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Re: CVT 2002 Mini Cooper transmission check and change
The only way to check the trans fluid is to drain the fluid right out of the trans pan. There should be 5 liters. The only way to get the fluid in is by pumping the fluid back in by means of the fill plug on the lower front of the transmission. I believe it is a 4 or a 6mm allen to remove the plug. Whatever you use to pump the fluid back in needs to seal where the fill plug is because fluid will pour right back out. I would change the fluid at least every 50k.
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If your Mini is the CVT automatic, the problem may be software-related. There was a software upgrade issued under warranty during 2002 / 2003. It would be surprising if your car missed out on the upgrade - but worth a check with your Mini dealer.
Next thing to check is your car's battery. If the battery is getting old (and the original battery in a 2002 car would be OLD), you should consider replacing it with a similar high-output battery. The CVT transmission needs plenty of electrical power to operate correctly. After replacing the battery, the transmission will take a couple of days to re-learn your driving technique and return to its original honey-smooth operation.
If the battery replacement doesn't fix things, I regret to inform you that the dealer will become your best and most expensive friend.
The manual has a mis print, according to MINI the correct oil to use is ESSO CVT Z2L 799 fluid and there are no other manufacturers that use it so sorry but you will have to buy it from the main dealer.
it may be time for new brake pads, and you usually want to replace your rotors when you change pads, you can get away with not doing and instead take it to a shop and get them "turned"
if you want to see for yourself if it's time for new brake pads just remove one of your wheels and look at your brake pads (they are the what actually make contact with your rotor) and if the pad itself is less than the width of about 2 or three credit cards, then it's time for new pads.
Mini's have had problems in the past with the shift cables coming off or breaking. No worries: the only danger is that you will be stuck in the gear you where in when the cables break. No damage to the car will occur. You should check out the recall notices. Good luck