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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
79,648 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Mini Cooper Owner Comments

problem #11

Jul 012008


  • miles


Windshield cracked from the bottom where it meets the hood of the car. Driver's side window does not go down. I only hear a clicking sound. Water pump, oil pan and valve cover gaskets failed prematurely. I can't shift the car into first gear without multiple attempts.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #10

May 142016


  • 102,000 miles
While traveling North on us 221 from bent mountain, va to roanoke va my hydralic steering totally failed. As I travelled a short distance my brake light warning lights, ABS light, other brake system light, battery light and air bag warning light came on. I looked at the engine temperature guage and the temp was normal. I pulled into a parking lot, raised the hood, checked the fluids in the engine compartment and reentered the car. While sitting in the drivers seat I heard a loud explosion, looked forward and noted thick steam coming from the engine compartment. I turned the engine off, exited the car and when the steam dissipated I noted that the cooling system filling/overflow tank was split in half damaging a protecting cover on the firewall and sprayed a building wall and window with engine coolant 10 feet away in front of the vehicle. I had the car towed to martin's german service in cave spring, va. Because the closest dealership in located in North Carolina 150 miles away. Due to service volume they will not be able to evaluate the problem until 24 May 2016.

- Bent Mountain, VA, USA

problem #9

Mar 152015

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 71,500 miles
Steering fluid continuously leaks - replace hydraulic hose twice - known defect - MINIrefused to fix for free engine cooling - fan runs after shutoff continuously - known defect - MINIrefused to fix for free electrical - doors, windows, sunroof fire off on their own while car is moving and when is parked. Will do this at highway speed or when sitting outside (rain or shine) - car unlocks itself and windows all open up -known defect - kind of distracting at highway speed -MINIrefused to fix for free. Dealers will not fix these issues unless you make them recall vehicles with multiple small problems ( not just one big problem) - this model has 73 tsbs that dealers charge you to fix even though the problems are known and dangerous issues. In my mind, many small problems can be more dangerous than a few big ones - steering, door locks, cooling - not good. This is an old car but these problems are old too - known tsbs should not be subject to warranty time frames, they are still dangerous after the warranty expires. When these cars are routinely serviced, these known/dangerous issues need to be corrected or the cars should be taken off the road. I used the date of the last incident, not the first one. Thank you.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #8

Aug 132014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 72,000 miles


8/13/2014- I was stopped at a stop sign in a mall parking lot and smoke started billowing out from under the right front side of the car and at the same time started coming through the vents into the cabin of the car. I tried to shut off the car, but it would not turn off. A bystander came running and opened the hood, smoke poured out, told me to call roadside assistance as he was opening hood and then told me to hang up and call 911 that my car was on fire. Flames were coming out of the engine area but there was too much smoke. The engine fan was still running. Another passerby had an commercial extinguisher and emptied it on my vehicle. The fire dept. Was pulling up as they were trying to push it aside, the car re-ignited and it took the fire department approx. 15 to make douse the fire without it re-igniting. All of these people looked my vehicle over and could find no reason for it to ignite. I purchased the car used about 4 weeks ago and have put about 3000 miles on it without any issues. My insurance company had it towed to a mechanic down the road and they are to contact me tomorrow to see if they can see why this occurred. Luckily, my daughter and I were able to exit the car and be in an area close to the fire department and good samaritans...updated 10/06/14 updated 7/15/2015

- Shelton, WA, USA

problem #7

Jun 012011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 134,000 miles
I had noticed that the power going up hills had been slowing down for sometime but as we were driving in town and lost it's number three cylinder, took it to shop and with several days of work found out I would be better off scrapping it than fixing it. Mechanic who deals with BMW said that he could put in a new engine but he sand that the issues that he has seen on this years cooper show it is just a money pit. He said, just scrap it and take your losses. The only thing is I bought it used and still owe over $3,000. On it. I have no car and can't afford to replace it and have two payments as I am disabled with a low income from injuries. I finally got my car of my dreams and it because my nightmare. Missing my MINI

- Zanesville, OH, USA

problem #6

Apr 172014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 145,126 miles
On February 6, 2014 my MINICooper S was serviced at the dealership MINIcooper of concord for a recall in the power steering pump. Shortly, after in March my car started to smoke from the engine and my car bursted into flames. The fire department came and turned down the fire, however my car is a complete loss. I called MINIcooper of concord, however no one could provide help. I also emailed the head of the dealership and there was no response. I investigated online and noticed that many people had similar problems with the water pump leaking and catching fire in the engine. I called MINIusa and filed a case, and they promised to respond within 3 days. However, they did not only until I called various times and finally was able to reach a representative. James informed me that there was no way to evaluate the MINIcooper was as at fault and only tried to sell me a new car. I am very disappointed with MINIcooper's customer service and lack of support. My car is now a complete loss.

- Antioch, CA, USA

problem #5

Oct 092013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 109,400 miles


Accelerating after being stopped at a red light, lost power steering, smoke came out of hood, engine temperature redlined, and battery light came on.

- Pelham, AL, USA

problem #4

Jan 232013


  • 50,100 miles
While driving on the freeway, on a slight incline is when I noticed the RPM was high and the speed reducing. (along with some crackling, rough noises from the front end of the car) I let off the gas pedal (lowered the rpms), tried to accelerate but the car wouldn't regain speed the car eventually reduced driving speed to 30mph with RPM at 5. I moved over to the shoulder of the freeway and waited for help. With a child in car. Transmissions should not fail on a vehicle at 50,000miles. Very scary situation. I hope this issue with this make/model/year vehicle is addressed. That issue could seriously harm alot of people I have read too many similar stories online.

- San Ramon, CA, USA

problem #3

Feb 152010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
Water pump/super charger fail cause engine overheat. Had to replace the water pump/super charge assembly.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #2

Jul 302012


  • 79,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper. The contact was traveling 55 mph when gray smoke emitted from the under the hood of the vehicle as the power steering failed. The check engine warning light illuminated during the failure and the vehicle over heated. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where it was confirmed that the harmonic damper had detached from the engine. The manufacturer was contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 79,000.

- Yonkers, NY, USA

problem #1

Oct 012010


  • 59,000 miles
The transmission in my 2003 MINICooper died at 59,000 miles. I had to replace the transmission, same as numerous other MINICooper owners have, at a cost of about $7,000. I was told that the cvt transmission in the 2003 MINICoopers were defective and nothing could be done to repair it. MINICooper has not responded to the numerous complaints by its consumers and has not offered to help pay for the replacement transmission cost.

- Nichols Hills, OK, USA

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