If you drive a late-model (F54-F57) MINI, and you are like this author, you keep your key fob in a pocket. And… if you’re really like this author, you may have accidentally activated the rear tailgate by applying pressure to the button on the fob.
Fortunately this is only possible when your MINI isn’t moving, but it can be both startling, and particularly inconvenient. In my case, I’ve done this a couple of times just before starting to move at an intersection. In most current MINI models, the safety hazards are pretty limited. The door will pop open, but stay in the lowered position until someone closes the door, unlike the gif above. However, as demonstrated by Mike D. this video by MINIUSA, the current Clubman doors open automatically when activated. They could potentially hit a person or vehicle that may have pulled up a little too close behind. Worse, if you need to pull over before closing the door, there’s a chance you could lose some cargo.
I’ve considered purchasing a leather protector to limit key presses, but haven’t found exactly the style I like yet. Since I usually clip my key to a belt loop, I’ve gotten into the habit of just letting the key hang while driving.
MINI has a solution, and it can be completed with a fairly simple software modification by your local MINI dealership.
According to an August 2016 Technical Bulletin, MINI is aware of these unintentional openings, and advises that the operation of the remote can be changed to require the doors be unlocked before allowing the tailgate to operate. This will almost eliminate any chance of accidental since the second press to open the tailgate requires that the button be held for about one second.
This update should be covered under warranty for those who choose to have it changed.
In a future story about MINI keys, we’ll tell you how it’s actually possible to lock an F-model key fob inside a MINI, even though many safety checks are in place to prevent it.
NOTE: Information provided may be specific to MINIUSA and vehicles sold in the United States or North America. Readers outside the US should check to see if operation of the tailgate is similar then check with their local dealer to see if a software update is required/recommended.
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