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 / 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 1 of 3)

problem #54

Aug 272014


  • 59,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper. The contact stated that the transmission warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the entire transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 59,000.

- Colorado Springs , CO, USA

problem #53

Aug 252011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
We purchased a 2003 MINICooper just weeks ago from a private party. Almost instantly the power steering went out while my daughter was driving. Luckily she wasn't in heavy traffic on the la freeway. We were told by the service center that we needed a new power steering pump. We purchased this and had it installed for approx.$1200. However the electric power steering pump fan still would not shut off when the engine was turned off, so this issue was still not resolved. Immediately following this repair my daughter was driving on the freeway at 60 mph when the car suddenly jerked and slowed to a stop. Luckily my daughter was in the right hand lane and could pull over on to the side of the busy freeway.(still no power steering working)the car was towed to the MINIdealer. They diagnosed that the cvt transmission needs to be replaced, at a cost of $7150 approx. And this is before they can even diagnose the steering fan electrical problem. From all the complaints on this website about both of these problems, MINIneeds to take responsibility! we don't know what to do, as the repairs are much more than the cars value and the MINIservice manager states that the new cvt transmission only has a 2 year warranty. If this is a defective transmission, why should we pay for another one. As of today my daughter has to walk/bus to school and the MINIsits.we are interested in the class action suit.

- Incline Village, NV, USA

problem #52

Oct 062009


  • 77,648 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, the vehicle suddenly stalled. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer for diagnostics, where the technicians stated that the transmission had an internal defect and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 77,648.

- Wallington, NJ, USA

problem #51

Apr 272011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2003 MINICooper. Consumer states problem with vehicle transmission the consumer stated her daughter was driving on the los angeles freeway when the transmission abruptly and suddenly failed. The vehicle had to be towed and various repair shops stated it would cost $ 9,3000 to repair because MINIdidn't sell the cvt transmission anymore because they were defective and prone to failure. The consumer has since donated the vehicle.

- Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #50

Nov 192010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 46,129 miles
My 2003 MINICooper has had total transmission failure (cvt transmission) at only 46,129 miles. Failure was total and sudden and vehicle is undriveable without new transmission. The dealer quoted me a cost of $10,055.44 (parts $6,943.28, labor $2,700 + tax). This cost is more that the vehicles' current value. I have been told that only a new cvt transmission can replace the faulty one, and even then that transmission may again fail as they are such terrible transmissions. The car will not take any other transmission option. The dealer basically laughed and said, "I don't suppose you have an extra $10,000 laying around, " when he told me the cost of the repair. The dealer has offered no assistance in lowering the cost, but basically said "tough luck" and taken no responsibility. The car is useless and unfixable at this cost. A recall should be done as consumers have been sold a failed transmission, and the safety of this car's transmission is totally faulty.

- Kailua-Kona, HI, USA

problem #49

Feb 182011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 58,469 miles
I own a 2003 MINICooper with a cvt automatic transmission, transmission and front differential filed at 58000 miles lucky for me I was not on the interstate or busy traffic as a serious accident could have occurred. MINIusa are totally aware of the problem and stopped putting this defective part in newer model vehicles. They will also not stand behind their product and are unwilling to rectify it. There are hundreds of people with this same issue concerning this transmission but for whatever reason there is still no safety recall. I hope it is not going to take someone to be killed or seriously injured before anything is done. Also the bushings on the drivers side a frame are bad wch in my opinion is a serious fault and could be extremely dangerous. Cost of replacement is 7,000+ these cars are rolling death traps in my opinion and someone needs to be held accountable.

- Ankeny, IA, USA

problem #48

Nov 092010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles


My 2003 MINICooper has almost caught on fire several times, replaced transmission, electrical harness, power steering pump, A/C hoses and A/C service, wheel bearings, injection plugs etc....... I still cannot find the real problem why is causing a short, it has almost caught on fire several times, this car has been the most dangerous car I have ever own, I have never spend so much money on trying to fix any vehicle, right now I'm about $11,500 in costs of repairs, this is a crime to the consumer, I have been reading about a class action lawsuit that is in progress, I hope and pray that we get justice from the maker of MINI

- Fontana, CA, USA

problem #47

Jun 052010


  • 43,500 miles
Transmission failure and power steering failure on 2003 MINICooper (automatic) at 43,000 miles. Original owner, no psp problems until a month ago when suddenly locked up while driving. Once restarted the problem stopped. Just tried to sell the car back to the dealer who then opted out of the sale after inspection as they said it needed a new transmission ($7,000+). both of these issues seem common when I searched on the net; both should be recall issues.

- Gibsons, 00, USA

problem #46

Jun 072010


  • 105,000 miles
The cvt transmission on my 2003 MINICooper has failed rendering the car not drivable. The transmission has always been quirky, but I was assured by the dealer that it was working properly. The transmission slips drastically and makes a very audible whirring sound. The only option for repair is a complete new part install at the dealer cost of $8,800. I have read hundreds and hundreds of identical stories about the cvts on MINICoopers as well as the power steering pump. It seems from research that this part commonly fails and replacing with a defective part at a cost near nine thousand dollars is absurd and disgusting. It is cost prohibitive to keep my car operating and I feel as though I have, as well as thousands of other MINIowners have been sold a defective product worthy of recall.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #45

May 132010


  • 104,600 miles
Mi MINICooper 2003 got transmission problems, need a part that they call, actuator motor, ,is no way to find that piece, need a new transmission for 8000 $ dollars. Many MINICoopers have the same problem nobody can do a recall to BMW.

