How to Deal With Mushrooming Shock Towers in Your Mini
As the owner of a Mini, you most likely selected your vehicle for its innovative design, sporty handling, and the ability to customize it to suit your personality. It is no wonder that when you invest in a vehicle’s performance you want it to be in top condition and performing well all the time. Mini owners should be aware that some models are vulnerable to certain issues that can lead to significant damages if not properly managed.
It is important that you recognize what problems your vehicle is more vulnerable to experiencing, so that you can have it addressed early before it causes more damage and compromises your vehicle’s performance. If you own a Mini, then it is beneficial to know that the Mini brand is known for experiencing mushrooming shock towers.
Shock towers are metal rods located underneath the front of your vehicle. They connect your Mini’s front and rear strut towers laterally, from left to right. Their main purpose is to increase the effectiveness of the vehicle’s suspension system. This makes the vehicle easier to handle, which ensures the driver is less likely to lose control on fast turns. The shock towers are able to do this by increasing the durability of your Mini’s frame and body by making it more rigid and less flexible.
Additionally, shock towers help absorb the tension that occurs during driving and can evenly distribute the stress among the various parts. This allows your vehicle’s parts to wear down more evenly over time, saving you money on service and maintenance.
While the shock tower’s role plays a crucial role in your vehicle’s condition and performance, it also makes it more vulnerable to mushrooming. This occurs over time when the sheet metal on the shock towers begins to warp and bend into a mushroom-like shape after recurring collisions between the struts and the shock towers.
Causes of Mushrooming Shock Towers
Since mushrooming shock towers occur when struts and shock towers smash into each other repeatedly, it is most often caused when driving your Mini too fast over rough terrain, such as:
- uneven pavement
- speed bumps
Driving fast over rough terrain results in a higher impact on the suspension system, causing the struts and shock towers to collide. Mini’s are particularly vulnerable to rough terrain due to their low profiles, so it is important to drive on uneven areas carefully.
Watching your speed while driving in rough terrain does increase the longevity of your shock towers. However, they will still mushroom over time as a part of the normal wear on the Mini’s parts. Models manufactured from 2002 to 2006 are the most likely to experience mushrooming shock towers due to a thinner sheet metal used for the part.
Noticeable Signs of Mushrooming Shock Towers
Mushrooming shock towers can result in misalignment of the front wheels, making your vehicle difficult to steer. This can compromise your safety on the road and put others in danger, too. If your vehicle shows any of the following signs of mushrooming shock towers, you should bring it to an automotive shop who specializes in your Mini:
- decreased fuel economy
- vehicle is difficult to handle
- you feel like you lose control on turns while driving
- the shock towers are warped and appear to be convex
When left alone, mushrooming shock towers can not only put you at risk, but can also reduce your vehicle’s performance and lifespan. Your vehicle’s parts will experience uneven wear on the tires and other parts, and the suspension system will be under increased stress. This can result in more expensive repairs and more frequent replacement of parts over time.
Oldwick Village Garage
When having your Mini serviced and repaired, you want to ensure that you bring it to an automotive shop with experienced technicians who are familiar with your vehicle’s brand. At Oldwick Village Garage, our certified and licensed technicians are experienced in servicing European brands, including your Mini.
Our shop serves drivers in Tewksbury, NJ, and the surrounding areas of Bridgewater, Bernardsville, Basking Ridge, and Washington Township, NJ. We provide our clients with a personal experience and dealership level service at a lower price. Schedule an appointment with us today and we will keep your vehicle in top condition.
* Red Mini Cooper Car image credit goes to: anutr tosirikul.