NHTSA — Steering: Electric Power Assist System Problems

CarComplaints.com Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague

CarComplaints.com 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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
74,721 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

problem #9

Nov 102011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 63,000 miles


I am the original owner of a 2004 MINICooper S, now with a power steering problem. The power steering repeatedly fails for no detectable reason--this according to my MINIBMW mechanic. I drive the car for approximately 15 miles and the power steering fails. I shut the car off, let it cool and restart it. It returns to normal and then again fails after a few miles. The on-board computer records the failure, but does not explain it in a way that would suggest a solution. The car's computer reads: "fault stored: Short circuit/open circuit at control unit." Hence, my mechanic has no idea of how to fix it short of replacing the entire system which, as he says, is no guarantee that the problem will stop. As it is, the car is unsafe to drive, and I will no longer permit my wife to drive it. I do hope the NHTSA will look into this issue. I read online that allegedly is investigating the issue, and I would be happy to provide my mechanic's written evaluation if it would contribute to your research. The steering now fails each time I drive the automobile. Thank you for your attention.

- Catonsville, MD, USA

problem #8

Nov 282011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 68,439 miles
Power steering intermittently working causing severe oversteer while entering highway traffic. Had no indication of problem while on interstate. Upon exiting interstate on a 30 mph loop steering failed. Presently power steering is intermittent so the wife no longer gets to drive the cooper. Good fortune was with me and I have driven cars without powersteering. Even so I was caught off guard and I am hopeful this report will prevent others which may be less fortunate or experienced. The MINIdealership didn't seem to care.

- Lewisburg, TN, USA

problem #7

Jul 082010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Power steering failure while driving; had new steering rack/pump installed at 90,000, worked fine for a year and now the power steering has failed for the second time; a new steering pump/rack needs to be installed...

- Gpw, MI, USA

problem #6

Oct 072011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 169,975 miles


The vehicle's power steering failed without warning while driving down the road. This caused the vehicle to be very difficult to steer. The car is almost impossible to drive.

- Racine, WI, USA

problem #5

Sep 162011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 90,120 miles
Driving on highway entering turn, and car was hard to steer, had to jerk wheel to avoid hitting another car. When will something be done with mine and others who have this issue. Does it take a death for car dealers to be held accountable.

- Waynesboro, PA, USA

problem #4

Apr 012011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles
Power steering just cuts off while driving for no reason. You have to stop the vehicle and turn off engine and then turn it back on to (I guess) reset the power steering. This is impossible if you are driving on a road that you cannot pull over and especially on a curvy road.

- Meadows Of Dan, VA, USA

problem #3

Mar 152011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles


Loss of power steering. At first intermittent, now complete.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #2

Apr 012010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 70,441 miles
The contact owns 2004 MINICooper. While the contact was driving approximately between 25 to 30 mph, there was a slight loss of power steering without warning. The failure was a continuous occurrence. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 70,441 updated 02/01/11 the power steering pump had to be replaced. 03.22.11

- St.Clair Shores, MI, USA

problem #1

Sep 102007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,515 miles
Driving to work and power steering system failed without warning. This failure created a dangerous situation. I was able to control the car, but it took a tremendous amount of effort. Had my wife been driving, it is likely that she would lost control.

- Gray, TN, USA

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