Mclaren 600LT Owner Review - 14K Miles & 2.5 Years

Mclaren Ownership Review
Its been just over two and a half years into owning the 600LT, my first Mclaren, during this time I've done a reasonable amount of miles since its original purchase at around three and half thousand on the clock. The car is used, covering a number of road trips through out the years and quite a lot of track time compared to most Mclarens. I thought I'd post a few comments documenting the ownership experiance to date and lessons learnt. It is quite a cost centric post as I think its important to raise awareness of the realities good and bad of owning a Mclaren.

Year One
The car was purchased from Mclaren Leeds, pretty decent purchase experience, only slight frustration is the drivers door sill rubber was hanging off and needed to be replaced. This was done under warranty post purchase. Kinda would have expected it to be picked up on the approved used checks, but after being in a Lotus for seven years previously no real biggie.
Mclaren Door Trim
July 2021 - Three months in and time to get the door rubber sill corrected and to 'tow the line' in terms of track day inspections and warranty had an inspection done at the same time via Mclaren Guildford.
Sept 2021 - Start get a blowing noise, from past experience I knew it was from the exhaust. Being still under Mclaren warranty I called Mclaren Bristol (closest dealer at the time) and visited them to inspect. After taking the technician out for a drive I was told the noise was normal and part of the character of the 600LT  😂
Knowing the car didn't sound like this previously and adamant it was an exhaust split I decided to remove the exhaust myself! On inspection I found a two inch split in the seam of the exhaust back box. Thanks again Mclaren Bristol for your help! As I removed the exhaust myself going down the Mclaren warranty route appeared difficult, so I used it as an opportunity to upgrade from the valved setup to the US sports version.

Mclaren Exhaust
The non valved sports system is often referred to as the 'MSO Exhaust' this is a fallacy its simply the US version that doesn't have the EU restrictions on noise/valves. Other than removing the valves, noise is slight improved, but more importantly for me is the removal of the very heavy OEM back box. So a good combo of benefits in making the upgrade. DONT buy this exhaust off eBay its often marked up in price way above what you can purchase it for be it via a dealer or even from the US. Typically you want to be spending no more than £600 for this part.
December 2021 - Service time. To keep in the good books of warranty I went via the dealer network. Given the issues with Mclaren Bristol I went back to what I know is good service at Mclaren Guildford. A simple oil service at a cost of £778 (inc VAT). I talk to costs going via dealers later in this post and also my earlier post on warranty which can be found here.
Feb 2022 - Before track season starts in March I decided to get HPE Auto to give the car a full track day inspection, swap to Castrol SRF brake fluid, Pagid brake pads, and new EMF Mc Medic Air Filters, and a more aggressive geo.

I've used Dan Webster at HPE Auto for near on seven years looking at my Exige V6 in the past. I've not come across anyone whose as diligent, honest, and credible in working on my cars. So I decided he was a good choice for these simple bits of work. He's going to hate the pic of him on here lol

First, if you're doing lots of track days, hands down Castrol SRF brake fluid is the best of the best. Nothing compares. Just remember if needs changing every 12 months. Pagid pads also a good improvement to brake feel and also longevity.

The EMF air filters I've covered in a separate post here.

Geo we added spacers to the bottom wishbone, same principle as shims, but at a the cost of pennies vs a few hundred pounds. Folks, you don't need expensive shim kits, washers do exactly the same job. We added two washers and got to just over -2 all round of camber. This made a decent improvement but in the future will add more, from listening to Robert Mitchell's experience at Apex it sounds like -3.6 front and -2 rear is a target to test next time round. If you've not watched the Q&A video from Robert on his 620R go check it out here:

For the keen eye'd you will notice the move to Cup2 tyres this allowed me to run 235/35 front tyres vs OEM 225/35. This makes a significant improvement to turn in on track and I highly recommend. In terms of track tyres, Cup2s are a great all rounder and last a good amount of time, Tropheo R lack the 235 size and at Anglesey I killed a set in a day! As of today my preference is Nankang AR-1s they do great sizes, super sticky in the dry, relatively cheap, and last for ages!
August 2022 - I randomly start to get an EML light and code pop up and not going off. The car drives okay no noticeable problem but obviously something to get investigated and resolved. At this point I did not have Mclaren warranty to fall back to so went to the folks at V-Engineering to diagnose and fix.

