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: The 2008 Mini Cooper has problems with the oil feed lines to the turbo leaking which is not only dangerous & a fire hazard, but also costs $1,200 to fix at relatively low mileage.

Also the 2008 Mini Cooper has a defective timing belt tensioner pulley that can cause the timing chain to break, resulting in expensive engine damage.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
53,103 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.

2008 Mini Cooper engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 3 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #54

Feb 062014


  • miles


Turbo charger fuel supply line is leaking on my 2008 MINICooper S. the dealer suggested a replacement cost of $750. There are many complaints online about this issue and the leak is happening due to poor design. The leak may cause fire damage and might cause extensive damage to the car.

- Parker, CO, USA

problem #53

Jan 282014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 38,879 miles
Car has had issues with cvt transmission. Yesterday I was told that it needed to be replaced. At urging of other MINIowners in the same situation, I am reporting problem to your Agency in hopes to have BMW recall the cars and replace the faulty transmissions.

- Browns Summit, NC, USA

problem #52

Nov 252013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
Turbocharger oil feed line leaking. The part is poorly designed and according to the research I've done prone to failure. The part is not covered by the cpo warranty and the dealer wanted $1400 to replace it. I replaced it myself with a better designed aftermarket part. I think MINIshould cover the cost of replacing the part with a better design.

- Mansfield Center, CT, USA

problem #51

Sep 162013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles


I took the vehicle to the MINIdealership after I heard a noise from the engine and the engine light came on. From online descriptions, I suspected it was the timing chain tensioner. I contacted MINIcorporation and opened a report. The check engine light came on about a week later and I took the car to the dealership. I was told by the dealership that the timing chain tensioner needed replaced. It was a $3500 fix. The dealership contacted MINIto see if they would cover the repair and they refused saying the vehicle had too many miles. They changed the oil and the check engine light went off. About two weeks later my son was at a red light, stopped and the cars stalled. We had it flat-bedded to a repair shop. The timing chain had snapped and the engine needed to be replaced at a cost of $5700. I just saw where MINIissued a recall for the timing chain tensioner and I contacted them but they have not replied.

- Boardman, OH, USA

problem #50

Nov 112011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 48,700 miles
Loud engine noise coming from chain tensioner at startup. Sounds like diesel engine. Also happens during cold engine start.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #49

Dec 042013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 48,500 miles
The car starts very rough especially in colder weather. I was told by a MINIdealership that could have been due to lack of oil, which is not the case as the oil was just changed. Also when in traffic coming to a stop the car will drop idle and stall out. The car will stall in neutral or with clutch fully pressed in. Researching online and watching some videos, it seems much like the timing tension/chain issues known but not yet having much done with them. It would be nice if BMW/MINIwould sort out the issue especially if its a design flaw. Kinda disappointed as its not that old and has fewer then 50K miles on the engine.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #48

Nov 182013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 53,600 miles


Turbo oil supply line is leaking oil on my 2008 Cooper S, the dealer has recommend replacement at a cost of $900. I initially took the car in for a recall to install a heat shield on the same oil line, some online research (including many official complaints here) has suggested that the lack of a heat shield has caused this failure, yet it is not covered under the recall. Yet another unfortunate defect in the MINIdesign, I've already been through the timing chain/tensioner debacle.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #47

Nov 022012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 26,000 miles
Bought car from dealership after a lot of research on issues with these cars an complaints. Brought varro MINIdealership and asked about timing chain and tensioner and was told mine was fine even though they never opened up cover to inspect chain or tensioner. Have been back three different times with multiple issues with timing chain/tensioner horrible rattle. MINIsays there is no known defects with timing chain/ tensioners ever brought up. I then was told by my brother that he I taking his MINIin for a service action on the timing chain/tensioner, turbo heat shield, thermostat housing. We have exact same car, same build date, and rolled out from same factory but MINIstates ours isn't covered under the service action even though we have the exact same car and everything. And my brother is also out of warranty but theirs is getting fixed free. Please help. I am aware of the freeman-skeen class action lawsuit and have file a complaint with BBB so I guess I'll have to find legal help since they don't pay attention to NHTSA complaints.

- Mountainburg, AR, USA

problem #46

Oct 242013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
It has oil leaks around turbo line which the oils make smokes as the oil drip contacts with down pipe. This may result in serious damage to the car.

- Wheeling, IL, USA

problem #45

Oct 012013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 29,976 miles
While driving my MINIthe check engine light came on. I took it to a local repair shop that specializes in MINIs. the manager told me that the crankcase valve needs to be replaced and it is built into the valve cover. Upon inspection the mechanic also discovered my timing chain is almost ruined also. I have been hearing the timing chain rattle upon start up.

- Temple, TX, USA

problem #44

Sep 152013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles


Timing chain making terrible rattle. After research this seems to be a new and quite common problem. This needs to be recalled.

