drive and was always broken when they needed someone to run errands. It's unreliability had become a running joke; "can you pick me up from the station please.... ....oh wait *chortling intensifies* your car won't make it" becoming a family favourite.

Week 3 - fuel pump packs up on the way back from getting new tyres for a puncture from the day before

Week 3 - fuel pump packs up on the way back from getting new tyres for a puncture from the day before

I suppose I've been able to remain fond of the Mini in the same way its possible to love a new puppy that defecates everywhere - it can be a real pain, but its hard to truly hate it or throw it out of the house. The question remains; how long before my hedonism runs out? What happens when the puppy grows into a dog, but still lays turds around the house?

Now 6 months and 9 breakdowns into ownership, I'm pleased to report that I still don't yet hate it. The frequency of breakdowns has subsided somewhat and the pleasure of the buzzy little engine, or the short wheelbase or the joy of looking back when I park up make the faff worth it, well for now at least. So long live my Mini.... and sorry Mum and Dad.

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Comments (16)

  • A few times to hate the car. Once to hate my local Mazda dealership!!!!😡😡😡

      8 months ago
  • Well, if it's a car that makes you smile on "working" days, I can live with simple niggles. If it's a daily comute car, I would be crossed pretty much instantly.

    If it lets me down seriously and causes me to be stranded somewhere, that's pretty much the end of our relationship.

    I forgave squeeking suspension, bordcomp failure and ridicoulous consumption to my AR147 because it was such a nice car to drive and it never left me on the road.

    On the other hand, Megane would irritate me very soon if it started to go off soon. Last month I had to change the inlet turbo hose on it and the diplomatic relations have been cold since.

      8 months ago
    • It is my only car and daily. Yes it has left me stranded a lot, but thankfully it’s not crucial to my work or studies. It’s also gotten a lot better since I sorted a lot of the niggles, otherwise my patience would definitely run out.

        8 months ago
  • I swear Minis are cursed, my Dad had a new one and, amongst other problems, went into Limp-home Mode on it's first journey! It got to a point where I nicknamed it 'Christine'! (Points to those who get the joke)

      7 months ago
  • I guess that depends on the car and if it's supposed to be my daily drive. I spend about a third of the time working on my kit car as I do driving it and that's absolutely fine. If I had to do that with my van I'd have asked Ford for a refund ages ago

      8 months ago
  • One.

      8 months ago


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