When Ben and I were pulling out of the carport to go to lunch yesterday, I noticed that something was “off” with Anderson’s clutch. At first I didn’t realize what it was, but as we drove out of the apartment complex, I realized there was no resistance as I pushed the pedal down. It was very odd. And while I could still shift gears, it required more force than usual.
I immediately pulled back into the complex and returned to my carport. Low clutch fluid? I thought the MINI had a hydraulic clutch, but I didn’t remember ever seeing a reservoir mentioned in the car’s documentation or seeing one anywhere in the engine compartment. Just to be sure, I popped the hood and looked around. Nope. Only the brake reservoir, and the fluid level in that was fine. (It turns out it’s a shared reservoir system.)
I waited as Ben went back inside to get his keys since he’d be the one driving us to lunch, and all sorts of horrible things started running through my head. While it was hopefully something as simple as a broken linkage (or perhaps a leaking slave cylinder), what if it was something much, much worse? Anderson’s factory warranty ran out about 5,000 miles ago and visions of dumping all the money I’d put aside for the move to Denver into a very expensive car repair kept flashing before my eyes. So much for it being a happy birthday. Of course, on top of everything it was a holiday weekend, so I couldn’t even call the shop to make an appointment to bring it in.
When we got home I went online, and started searching for “MINI clutch pedal no resistance.” It didn’t help my anxiety level one bit. There were two schools of thought: one said bad slave cylinder (apparently they’re all plastic) or broken linkage (both relatively inexpensive to repair) and the other said complete clutch replacement (white knuckle panic attack).
I pulled up my auto insurance policy to verify that I at least had towing covered, so that wouldn’t be an out-of-pocket expense, and—praise be to the Flying Spaghetti Monster—discovered I had completely forgotten I was also carrying “mechanical breakdown” coverage. I had added it to the policy a little over a year ago when I realized that Anderson’s factory warranty would be running out in short order and there was no way I was going to pay the outrageous amount quoted for an extended warranty.
I spoke with the insurance company today and I think can relax a bit. Supposedly no matter how bad it is, the most I will have to come up with is the $250 deductible. They said all I had to do was inform the shop I had the coverage, provide them with my insurance policy number and the direct phone line to claims and they’d take care of the rest.
So first thing tomorrow I’m calling for a tow and taking poor ol’ Anderson in to be looked over.
And in the overall scheme of things, it’s better that it happened now and not in two weeks, or—gods forbid—on the way to Denver.