The MINI’s iconically fun and colorful exterior is a joy. Enthusiasts know that it has an equally iconic interior. MINIs are high-performing, fuel efficient, maneuverable machines. Even the best quality motors are susceptible to natural wear and tear over time. That’s why owners must be diligent in their vehicle maintenance habits, and ensure they are following a regular service schedule with the right experts.
Despite their reliability, MINIs are known to develop issues with the PCV valve function, and the valve will inevitably need to be replaced. Ensure you are properly diagnosing the issue with the following information.
Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) Valve
The PCV valve is an emissions device introduced in the 1960s, coincidentally around the same time as the MINI was released. It was designed to reduce fuel waste by harvesting and redirecting unburned fuel leaking from the engine, known as blow-by gases. Not only is it wasteful, but it is also very dangerous and polluting to have fuel escaping the vehicle’s engine.
The PCV is located under the hood in the crankcase (the space below the engine cylinders), and works by sending any unspent fuel back through the engine. This is a crucial function of your vehicle, as the gases are hazardous and can severely damage the car, or cause complete engine failure. To avoid potentially catastrophic consequences, stay alert to the symptoms explained, and make sure to find a trusted repair shop that specializes in MINIs.
Identifying the Problem
A problem in the PCV valve can manifest in two different ways: a failure with the valve mechanism itself or a clogged filter. You will be more successful in identifying the source of the issue if you understand the difference between a valve failure and a filter failure.
If your PCV valve gets stuck, either in the open or closed position, you may notice the following symptoms. Be aware that these symptoms also present themselves in the case of a MAF sensor failure, so it’s best to contact your mechanic and have them properly diagnose the issue.
- The engine misfires, especially while idling
- There is a poor air-to-fuel ratio
- You notice oil leaking inside the valve
- There is a remarkable increase in oil consumption
- You are having difficulty starting the engine
- Your vehicle is running rough
- The check-engine light comes on
Even if the valve mechanism itself is undamaged, the filter may be clogged from trapping all of the harsh, partially-burnt fuel. It may be time to replace the filter when you notice the following symptoms.
- The internal engine pressure increases
- The seals or gaskets are failing
- There is an oil leak coming from the engine
- You notice the tailpipe is emitting black smoke
- There is an increase in engine sludge buildup
- Moisture is accumulating under the hood
- The engine surges or misfires
- The MAF sensor has oil in it
- Your oil consumption rate increases
Replacing the PCV Valve
A PCV valve failure is almost entirely avoidable with a regular maintenance schedule. The standard recommended timespan for the PCV valve is between 30,000 and 60,000 miles. It is far more likely that only the filter will need replacing, but if left unserviced for too long, the valve mechanism itself could become faulty. Even something as simple as remaining diligent about regular oil changes can help prevent a filter clog.
If you do suspect your PCV valve or filter need replacing, it is not advisable to continue driving your vehicle until you have addressed the issue. Additionally, the mechanism plays such a large role in the smooth functioning of your vehicle, that we do not recommend you undertake the task yourself, potentially resulting in further damage and an even more expensive repair job.
Where to Service Your Mini in Powell, OH
At Auto Assets, the most sought-after MINI repair and service shop in Powell, we work with you to customize the best maintenance plan for your MINI. Our ASE-certified mechanics handle everything your car may need in our fully-equipped shop. Our 10,000 square foot showroom and maintenance facility has the most up-to-date factory grade tools and equipment to ensure that you receive the most accurate service. We are proud to be the area’s go-to shop for the most popular European brands.
For over 30 years, Auto Assets has been servicing Powell, as well as helping drivers in surrounding areas, including Columbus, Delaware, Dublin, New Albany, and Worthington. Call us today at 614-793-1050 to enjoy the longest possible lifespan from your vehicle.
* Blue Mini Cooper Car image credit goes to: Luca Piccini Basile.