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. Notes: Power steering problems are a major issue with the 2004 Mini Cooper, with hundreds of owners reporting complaints to the NHTSA about their power steering suddenly failing while driving.

Some power steering failures have caused crashes & injuries. Average mileage at failure is well under 100,000 miles & the repair cost is over $1,000. Not good.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
9 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,059 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.

2004 Mini Cooper steering problems

steering problem

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2004 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 6 of 21)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #317

Jul 232012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


I returned home after driving for 15 minutes. I turned the car off and a motor kept running. I restarted the car to see if a electrical fan had kept running. I turned the car off again, but the noise of a fan or pump was still heard. I looked for a fuse to remove, but could not find the one that stopped the noise. I disconnected the battery, so the wiring would not overheat. I reconnected the battery the following morning and the noise still persisted. I called the dealer fermin MINIof tampa bay to ask what the noise could be. I drove the car to the dealer for a replacement steering pump and fan.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #316

Jul 122012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
I was attempting to merge on to a major highway when my power steering failed, causing my vehicle to be temporarily out of my control. Due to the loss of steering, I was unable to safely maneuver the car into traffic and was forced to use both my parking brake and my regular foot brake to stop the vehicle before I collided with a traffic light. The vehicle stopped approximately 5-10 feet from a traffic light pole and placed me in the center of the intersection where other motorists were attempting to gain access to the on ramp. After several seconds, the powersteering reengaged and I was able to continue, without incident. I am lucky to be alive, and thankful that it was not my death the prompted some concrete action by both your Agency and BMW. This is the third time my power steering unit has failed. The first two times were less than one second each and occurred when the car was stationary making it difficult to diagnose. Some how Canada has forced BMW to issue at the very least an extended warranty on this specific part, how is it that the us is so far behind?

- Media , PA, USA

problem #315

Jul 092012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
Steering suddenly became very difficult and stayed that way. It was fine the next day, but as the car was being driven a while the problem came back.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #314

Jul 162012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 61,500 miles


Power steering pump failed while driving on highway without notice. Never got a warning light before during or after failure. Narrowly avoided an accident since I was not prepared for steering to be so difficult to turn the wheel. I was able to pull over into a parking lot where I turned the car off, let it sit for a while and then turned it back on and the steering was ok again. Since the steering is back and no warning lights, I assume everything is going to work ok from now on.

- Franklin, TN, USA

problem #313

Jul 112012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 110,500 miles
I experienced a failure where the steering wheel became very difficult to turn and would not return to center after turning. Fortunately this occurred first at a very low speed. I drove straight to the dealer which had replaced the electric power steering pump 1,300 miles earlier. This failure was determined by the dealer to be binding of the lower steering shaft and it was replaced.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #312

Sep 272011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
Power steering failed after 3 hour trip - while parking. Steering has returned and quit multiple times since - and now has quit working it seems for good. Car is hard to steer, especially at low speed, but I am still able to drive it.

- Rockingham, NC, USA

problem #311

Jun 252012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 94,000 miles


Driving on freeway, steering suddenly became very difficult. Later went back to normal. A month later the power steering pump continues to run after vehicle switched off, draining battery dead.

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #310

Jul 052012


  • 78,000 miles
Power steering is loss is random, once steering is lost after turning off and car cools it works again. Leading me to believe that the cause of the problem is in the unit's design. Hesitant to spend upwards of $800 (in parts) to replace when it may not solve the problem. Manufacturer should investigate and issue recall due to tremendous complaints on similar failures and not solution is available.

- Herndon, VA, USA

problem #309

Jul 072010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 49,642 miles
Power steering has been going in and out for 3 years, getting worse.

- Forestdale, MA, USA

problem #308

Jun 292012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles
The power steering stopped operating as we were making a 90 degree turn at an intersection. We were able to pull over and turn off the engine. We checked the power steering fluid level, and found it was in the proper range. After a short wait we restarted the can and the power steering seemed to be operating.

