So, about a week ago, I was en route to New York Comic Con, to hang out with some cool people, do some features and reporting for io9.com and volunteer with the 501st. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. A hundred miles down the road, in Putney Vermont, my car suddenly began to emit a grinding noise. It got worse with each gear, and remained while I was in neutral, but not with the clutch pulled in. I pulled over, with the sinking feeling that I wouldn't, for the second year in a row, make New York Comic Con. (Last year, I was away on business). I limped to the next exit a mile or so down the road, and waited for a tow truck after calling AAA. A couple hours later, I finally was picked up, and towed home. There was a bit of confusion at this point, because, not knowing what was wrong with the car, I wasn't sure if I could turn around on my own, or have to get towed. I ended up having to get towed, and didn't get home until a couple hours later. I will say that Henry, from Rod's Mobil, in Putney, was outstanding - he got me and my car home safely.
At first, everything seemed to point towards the clutch failing. The grinding, coupled with the clutch pedal, people seemed to think that it was the throw-out bearing having gone bad. At this point, it's not good news, but I thought to myself, especially since the car only has just under 40,000 miles on it, that it's better than the transmission going out.
Then I get a call from the garage that took a look at it, and the news wasn't good. They emptied the transmission out, and found a lot of metal shavings, which meant that the transmission essentially ate itself up. The past two days, I've been on the phone, and now have the car up at a transmission specialist. They've been looking at it, and said that a seal failed in the transmission, and the oil drained out, causing the transmission to fail. Looking around online, this seems to be a pretty common problem with the Midland transmission that was in it - I've come across a number of other complaints where similar things have happened, and as such, I'm looking at replacing the transmission.
The question now is: Do I replace the transmission entirely, with a newer brand (Getrag) that has worked much better, and now is placed in newer Mini Coopers, or should I look towards rebuilding the transmission, at the risk of having this happen again at some point? A newer transmission might be a bit more expensive, but it might last for more miles in the long run, as opposed to a solution that might be a bit cheaper.
I'm leaning towards going for a newer transmission, which might have more power and turning my car into a six speed, because of the longevity. I really don't want to be in this situation again, because it is an enormous hassel, not to mention draining financially and emotionally. I think that I could swing the extra expense with an addition to my car loan with the bank. Does anyone have any ideas about this?
For the past week, I've been back to driving my old Chevy Prism, which is a completely different ride than the Mini. At this point, I'm horribly missing Maxine. The sound of the engine, the handling and the response that the MINI has is completely different than the Prism, and I really miss that. There's the minor things, such as having a CD player, heated seats, etc, that I also miss, because I've gotten so used to using them when behind the wheel.
I miss my car. I hope that it's on the road soon.