I own a 2009 Mini Cooper S. I love the car. It is fast and it handles like nothing else I have ever driven. On top of that, it has good legroom, plenty of headroom, and nice seats. The electronics are impeccable -- from the Bluetooth integration to the way everything just works. It rides a little rough, but I have the "handling package."
It ran great until about the 78,000 mile mark. Every once in a while, it would idle rough or the idle speed would climb from the normal 750 RPM to over 1,500 RPM. At highway speeds it ran fine. From past experience, I thought that the problem might be a bad PCV valve, so I started looking under the hood for where it might be. I couldn't find one. A check on the net found that the PCV valve was integrated into the molded plastic valve cover. I also found that others had the same issue and a bad PCV valve was certainly the culprit.
I took off the valve cover and found the bad part -- but it was in an assembly that was glued together -- and there was no way I could replace the PCV valve without replacing the whole valve cover. I started looking around for a replacement valve cover. The cheapest one I could find was $350! The local dealer had one in stock for $410! As much as I hated to pay a fortune for a PCV valve, I went ahead and bought one from the dealer and replaced it in about half an hour.
I can imagine that some engineer thought that every car needs a PCV valve and that molding it into the valve cover would be a neat way to make the engine assembly both cheaper and easier to assemble, but I'm sure he wasn't thinking about replacement cost.
My Mini now runs as smooth as new, but only because of more than $400 spent for a PCV valve.
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