2007-2013 Mini Cooper Transmission Fluid Change How To

Changed the transmission fluid on my 2013 Mini Cooper today, I thought I’d post a quick how-to for this job. This how-to applies to all R56 MINIs, from 2007-2013, and includes the MCS. The difference with the MCS is that it takes slightly more fluid (2.0qts vs 1.8 for base) and the torque spec is slightly higher (30ft lbs vs 20ftlbs).

First thing I can say is, definitely do NOT go to the dealership for this work. When I went to do this for my 2008 MINI, they claimed that they’d have to lower the subframe on the car and that it would probably be a $600-700 job. They also claimed the fluid was “lifetime” fluid anyway, which I never bought – especially for the kinds of abuse my transmission sees. This is a simple job as long as you’ve got the right tools.

Requires:

  • Jack/stands/ramp
  • 8mm hex head tools (drain and fill plug on trans)
  • Drain pan
  • 3 quarts of GL4 transmission fluid (Redline 75w90 GL4)
  • Hand pump

The transmission fluid I decided to go with was Redline 75w90 GL4. I’ve used a number of different transmission fluids in my life, including OEM and Amsoil’s 75w90 MTF, and I can say hands down in each car I’ve used Redline’s transmission fluid, the car shifts much, much smoother. The images below are used with Amsoil’s MTF, which I used prior to switch to Red Line.

Anyway, getting on with it:

Step 1. Get your fluid ready. The fluid shown here is Amsoil’s GL4 MTF – I’ve since moved on to Redline’s GL4 Trans fluid, which I believe shifts smoother and protects better. The manual transmission takes about 2 quarts, buy 3 quarts to be safe.

Step 2. Wheels up! It may help somewhat to remove the passenger side front wheel. Your call. You want all the wheels up (and not just the fronts) so the car will be level when you fill the transmission.

Step 3. Locate the Fill and Drain Plugs. They are located on the passenger’s side of the transmission. I’ve highlighted them in this picture. This is on the passenger side of the transmission. Both take an 8mm hex head, same as the engine oil drain plug.

Step 4. Open the Fill plug first. You do this just in case you can’t get it open somehow. If you open the drain and can’t open the fill, you’re screwed.

Step 5. Open the drain plug and let it drain. This is how dark it was after less than 10k miles – not a lifetime fluid.

Step 6. The simplest way I fill the transmission is with a hand pump.

Step 7. Pump away!

Step 8. After you’ve used the appropriate amount of oil, you should start seeing fluid dribble out of the transmission – this is how you know it’s full, and also why it’s important to have the car level when you do this. Once it does, close it back up, and you’re all done! I only tighten the fill and drain bolts to hand tight and have never had an issue with leakage.

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15 thoughts on “2007-2013 Mini Cooper Transmission Fluid Change How To

  1. Thanks so much for you post. Just visited the dealer and they told me it was a difficult job and that it isn’t necessary until 100k. Wanted $300-400 if I wanted to do it. They seem to have an attitude at the dealership. Makes me feel that I can trust them.

  2. I’ve just changed the gear box oil on my 2010 mcs after 30 k and yes it was very easy and I didn’t put the car on 4 axle stands, this is how I did it, firstly I used redline gl4 75/80 Mtl fluid, jack up your mini on the right hand side, use 1 axle stand, loosen the fill plug first then the drain plug, drain the gear box into a oil pan, once it’s done put the drain plug back in and tighten, lower the car so it’s level, using a clear plastic pipe about 1 meter long connect a small funnel to one end, reach down to the fill plug on the right hand side of the engine near the air box and insert the pipe, when inserted slowly fill the funnel with the fluid, 2 quarts for a mcs and when the oil dribbles out put the fill plug in, tighten both plugs with a torque of 25 nm clear up any mess and your done, I’ve got to say i took my mcs for a 150 mile drive after and the gear change was noticeably smoother

  3. I would not recommend following this fluid suggestion. I changed mine with the Red Line 50305 MT-90 75W90 GL-4 Gear Oil (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002INX20C/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1). Within a couple of weeks, I got a bunch of transmission error codes. I never had a problem with my trans before. I have a 2013 Cooper Base with a manual. I am going to change back to OEM fluid and hope I have not done any irreversible damage.

    • Jason,

      I’m surprised to hear that – do you know which codes you were getting? Gear oils are pretty straight forward, I’d be surprised to hear if it impacted anything. I had the exact same car, 2013 Base Cooper with the 6 speed manual, been using aftermarket fluids since 1k miles on the odometer with absolutely zero issues. I now run the same fluid in my E92 M3, no issues with that either. Did you make sure you filled it to capacity?

      • Thank you for replying so quickly. Yes, I am quite sure I filled to capacity. I had the car up on 4 jack stands in my level garage as you suggested. Filled it with a little less than 2 quarts using the hand pump until some spilled out of the top plug. I never had the check engine light illuminate since I bought the car about 1 year ago, and it just seemed odd that these came on just after I changed the fluid. I also had noticed some rough performance just under 3000 rpm, especially in 2nd gear, feeling like hesitation.

        Maybe I will try again with the Red Line fluid being absolutely sure to fill it with 2 quarts, clear the codes, and test drive it to see if they go away.

        Current Trouble Codes
        P0303 – Cyl 3 Misfire (obviously something else not likely related to trans)
        P2783 – Torque Converter Temp Too High

        Last Trouble Codes
        P27BA – Pressure Control Solenoid ‘N’ Stuck On
        P27BD – Pressure Control Solenoid ‘N’ Control Circuit / Open
        P2781 – Downshift Switch Circuit High
        P2782 – Downshift Switch Circuit Intermittent / Erratic
        P2775 Upshift Switch Circuit Range / Performance

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