My middle daughter drives a 2010 Mini Cooper. She likes her car, and actually prefers driving its stick shift over her mom’s automatic SUV. She’s not interested in any performance driving, despite my encouragement and offering to pay autocross entry fees. It’s OK, it’s better she like a little car than have some irrational desire for a giant truck she won’t use. We are in Texas after all.

A couple of months ago she mentioned that her car was running hot and potentially overheating, but it cooled down after she added coolant. Of course I offered to take a look at it, all she had to do was bring it by. Most coolant issues can be solved with a couple of hours and a trip to the parts store. I never got that opportunity.

Two weeks ago she drove from Austin to Houston to see her mom and overheated the car 20 miles from Houston. The description I received is that it “made a rattling noise and just stopped”. When asked further it left an oil trail, but to be fair it was the middle of the night when it happened, and the folks telling me that are “less than reliable”, but more on that in a minute. The description was “an oil trail in the shape of the pan”.

They had it towed to my ex-wife’s house, and the ex began to take a look at it, determining that there was oil all over the engine bay and that the plugs were fouled with it. The youngest daughter’s boyfriend, who is the definition of “less than reliable” diagnosed a broken piston based on fairy dust and dreams, but the ex was unable to find any holes in the block or oil pan.

Today I met with the ex, the concerned Mini driver, and the youngest’s boyfriend and discussed the fate of this car. This is where I found out about the following...

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The moron boy took the head apart, claiming that “it’s the only way to get a look at the pistons.” When he said that I stopped him and explained a few things about engines. He shut up and went to sit in the car instead of continuing with his line of idiocy. Now on top of what I suspect is a cracked thermostat housing or water pump we have a blown head gasket and a head that is completely in pieces. He still doesn’t think he did anything wrong.

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This car only has 77,000 miles on it, and thanks to this idiot it’s now going to cost twice as much to put back together.

I told the ex to find a mechanic and get a professional opinion on this before doing anything else. This kid isn’t qualified to troubleshoot a bicycle, let alone an internal combustion engine. The end result of this may well be that this car lands in a scrapyard. It’s a shame.

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Poor lil Mini...