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Hi 12c guys. I currently have a 2018 570s and need some help and insight on the 12c. I am looking at getting a 12c, prices are so good right now it seems like a no brainer... I think haha. I am not looking at replacing my 570s but rather adding a 12c alongside the 570s (also going to add a 720 at some point too). Ive never really gotten a straight answer from anyone about what specific things I really need to look out for when purchasing a 12c. What is the driving experience like compered to the 570 (from people that have owned or driven both). What about specific mechanical things on the 12c to look out for? Yes I know all the usual Mclaren electronic stuff to look out for, but just looking for things people have noticed on their 12c to watch out for! My 570 is still under full factory warranty, so I am trying to decide if I pick up a 12c if I should just spend $5-7k for an extended warranty or if the thing will be mechanically reliable enough to not do that. What options are "must haves" on the 12c? Is a 2013 12c way better than the 2012? Am I stupid for even thinking about adding a 12c alongside the 570? I really don't know a whole lot about these 12c's so please give me insight and feedback on what you guys think!
 

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Well, I did the opposite -- from a 12C to a 570S. I LOVED my 12C and miss it, BUT despite my great treatment of it (never launched, always warmed properly, etc.), at appr. 25,000 miles, a head cracked. Both heads replaced, larger water pump, driveline dampers, etc. -- that was a $60,000. bill. Other costs were the HVAC screens, headlamps began to mold, gas cannisters for suspension (forgot name), different coolant hose leak every week, and other little issues, all common with the 12C. In all, I prob. lost a cool $100k expenses on the car. So a 'must have' is the extended warranty -- and I would get it from the dealer, with the hopes of less friction when you have to make a claim. It's a long story, but you just have to hope you never see the white smoke, and have a good extended warranty. Other than that, the active aero and CF tub make the car super-great.

I traded my 12C in for a brand new Porsche 911 C4S, great car ... but lacked something, so went right back to McL Houston and decided to try a 570S. I am about 9000 miles so far, zero issues. ZERO. The 570 certainly seems just as fast and responsive to me -- transmission must be calibrated differently.

So the 12C -- LOVED it; wish I had the courage to get another. (The swipe doors were brilliant and ALWAYS worked.) But being 8 hours one-way away from the dealer was just too much in the end. Honestly, I'd say get one with high mileage -- if the transmission was going to leak, or the heads were going to crack, I think they'd do it by the 25k mile mark.
 

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Starting from the 650s and 570s mclaren has increased a lot of level in terms of reliability.
regarding 12c., i believe that one of the biggest factor of price drop was driven by the reliability issue.
but I wouldnt expect 570s reliability on the 12c especially as the age is getting older.
But for sure 12c is going to be a historic car,, as it is the comeback and revive car from the legendary mclaren.
 

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I love my 2013 12C. Haven driven a 570s and 600LT, I like the 12C better. The supercar level is evident in its incredible handling dynamics at speed. I've had no issues other than the headlight fogging issue and 1st gen touchscreen system, both replaced under warranty. I have the front lift and would recommend it.
 

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I'll be shooting my 2 years of owning a McLaren out of warranty video in about 2 weeks, not much has changed since my 1 year. I'd specifically say DON'T waste your money on a warranty. I would have lost all that money, both years. I've spent less money modifying, maintaining, and repairing that car in 2 years than I would have in 1 year of warranty cost where I couldn't have done any of the modifications either.