- Casselberry, FL, USA

problem #44

May 122010


  • 96,000 miles


2003 MINICooper with failing cvt transmission. This transmission was discontinued by MINIand subsequently is failing at less than 100K miles. The transmission failure is abrupt and can possibly leave the passenger/S stranded in oncoming traffic. Consulted with MINIof greenville, SC this week and they stated that they are not responsible for the failing transmissions and cost to replace is approximately $8000. When asked if they would accept the vehicle for a trade they stated they would only give $1000 for the vehicle on a trade. I have read multiple posts from irate owners who are having to deal with the premature failed transmissions. With the increased Focus on vehicle safety MINIshould be held accountable for these premature failures.

- Seneca, SC, USA

problem #43

Oct 152008


  • 75,000 miles
My 2003 MINICooper's cvt transmission stopped working about 1 year ago. The MINIhas 75K miles (all highway miles). Towed the car to the MINIdealership. Had the modular unit replaced; however that wasn't the problem. The problem is that the cvt transmission needs to be replaced. The cost to replace it is too much. It cost the true value of the car...over $8,000 to replace it. BMW/MINICooper will not take any part of responsibility to their mechanical problems on these types of cars. Due to the high cost of repairs the broken down MINIis being stored in a garage basically rotting away.

- Findlay, OH, USA

problem #42

Feb 102010


  • 64,000 miles
Sudden and unexpected failure of automatic transmission on 2003 MINICooper.

- Lakeway, TX, USA

problem #41

Dec 012009


  • 100,000 miles
Transmission cvt failure.

- Minnetonka, MN, USA

problem #40

Oct 102008


  • 86,000 miles
2003 MINICooper transmission failed while driving on highway. Car just stopped while going 60 mph. Manufacturer/dealer would not cover repairs (85,000 miles out of warranty). Estimate to replace: $9,000. Sold car as is at auction.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #39

Nov 062009

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper. While driving approximately 25 mph the transmission began to slip gears. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing. The failure was related to the transmission which required replacement. The transmission can only be replaced by an authorized dealer, but there are no authorized dealerships in the state. The mechanic estimated the replacement cost of the transmission between $8,000-$9,000. The vehicle has not been repaired for the malfunction. The failure and current mileages were 76,500. The VIN was unavailable. Updated 01/12/10 uddated 01/14/10.

- Davenport, IA, USA

problem #38

Oct 222009


  • 128,000 miles
Transmission failed on 2003 MINICooper while driving on highway.

- Redondo Beach, CA, USA

problem #37

Sep 192009

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper. The contact stated that the transmission will shift into the drive gear. The vehicle was taken to a local repair facility, and a technician concluded that he needed to replace the cvt transmission, at an expense of $ $8,300. No repairs were made. The manufacturer was notified, but no assistance was provided. The failure and current mileages were 88,000. Updated 10/21/09. The repair shop discovered the cvt drive belt had shredded which sent metal through the transmission. There were no parts available, the only option was full transmission replacement. Updated 10/20/09

- San Antiono, TX, USA

problem #36

Aug 202009


  • 55,000 miles
My car will suddenly only go about 5 mph. This has happened several times. We have taken it to the mechanic and he thinks he has it fixed and then it happens again. Now they are saying it needs a new transmission for $8,400. They can't rebuild one, they can't buy a rebuilt one. The car has low miles and the transmission shouldn't be going out. I believe MINICoopers have a flawed transmission and the company continues to put more flawed transmissions into cars and we the customers are getting !@#$%.

- Aberdeen, WA, USA

problem #35

Jul 292009


  • miles
Our MINICooper repeatedly stalled while in heavy traffic resulting in several near death experiences. No fault code or check-engine light ever appeared. Upon taking the car into the dealership, while under warranty, the problem and our concerns were dismissed without remedy. Finally, after being in the mountains on windy roads a clicking noise began. Since no fault or check-engine light appeared, we assumed the cause of the noise to be from something minor and opted to drive the car to the nearest mechanic, a five mile drive. Shortly before arriving to the mechanic, the MINIunexpectedly became quite difficult to control. Luckily we were able to get off the freeway, upon which the transmission completely stopped working requiring the car to be pushed to the mechanic. Again, no check-engine light came on as a warning and no fault codes were stored. BMW's MINICooper cvt transmission poses a significant safety hazard to drivers. Research indicates BMW is aware of the defective transmission, which explains why BMW opted to no longer use the cvt transmission in later models. Thank you for taking the time to rectify the situation to keep MINIowners & other drivers safe. Ours is just one of many similar experiences we've recently learned of while researching the dismal track record of BMW's cvt transmissions in early MINICoopers.

- Hayward, CA, USA

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