Now I am not saying that the Mini is a heroic Christmas figure like old Saint Nick, but my small family took a trip up to Belleayre mountain yesterday. My daughter was going to try skiing for the first time. The road conditions were a little snowy and icy, but I had All4 (Mini’s Four Wheel drive system) at the ready. With one rear seat flipped down, the Paceman proved to be the ultimate utility vehicle of ‘Just Right’ for a ski trip. It swallowed my old-school straight skis (as adversed to the new Parabolic ones) with ease without encroaching onto the armrest. And all of our other gear. But we were not burning SUV levels of petrol.
We had a good time but on the ride home Christmas, we were startled by a loud noise. Something repeating that oscillated to the vehicle speed. My wife screamed “Get out of the fast lane, you have a flat.” I knew better. I felt no tugging like a flat. We must have picked something up like a plastic bag (or worse) and every revolution of a wheel or driveshaft was smacking it into the car.
We quickly pulled over but the noise stopped before I could. An inspection noted all four tires were good, and all else seemed fine. “Call roadside services” screamed my worry wart wife. “No, we are fine. Must have been a plastic bag or some other roadside jetsam that we picked up. The tires are fine.” She replied “It’s Christmas and we are going to be stuck. You better call them.”
Going through the joystick menu of the Mini center stack, I reduced her anxiety. The first thing I showed her was a pictogram of the Mini showing all the tires were good. TPMS is a godsend. Next we ran a system check and it showed all systems go. In the world of people knowing less and less about their vehicles, technology can come through for the mechanically uninclined to reduce their stress. That’s not a bad thing. Most of my friends will pull over at the flash of a ‘Check Engine’ light with the same fear and terror of a rabid pitbull coming in their direction. But most ‘Check Engine’ lights are relatively benign as far as vehicle reliability is concerned (if remedied within the week). But let’s give props to Mini. Mini did it right using easy-to-read pictograms to reduce anxiety. My wife thanks you.