Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
43,361 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.

2003 Mini Cooper brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Mini Cooper Owner Comments

problem #7

Jul 152013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 114,975 miles


The power steering pump, fan, hydraulic fluid pump chf 1 core charge) and hose clamp were replaced by the dealer 5 days earlier. MINICooper/BMW sent me a letter for voluntary replacement because my MINIcopper 2003 had too many complaints with this issue. The car was running ok except for the power steering after the replacement I only drove about 70 miles because I was off from my school. The incident happened on July 15, 2013 approximately at 3:45 pm. I drove about 30 miles back from work. Parked the car in front of rite aid in rancho palos verdes. When I returned to the car it wouldn't start. Used jump cables for several minutes without success. Went to my mechanic close by. My mechanic came to look at the car, he was able to start the car. I drove back home about 6 miles. When I parked the car the car was very hot and most of the lights in the panel were lighten. I must mention that my car has a new battery and new starter (both were replaced 9 months ago). It seems that the problem is directly related to the electrical system and to the replacement of the part on 7/17/2013.

- San Pedro, CA, USA

problem #6

Mar 222007

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 28,639 miles
Turning from a left hand turn lane on to a side street as I have done at least 4 times a day for over 10 years, I lost all power and the ability to control the vehicle. In the middle of the turn the loss of power, the loss of steering, and the loss of brakes caused me to run into the curb. This accident resulted in the right front wheel and assembly being replaced. Not long after getting my MINICooper S the hesitation of the accelerator when stating off in first gear began. I was told by the service rep at the MINIdealership that there was no fix for this problem. I've had too many near accidents because of it. Going back as far as 2005 I have complained about my steering and the noise it makes. The whole steering unit has been replaced 2 times, yet in 2009 I experienced a total loss of power while traveling at speeds of 65 mph. The power loss was electrical even though my engine was still running. The final outcome was MINIreplaced the alternator and battery. I've complained time and again yet with no help unless it's coming out of my own pocket. Since owning this MINICooper S I've spent nearly $6000 in repairs. Because of the interdependent nature of the asc/dsc on the vehicles braking, electronics, and even starting acceleration from a stop; has this feature been properly studied as the culprit for the many and varied problems this particular car has? in the uk there is a blog called watchdog that has 180 people who posted between February and April 2009 that all had the same problem with the power steering that I and hundreds of others have reported. How can such a serious problem go unresolved for so long. There is no doubt that this problem alone falls under the United States code for motor vehicle safety (title 49, chapter 301).

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #5

Jan 312011


  • 70,111 miles
2003 MINICooper S with low 70 thousand miles cough fire on January 31 2011 around 4 am in the morning. It was seen to start on the passenger side under airbag and car was completely on fire the front end under the hood and under passenger dash was told failure was ABS

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #4

Jul 192010


  • 26,799 miles


My MINICooper S has less than 27,000 miles on it. It has been carefully driven and has sustained no crash damage. Had several warning lights come on the car and had failures with the ABS, steering angle sensor, and front wheel sensor. In addition and most importantly, I was told that I had "mushrooming" and cracked front shock tower mounts on both sides of the car, and that alone would cost over $1,400 to repair. I was told that hitting potholes or other road hazards caused this. In addition, the dealer, roadshow MINIin memphis, tn, stated that the shock towers and front bushings were considered wear items, and that they could be redamaged immediately if the car came in contact with another pothole. Additionally, I was told by MINIusa that no engineers or national representatives could be contacted, and that the dealer would handle all questions and concerns. I asked if there were any upgrades and fixes offered by MINIand was told that there were none. However, this problem seems to be fairly common, and there are several aftermarket companies that address this issue, . the service manager at the dealership stated that he sees this problem on 3-4 cars in the shop every month. It appears that this is a design flaw, that there can be strut collapse or suspension failure while driving, and that MINIshould have addressed this problem with these cars. For normal driving conditions to have resulted in deformed and cracked strut towers is unacceptable and represents a hazardous situation. I have never owned an automobile that had strut tower failure under normal driving conditions.

- Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #3

Oct 162006


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper. Upon taking the vehicle in for an oil change, it was discovered that the driver side struts needed to be replaced. Approximately four months later, the passenger side strut needed to be replaced. The front and rear brakes were also replaced and the vehicle had an oil pan leak. The driver's and passenger side window motors failed and needed to be replaced. The current mileage was 12,900 and failure mileage was 10,000.

- L.I.C., NY, USA

problem #2

Jul 242008


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper S. while the contact's wife was driving 60 mph, the wheel and tire detached from the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and has not been diagnosed at this time. The contact was informed that the cost for the repair would range from $3,000 - $5,000. The affected components were the steering, brakes, suspension, and shocks. A police report was filed and the contact has pictures available. The VIN was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 30,000.

- Derwood, MD, USA

problem #1

Oct 212005

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 23,000 miles
1) grinding noise was heard from right rear corner of the car while braking. 2) upon inspection, it was found that the right rear brake pads had worn down completely although the left rear brake pads have approximately 1/2 pad remaining. I had the vehicle towed to the nearest dealer for warranty service. 3) vehicle is currently at global imports MINIin atlanta awaiting inspection by a special BMW engineer to determine the cause of this unusual wear of brake components. The brake calipers that operate the brake system are suspected to be defective/faulty. This same problem also occurred on this same vehicle on May 8, 2004. At that time, the vehicle was also sent to global imports in atlanta where the brake pads and rotors were replaced under warranty due to excessive wear for the mileage on the car. However, the brake calipers were not inspected or replaced by global imports at this time. Because this has occurred twice on the same vehicle, I do not feel safe driving my vehicle with a suspect brake system. The service manager at global imports (eric peters) has stated that he believes this type of inconsistent uneven brake wear is considered "normal" photographs taken at the time of recent occurrence are available to show a comparison between the brake pad thickness on both the right and left side of the vehicle. Please contact me for these photographs.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

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