MINIs are fun, durable vehicles with powerful engines. Their machinery and electrical components can face damage and decay if not properly maintained. One MINI component that can be especially prone to failure is the variable valve timing system.

Although your MINI’s VVT is likely something you rarely think about, it is a vital part of your vehicle’s engine, and unresolved issues with it can have serious consequences for your MINI. Let’s take a closer look.

Understanding Variable Valve Timing

The VVT is a fairly recent invention that helps your MINI both conserve fuel and run more smoothly. When working properly, the VVT controls the engine’s intake and exhaust valves, manipulating when, how much, and for how long the valves are open.

In addition to preventing the engine from using more fuel than it needs to, this limits your vehicle’s emissions and enables it to go faster.

How to Identify VVT Issues

Because the VVT is such an integral part of your MINI’s engine, you will likely notice several significant changes in your vehicle’s performance if it breaks.

The most common and easiest symptom of VVT issues to identify is illumination of the check engine light. Due to the fact that your vehicle’s check engine light and VVT are both closely connected to its onboard computer, if the VVT begins to fail, there is a strong chance that the check engine light will turn on. If your vehicle’s check engine light comes on and you cannot identify the reason why on your own, you should have a trained mechanic check your MINI’s VVT.

Another common indicator of VVT problems is dirty oil. As an engine component that moves rapidly and often, the VVT needs a steady supply of clean oil to function properly. If you notice that your vehicle’s oil is dirty, then you should have a professional examine your VVT, as the contaminated oil may have damaged it. Routinely changing your MINI’s oil can often help you avoid this issue.

A third potential symptom of VVT failure is decreased gas mileage. As mentioned above, the VVT’s purpose is to save fuel and reduce emissions. Accordingly, when your vehicle’s VVT wears down or breaks, your MINI’s fuel efficiency and gas mileage will sharply decrease. As such, if you find yourself filling up your vehicle’s gas tank more often than normal, you should consider having the VVT looked at.

The final common sign of VVT problems is engine idling or fluctuating. If your MINI’s VVT fails, it will have a direct impact on your vehicle’s gears, which will make the engine’s behavior unpredictable. So, if your MINI’s engine is idling often, then there is a high probability that the VVT is malfunctioning, especially if the check engine light is also on.

How to Handle VVT Problems

One of the best ways to handle VVT issues is by preventing them in the first place. This can be accomplished by performing routine maintenance on your MINI. Regularly changing your vehicle’s oil and taking your MINI to routine service appointments are both especially good ways to keep your vehicle’s VVT in working order.

Of course, degradation happens to even the best-maintained vehicles, and your MINI’s VVT will likely wear down eventually. When this happens, you should bring your vehicle to a professional MINI mechanic as soon as possible.

The VVT is a highly specialized part, and while it can be replaced, the procedure should only be performed by an expert with a comprehensive understanding of how your vehicle’s engine is structured.

How We Can Help

If your MINI’s VVT is failing, then you’ll want to take your vehicle to a specialist you can trust. Our team members here at Cerrone’s European are experts when it comes to handling MINI engines.

Since 1976, we have provided excellent service and repairs on Audi, Land Rover, Jaguar, BMW, MINI, and Volvo vehicles in the Redwood City, CA area. Not only are our mechanics highly-trained professionals, but we are also a family-owned, female-friendly business with a focus on environmental responsibility.

European vehicles are our passion, and we would love to help you keep your MINI in great condition. So schedule your next appointment online or give us a call today to find out more.