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End of Nov 2018 I took the Mini for tire rotation and told the garage I was taking a road trip and to check all fluid levels including the oil. When I picked it up they confirmed this was done. The oil change was due for the end of Dec. Jan 3 I check the oil level and the dipstick was showing very low oil level (540 miles driven). I opened the reservoir and it was empty! There were no visual oil leaks. Is it possible for the oil level to go down so much if they had really checked the oil levels at the shop?
On Jan 3 the performed and engine oil system flush and synthetic oil change.

In April the car started to run rough and cold start issue. Engine light came on and towed to garage. They said cylinders 1,3,4 were misfiring. Replaced all the coils and spark plugs. They also performed a throttle body/fuel injection service.

Early May the car still having cold start issues. Towed back to the shop. This time all injectors were replaced and valve cleaning.

Picked up the car on a Friday and by Tuesday the car was having the same cold start issues. This time they want to replace the high pressure fuel pump and purge valve.

Are all these issues related to the low oil levels? What damage was caused to the engine? Is there something else going on with the engine? It's become a money pit!

  • Do you check your tire pressures, screenwash fluid, oil etc once a week and before every long trip? If not, then you should. What "oil reservoir" are you meaning? the sump? – Solar Mike Jun 10 at 14:21
  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! There are lots of ways that a car can run rough -- could you clarify what exactly that means in your case? Similarly, there are different kinds of cold start issues. Most end up being related to the battery, but some may not. What happens when it's cold versus when it's hot? Clicking? Long start time? Multiple turns of the key before it will turn over? (And I assume that when you say Cold Start you mean when the engine has cooled completely, versus it being very cold outside?) – Cullub Jun 10 at 14:54
  • Cullub 51 - by cold start I mean the engine has cooled completely, like overnight. Not related to cold weather. The Mini has a push button start. When you press it the engine hesitates, sputters and dies. (no clicking) It takes multiple tries to get it started, smoky fumes, mechanics made the comment there was a lot of carbon deposits when they changed the coils. The battery was test in May and found OK. – minimia Jun 10 at 15:51
  • Solar Mike - by oil reservoir I mean the oil fill port. I fly a lot of work. Check the fluids about 1/month and before a long road trip. – minimia Jun 10 at 15:56
  • Hmm, that is strange. Generally on most cars you can't see oil through the oil fill port directly (although I don't know about what's normal for your car specifically). The carbon buildup is an important point - why don't you go ahead and edit it into your question. Also, you can tag people in the comments by using the @ symbol. For example, @SolarMike minimia replied to your comment. – Cullub Jun 10 at 18:04
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You noted that the mechanics noticed a lot of carbon buildup. That might be a symptom of another problem, or that might just be your problem to start with. Try getting some Seafoam and running that. It will help clean up the carbon deposits, and at least let you get to the underlying problem if there is one.

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If the cylinders 1,3&4 misfiring were caused by excessive carbon buildup, it is likely that some of your oil was burned away by combustion. Hopefully you don’t have a leaking gasket. But a leaking gasket wouldn’t cause cold start problems. I heard from Scotty Kilmer that Mini’s have bad electrical issues, you may just need an ignition relay or to tape a frayed wire. The carbon deposits are definitely an issue, but you need your car to start for the cleaner to work.

The cleaner you are looking for is the Seafoam Top Engine Cleaner, which is sprayed directly into the air intake with the car running & applying gas while in park/neutral(follow a YouTube tutorial https://youtu.be/EqIOavT8Gi4 and the instructions on the can, this requires 2 people). This should be done with Seafoam Motor Treatment added to gasoline tank. After you do the top cleaner you can expect to see a lot a lot a lot of solid white smoke, that is the carbon deposits vaporizing. Do this process outside. I have done the Seafoam top cleaner and I noticed a dramatic change to performance in my 02 Honda Accord.

Furthermore, Because there is “no clicking,” I don’t think it is the fuel pump. The engine “hesitates,” & has to do with the electrical systems at work to start the engine, which is why I think a relay or starter wiring is at fault.

Please, let us know what you do to the car, and if you finally find a solution. Good luck.

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