Your Complete Guide to Buying a Gearbox for a Mini Cooper

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Your Complete Guide to Buying a Gearbox for a Mini Cooper

The gearbox of a vehicle is a key part of the drive train that powers the car. Gearboxes are a complex piece of equipment that must function properly to shift gears, accelerate to highway speeds, and move the vehicle in reverse.

A gearbox is also an expensive component to replace when a failure occurs. Buying a gearbox for a Mini Cooper can be difficult task for first-time purchasers. With an assortment of options to consider, buyers can benefit from understanding the different types of gearboxes available on the market. Budget considerations are also an important factor in deciding which type of gearbox the vehicle owner decides to install in a Mini. Buyers can purchase gearboxes from dealer parts departments, gearbox remanufacturers, and shops that specialise in gearbox repairs. Some auto parts stores sell rebuilt gearboxes, and salvage yards sell used gearboxes. Buyers can also purchase gearboxes from sellers on eBay, where one can find new, rebuilt, and used parts for vehicles.

The Function of a Gearbox

The gearbox in an internal combustion engine vehicle takes the power that is produced by the engine and converts it into torque by the use of different-sized gears or gear ratios. When a vehicle is sitting still, it takes a great deal of torque to overcome the resistance of the tyres against the road, and this is compounded by the weight of the vehicle. When moving at highway speeds, it takes far less torque to maintain the movement of the vehicle.

A gearbox allows the driver or a control module to select the proper gear for the vehicle based on the circumstances. By changing gear ratios, it requires less engine revolutions to maintain speed. The gear ratios of a gearbox are designed to provide sufficient torque to move the vehicle forward while keeping the engine at an ideal number of revolutions. This is so as to not overwork the engine and create component failures. Fuel economy is another important consideration in setting gear ratios.

Delivering the Torque from the Gearbox to the Drive Wheels

The engine provides the input to the gearbox, and the output of the gearbox is used to spin axles that drive the wheels of a vehicle. In a Mini Cooper, the power or torque is sent to the front wheels of the vehicle, what is commonly referred to as a front-wheel drive automobile.

The gearbox of a front-wheel drive car has the drive components for the axles incorporated into its design and is referred to as a transaxle. In a rear-wheel drive car, the gearbox output is to the drive shaft that then delivers the torque to a rear differential; the differential then sends the power to each rear wheel by way of an axle. In a front wheel drive car, the gearbox and differential are combined into the transaxle. This then delivers the power to both front wheels by way of half shafts that bolt to the transaxle and fit into a splined hub that the front wheels bolt to.

The Difference Between an Manual and Automatic Gearbox

While there are countless variations of gearbox design features, there are two basic types of gearboxes. A manual gearbox requires the driver to shift between gears. An automatic gearbox performs the shifting function for the driver. A simple explanation of each type of gearbox is provided below.

Manual Gearbox

For sports car enthusiasts, the manual shifting of gears provides the ultimate in control when striving to deliver maximum performance at varying revolutions per minute, or RPM, of the engine. With a manual gearbox, the driver must select the gear by moving a shift lever to engage that specific gear. In order to take the gearbox out of one gear and place it in another, the gearbox must be temporarily disconnected from the engine. That temporary disconnect is accomplished by depressing the clutch pedal, which separates the clutch plate from the flywheel, allowing the engine to spin independently of the gearbox. When the clutch pedal is released, the clutch once again grips the flywheel and allows the engine to spin the main shaft of the gearbox. This disengage-and-then-engage-again action prevents damage to the cogs in the gearbox.

Automatic Gearbox

With an automatic gearbox, the gear shift sequence is managed by an electronic control device that monitors throttle pressure, engine RPMs, and gearbox pressures to perform the task of shifting automatically. Hydraulic pressure is used to disengage, and the engaged clutch plates and electronic impulses are used to trigger valves that allow the gears to shift at appropriate times.

Selecting a Manual or Automatic Gearbox

As it is very difficult to convert a vehicle with a manual gearbox to automatic or automatic to manual, the time for the buyer to select a preferred gearbox for a Mini Cooper is when the vehicle is purchased. The following chart compares some of the features of manual and automatic gearboxes for buyers to consider.

