The MINI brand of cars is known for manufacturing vehicles with a unique combination of size, speed, and innovative technology. One of the most sought after features of Mini is its exceptional handling due to a top-of-the-line suspension system.
Additionally, Minis are recognized as being stylish and trendy, partly due to their low profile. However, it is this low profile that puts the Mini’s suspension system at a greater vulnerability than some other vehicles. One of the most commonly affected features of the suspension system that may be affected by the low profile is the vehicle’s shock tower.
As the owner of a Mini, you want to maintain your vehicle’s performance and overall condition, so it is important to understand the mechanics of your vehicle. This includes learning about some of the most important components that you want to have regularly inspected and maintenanced, as well as what are some common issues your vehicle may face.
To maintain your Mini’s suspension system, you will want to understand the importance of the shock tower and how to keep it in working condition.
Your Mini’s Shock Tower
The shock tower, otherwise known as the strut tower or strut bar, is a metal rod that laterally connects your front and rear strut towers from left to right. The shock tower’s main purpose is to increase the rigidness of the Mini’s frame and body, making it less pliable or flexible.
A rigid frame increases the effectiveness of a vehicle’s suspension. This makes it easier to handle, meaning the vehicle can turn at faster speeds with a decreased likelihood of the driver losing control.
The shock tower also aids other vehicle components by absorbing some of the tension and helping to evenly distribute the stress among the vehicle’s parts, creating a more even wear on the different parts.
Mushrooming Shock Towers in Mini
One of the most common issues Mini owners face with their vehicle’s shock towers is mushrooming. Mushrooming means the shock tower has failed due to an impact occurring with the vehicle’s strut. This occurs typically when your vehicle drives at a fast speed over rough road conditions, such as bumps, potholes, or uneven terrain.
Mushrooming shock towers can often be identified by the following signs:
- your vehicle pulls to one side while driving
- your vehicle has decreased fuel economy
- your vehicle becomes difficult to handle, possibly losing control on turns
- the shock towers, located underneath the front of your vehicle, are bent into a convex shape
Mushrooming occurs most often in Mini vehicles manufactured from 2002 to 2006, but the Mini’s low profile means that all Minis are vulnerable to mushrooming. When shock towers mushroom, it can cause a misalignment in the front wheels of your vehicle. Misalignment can make your vehicle difficult to steer and lead to more expensive repairs down the line due to uneven wear on the tires and increased stress on the vehicle’s suspension system.
If you notice any signs of mushrooming on your Mini’s shock towers, it is important for you to bring your vehicle into an automotive repair center. If you choose to continue to drive despite these signs, then you are risking significant damage to your vehicle, and you are driving with less safety.
At Cerrone’s European, our ASE-certified automotive technicians provide AAA approved auto repair. We specialize in European brands, such as Mini, and can ensure that your vehicle is kept in top condition. Our shop is dedicated to providing the best automotive service experience by using the most updated tools and equipment necessary to accurately diagnose and service your vehicle. All repairs done at our service center are guaranteed under a 2 Years – 24,000 miles warranty.
If you are in Redwood City or its surrounding areas, and your Mini is showing signs of needing shock tower repairs, make an appointment at Cerrone’s European today. We will get your vehicle back into top condition, so you can drive the roads knowing that your vehicle had the best quality care possible.
* Blue Mini Cooper Countryman image credit goes to: bruev.