Taking your Mini to the garage can be a daunting thought... Especially if you're unfamiliar with the terminology that the mechanic will use when referring to the parts on your Mini!

On this weeks blog, we will take a look at just a few of the terms you're likely to hear & what they mean.

Big end

The ‘big end’ on your Mini refers to the large side of the Conrod in your engine. The back & forth motion of the rod powers the piston into the rotating motion of the Mini's Crankshaft.

Occassionally the conrods can knock against the crankshaft. This can occur when the bearings have extra space in the Mini's engine, which in turn affects the movement.


Mini Shock Absorbers

Mini Shock Absorbers

Shock Absorbers (or dampers as they're sometimes referred) do just what their name implies - they absorb the shock of when your Mini's tyres hit bumps in the road, ultimately minimising the up & down motion your Mini would make otherwise.

Over time your suspension can become worn and less effective. Resulting in your Mini is more likely to bounce on an uneven surface!


Wet / Dry Suspension

Wet suspension (Hydrolastic)

The weight of the car is supported by 4 hydrolastic units (displacers) , the displacers are connected together front to rear per side, this system is filled with pressurised fluid - The liquid is a solution of 49% alcohol, 49% distilled water, 1 % triethanolamine phosphate and 1% sodium mercaptobenzthiazole, which is of constant viscosity and has a freezing temperature of 31 degrees C.

The system performs like rubber cones or conventional coil springs in the way it manages many aspects of vehicle suspension.

For instance, when a wheel hits bumps & raises up, it displaces fluid towards the other displacer on that side. This results in lifting the body at that corner to the same level, this keeps the vehicle level and stable.


Mini Suspension ConeDry suspension (Rubber Cone Springs)

The weight of the car is supported by 4 rubber suspension cone springs, almost Spherical in shape designed and manufactured with a specially formulated compound of rubber to both support the weight of the body and passengers etc, to maintain stability and comfort throughout all aspects of driving -  acceleration, braking, cornering etc, and to manage the undulations of the road surface.


Excess play

Excess play is the term used by mechanics to describe when your  Mini's steering wheel turns without turning your tyres properly. In addition, it almost feels as though you have extra give with your steering.

Be wary of a loose steering wheel. Consequently you may have issues trying to control your Mini - especially when travelling at speed. The issue could be caused by various factors, so it's best to seek a professional to diagnose & fix the problem as soon as you can.


Mini Head GasketMini Head gasket

Sitting at between the cylinders at top of your Mini's engine & the engine block, it's essential that your head gasket is sealed tightly to prevent any oil or coolant leaking further in to your engine & causing excess damage!

If think you're having problems with your Mini's head gasket, check out our handy guide here that explores possible issues & solutions!



If you're told that your Mini is misfiring, this means that the cylinders in your Mini's engine aren't working properly.

Your Mini can lose power, whilst giving off more CO2. This makes it run less effectively when the ratio of fuel and oxygen isn’t what it should be.

If your Mini jolts you about whilst driving, this suggests that the cylinders or something else in your Mini's fuel delivery system might be faulty. If this happens you should seek the help of a professional as soon as possible.


Mini TrackingMini Tracking

The angle/direction that your tyres are set to is called tracking - or wheel alignment as it's sometimes referred.

A Mini's wheels can turn away from a straight position as your tyres hit pavements or potholes. Consequently, if this has happened you can sometimes feel a pulling towards one side when you try to steer. In some cases uneven tyre wear, there's even vibrations on the steering wheel!

Relatively quick & cheap, most garages can set your tracking - this is one of the many services we offer here at Mini Sport.



Your Mini's module, or electronic control unit uses sensors to perform calculations & work out any timings in the fuel ignition process. If there's an issue with this, you may notice the fault light illuminate or the engine may misfire/struggle to start.

Reduced power or low fuel economy can also signify that your module isn't functioning properly.

We hope that this blog can give you a little advice on what some of the terms you hear at a garage mean, don't forget - our team is available 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday to assist you with any questions you may have – or assistance you may need, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!