Now, what to look for or consider:
  • You DON'T want low mileage. It's not just these, it's any car. You'll absolutely use that warranty with a low mileage car, and may encounter non-warranty items as well.
  • 2012's have slide to open, 2013-2014 have the button you're used to. I like the slide to open, it's both a party trick and a deterrent from people getting in, though there is a learning curve when it's dry and wet. Wet might take a few tries. Alternatively, use the remote to pop the door.
  • I think the cam phaser issue seems to be less common on the later cars but I could be mistaken.
  • Lift system wasn't available in 2012. There have been times I wished I had it but I make due without it. I've scraped more things with my CRX.
  • The battery is quite expensive, isn't a warranty item, and will need replaced at some point. I'm still showing 96% (last I checked) on my battery in my 2012 with a 2011 dated battery. It might be worth checking the battery state with the car running (ensure it hasn't just been sitting for months and started).
  • If you want a spyder, you're in 2013-2014 only.
  • IIRC carbon ceramic brakes were only on 10% of 12C's made, it was a very expensive option, very expensive to replace (which may not matter depending how you're driving it). I like how they brake but there is a learning curve, they don't feel like 570 brakes. Drive one and you'll understand immediately.
  • HVAC displays go bad, McLaren wants $3,000 + labor but I sell a solution for $800 to replace both and have a video on how to do it. Use that as a bargaining tool or take it into consideration on what you're looking at.
  • Underbody strakes may be broken, use that as a bargaining tool. McLaren wants $200+ to replace them, I'm currently in production of $100 replacements that will last longer.
  • If there is a detailed service history, see if spark plugs have been replaced. It's a huge pain in the ass and it seems they need replaced by 30k miles.
  • When looking at pricing, options depreciate just like the sticker price. Heavily optioned cars might sell for $8-10k higher than a basic one, but come resale time the loaded cars are easier to sell.
  • Don't forget to look at the tires on it. I don't know if 570's are as rough on tires, but P Zero's for example you won't get over 6k miles out of them on a 12C. I bought my car with "good tires" and bought new ones 4k miles later, 3 months after buying it.
From a reliability standpoint, as long as it's been driven I'd expect similar to your 570 (or better in some cases I've seen). They have essentially the same drivetrain so the only bonus concerns are suspension related.
 

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  • Front main seal failures are common but easy/cheap to replace
  • Door latches failures are common, good reason to upgrade to soft close
  • Water pump failures are common, fairly easy to replace, not super extensive
  • Hose clamps leak, the main clamps are easy to replace. If you want to replace all of them its a long and expensive problem
  • As previously mention accumulator/suspension failures are common. Not super expensive but somewhat involved to replace.
  • Driveline dampener failures seem to happen from time to time, parts are cheap but its a long process to replace. (doing this now)
  • Head Lights fog, there is a diy on how to polish the lenses and use desiccant to prevent this in the future
  • Dano sells HVAC replacement lcds, its a very nice product and affordable.
The front main seal, wp, dampener applies to both 570 and 12c.
 

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IIRC carbon ceramic brakes were only on 10% of 12C's made, it was a very expensive option, very expensive to replace (which may not matter depending how you're driving it). I like how they brake but there is a learning curve, they don't feel like 570 brakes. Drive one and you'll understand immediately.
That's the number I have heard (originally a $14K option over the steels). The CCB discs are the same as those used on corvette z06/z07/zr1 pacages (ACDelco)... just need to swap hats. Costs thru GM or online are 60-70% less than OEM for the same part. Not too pricey, especially considering you should never need to replace the CCB brakes unless you are tracking regularly (even then, the setup should last >10-15 track days). As for brake feel, changing out to Pagid RSC-2 pads cleared up that issue for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the input! Ive had my eye on this one, talked to the dealer a couple times on it.

 

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Thanks for all the input! Ive had my eye on this one, talked to the dealer a couple times on it.

A bit light on exterior carbon, but that is easy to add if desired down the line.
Service history seems to be there, so you can likely see if the major issues have been resolved.
Has CCB, which is a big plus IMHO.
I would like to see a few more miles on a car of this age, but certainly not a garage queen (good!).
I would suggest negotiating for an inclusion of a Freedom Warranty (~$5K for 5 years, $20K policy), or use that as justification for a slightly lower asking price. That said, asking price is reasonable. You may be able to get to ~$90K.

DO IT!

EDIT: FWIW, I have had zero mechancial issues that prevented my enjoyment of the car. Accumulators were replaced within 6 months of buying the car back in 2016 (they were bad when I bought the car but I managed to get ESC to cover it). AC displays, a steering column niggle (blinker stalk), etc. but nothing major. I have VIN 0179... very early car... no problems here. One of the reasons I felt comfortable pushing the engine a bit (see signature). :)
 

