3 Questions: Door Latch/Snow Tires/Weird Noise?

Synchros shot? Weird noises while shifting? Not sure what needs to be replaced?
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3 Questions: Door Latch/Snow Tires/Weird Noise?

Postby tortoise » Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:49 pm

I'm driving a '05 Mini Cooper with a manual transmission. It's got 3 small issues that I was wondering about.

1. The driver's side door won't open from the inside, so I have to roll down the window and open it from the outside every time I want to get out of the car, which is annoying, but not a huge deal. I've read around and figured it's a rod/clip issue. How much will this cost to get fixed by a mechanic, and is it even worth it? Should I just keep rolling the window down to get out?

2. The previous owner from this car was from Michigan, so when she sold me the car it came with a set of all-season tires, and another set of snow tires. Now, living in AL, I don't really have a need for the snow tires in the winter, but the all-seasons wore out so I've been driving on the snow tires lately. (They're not the studded snow tires, just rubber tires with extra traction). Is this harmful? How much will a new set of all-seasons + installation cost.

3. Also, sometimes when I'm driving I hear a random squeaking noise, usually when the car's been running for a while with the air conditioner on. I think it's probably coming from something to do with the air conditioner. It doesn't happen with the heat on. Is this anything bad, or just another nuisance like the door latch? I usually drive with the sun roof/windows open to avoid that squeaking noise when it's sunny enough.

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Re: 3 Questions: Door Latch/Snow Tires/Weird Noise?

Postby IMBoring25 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:55 pm

1) Based on the amount of time I'd expect to be involved and shop rates in this area, I would guess somewhere between $100-200 depending on how expensive any needed parts are for a Mini, but nobody's better equipped to know what the shops you're considering would charge you than those shops.

2) Depending on what snow tires they are, they may actually provide worse traction than a good All Season on dry pavement. They will also definitely wear faster in that usage. Depending on what brand of tires you want and how much you shop around, you could probably get it done for around $500, but again...Why are you asking here instead of calling your local tire stores?

3) You probably need a serpentine belt. While it's just making noise it's an annoyance. If it breaks it can leave you walking, provided you successfully get the car stopped on the side of the road with no power steering or brakes. The controls won't lock up (though the engine might if you keep running it), but a lot of people think they do if they've never felt un-boosted steering and brakes.

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Re: 3 Questions: Door Latch/Snow Tires/Weird Noise?

Postby six » Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:57 pm

^^ THIS
+
1) If you're inclined, you can open up the door yourself and see what has broken. Then just get the part and replace it yourself to save money.
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Re: 3 Questions: Door Latch/Snow Tires/Weird Noise?

Postby tortoise » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:12 pm

IMBoring25 wrote:1) Based on the amount of time I'd expect to be involved and shop rates in this area, I would guess somewhere between $100-200 depending on how expensive any needed parts are for a Mini, but nobody's better equipped to know what the shops you're considering would charge you than those shops.

2) Depending on what snow tires they are, they may actually provide worse traction than a good All Season on dry pavement. They will also definitely wear faster in that usage. Depending on what brand of tires you want and how much you shop around, you could probably get it done for around $500, but again...Why are you asking here instead of calling your local tire stores?

3) You probably need a serpentine belt. While it's just making noise it's an annoyance. If it breaks it can leave you walking, provided you successfully get the car stopped on the side of the road with no power steering or brakes. The controls won't lock up (though the engine might if you keep running it), but a lot of people think they do if they've never felt un-boosted steering and brakes.


Thanks! I didn't take it to a mechanic first because I wasn't really sure exactly who I needed to take it to, or if I needed to bother getting it checked out in the first place. I'm going to get new tires then, and DEFINITELY a new serpentine belt. I think I'll just live with the door for right now because I'm on a high school budget and don't have the money to fix that AND the other stuff.

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Re: 3 Questions: Door Latch/Snow Tires/Weird Noise?

Postby theholycow » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:04 pm

1. Do get it fixed. Leaving it broken is beater status. Is your car a beater?

2. Winter tires are fine for summer. I wouldn't tell you to buy them with the intention of using them that way, but don't throw them out just because they're winter tires. They'll wear quicker, which doesn't matter because they're otherwise worthless to you. The rubber compound is softer like a high-performance summer-only tire, but the tread pattern is probably heavily siped (the many slits with no space between them, like someone sliced the tread with a razor blade) so traction won't be as good as a good all-season -- but probably still better than a cheap all-season. You tell us how traction is...if you're sliding all over the place then traction sucks, if you can throw the car around to your satisfaction then you're fine. It's easy to feel for yourself.

