Reasons Behind Mushrooming Shock Tower Problems in Your Mini
Posted on December 11, 2021 by Keith Cox
The shock tower, strut tower, strut bar, strut brace, and strut tower brace are all in reference to the same piece in your Mini that connects the front or rear strut towers and prevents the chassis from getting bent or getting deformed during driving. Essentially, it keeps your Mini’s body steady and improves the handling.
Your Mini may have any number of shock tower problems throughout its life. One of these problems is known as mushrooming, and it is the most common problem your Mini’s shock tower might face. Mushrooming refers to shock tower failure due to an impact with the strut. Because the strut regulates your Mini’s alignment, mushrooming can make it dangerous to drive and result in serious damage to your vehicle.
Common Causes of Mushrooming
Your Mini’s iconic low profile to the ground may make it more vulnerable to shock tower damage, such as mushrooming. The closer your shock tower mechanism is to the ground, the more likely it is that some sort of impact will throw the strut off balance.
The way you drive combined with the low profile of your Mini may also increase the likelihood of strut impact and mushroom shock tower failure. Driving over uneven or rough ground or over potholes or bumps at high speeds can cause impact and mushrooming.
If your Mini is an earlier model with a thinner sheet metal frame, your strut will be more vulnerable to impact. Later models debuted with thicker sheet metal frames in an effort to prevent shock tower damage.
Signs Your Shock Tower is Mushrooming
If you notice one or more of the following issues in your Mini, you may be experiencing mushrooming:
- The handling of your Mini has gotten noticeably poorer
- Your Mini pulls to the side when driving and you have to put effort in to keep it straight
- Your Mini’s shock tower damage puts additional strain on your engine, which results in decreased fuel efficiency
- If you look underneath your car at the back end, you may notice that your shock towers have a convex shape
- The sheet metal that covers your shock tower may have torn away in a severe case of mushrooming
Effects of Mushrooming
Your shock towers play an important role in your vehicle’s health and adherence to safety standards. If they are mushrooming then you should immediately contact a licensed mechanic and begin the repairs process.
Mushrooming can make your vehicle dangerous to operate, because it affects the alignment of your Mini’s front wheels. Impact to the strut that holds your chassis in balance will cause your car to be off center and misaligned. If your vehicle is misaligned, several vehicle functions can be affected. Steering may become more difficult because the wheels are not responding well due to the damage, and this may cause uneven wear and tear on your tires. Difficulty steering and worn tires will make your Mini dangerous to drive.
Alignment issues caused by the shock tower mushrooming can put stress on the strut that keeps your vehicle’s suspension working. If the two parts are malfunctioning, they will damage each other and potentially cause you more issues.
How to Prevent Mushrooming Shock Tower Problems in Your Mini
When driving, you should be careful to notice all holes and bumps and slow down before approaching them in order to protect your shock towers from damage, particularly if your Mini is an older model with a thinner sheet metal frame. Avoid uneven or rough terrain and stick to well-paved city roads as much as possible.
The best way to prevent mushrooming shock tower problems in your Mini is to create and stick to a maintenance schedule with a trusted professional mechanic. Schedule a repair as soon as you notice any of the warning signs of mushrooming shock tower problems.
Our expert mechanics have been servicing high-end sports vehicles, like your Mini, in the Bellingham, WA area for almost fifteen years. We pride ourselves on offering our customers a high level of service and are always happy to answer any questions or address your concerns. Give us a call at Keith Cox Autobahn today and let us take care of your mushrooming shock tower problem before it becomes dangerous.
* Mini Cooper Car image credit goes to: bruev.