- Chapel Hill, NC, USA

problem #307

Jun 012012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 83,000 miles


The vehicle had been acting strange for the last couple of months, the steering would become heavy at times, and on the other occasions would work just fine. A trip to the dealership revealed that the power steering pump had failed. This seems like a known issue with most of the 2004 MINICoopers, a defective part was put into the car while manufacting. MINIis not taking any responsibility of it, and the dealership is asking for $1200 to replace it. Due to the power pump failure, the temparature rises and may have caused damage to a few hoses around that area.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #306

Jun 132012


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 MINICooper cv. The contact was driving 40 mph when the power steering failed, without warning, while making a turn. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 50,000.

- Hawthornwoods, IL, USA

problem #305

May 312012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 92,800 miles
Sudden loss of all steering assist at speed, resulting in alarming loss of control of vehicle.

- Abbeville, SC, USA

problem #304

Jun 102012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
My MINIcooper intermittently, without warning becomes very difficult to steer. Power steering failed rounding a corner on the freeway, nearly resulting in a high speed crash.

- Los Gatos, CA, USA

problem #303

May 222012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 17,550 miles
I was on my way home from making some errands, went to turn left and I thought the car had cut off or something. Because it didn't want to turn right, but to my surprise it was running. So I manage to turn it before I hit the curb. When I got home I was able to see what was wrong. The power steering quit working. I let the car cool a little and got back in it and the power steering was working again. Come to find out the power steering works for about 10 minutes and goes out, until it cools off. I started looking on the internet and found out I'm not the only one with this problem. This is very dangerous and I mean dangerous. I called my MINIdealer to see if there were a recall on this problem and they said there wasn't. but I did see they had a MINIdealer notice for them to look out for this problem, but not fix for free. So we need a recall before someone gets killed or hurt, if it hasn't already happened. Thank you, [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Lafayette, LA, USA

problem #302

Jun 022012


  • 60,788 miles
I was driving through atlantic city, and when I tried to make a left turn, the power steering assist on my minicooper failed. The steering wheel was rigid and needed to be forcibly turned using a great deal of strength. I almost ran into a fence surrounding a parking lot, but was able to apply the brakes, wrestle with the wheel, and edge into the parking lot.

- Cherry Hill, NJ, USA

problem #301

Jun 012011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Experienced total loss of power steering on several occasions with no warning lights. Occurred mostly after starting the car on hot days. The car is very difficult to steer at low speed with no power steering. Power steering sporadically came and went. Eventually, the power steering pump would remain on after turning off the car, causing the battery to go dead. Replaced power steering pump and fan in May 2012 at about 130,000 miles and haven't had any issues since.

- North Liberty, IA, USA

problem #300

May 302012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
I was driving to a friend's house approx. 20 miles away. On a turn, the car steering was almost non responsive. I managed the turn and turned my car off. When I restarted it, the power steering was back but only for a short time. I had to stop and start my car a few more times to get to my destination. The problem occurred closer to my destination then my home so it was safer to go there. It easily could have been the cause of an accident, especially on that first turn off of a 65 mph road. I'm not that strong. It took everything I had not to go in the ditch. Luckily nothing was coming. I took my car in for service today. They replaced the power steering pump. There was no lead up to this incident. I had power steering and in a second, I didn't.

- Powell, OH, USA

problem #299

May 262012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 47,685 miles
Power steering intermittently goes out and steering becomes very difficult (I.e. hard to control the car). This problem has occurred several times without warning and after restart goes away. In February of 2012 there was a recall for this specific problem in Canada. This is a safety issue, please rectify it.

- Bayview, ID, USA

problem #298

Apr 282012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 50,144 miles
Lost power steering at highway speed due to power steering pump failure. Short circuit or fire melted power steering pump wiring harness. Damage was caused to other portions of electrical wiring harness by fire, resulting in blown fuses. Upon removing key from ignition at roadside, engine kept running until battery was disconnected.

- Oak Hill, VA, USA

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