When my winter tires wear too far to be used in snow (still plenty of tread for summer), I take the studs out and re-designate them as summer tires. I currently have all-seasons on the rear and winter tires on the front. If winter tires were that bad on hot pavement then my car would understeer like a modern car...but it does not.

3. As the others say, if your serpentine belt is due for replacement then replace it. I wouldn't worry that the squeak is indicative of something that's going to break stuff, become more expensive, or anything like that; it is most likely just an average harmless squeak.
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Re: 3 Questions: Door Latch/Snow Tires/Weird Noise?

Postby AHTOXA » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:51 pm

If I had a free set of winter tires that would never get used due to my current climate, I'd run them until worn and wouldn't care. That is, if I was willing to sacrifice some dry traction. No big deal there.

Also, for tire prices, shop around on tirerack.com. They make it easy to review any tire in your size and locate the best price. Even if you don't order from there, many tire shops like Discount Tire and NTB will match tirerack prices WITH shipping. That way you can get it all done locally w/o having to deal with getting the tires shipped to you, loaded in your car, driven to the shop, etc.

I have used tire rack to order multiple sets of tires and still use it for most of my tire research.
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Re: 3 Questions: Door Latch/Snow Tires/Weird Noise?

Postby tortoise » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:07 pm

yeah, not planning on ever using the winter tires for actual snow, unless I end up going to college up north. So just use the tires is what y'all are saying? I guess that seems like a good idea... tires are the most expensive thing on that list, and it's not like I'm driving in conditions that would require particularly good traction. I don't go above 55 on a regular basis, and most of the rain in Alabama is downpour/thunderstorm/hail then stop, especially in the summer.

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Re: 3 Questions: Door Latch/Snow Tires/Weird Noise?

Postby tankinbeans » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:14 pm

You could check how hard it would be to replace that handle yourself. I imagine you can get a used one at a junkyard for about $20. Taking that door panel off would be the hardest part, but if you have power windows it won't be that bad.
Last edited by tankinbeans on Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3 Questions: Door Latch/Snow Tires/Weird Noise?

Postby six » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:43 am

tortoise wrote:So just use the tires is what y'all are saying?

Yes.
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Re: 3 Questions: Door Latch/Snow Tires/Weird Noise?

Postby theholycow » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:08 am

tortoise wrote:yeah, not planning on ever using the winter tires for actual snow, unless I end up going to college up north. So just use the tires is what y'all are saying? I guess that seems like a good idea... tires are the most expensive thing on that list, and it's not like I'm driving in conditions that would require particularly good traction. I don't go above 55 on a regular basis, and most of the rain in Alabama is downpour/thunderstorm/hail then stop, especially in the summer.
Winter tires should be better in that rain than all-season tires and maybe even summer tires, due to their sipes, large tread voids, and soft compound. The same stuff that's good for getting down to the pavement under salted road slush is good for regular liquid rain.
tankinbeans wrote:You could check how hard it would be to replace that handle yourself. I imagine you can get a used one at a junkyard for about $20. Taking that door panel off would be the hardest part, but if you have power windows it won't be that bad.
This. If you have any interest in learning to do repairs, a door handle is a good job to get started. It won't require a lot of tools, there's not a lot of risk, it won't take all day, etc. It's likely a 20 minute job with experience, though it could take an hour or more for someone who's never been taught which end of the screwdriver you hold while banging nails in.

Generally it goes something like this:
1. Pop off a variety of trim pieces that just snap into place. Some will have your window/lock switches; unplug them once they're loose. Exercise patience, don't break stuff.
2. Unscrew the screws that you exposed by doing that.
3. Lift or pry (carefully!) the interior panel off of the door. Unplug more stuff, maybe.
4. If the handle needs to be replaced, unscrew it.
5. Reach into the door's guts like a surgeon and try to avoid cutting your hands on sharp edges. Look and feel around for how the linkage attaches. This part is somewhat tedious and irritating.
6. Put it all back together. Miller time!

You may want to consult with a repair manual. Auto Zone provides a pretty decently complete set of Chilton's/Haynes content for free; put in your car like you want to look up parts, then look along the side or at the bottom for something about a repair guide. Your local library may have an online resource for you to check too. However, door handles are often documented well on forums, so check forums about your car to see if someone posted a howto with photos.
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