A car owner is embroiled in an unusual dispute with Mini because the front doors of her £25,000 vehicle freeze shut in cold weather.
The problem is so severe that when it is frosty, the only way she can get into the small car is by scrambling through the boot.
Louise Petrie bought the orange run-around from a Mini dealership in Aberdeen in March last year.
“As soon as I saw it I fell in love with it,” she said. “The colour caught my eye and it was very sporty.”
However, when cold weather arrived in December, the pharmacy technician from Insch, Aberdeenshire, discovered the frustrating problem with the doors.
“When it is frosty the remote control won’t open the driver or the passenger doors,” Louise, 23, said. “They are both frozen shut.
“The only door that will open is the one for the boot. It means that if I want to get into the car I have to get into the boot, put the back seats down and work my way through to the front.
“I end up looking like a right nugget. People passing by can’t help but stare at me.
“If I don’t go through the boot it takes about half an hour to get the doors thawed out using warm water but that doesn’t always work either.
“I have never had any problems like this with any other cars and what is particularly annoying is that we have had a pretty mild winter.”
Louise said the issue is so annoying that on cold mornings she now walks to work because trying to get into the Mini is not worth the hassle.
“I also tend to leave the car at home if I am going on a night out because I am not confident that I would be able to get into it to get back. One time we had an emergency with our dog after it had been attacked by another dog and I had to get it to the vet in a hurry.
“I was in a panic and the dog was distressed but I couldn’t get into my car.”
Louise has twice had the Mini back to the dealership to have it checked and has complained to the manufacturers about the situation. The car doors were lubricated and the electronic locking system was reprogrammed but the issue has persisted.
When Raw Deal contacted Mini, the company said nothing further could be done because the problem was “environmental”, not mechanical.
The company said: “We are sorry to hear that Ms Petrie is having trouble with her Mini.
“Our customer service team has been in conversation with Ms Petrie regarding this matter.
“As Ms Petrie took the car to her Mini retailer, our customer service team requested information on what they did to confirm the source of the issue.
“In order to rule out mechanical fault, they carried out a full check of motor mechanisms, lubricated all window seals and re-programmed the control unit.
“As such, we can therefore confirm that the issue is happening as a result environmental conditions.
“As the windows on Minis are frameless, they need to drop down an inch or so in order for the door to open.
“In icy temperatures, it is not uncommon for the window to freeze and, in some cases, the motor is unable to pull the window down.
“In these instances it is recommended that the customer carry out a thorough deicing routine prior to trying to enter the vehicle.”
The iconic British small car, which famously featured in classic Michael Caine movie The Italian Job, marked its 60th anniversary last year.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said that the issue was a common problem, not just for Mini owners.
He said: “As engineers work on their computer-aided designs they need to keep in mind how well their cars will fare not in the virtual world but in real-world weather conditions.
“Scotland might not be known for its balmy winter climate, but nor is it the Arctic.
“For drivers frozen out of their high-tech vehicles on frosty mornings the current solution remains decidedly low-tech – a jug of lukewarm water.”
Louise said she now intends to take her complaint to the Motor Ombudsman as she feels her vehicle is not fit for purpose.
She added: “I think that people who live in colder regions of the country should be made aware that this could be a potential problem before they buy a car.”
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