How to Deal with Mushrooming Shock Towers in a Miniby schearerswpadmin July 25, 2021
The MINI is a customizable, powerful sports car fitted in a small package. Its body is synonymous with the historic European version with an auto racing pedigree. However, the first-generation MINI’s manufactured between 2000-2006 were known to have flawed strut towers, which became deformed over time, forming a mushroom-like shape. The metal sheet on the strut tower is lightweight, which causes it to reshape after coming under constant impact from road imperfections.
Although this imperfection has been fixed in the later generations by using thicker metals, some extremely aggressive aftermarket suspensions can also cause the shock tower to deform and mushroom.
More about a Mushrooming Shock Tower
The struts are essential to the vehicle’s overall performance because they affect the suspension and the steering system. The struts support the vehicle’s weight while also absorbing surface impacts and ensuring a smooth ride. The struts also allow control and maneuverability of the car.
When your MINI runs into speed bumps, potholes, or rough terrain, the suspension system tries to absorb the shock to maintain a smooth ride. This causes an impact between the strut and the strut tower, as the shock from road imperfections slams the strut tower. Since the metal sheet used in the strut tower of first-generation MINI’s is too thin, the repeated impacts tend to have a toll on it. These repeated blows cause the shock tower to deform, creating a mushroom-like shape.
Common Signs of a Mushrooming Shock Tower
If you own a first-generation MINI, the chances of having a deformed shock tower after several impacts during driving are very high. This is unique to the generation’s build.
- Depending on the deformed side, your vehicle may tend to pull to the left or right while driving.
- The bolts that hold the strut in place are supposed to be paralleled against each other and flat. When they start bending out, it is an indication your strut tower needs to be checked and realigned.
- You may be able to see a partly or wholly-torn or deformed rubber bushing (guide supporting bushing) when you look through the hole at the top of the strut mount.
- You may have difficulty steering your car if you have a defective strut tower.
When you notice one or more of these signs, it is always good to have your MINI checked out by professionals who know this brand and its intricacies.
How to Prevent Mushrooming Shock Towers
The design defect has been rectified in the later generations by using thicker metals as buffers. There are also aftermarket parts available to help reduce the shock impact on the shock tower. However, the following preventive measures can be taken to lower the chances of accelerating the deformation of your strut tower:
- Avoid driving over bumps and into potholes at high speed. Although this will not entirely fix the issue, it is the easiest and inexpensive way to prevent your shock tower from hastened destruction.
- You should also take your vehicle for regular inspections. Regular inspections will help identify issues in its early stage so it can be tackled before it becomes expensive to fix.
Get Your MINI Fixed by the Professionals At Schearer’s
When you notice a deformed shock tower in your MINI, it should be repaired right away. Deferring the repair will only make matters worse as there is the possibility of the strut tower sheet tearing if left unfixed for an extended period. You also want to ensure that you are entrusting the job to an experienced mechanic.
At Schearer’s Sales and Service, Inc., our ASE-certified mechanics have decades of experience working with European cars, including your MINI. We know the ins and outs of each model’s maintenance requirements. We are your go-to European shop for drivers in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Macungie, PA and the surrounding communities. Let our friendly and knowledgeable staff help you get the most from your car by servicing and maintaining it properly. Please call or visit our shop today to schedule an appointment or learn more about all our available services. One of our technicians will be happy to speak to you about your concerns of your MINI or any other brand we service.
* Mini Cooper Car image credit goes to: bruev.