Gearbox Feature

Manual Gearbox

Automatic Gearbox

Shifting Gears

Great for performance driving or highway trips, can become a nuisance in town or for stop-and-go driving conditions

No worries for most driving conditions, not as productive as a manual gearbox for performance driving


Virtually none, clutches require non-frequent replacement

Hydraulic fluid needs to be changed periodically

Initial Purchase Price


More Expensive

Repair Costs

Generally cheaper to repair

Generally more expensive to repair

Replacement Costs

Cheaper to replace

More expensive to replace

Vehicle Resale Value

Comparatively less than automatic

Comparatively more than manual

Shifting gears manually with a clutch and shifter, or allowing the vehicle controls and gearbox to perform the task automatically is really a personal preference of the driver. The choice of gearbox for a Mini Cooper has an impact on one's pocketbook, so the budget is a factor in the decision-making process.

Buying Replacement Gearboxes for a Mini Cooper

Buyers seeking to purchase a replacement gearbox for a Mini Cooper have several options to choose from. Depending on the circumstances and the budget, the choices range from the less expensive option of purchasing a used gearbox to getting a new gearbox from an authorised dealer.

Buying a New Gearbox

A new gearbox purchased from an authorised dealer is the more expensive option for buyers looking for a replacement unit. New out of the box, the original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, gearbox comes with the standard Mini support.

Buying a Remanufactured or Rebuilt Gearbox

Buyers seeking to save some money might want to consider purchasing a rebuilt or remanufactured gearbox. Local repair shops that specialise in gearbox repair offer replacement gearboxes that have been rebuilt in the shop. Local rebuilt units rely on the skill of the rebuilder and the extent to which the components used are properly inspected. However, inventories are generally limited, and the exact gearbox needed may be hard to find.

There are companies that produce factory rebuilt gearboxes. With a factory rebuilt unit, components are closely inspected for defects. The exterior case is cleaned and inspected as well. New parts are used to replace broken or questionable components, and the box is resealed.

Buying a Used Gearbox

Used gearboxes are a highly economical option when one is looking for a replacement unit. Buyers considering purchasing a used gearbox should look for seals that are leaking. This may indicate an excessive amount of wear. Used gearboxes that come out of low mileage vehicles may offer great value; however, if the vehicle was totalled, the exterior of the gearbox should be inspected for damage that could indicate a cracked case or internal damage.

Buying a Gearbox for a Mini Cooper on eBay

Sellers on eBay offer a large selection of Mini Cooper gearboxes for sale at competitive prices. The parts and accessories search tool on the eBay Motors home page can be used to find gearboxes that match the model of Mini that you own. By using the appropriate filters such as price range and condition of product, you can narrow down the listings to see only those gearboxes that meet your requirements.

Many sellers are quick to respond to questions about the gearboxes they have listed. Previous buyers rate their satisfaction with specific sellers, and this feedback is published for future buyers to read. Buyers can purchase with confidence by reviewing the sellers' feedback and ratings on eBay and choosing to work with sellers with a reputation for quality products and service. The convenience of shopping on eBay means that you never have to leave your house to find the exact gearbox you need for your Mini and can have the part delivered directly to your doorstep. Complete the purchase on eBay by using one of the secure payment methods provided.


Various options are available to buyers who are interested in purchasing a gearbox for the Mini Cooper. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of a manual gearbox and an automatic gearbox can help vehicle purchasers select the shifting method that is ideal for their driving style.

Buyers looking for a replacement gearbox can benefit from knowing the different price options that various gearboxes offer. Price-conscious buyers can opt to select a used gearbox to save money. Being aware of what to look for with a used gearbox purchase can help the buyer to get the best value for their money. Selecting a rebuilt gearbox can also save on the cost of a replacement. Knowing how rebuilt units compare between local repair shops and factory remanufactured gearboxes can help the buyer to compare the price against the value offered to make an informed purchase decision. Using the convenience of shopping on eBay can make the purchase of a gearbox much easier for a prospective buyer.

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