101 Parkland Plaza, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Dear Orion Guests,

We hope this message finds you and your family in good health.

Spring is here and so are we! The flowers are blooming and warm winds are not far off. We took some time to be safe at home with our families and now we're back ready to keep you safely on the road. We hope we're nearing the end of the self-quarantine period, so let us know if this is a good time to get your car into Spring shape while it isn't being driven. We are still following strict safety standards for the health of our team and our guests. Please call or email the shop to set up an appointment.

Everything OK with your ride? We would love nothing more than to hear from you. Reach out and let us know you are OK. We miss you!

Be safe and be well,
Rich and The Crew

Reminder: Here's How We're Keeping You Safe!

We're still modifying our practices to ensure the safety of our guests and the safety of our team. So, here is the plan to keep us all safe and happy:

Until further notice, Only Orion team members will be allowed in the building.

1. Guest will schedule an appointment by phone, email, or website.
2. A member of our team will contact you to schedule a drop off time.
3. Once you arrive, drop your keys in the after hours chute in the little vestibule in front of building.
4. One of us will contact you with an assessment. Our software is perfect for communicating recommendations. You can call, text, or email us, or approve the work in the email we will send you.
5. Once the work is completed, we'll take payment over the phone and schedule a time for pickup.
6. After service, we'll thoroughly disinfect your vehicle and park in front of the building.

As always, we're thoroughly cleaning our facility throughout the day and are restricting our team's travel as much as is possible.

  • Why Does the Timing Chain Rattle in Minis?

    MINI Cooper Timing Chain

    Owning a vehicle can be a great experience and necessary for everyday life. It can also be stressful, with the many potential problems that can arise and the maintenance required to prevent expensive repairs. The BMW Mini Cooper is known as a reliable vehicle, but can at times start exhibiting rattling noises. This can be a sign of a serious problem with the timing chain. Thankfully, there are ways to help prevent this issue.

    Why Are There Timing Chain Issues in BMW Mini Coopers?

    There are several BMW Mini Cooper models that are more prone to timing chain issues, which is due to the type of engine that these models have. Some Mini Coopers made from 2007-2010 use a Prince engine, and the design of those can be problematic. For the Prince engine, “both the timing chain and tensioner are located inside the engine; this design can allow for catastrophic damage to the engine should the chain fail,” according to the BBC.

    It is important to be aware of rattling noises that are occurring with Mini Coopers that have this type of engine because it is likely the timing chain. According to ClassAction.org, the rattling noise can be more noticeable “in cold weather, or when the vehicle is idling or being operated at a low speed”. These three scenarios can make it easier to detect this noise, so it can be useful to occasionally listen for it when in those situations.

    Why Are Timing Chains Important?

    Timing chains are crucial to a vehicle and can cause serious damage to an engine if it breaks. According to BBC, “the timing chain links all the moving parts of an engine that work together in order to drive a car forward”. The timing chain is essential to the entire engine, and a vehicle will be unable to do basic functions without it or if it loses tension.

    Timing chains usually work for the entire lifespan of a car because it is positioned towards the back of the engine. It is not common for a timing chain to break, but it can lead to engine failure with possibly no warning. This can be dangerous especially if it happens suddenly while driving, so it is important to detect the rattling noise and repair the timing chain if necessary.

    What Causes the Rattling Noise?

    BMW Mini Coopers can develop a rattling noise, though many people may initially be unaware of the cause. The rattling noise coming from the engine known as the “Death Rattle Noise” is caused by the timing chain. The rattling noise can be caused by the support rail losing the ability to create enough tension for a timing chain, which is due to the support rail being made of a durable plastic that can become brittle and break.

    It is important to get a Mini Cooper checked out if it is making this noise. The timing chain may need to be replaced before it snaps and causes serious damage to the engine. This is a simple cause that can lead to costly repairs, but in many cases the solution is simple if caught early enough.

    How to Prevent or Delay the Timing Chain from Breaking?

    Replacing a timing chain can be costly but there is a way to prevent or delay this issue. In some cases, the timing chain breaking is due to low oil levels or not changing the oil very often. That is because the timing chain is operated via hydraulics using the engine oil.

    Mini Cooper Clubman

    Timing chain problems can arise when there is not enough oil or if the oil is old, so it is something to keep an eye on. BMW recommends changing the oil in a Mini Cooper every year or 15,000 miles, but it is recommended to be changed every 6 months or 5,000 miles for models that use the Prince engine. It is cheaper to get an oil change 2-3 times a year than it is to replace the timing chain, which can cost anywhere from $5,000-$8000.

    Frequent oil changes can prevent the timing chain from breaking, which can potentially save thousands of dollars. However, there is no guarantee that the timing chain will not break, so it is important to be aware of this issue and know to listen for rattling. For the best MINI service, bring your BMW Mini Cooper to Orion Automotive Services located in Ann Arbor, MI for oil changes and timing chain repairs.

    * Mini Cooper Clubman image credit goes to: bruev.

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