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.

2.3

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,373 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #34

Aug 132009

Cooper

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,558 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I have a 2003 MINICooper with automatic cvt transmission and have had recurring problems with the cvt since I purchased the vehicle. Below is a summary of service visits, replacement of the cvt in 2007, and the current status of the cvt as inoperable. I have all invoices detailing work done. 10/9/02 - I purchased a new 2003 MINICooper with automatic cvt transmission from baron BMW in merriam, ks. 12/02 - MINIusa sent me letter re: Chassis #TE13495 that some automatic cvt transmissions had been filled with the incorrect transmission oil and to schedule an appointment to have it flushed and replaced asap. 12/27/02 - baron flushed and replaced fluid. I also complained that the car had died two times and ran rough. Mileage 1,760. 7/2/03-I took MINIin complaining "when going from reverse to drive car has a hard lurch" and baron's invoice states "test drove car and found it was very harsh going into gear and lurched when it was cold". 2nd auto trans concern was "car has almost died at low idles a few times". baron reprogrammed the car under warranty. Mileage 6,465. 7/23/07-customer goodwill provided by baron MINIand replaced the transmission at no cost although warranty was up. Mileage 49,512. 9/11/07-I took MINIin again complaining of rough idle and car wants to die at stops. Mileage 51,167. 8/13/09- MINIwas having a hard time shifting out of 1st gear. It would only drive 15-20 mph at up to 3,000 rpms. I called baron and was told the current transmission had a two year warranty (which made this complaint 2 years and a few weeks past warranty) but it was possible MINIwould cover repair/replacement. They did not. Baron flushed and filled the transmission fluid and said it runs better but it is not fixed. They recommend replacing the cvt again. I have not had the cvt replaced (for the 2nd time). Mileage 75,558.

- Topeka, KS, USA

problem #33

May 082009

Cooper

  • 98,000 miles
Transmission failed with no warning or symptoms.

- Bryson City, NC, USA

problem #32

May 142008

Cooper

  • 31,000 miles
Cvt transmission failure.

- Manchester, NH, USA

problem #31

Apr 122009

Cooper

  • 37,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Automatic transmission on my 2003 MINICooper blew out without any warning. The car would not move. The car had just about 37,000 miles on it and was regularly maintained at the dealers shop.

- Wynnewood, PA, USA

problem #30

Mar 012009

Cooper

  • 54,000 miles
2003 MINICooper transmission failure. Replacement cost approx $7500 this is a known defect and there is a multitude of problems associated with this. I bought mine used. No disclosure of it during the sale. It should be at least be flagged for the consumers protection. Dealers, manufactures will not even discuss it. It is a horrible situation to be in.

- Burlington, WI, USA

problem #29

Jan 102007

Cooper

  • 61,000 miles
My 2003 MINICooper has transmission failure it fell to pieces at 61,000 miles after impeccable engine maintenance for no apparent reason then I found online that many MINIowners had similar problems at the same time approximately 4 yrs after buying the MINIscam that they sell this faulty car just glad it didn't cause an accident.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #28

Jun 012006

Cooper

  • 40,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I have a 2003 MINICooper. The transmission (cvt transmission) first failed at around 40,000 miles and the dealer was able to replace it under the warranty. Since then every few months the transmission will fail and so far it's been the 4th time that the dealer tried to replace the transmission and still fails. It seems like the problem cannot be fixed once and for all, now my car has 81,000 miles on it and I feel bad to sell the car knowing I am just passing the problem on to someone else. I can have it fixed at no charge as I am covered by warranty however if I sell it, the next buyer will not be protected and will face endless fix and money to waste, not to mention that it's $8000 each time to replace a transmission.

- Arcadia, CA, USA

problem #27

Dec 262008

Cooper

  • 54,000 miles
My automatic transmission (cvt) broke while pulling away from a stop sign. Car was well maintained, dealer service only. Mileage was only 54K.

- Cranford, NJ, USA

problem #26

Dec 042008

Cooper

  • 80,000 miles
I own a 2003 MINICooper with a cvt automatic transmission. The car has 80000 miles on it and the cvt failed completely. There is no alternative but to get a new replacement with an "updated" 2005 model which I have been quoted from 2 places $8000 for parts and labor. This is my complaint. If they know there is a problem with the cvt why have they not contacted me? please contact if you need further details.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #25

Apr 182004

Cooper

  • 68,600 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper. The contact had the transmission replaced three times. In addition, the brackets that support the muffler have rotted. Underneath the hood, the brackets that support the horn have also rotted. The contact will take the vehicle to the dealer again for another repair. The failure and current mileages were 68,600.

