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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 0
Average Mileage:
66,005 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Mini Cooper seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2002 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #32

Mar 152016


  • 140,000 miles


At 140,000 mile: + air bag light came on. Dealer said that the airbag computer module will cost $1,000 to replace. I see on-line blogs and NHTSA have had numerous complaints on the air bag dash light coming on and NHTSA is still investigating.

- Midlothian, VA, USA

problem #31

Nov 202015


  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 MINICooper S. while driving at 60 mph and attempting to avoid hitting an animal, the steering wheel seized without warning and the vehicle struck the animal. The air bags did not deploy; however, the air bag warning light illuminated. A police report was not filed and there were no injuries reported. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 103,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Garden City, KS, USA

problem #30

Aug 012013


  • 98,000 miles
The vehicle was purchased used in 2011, soon there after the air bag light came on, it was taken to a local repair shop and the air bag light was reset, I was advised by the shop owner that this is a common problem in the older MINIHe also advised that it is extremely expensive, as MINIusa basically throws all new parts at it at the owners expense without really getting to the bottom of the problem. The air bag light illuminated again in July of 2015, right after I had returned from vacation, apparently the parking valet had slid the seat back and most likely stretched the air bag seat harness. This is a proven defect which MINIusa has finally addressed with a recall of 2005 to 2008 models only. It is related to a faulty seat harness that cannot detect whether a passenger is in the right seat. It is also been shown that in most cases the airbags will not deploy in an accident.

- Edmonds, WA, USA

problem #29

Feb 012012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


The airbag sensor in the seat cushion has failed and a warning light now permanently shows on the instrument panel. The passenger airbag may not function as designed. Updated 11/25/15 updated 2/5/2016

- Lincolne, NE, USA

problem #28

Jan 302012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Ever since buying this car used in January of 2012, the SRS warning light has been on. The car store we bought the vehicle from did cancel the code when we discovered it was on after purchase. However, the code came back. We brought it to be fixed, and I believe someone eliminated the coupler under the passenger seat, wiring the seat to the ECU directly, by crimping wires together. Still, the light came back on. It has been on constantly for over a year now. I have soldered the wires under the passenger seat together, as one connection seemed broken, hoping this would eliminate the light. I bought a code reader to reset the light, but the codes only temporarily disappear and after blinking a few times the light is back on. I do not know, nor do I have confidence in knowing, whether or not the air bag would deploy in case of an accident. I hope never to find out, of course. But I do know that the air bag light being on is a consistent and persistent problem with MINICoopers built from 2002 - 2006. And I know that there has been no recall, nor an extended warranty that would cover work that apparently will cost around $2,000 at a dealer repair shop. With the recent recall of air bags made by Japanese air bag maker takata, including thousands of bmws made in a similar time frame as the air bags in my MINICooper, I am also wondering if the MINIair bags are made by takata, and sensibly worry about their safety should the in fact deploy as designed. BMW has recalled some of their own cars for air bag light issues, involving seat sensors, but not on the MINIeven though both cars use identical components. It is time for BMW to take ownership of a serious problem the air bag systems in their early MINICoopers. I would hope that you can force the issue, as this certainly is a safety issue which exists/persists on thousands of vehicles sold in the us.

- Dunellen, NJ, USA

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problem #27

Jun 052013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
The airbag sensor in the seat cushion has failed and a warning light now permanently shows on the instrument panel. The passenger airbag may not function as designed.

- Lewisburg, PA, USA

problem #26

Sep 302013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 200,350 miles


I was exiting from 35th street in newport news, va onto the warwick blvd off ramp in traffic, coasting with the brakes at about 5 mph, when I was rear ended by a navy operated flat nose school bus, which forced my vehicle into a late model Chevy trailblazer. My air bags (front and side) did not deploy, and when I came to rest my seat back had reclined against my child's car seat (child was not in vehicle). The right rear unibody was creased due to the impact from the bus. I suffered neck, back, and spine trauma. The driver of the trailblazer complained of neck pain at the scene. Local newport news fire and rescue units arrived on scene, as well as a Virginia state trooper. The trooper handled the accident.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #25

Feb 142011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 73,420 miles
The car has gone back to a MINIdealer 4 times since we've owned the car because of the air bag light on. Little did we realize when we took it on a trip to Florida, the whole system was shut down. Took it to a MINIdealer in fla. On Feb. 15, 2012.....$2126.04 later. Drove it home to have the light go on again, took it to MINIof bedford, nh on 5/28/13, picked it up on 6/4/2013.....$1527.09 later. Drove it home on 6/4/2013, only to have the light go back on approx 6/10/2013. Aaa had to use a ramp truck to bring it back to bedford, nh.....because the drivers seat tipped over backwards while driving & almost caused a serious collision. Also there is a new problem with steering wheel. Both later issues occurred after they had torn it apart in dealership & kept it for a week "fixing the problem". now it sits at MINIof bedford..& they are telling us another airbag sensor has to be need a new seat....and they're not sure about the steering wheel, because they can't test until they put in a new seat. Everything is on hold at the moment...#1 we can't keep paying for shoddy workmanship...#2 we are very concerned about the safety of this car. Have been reading some websites & see stories similar to this air bag problem.