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window sticker shows steel brakes but has ccm on! look into that!
still has iris 1 and make sure any and all updates have been done.
water pump,head cracks,leaking transmission seal,airbag recall,tail lights water intrusion,hvac controls and headlights are a few of the known issues but these should've been addressed already.
mine is about 100 cars newer and it had all the ailments but were all corrected under warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
window sticker shows steel brakes but has ccm on! look into that!
still has iris 1 and make sure any and all updates have been done.
water pump,head cracks,leaking transmission seal,airbag recall,tail lights water intrusion,hvac controls and headlights are a few of the known issues but these should've been addressed already.
mine is about 100 cars newer and it had all the ailments but were all corrected under warranty.
So do you know if all the things you mentioned like the water pump, head cracks, leaking transmission seal, tail lights, water intrusion, hvac controls, and headlights are updated parts? If I got an extended warranty through Mac, are there updated parts? Or are they just putting parts on that have not been addressed and updated by Mclaren and will most likely fail again in the future?
 

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Replying to this comment:

Don't forget to look at the tires on it. I don't know if 570's are as rough on tires, but P Zero's for example you won't get over 6k miles out of them on a 12C. I bought my car with "good tires" and bought new ones 4k miles later, 3 months after buying it.

For reference I bought my 2014 12C Spider with ~20K miles on it back in May 2018. At the time it had relatively new P Zeros with <3K miles on them but because the prior owner had them installed and then traded the car in to SF McLaren, the tires were nearly a year old by the time I got it. I had SF McLaren align it which it desperately needed. I traded the car into Ogara in late April 2020 with just shy of 31K miles on it and the tires still had 50% of their tread left. The date codes showed that they were pushing 5 years old as well. I would highly recommend getting an alignment if you do get new tires. Dough Thorney from Thorney motorsports has a great YouTube video over common issues with the platform itself and commented that even brand new McLarens come in with poor alignments and generally need attention. I believe my situation was attributed to having a fresh alignment and decent streets to drive on that kept the alignment pretty straight.
 

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So do you know if all the things you mentioned like the water pump, head cracks, leaking transmission seal, tail lights, water intrusion, hvac controls, and headlights are updated parts? If I got an extended warranty through Mac, are there updated parts? Or are they just putting parts on that have not been addressed and updated by Mclaren and will most likely fail again in the future?
The HVAC controls is an updated part that still fails (which is why you buy the ones I sell, because they won't). The airbag recall has gotta be an updated part, because you know, airbag recall. The headlights don't seem to have changed but maybe they assemble them better now? That was an easy fix for me. When I bought the car both headlights I saw fog up when they washed it and they fixed them, then I fixed 1 again.

Replying to this comment:

Don't forget to look at the tires on it. I don't know if 570's are as rough on tires, but P Zero's for example you won't get over 6k miles out of them on a 12C. I bought my car with "good tires" and bought new ones 4k miles later, 3 months after buying it.

For reference I bought my 2014 12C Spider with ~20K miles on it back in May 2018. At the time it had relatively new P Zeros with <3K miles on them but because the prior owner had them installed and then traded the car in to SF McLaren, the tires were nearly a year old by the time I got it. I had SF McLaren align it which it desperately needed. I traded the car into Ogara in late April 2020 with just shy of 31K miles on it and the tires still had 50% of their tread left. The date codes showed that they were pushing 5 years old as well. I would highly recommend getting an alignment if you do get new tires. Dough Thorney from Thorney motorsports has a great YouTube video over common issues with the platform itself and commented that even brand new McLarens come in with poor alignments and generally need attention. I believe my situation was attributed to having a fresh alignment and decent streets to drive on that kept the alignment pretty straight.
I haven't had an alignment done in the time I've owned mine (and I probably should) but my PS4S's are over 10k miles into them and they look like around or greater than 50% left. While I agree an alignment makes a difference in wear on any car, I also know driving style and road conditions are another big factor. How often did you track it or drive like you were on a track?
 

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Unless I am on a track, Im pretty easy on the streets. Too many people and cars around to drive aggressively. I only used launch control twice.
 

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Thanks for all the input! Ive had my eye on this one, talked to the dealer a couple times on it.

do you live in Tampa? That one is 15 miles from my house. At one point they were asking 89k for it. I spoke to a John Martinez about it but I really wanted a spider. Let me know if you get it. If you’re not local and need somebody to look at it in person let me know.
 
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