Anyone know of any reliable mechanics in the Landuedoc region?

Hi all,

Recently moved to Montpellier and trying to get my car registered here. Perhaps due to the fact that it’s an unreliable Mini, or the fact I’ve not been using it at all, it currently won’t start.

We’ve got a big drive here so until I was legally able to drive on the road I’d been starting it and driving around the drive for 15-30 mins a week.

Now it won’t start at all, and I don’t think my neighbours have any jump leads. Figured I’m going to need to get a mechanic out - although I know little about cars so perhaps someone can shed some light.

Just wondered if anyone had any recommendations. I speak French but I imagine trying to understand the technicalities of car problems might be beyond my vocabulary.


Hi Mike…

Frankly 15-30 mins is not doing much good and so my first thought… would be to ask the neighbours…

If that is definitely a no-go, get the battery checked. Any Auto-electrician will do that for you… (look in your Yellow Pages)… so take the battery and ask them to test it for you.

If they reckon the battery is OK… well that means we go further down the list…

Other car buffs will come in on this… but I would be looking for loose leads and contacts… and, daft as it sounds… check the fuel.


Is it an old (original) Mini? If it is, take the plugs out and clean (wire brush) and dry them, warming them up by putting in the oven helps too. You could also take the air filter out just to see if it starts, and take the distributor cap off and dry out any condensation.
If it’s a new style mini, no idea apart from checking the plugs, air and fuel filters

Won’t start? Does the starter turn the engine? Do you drive every day for five minutes or once a week for longer?
If you have regularly started the car and run it for short periods you will have taken more out of the battery than the alternator will have replaced and running without allowing the engine to reach its normal working temperature can cause problems as well.

Hi Mike,
as aked above, which Mini are we talking about here? It is likely that your driving around has not topped up teh battery after it started the car, assuming the engine does not turn over at all.

Can you tell us or about the car, how old it is for example. When you say that it “does not start”, do you mean:

  1. You turn the key and the engine does not make any noises at all, perhaps there is a nticeable clicking noise when you turn the key to the “start” position.
  2. When you turn the key the engine is making noises and sounds like it is goudn round, but the engine does not start? After trying this for a while you may now be in situation above?

It is hard to offer advice without actually seeing a vehicle, and I understand that if yu are not au-fait with cars then taking the battery out might seem a bit daunting. In fact on some cars it can be troublesome for those that are more familiar with messing about under the bonnet.

Hi all,

Thanks for the replies. It’s a 2003 Mini One, not a old Mini unfortunately.

It makes the clicking noise that you all mentioned when I turn the key. The engine doesn’t make any noise.

I spoke with my neighbour/landlord and he has a small battery charger, so going to leave that charging overnight now and try it again in the morning.

Next question - if I get the engine started again, what steps can I take to keep my car in good condition over the next few weeks whilst trying to organise my control technique and carte grise? Should I just start the engine and leave it sat on the drive with the engine running for an hour, several times a week?

If I manage to get it insured ASAP, will I be able to drive it until March 9th - which is when my UK MOT runs out. Or am I mistaken - do I need a control technique doing immediately?


A modern car will be fine if it’s left for a few weeks without being run. You have a flat battery, hopefully once it’s charged everything will be OK again. It would be worth investing in a cheap charger to keep the battery topped up while the car is not being used.


Sounds like either a low battery or a sticky starter solenoid. First, try jump leads on the battery ensuring that you connect the leads correctly. If it still clicks it will probably be the solenoid so get some friends round to try a push start - ignition on, 2nd gear & clutch down. After a little momentum has been achieved lift your foot off the clutch & see of it will go. If it does then the starter motor will need attention.

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Hi all,

It was a flat battery. I left it charging overnight and it started fine this morning. Hoping to get it insured ASAP and then I can take it for a drive whilst I’m waiting for the paperwork to be sorted and have it fully registered here.

Thanks for the advice up until now, I’ll no doubt have more questions in the coming weeks whilst applying for my Carte Grise.


@Mark_Rimmer I could do with your expertise if you get a minute.

I need to get my lights changed on my 2003 Mini One.

^ Just found these on Am I right in thinking it’ll be a straight swap and then they’ll be passable on a French controle technique?

Got my mini lights from too. They were a straight swap and no problems with CT. The shop i bought from is no longer trading unfortunately.

As long as your Mini has H7 lights now they will be fine.

As others say, if they are the same type (look similar through the glass) then you are good. If you had xenon type lights which look as if there is half a large marble inside then these can sometimes be adjustable. The price is good & I find eBay europe a cheap source of lights - better than most “specialist” sites!

Thanks guys.

Yeah unfortunately I don’t have Xenon lights - wish I did as they have a switch to adjust the beam inside!