Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blinking N -and- Local online news

Blinking N

So it has been raining on and off for what feels like 2 weeks here in metro NYC. As I
mentioned in a previous post, that means puddles. Lots of puddles. So when I heard flash flood warnings this morning I thought knew what I was in for, I thought it would mean slow traffic. Well traffic wasn't bad, except for when I was holding it up twice.

So no matter how hard I try on a day like today, I can not avoid driving through the occasional large'ish puddle on the way to work. I really try to swerve around them and if forced go through as slow as possible, to limit the undercarriage spray. But today there were a
few good ones. I made it through them fine, maybe a little holding of the breath I'll admit. Soon after was when I had my first problem.

I was stopped in traffic, I'm going to guess for 15 seconds, when I noticed the dashboard drive indicator was a flashing N. I didn't think anything of it, I actualy thouht, "I never nocied that auto-neutral actually diaplays N". It does not. Apparently the car had put itself in Neutral. The drive selector was in D, but the display was flashing N, when I took my foot off the brake to apply to the accelerator, nothing happened, except rolling. I hit the brakes, tried again, rolling.

I am now holding up traffic going toward the Holland tunnel (not recommended). The quick thinking mode kicked in and I put the car in Park, then Drive, rolling......

Tried this again (stubornly thought that was a good idea and deserved another try), rolling, flashing N.

At this point I put it in Park, Hit the OFF button pulled out the key and started over.
Hit START, put it in Drive.....and we are moving.

It was quite a hectic 20 seconds, and I wish I had been in a quiet place where I could have spent a bit more time "diagnosing", but at least was moving. For about 10 mins.

As I approached the toll plaza for the Holland Tunnel, I was stopped, again for Im going to guess 15 seconds and there it was the blinking N.

Again I tried back to Park, then Drive...rolling
Pack to Park, OFF, ON, Drive... and we were going again.

As an IT professional, I understand the power of the reboot, so I'm not surprised that this helped. (Non IT people, it really does help)

But if it continues, I think a call to service will be in order. Just something to watch for now. I have no idea if it was the puddles or not, though that would be a strong suspicion. As I mentioned in my previous post, they seem to have instilled the"no-car wash" thing pretty strong in the dealers as they passed out the cars. We will see.

On another note, I was recently interviewed by a local community online site, which as I can gather is a local version of The article was posted last night and linked here.


  1. Hi Michael..enjoyed the article!

  2. Hi Michael - I have #237 on Long Island and I was extremely nervous today about the puddles/flooding as well. My dealer had said not to get the underside of the car wet. Well, um, how is that supposed to work?? There was no avoiding it today. 2 days ago I experienced the car going into Neutral thing, but luckily I had read about it on someone's blog and I knew to reboot, which worked. Look forward to reading your blog! Roni

  3. We have #458 and the dealer warned us when we picked it up about the "auto neutral" issue. We got it in Princeton NJ. I haven't had any issues in the recent rains, but I have not hit any major puddles on my country road drive to work, 120 mile round trip.

  4. jamcl3, do you have a blog running for #458?

  5. This happened to me last week on a nice day, one of the few (I have #402) seems it is a phantom shut down. From what MiniUSA and the dealer said, they are aware of it and it seems to happen when stopped for a is totally random. I noticed it as I was at the light on a slight incline and held the car in place with a light touch on the accelerator - then ding movement...reboot. So far I have had no issues with rain as I've been driving through it - sort of unavoidable these days - I've even charged in the rain and lived to blog about it - 110 of course since I'm also in NJ

  6. I'm Robert from TwistyBlitz. I have just added your blog to my website. If interested go here...

    I am doing a 4 part MINI E post from my interviews with 3 west coast lessees at my blog and will be offering tshirts and badges at my online store this week.

    Hope you will stop by, RB