When you drive a Mini, you expect a smooth and powerful ride. After all, that’s why you pay so much for a luxury vehicle. While a Mini will certainly live up to your expectations, most of the time, it is not immune to damage. In that respect, it’s just like any other car, luxury or otherwise.

One prominent issue with Mini vehicles is radiator expansion tank failure. It is crucial that you spot the signs and take your car to a trusted auto shop, because the damage that can be inflicted all from this one failed part is catastrophic if left unchecked.

In this article, you are going to rescue your Mini from certain disaster by learning:

  • What a radiator expansion tank does
  • What happens when it begins to fail
  • What causes this failure
  • What can happen if the problem is left unchecked
  • What you can do to repair it in time

What does a radiator tank expansion do?

The radiator expansion tank (RTE) in your Mini is a storage tank that holds coolant when it inevitably expands. This stored coolant is then recycled back into the radiator. Overall, the tank keeps your Mini running at optimal temperatures and helps you save money by allowing the coolant to stay in circulation for longer periods of time. When your RTE fails, you are going to notice some pretty significant problems. Let’s talk about that next.

What are the warning signs of a failing RTE?

A failing RTE will be noticeable to you in a number of ways, some more obvious than others. These include:

Leaking coolant

When the tank can’t hold expanded coolant or there is a hole in it, the substance will leak out. This will be pretty easy to spot underneath your car. If the liquid pooling beneath your Mini smells sweet and is colorful, chances are high that the liquid you see is coolant.

Coolant levels are low

When you have a leak, the coolant can’t be recycled back into your Mini’s radiator. In turn, your coolant levels will be low more quickly than they should. If you find yourself needing to refill it before you usually would, you may have a failing RTE on your hands.

The engine is overheating

The purpose of coolant is to keep your Mini’s engine cool enough to run smoothly. When you lose too much of it, the engine overheats and performs poorly.

What causes RTE failure?

A number of things may have caused your Mini’s RTE to fail. These are:


Whether you own a luxury vehicle or not, you have to deal with the damage that time inflicts. Every part eventually gets worn down or breaks because of repeated usage, including your RTE.

Damage to the radiator cap

If your radiator cap is cracked or unsealed, the system fails because the coolant can’t flow from the RTE back into the radiator. The cap can be broken due to past damage, time, or unstable temperatures.

Damage to the reservoir

If your tank itself is cracked, it causes coolant to leak and the system to fail. This crack could have been caused due to overheating issues in the past, due to accidents, or can be caused by age.

What happens if RTE failure isn’t fixed?

If your Mini suffers RTE failure and the issue is not fixed in a timely manner, you could see some truly disastrous consequences. The most common of these is damage caused by an overheated engine. When an engine overheats with no reprieve, the parts around it begin to fail, too. Heat cracks and melts other engine parts. When this happens, you may find that your Mini’s problems have become too big to handle. In the end, you will be shelling out quite a bit of money to repair your vehicle, if it can be repaired at all.

Overheated engines can also occasionally cause your car to catch fire. If this happens, you’ll be worrying about more than just repair costs; you could be paying a hospital bill as well.


How do you repair RTE failure in a Mini?

If you notice the warning signs of RTE failure happening in your Mini, it is imperative that you have the issue addressed before getting back out on the road. However, this problem is likely out of your hands. You can’t use DIY tips to make the problem go away. If you want to avoid danger and further issues, you should take your Mini in to see a qualified team of professional technicians as soon as you notice anything going wrong.

If you are looking for auto assistance in Green Bay, Manitowoc, or Sturgeon Bay, WI, give the technicians at Dell’s Service Center a call. We will make sure that your Mini is up and cruising safely again in no time.

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