Case Studies

BMW and Mini Cooper Turbo Failure

A common yet avoidable problem we see with BMW and Mini Coopers is turbocharger failure. Turbocharger failures can be catastrophic, so they are important to address at the first sign of a problem. As its name implies, a turbocharger is a device increases the power output of an engine.

In our workshop, we see a number of turbocharger or “turbo” issues, on a number of different cars. Almost always on vehicles not serviced by us, but rather referred to workshop by the dealer, or another repair facility. Over the years we’ve compiled a very effective set of diagnostic principles to make the determination of the failure mode, and corrective action, very straightforward.IMG_5601

Cause Of Failure
 The main cause of turbocharger failure is oil-related – usually due to either lack of oil or dirty oil. Turbocharger failures in BMWs seems to be caused by the long oil service intervals. (The dealer typically recommends oil changes every 12,000-18,000 miles, depending upon when the car’s indicator says to do it.) Turbocharger failures can be catastrophic, so they are important to address at the first sign of a problem.

Signs Of Turbocharger Failure
If you experience any of the following signs, you may be on your way to turbocharger failure. Call or stop by the Atlantic Motorcar Center so we can check out your BMW or Mini Cooper turbocharger immediately.

  • Your check engine light comes on
  • You hear a screeching noise that sounds like metal on metal
  • You experience a great loss of power

The old bromide that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” never rang truer than in the case of your engine’s turbocharger. Proper servicing, which is all too often overlooked on today’s newer cars with their extended service intervals, will go a long way to preventing problems in the first place. We strongly advise to all of our customers, to consider changing the engine oil and filter every 5,000 miles. Following extended service intervals of 12,000 to 15,000 miles is a recipe for failure, setting the customer up for a very expensive, and very unexpected failure down the road. Nothing is less costly, or can do more to prolong the life of your car, than changing the fluid and filter (if equipped) on a regular basis, BEFORE failure.

Operating To Prevent Failure
Here are ways to avoid turbocharger failure in your BMW or Mini Cooper

1. Have frequent oil changes using quality oil. We recommend oil changes at least every 5,000 miles.

2. After driving (once you have reached your destination), let your vehicle idle for a couple of minutes, rather than turning it off right away. This will let the turbo cool down a little before turning it off.

3. Keep oil full and cooling system in good working order.

4. Frequent maintenance. Have a qualified BMW or Mini Cooper service facility inspect your BMW or Mini turbo every 6 months. At Atlantic Motorcar, we do this each time your car is in, as part of our normal service process.

Your Advocate, On Your Side
At AMC, because we are independent and locally owned, we are YOUR advocate, and our team makes a point of checking recalls and service campaigns from the manufacturer on every visit, and keeping our customers up to date.

Not a simple repair, yes, but one, if done correctly, will last several years. That’s our goal with BMW, and other autos here, fix it right the first time, and prevent problems from happening in the first place. 30 years of service experience have well taught us that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Be cured, once and for all, and give us a call, we’re happy to answer any service questions you might have on your BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus, Volvo or Volkswagen.

Earning your trust, every time you turn the car…that’s what we do…every day…for the last 30 years. Click here see what our happy customers have to say about us and our service at AMC Customer Reviews.

If you have questions, or if we can be of further assistance, just call us at (207) 882-969, we’d love to meet you, and your car!

Bruce and the AMC Service Team

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