- Flushing, NY, USA

problem #24

Oct 152008

Cooper

  • 67,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The cvt failed in my 2003 MINICooper at 67,000 miles. The repair cost offered by dealer started at 7400 then when told I had read about numerous others having the same problem the cost became 5900. Also found out the company stopped using this transmission in 07 models due to problems. Need re-call and or reimbursements.

- Statesville, NC, USA

problem #23

Feb 202006

Cooper

  • 62,000 miles
Failed cvt transmission in the middle of an intersection. Car had to be pushed to the side of the road as entire system was locked and engine died; could not manually move shift out of drive. Mileage was around 12,000 above warranty. Dealership quoted $7200 to replace transmission - no coverage under warranty. I could not afford the repair, so turned the car back to manufacturer as a voluntary repo. This was devastating. Car was in excellent condition otherwise.

- Kirkland, WA, USA

problem #22

Sep 192008

Cooper

  • 87,000 miles
Cvt transmission on 2003 MINIcopper failed at 87,000 miles. The cost to replace is quoted by the dealer at $7400. Come to find out that this is a recurring issue with this transmission to the point that it should be considered a recall issue.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #21

Sep 112008

Cooper

  • 66,000 miles
2003 MINICooper, 66,000 miles and the transmission needs replaced. The cost is going to be $8,500.

- Litchfield, OH, USA

problem #20

May 072006

Cooper

  • 64,000 miles
Bought the car in 2003 brand new and had complained to the service dept when in for repairs that the transmission felt odd. It would jerk at low speeds, between 5 and 10. They said this was normal for the cvt and it should go away once the transmission was accustomed to the way I drive. In 2006 my husband was giving blood in manchester, nh and while he was doing that I went to the mall for a few hours. As I was returning to pick him up I came to a yellow light that I could not make it through. I stopped the car, like normal not a hard stop, and heard a clank noise almost as if I had hit something in the road. The light turned green and I pressed on the accelerator to go and nothing would happen except my rpms would go up. I was on a slight hill and began to coast but I wasn't sure if I was coasting or if the car was just going really slow, until I started in an uphill and the car stopped. I tried to turn of the car and turn it back on, crazy logic that sometimes does the trick, and there was no change. I pushed the car into a driveway as I was on a 2 lane road and blocking traffic and called aaa to have the car towed. The car was towed to MINIof peabody. When they called on Monday they said that the cvt had failed, they found the chain and links in the oil pan and that it would have to be replaced. I asked how much the replacement would be and they told me parts and labor would be $7700. When I was told that I talked to the sa about the other people that had problems with they're cvt's at 60K miles. He said he would talk to the manager and call back. He called back and said that he talked to the manager and spoke with MINIusa and they would come half the cost of the replacement bringing it to $3850. I went to pick it up and it felt like a completely different car. There is no jerkiness at slow speeds so I'm convinced that I had a dud transmission all along.

- Newport, NH, USA

problem #19

Sep 022008

Cooper

  • 81,493 miles
On 9/2/08 I brought my 2003 MINICooper to the dealer for service. I was hearing a noise from the front that clocked at low speed. I thought it was a bad cv joint and asked the service writer to verify and give me a estimate. When they were done it was determined the noise was coming from the transmission and it would need to be replaced. The estimate was $7613 plus tax. I drove home and spent some time researching the cvt transmission in the MINICoopers and found what appears to be a high failure rate. A look at several forums for MINIs shows postings of problems similar to mine in Cooper models with mileages from 34,000 to 113,000 all with cvt transmissions. The replacement costs were similar too. There were many comments from forum users to avoid buying a used MINICooper with a cvt, "avoid it like the plague" was one comment. MINIno longer uses this transmission. Maybe the failures made them look to another source, I do not know. I also contacted a person who is gathering names, 50 so far, to file a class action lawsuit against MINIto try and recoup the money spent repairing a faulty transmission. That is just 50 people who knew how to contact her to be added to the list. As of right now these people are still looking for an attorney to represent them. There must be more, and 50 transmissions is alot of money. If a investigation is done by the NHTSA and a recall is initiated then maybe these people can be reimbursed by MINII find it unusual that a transmission should fail in a vehicle with 81,500 miles and most complaints I have read have a average failure mileage at 60,000. Minis warranty expires at 50,000 miles. This is unacceptable. The MINIdealer has made a effort to share the expense with me and in good faith will replace the transmission for 1/2 price. As of this writing I have not made a decision yet. The vehicle has a trade-in value of $10,000, so spending almost $4000 to repair a obviously defective part is crazy.

