McLaren Owner’s Tips & Tricks

Recently I’ve had a few McLaren owners suggest putting together a short blog on the various tips and tricks that we have picked up over the last decade across the multiple McLaren’s we have owned (see: Our McLarens Reliability Report).  I had another McLaren owner suggest that we must be doing something special as we seem to have very few issues with any of the cars. 


There are a number of things we do routinely that I believe make a difference in limiting any potential issues. The list however isn’t unique to the McLaren’s, it’s the same for Ferraris, Porsches, etc:

  • Battery Conditioners: When not being used, we always keep the McLarens on their battery conditioners. So far, we have never had to replace a battery or had any electrical issues.
  • Warming Up: Upon start up, we don’t let the cars sit and warm up, we begin driving gently and keep the revs to under 3000 rpm until both the oil and water gauges reach normal operating temperatures.
  • Cooling Down: At the end of a drive, we try to give the McLarens a short cooling down period. To date we have never had an issue with any of the turbos.
  • Fluids & Tires Check: Oil level and tire pressures get checked about every 500 miles. In a decade, I have only had add oil once.
  • Regular Usage: All the McLarens get used on a regular basis. I am a firm believer that regular usage is key to any car’s good health.  Cars are mechanical objects and regular usage is key to keeping all the parts in good condition.  The biggest issues I have had with any car over the years have come after they were sitting for a prolonged period of time.  Typically the, seals have a bad habit of drying out and failing.
  • Mouse Traps: Mouse traps in the garage are a mandatory item in our household. I have yet to live in a place where mice are non-existent.  Mice, car wires, and insulation are a bad combination.
  • Annual Services: We get all of our cars serviced annually regardless of mileage. Almost all big problems start as small problems, and an annual service is a great way of catching issues while they are still minor.
  • Early vs. Late Build Slots: Avoid the early McLaren’s in any production run. Building any new model is a learning process and I’ve found that later cars tend to be better built and have less problems than those first off the line.  A good example of this is our Senna, it is number 479 out of 500.
  • Handling & Powertrain: The best handling & powertrain set up I’ve found for normal usage is “Normal” on the handling and “Sport” for the powertrain.


Despite all the time we have spent and mileage we have covered in a range of McLarens, I really haven’t discovered that many tricks.  The few are:

  • Front Nose Lift: On the 12C/650S/675LT, for cars with front nose lifts, you can activate the lift by pushing the small left-hand stalk up once to activate and then pushing it either up again or down will raise or lower the car.
  • USB Drives: There are a few larger USB drives that IRIS does not seem to like and they crash the system. I’ve found sticking to drives no larger than 32GB eliminates any problems.
  • Senna Seats: In the Senna, push the seat all the way back before you get in or out of the car. That little bit of extra room helps.
  • Spider Rear Window: In any of the Spiders, on a rainy day you can drop the rear window a bit to let in fresh air.
  • Random Warning Lights: On the rare occasion when a random warning light pops up. Stop the car, exit, lock it, wait for a minute, then unlock and start it back up.  This tends to clear the issue.


In general, the McLarens (with the exception of the P1 and its “Iron Lung” battery charger) have all been very straight forward cars to own and care for.  Almost all the tips fall into a general common-sense bucket that you learn over a few years of supercar ownership.  The tricks aren’t many but the nose lift one is very useful.

Any other suggestions that should be added to the list?

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March 2021


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One Thought on McLaren Owner’s Tips & Tricks
    Nigel Thomson
    23 Mar 2021

    Another tip I find worth considering is to fully wrap cars in PPF when new careful to cover every surface and edge, and then remove prior to sale so paint is 100% free of scratches and like new.


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