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Mini Cooper: Blocked sunroof drain problem

Asked by Kelly Brennan

I was a recent victim of 'blocked sunroof drains' in my Mini Cooper S. I have always owned cars with sunroofs and had never heard of this problem until it destroyed all my electrics and cost me $5000-plus and eight weeks to repair. The drains are designed to send rainwater from the edges of the closed sunroof down through the four corner pillars of the car, but when these drains get blocked the water diverts straight onto the electronic control module in the front and the electric wiring in the rear pillars. After the event, I discovered that it is a common problem for this vehicle, but apparently BMW refuses to act on it. They have never advised me to get checks of sunroof drains during any service or repair, and the manual makes no reference to any checks or tests for these drains. BMW's only advice to me now is that I should have kept the car under cover and I should have checked the drains. Really? You shouldn't own a car unless you have a garage? You should check a hidden part of the vehicle that normal people know nothing about and is not mentioned in the manual? What sort of stupid, impractical advice is this? If I go to a BMW service centre for each scheduled service or unexpected repair, then surely I am entitled to expect such advice before the problem occurs.

Answered by CarsGuide

6 Jan 2017 Graham Smith

You’re right; it is silly advice. The onus shouldn’t be on you to know that there is a potential problem and that you should check these things; it’s the carmaker’s responsibility to design the car such that it doesn’t have problems. When they discover there is a problem they are responsible for fixing it. I would pursue this issue through consumer affairs, and consider taking them to your state small claims tribunal for compensation. You don’t say what year your car is, but it doesn’t matter if the new car warranty has expired, in your case it seems you would have a good claim for your car being substandard and not fit for purpose.

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