- Hubbardston, MA, USA

problem #24

Aug 012012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles
I took my 2002 MINICooper S in for a Virginia state safety inspection and it failed the inspection because the SRS airbag light was illuminated. I took the vehicle to the dealer and they found that the seat belt tensioner and wiring to the seat belt and passenger side airbag were faulty. The dealer is charging me $1,000 to repair the problem. I have seen that there was an investigation PE05053 resulting in BMW acknowledging there is an issue with the faulty wiring and seat belt tensioner. And it states that the electrical resistance is high enough to illuminate the airbag light but does not exceed a limit to set the airbag off. My problem is if the airbag light is illuminated I cannot pass Virginia's strict safety inspection and if it is a problem that has been identified by BMW why are they not recalling all vehicles to fix this problem. My vehicle has 81,000 miles on it way under the 150,0000 mile warranty and I am right at the ten year mark.BMW told me that there is not a recall and that there is only a bulletin telling the mechanics that there is an issue to be aware of. BMW would not repair this under a warranty.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #23

Apr 102012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 121,000 miles
The airbag light was on in my MINIThere was a recall on the cable tensioner, but on models of 2003 and above. I am wanting you to reconsider the year of this recall to include 2002. I needed to replace the rep cabe F seat side airbag, rep cable bel tensioner, cable strap, cable connector, shrinking hose and cable strap with bracket for a cost of 800. The affect of this defect in the car is for the car to be unable to determine the weight of the passenger in the car in order to deploy the airbag properly.

- Punta Gorda, FL, USA

problem #22

Jun 082011


  • 58,000 miles


Air bag warning light stays illuminated after passenger seat was moved. Light will not turn off.

- Taylorsville, UT, USA

problem #21

Dec 302011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
While on a short vacation out of town, close to 230 miles from my home, my Cooper S' power steering failed and almost cause me an accident. I immediately checked the fluid and saw that there were no visible leaks present. After making arrangements for a rental vehicle, I noticed that the power steering started working correctly again. Because of that I proceeded to return home and the steering did not fail for the remainder of the trip. During March of 2012, the power steering failed again, during a commute home from work on Friday, May 3rd. To this day, I have no been able to afford additional repairs or diagnostics, because of the monthly payments, insurance, fuel and previous issues of repairs under 75,000 miles including the head gasket, and heater core. Regardless of the policies that BMW/MINIand the NHTSA have concerning used vehicles, and warranties, absolutely no vehicle produced by an internationally known company or business should be producing such unreliable, unsafe and potentially dangerous motor vehicles and not take immediate responsibility to isolate and terminate the issue rather than ignore and deny responsibility for poorly manufactured products.

- Antioch, TN, USA

problem #20

Nov 212011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles
The airbag warning light came on in my 2002 MINICooper S. the MINIdealer service department said that the airbag control unit was faulty...that the "mrs control unit shorted". since this is a piece of safety equipment, and since it is not a mechanical device that would be subject to wear, I believe the dealer should have replaced this unit at no charge...and/or an alert should go to other MINIowners. I have since had the control unit replaced (at considerable expense) because I felt unsafe driving without airbags.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #19

Oct 112010


  • 145,000 miles
Air bag light stays on. It came on a few months ago and stays on. Has been checked by dealer but no known cause.

- Terre Haute, IN, USA

problem #18

Jan 012008


  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 MINIcooper F. the contact stated that the air bags warning lights are illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a local shop who diagnosed that the driver side air bag and attention to harness. They also, advised her to contact the manufacturer because their was a recall for this specific failure. The manufacturer was contacted and they stated that the vehicle identification number was not included on the recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 20,000 and current mileage was 54,000. Updated 3/28/11 updated 12/20/11

- Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

problem #17

Jun 192008


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 MINICooper. The contact stated that the air bag warning light was illuminated and the vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer. The dealer was unable to diagnose the failure and the vehicle was not repaired. The vehicle was then taken to a local repair shop where the air bag light was reset. The failure recurred within 28 miles of driving. The contact was informed that because the light was illuminated, the air bags would not function in the event of a crash. The contact called the manufacturer who offered no assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 50,000 and the current mileage was approximately 69,000.

- North Hampton, MA, USA

problem #16

Jan 052010


  • 119,000 miles
Airbag light on. Continuously on. See NHTSA action PE05053 same issues as PE05053, but different cables and connectors in the same circuit are causing the same problem. BMW is not covering these failures under warranty at this time. Entire circuit needs to be evaluated.

- North Reading, MA, USA

problem #15

Jan 042004


  • 85,000 miles
I have a 2002 MINICooper, I purchased new. I have had an ongoing problem since it was under warranty. My air bag warning light comes on. I have had it back to the dealer at least 20+ times for the same problem. They still can not seem to get a permanent fix for this(next appointment July 9, 2009).

- Lauderhill, FL, USA

problem #14

Jul 222008


  • 62,000 miles
2002 MINICooper S model. Airbag light stays on. Has been repaired many times and still stays on, deactivating safety features of the restraint system. This appears to be a very common problem with the MINIBMW needs to issue a recall I feel for our safety...

- Fort Wayne, IN, USA

problem #13

Sep 042007


  • Manual transmission
  • 53,000 miles
The airbag light in the vehicle goes on, and the dealer told me that nothing was wrong, now the airbag light is constantly on.

- Geneseo, NY, USA

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