Turns out there is a vacuum solenoid type valve that's next to the exhaust cats which can get very hot and in turn fail. Basically a new one was required although in the future may look to some form of heat wrap to protect it as I've heard this part can get damaged from heat quite easily from track usage.
V-Engineering also inspected the car to check brake wear, which was okay, but they noticed a broken brake sensor so changed to a new one. Whilst with V I changed my Michelin Cup2s to Nankang AR1s which have a more aggressive tread pattern. The Nankang's have had good reviews for track usage and dry conditions and at £950 or so for a full set a cheaper option to the Cup2s. They also have 235/35 front width which is better than the 225 you get with Pirelli which on testing I have found the 235 to be superior on turn in and addressing understeer.

In total the cost was circa £800 (inc VAT). As always amazing service and continual communication from V-Engineering.

I'll do a 'sum up' on actual costs over my ownership vs Mclaren warranty costs at the end of this post to see how I faired going down the self-warranty route!
December 2022 - Windscreen cracked. To be honest I felt it was overdue, its an inherent problem with the 600LT, there's lots of talk online of the cause... but just be prepared that it happens. I went via my insurer, at first they pushed me to National Autoglass type folks but I wanted OEM so paid the additional excess for Mclaren dealer to do the work. Circa £250 excess for a replacement which was around £2,300 inc VAT. No real biggie. 

It was also that time of the year for another service. Being out of warranty I had the freedom of choice in who serviced and for convenience used XP1 Technical who are a bit like McMedics in the US. The guys are all Mclaren technicians and have a good dose of common sense! 

For me a service is a full service, in my mind this is replacing all filters, all fluids, and having a thorough check over. It goes beyond the normal service schedule from Mclaren, asking a dealer to do this breadth of work would confuse them and their systems, and would cost a fortune. The XP1 guys and I would also put V-Engineering into the same camp understand the value of such a full breadth service and can accommodate. A breakdown of the work:

- Engine Oil
- Coolant Fluid
- Transmission Oil
- Clutch Oil
- Brake Fluid 
- Engine Oil Filter
- Oil Tank Plug
- Sump Plug
- Turbo Drain Seal
- Transmission Filter
- Transmission Plugs
- Clutch Oil Filter
- Clutch Oil Filter Seal
- Full Track Day Inspection
- Fitting of supplied Endless Pads
- Fitting of supplied new carbon discs

This was covered in a days labour at a cost circa £1,600 inc VAT.

Now pricing may vary but ultimately the breadth of work covered is major compared to the normal Mclaren service schedule and a fraction of the cost if Mclaren dealer was to do the work. 

March 2023 - This was the year of the "cracked hinge" hype. In essence uncovering that the OEM door hinges on the sport series where prone to cracking. Everyone in turn started to check their hinges and many owners started to find cracks and bringing to the attention of Mclaren. IF you was under the manufacturers warranty this would be covered, however if under extended mclaren warranty it was deemed not valid for cover. Ultimately this would mean a cost of around £2K for owners. Thankfully Mclaren started to recognise the volume of cracked hinges and upset customers and took a view to minimise any cost or discomfort.

Mclaren Hinge
This is the new hinge which is actually from the Mclaren GT, this is the part which all cracked hinges will be replaced with, a stronger unit a tad heavier but much more meatier to take the demand needed. Another big shout out to Mclaren Guildford for sorting with client services and making the process easier in coming to a good conclusion. Even without being under any warranty manufacturer or extended. 

In regards to self-warranty vs warranty and costs to date, I thought I'd put together a little comparison which I'll continue to update over time. Let's hope I made the right decision!
Cost Item Warranty  Self-Warranty
Extended Warranty Annual Cost £2,900 N/A
Pre/Post Track Day Inspections (4x PA) £2,000 £600 (Independant)
Exhaust Replacement Hassle! £600
Vacuum Solenoid Inc. in Warranty £800
Hinge Replacement Inc. in Warranty Mclaren Replacement at no cost
Total £4,900 £2,000

So to date a saving of £2,900 by self warranting and using Independant's vs subscribing to Mclaren Extended Warranty and abiding to the Mclaren dealer servicing.

I will continue to document my ownership and track costs. So look out for the second chapter of this thread over the coming months :)

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1 comment

  • Fantastic stuff and so helpful!!

    David Barral

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