- Fairhaven, MA, USA

problem #18

Aug 252008

Cooper

  • 74,500 miles
Automatic transmission (cvt) failed. It will cost $8000 (MINIBMW dealer quote) to replace. I noticed there were many complaints of this problem on the internet many recommended to file a complaint on the NHTSA website.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #17

Jul 142008

Cooper

  • 67,000 miles
I own a 2003 MINICooper with 67K miles ( out of warranty). Two weeks ago while driving up a hill to my home, the transmission would not go into gear. I could barely make it up the hill and had to change to the slow lane and pull off the road. After doing much searching on the internet, I found that many were having this problem. This is a major drive chain component that shouldn't go out at 67K. The cvt transmission seems to be flawed and acknowledged by the manufacturer as they do not put these transmissions into the newer models. Also it seems, even out of warranty MINIs get transmissions replaced; with the owner only having to pay for labor if the owner causes a "stink" or alludes to making problems for MINIIf the manufacturer really believed the cvt transmission were not faulty, I believe they would stick to their position with all customers, instead of making exceptions. MINIshould be ordered to recall cars with the cvt transmission.

- Carson, CA, USA

problem #16

Jul 152007

Cooper

  • 78,000 miles
Purchased 2003 MINICooper in 3/03 at MINIsterling in va. Moved to pa, servicing car under warranty at the nearest dealership, otto's MINIin West chester (50 mi away). Minor issues corrected under warranty, which expired in late 2005. In July 2007, at 78,000 miles, while driving on local expressway car suddenly lost ability to drive in gear and I pulled over (luckily safe - traffic was moving at 60-70 mph). Engine ran but car would not go into gear. All signs pointed to major transmission problem. Car towed to transmission shop in york (nearest recommended shop) who confirmed transmission issue. Called MINIof towson (nearest dealer) for quote on replacing transmission - it was $7800! car was only worth $12,000-$13,000 at that time - repair was over 50% of car value. Local shop tried fix it with rebuilt transmission. Turned into 7 month nightmare as multiple rebuilt transmissions didn't work due to computer code issues, so car towed to MINIof towson twice to see if they could correct issues, but each time dealer only offered to fix with new transmission from them at $7800. Tried trading car to them for new MINIbut they only offered me $4000 for the car, saying their cost to fix was still $6000. Local shop finally gave up, refunding my deposit and returning car with rebuilt transmission that will only drives in low gear at 20 mph. Now have MINIin my garage (with balance on car loan) that should be worth $10,000 but is unusable. MINIis refusing to do anything about this design flaw (new cars have different transmission), which is unsafe at any speed, as they say. Netscape should order recall of these cars and repair at mine's cost. I have informed my congressman brother about this issue (he sits on house transportation committee) - he is awaiting word on how netscape and MINIrespond to my complaint (obviously shared my many others). Thank you.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #15

Jul 152007

Cooper

  • 78,000 miles
Purchased 2002 MINICooper in 3/03 at MINIsterling in va. Moved to pa, servicing car under warranty at the nearest dealership, otto's MINIin West chester (50 mi away). Minor issues corrected under warranty, which expired in late 2005. In July 2007, at 78,000 miles, while driving on local expressway car suddenly lost ability to drive in gear and I pulled over (luckily safe - traffic was moving at 60-70 mph). Engine ran but car would not go into gear. All signs pointed to major transmission problem. Car towed to transmission shop in york (nearest recommended shop) who confirmed transmission issue. Called MINIof towson (nearest dealer) for quote on replacing transmission - it was $7800! car was only worth $12,000-$13,000 at that time - repair was over 50% of car value. Local shop tried fix it with rebuilt transmission. Turned into 7 month nightmare as multiple rebuilt transmissions didn't work due to computer code issues, so car towed to MINIof towson twice to see if they could correct issues, but each time dealer only offered to fix with new transmission from them at $7800. Tried trading car to them for new MINIbut they only offered me $4000 for the car, saying their cost to fix was still $6000. Local shop finally gave up, refunding my deposit and returning car with rebuilt transmission that will only drives in low gear at 20 mph. Now have MINIin my garage (with balance on car loan) that should be worth $10,000 but is unusable. MINIis refusing to do anything about this design flaw (new cars have different transmission), which is unsafe at any speed, as they say. Ntsb should order recall of these cars and repair at MINIs cost. I have informed my congressman brother about this issue (he sits on house transpiration committee) - he is awaiting word on how ntsb and MINIrespond to my complaint (obviously shared my many others). Thank you.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

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