The following article gives detailed instructions on replacing the spark plugs and ignition coils on a MINI R56 Cooper car. Even though we have used a 2007 MINI Cooper to perform this repair, this article can be applied to any 2006-2013 (second generation) MINI vehicle with minor modifications.
A MINI R56 tune up is one of the easiest service repairs the home mechanic can perform on their Cooper or Cooper S car.
Every now and then it’s nice to run across a repair that is so darn easy, that it actually feels good (for a change) to be a Generation 2 MINI owner. Performing your own MINI R56 tune up is one of those instances.
Tuning up the engine in your Generation 2 MINI simply means replacing the engine’s four spark plugs and ignition coils. BMW/Peugeot made the procedure simple by designing a transverse engine that literally puts the coils and plugs in front of your face when you open the hood. There is no need to remove extraneous parts to tune up your R56 MINI…just remove the plastic engine cover and you are ready to go.
Your MINI’s spark plugs need to be routinely maintained to keep your engine running healthy and strong. Signs of dirty or failing spark plugs include: rough idle, misfiring cylinders, poor acceleration, an engine that is difficult to start and overall inadequate performance. The MINI Cooper and Cooper S Service and Warranty Information book recommends the spark plugs be replaced every 100,000 miles. The BMW Repair Guide recommends replacing them every two years or 30,000 miles…whichever comes first. We know this sounds excessive, but replacing your spark plugs costs less than an oil change and is just as important.
There are no guidelines on when to replace your MINI R56 ignition coils, but like all engine parts they are not maintenance free. We feel that they should be replaced at a maximum of 100,000 miles…if not before. Replacing your MINI spark plugs and coils is cheap insurance against future engine problems, and will keep your Generation 2 Cooper running factory fresh.
1. Spark plugs (required) – Always use a high quality spark plug recommended for use in your MINI engine. Spark plugs are very inexpensive…trying to save a couple bucks with an “aftermarket” set of plugs is like putting cheap oil in your engine; it financially doesn’t make sense and can end up doing a lot of damage.
2. Ignition coils (required/optional) – If you have put 100,000 miles on your MINI R56 and it still has the original coils, then it is strongly recommended that your replace them now. If you have recently replaced them and are just doing a quick 30,000 mile spark plug change, then there is no need to purchase new coils at this time.
3. Air filter (optional) – Now is a great time to change out your air filter. Compliment your tune up by helping your MINI engine breath easier with a fresh filter.
As discussed earlier in this article, a MINI R56 tune up is a fancy term for replacing your spark plugs and ignition coils. Please note that you will need a 14mm thin wall spark plug socket in order to complete this repair. If you do not have one, you can order one from our parts list above. The BMW Repair Guide strongly opposes the use of dielectric grease when tuning up your MINI vehicle. Dielectric grease can cause the ignition coil to slip off of the spark plug causing a cylinder misfire.
- Use a T30 torx bit to remove the two engine cover mounting bolts. Remove the engine cover from the car.
- Locate the four ignition coils.
- Disconnect the ignition coil sockets by first flipping up the plastic locking mechanism then pulling the socket free from the coil.
- Using the aid of a socket extension, pull the coils from the spark plug tubes.
- Using a 14mm thin wall spark plug socket, remove the spark plugs from the engine.
- Apply a small dab of anti-seize compound to the new spark plugs and hand tighten into the engine.
- Using a torque wrench, torque the spark plugs to 23 Nm (17 ft-lb).
- Install the coil packs by lining them up on the spark plugs and gently pressing them on with the palm of your hand. DO NOT use dielectric “tune-up” grease on the coils. Dielectric grease can make the coils slip off of the spark plugs causing misfires.
- Reinstall the the coil sockets.
- Reinstall the engine cover.