- Columbus, MS, USA

problem #43

Sep 032013


  • 33,000 miles
Timing chain mechanism (tensioner seemed to be main culprit) failing and system needed replacement. Total cost $2500. Car had 33,000 easy miles on it. Mechanic said timing system was on the verge of failing traumatically and destroying the engine. Reported it to MINIwho admitted they have been having a lot of trouble with those but there had been no recall so they couldn't help me. Replacement parts were different serial numbers than the originals indicating, per my mechanic, they had redesigned the parts.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #42

Feb 152013


  • 46,674 miles
Engine rattle on cold start indicated a loose or stretched timing chain. Required a premature replacement of timing chain, guides and tensioner

- Floyds Knobs, IN, USA

problem #41

Sep 102013


  • miles
The sensors on this car were no good. It did not inform me that there wasn't any oil or coolant I'm the car. I only had the car for two weeks after we discovered the dealership did not inspect or service the car like they promised. On 9/10, the car turned off while I was driving and wouldn't turn back on. Two mechanics have told me the car is no good and I am not at fault for the defects. The entire time the car was in my possession, the sensors did not warn me about any services the car needed. I have been going back and forward with the dealership about the defects. I returned the car, asked for a full refund, and they have yet to do anything to honor my wishes.

- Opa Locka, FL, USA

problem #40

Aug 262013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
Thermostat housing developed a leak resulting in loss of coolant, engine overheated and warped the head and bent valves.

- Lake Wylie, SC, USA

problem #39

Aug 172013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 44,000 miles
While turning at a highway intersection, the timing chain failed which, in turn, destroyed the engine. I was stranded in the middle of the intersection. I have been given a quote of $7,200 to replace the engine with a new one.

- Iowa City, IA, USA

problem #38

Jul 112013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
At less than 33,000 miles the engine began making a loud cranking noise. Oil was very recently changed, but checked the level anyway and found it was down about 2 quarts. Added oil and engine noise was reduced. Drove a few hundred more miles and engine noise returned. Oil was again low. Took car to our mechanic and they diagnosed timing chain tensioner problems. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but did not offer any assistance. The critical timing chain failure can lead to premature engine failure. This is a safety issue because the failing timing chain can also cause the motor to fail. Our mechanic in consultant with the MINIdealer indicates that the only way to ensure this problem does not lead to engine failure is to replace the current engine with a new one that has the timing chain issues resolved. We have no choice but to have this repair done and it will cost approximately $7000 as the vehicle is not under warranty. This issue has been widely reported in other complaints in this database as well as across many MINIowner forums. It appears that a recall order should be issued.

- West Hartford, CT, USA

problem #37

Jul 192013


  • 50,000 miles
I change my oil every 3K on the dot. I check it regularly. Fully synthetic every time. I was told when I bought my MINIwith 42K that the rattle under the hood was normal. At approx. 50K I heard the same metal rattle that sounded like a chain smacking plastic, so I brought it in to be checked. Now I'm stuck with a timing chain replacement that's going to cost upwards of $2,000. Now I'm not one to complain of normal wear and tear parts but who has a timing chain go out at 50K? if you google timing chain issues you will see. There are tons of people who are having the same issue. Luckily mine was caught in my driveway. If this chain goes out on a highway... this can easily cause a fatal accident... please don't wait for an accident to happen. Get these chains replaced with ones that have been quality controlled. This is a true safety hazard.

- Rosamond, CA, USA

problem #36

Jul 032013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 38,432 miles
My MINIhas had regular service at habberstad MINIsince I purchased it. I had complained about engine noise in November 2011 and they found the oil was low and refilled it. At each service I mentioned the noise and nothing was found except to tell me I need induction service, replace leaking water pump (even after the recall for this part was done already) and coolant exchange for $1300. The loud rattling engine noise persisted and car became almost undriveable. It took them 3 days to find that the timing chain etc. Needed to be replaced, which after some research online I had already found to be the problem. Of course my warranty was now up so I had to pay $3000. And my car only has 38,000 miles on it. This is absolutely unacceptable!! I was told by the dealership that they haven't heard anything about this and I should call MINIdirectly and lodge a complaint, which I did. I would like to have this issue investigated, as MINImust certainly have heard from more customers besides me and they are doing nothing about it. The customers are getting stuck paying for a design flaw. Please do an investigation and make them issue a recall to repair this defect and refund our repair costs. MINIneeds to stand behind their motorer pledge and give us the quality product they advertise.

- Huntington Station, NY, USA

problem #35

Jul 082013


  • 52,522 miles
Had to take my MINICooper S with jcw package in to correct a service light issue. Was carbon build up on the valves. Cleaned it for $1500. Drove it about a month and the turbo bypass solenoid valve failed. Back to the MINIcooper dealer in clear lake. They replaced the solenoid and did a oil change for $550 got it home and noticed it had a faint smell of something burning. Thought it could be they got some oil on some parts that get hot. One week after the turbo solenoid was replaced I noticed a oil spot on my garage floor. Raised the hood and the turbo had a oil film on it and the air intake supply on the turbo was loose and practically off the turbo. Took it to dealer. They said look like oil drain bolt leaking. Replaced it but the also cleaned the oil off the turbo" not sure why. I didn't tell them it looked like it was leaking. Maybe they knew" drove it home and it still smelled like something burning. Looked under the hood and the turbo was covered with oil. Back to the dealer. They can fix it for $1200 it is the turbo oil feed supply and return line. Also the oil deteriorated the air intake line and caused it to deform so that it no longer will stay on the turbo intake. After further investigation looks like the turbo oil feed line is a major issue. Multiple reports of this failure. I also saw a service bulletin for the heat shield on the oil feed line. But they failed to do the install on mine. Even though I have had it in for several services since the bulletin. There is definitely a issue with the oil feed line to the turbo. Won't be purchasing another BMW product. Will not be using this dealers service if I decide to keep the MINI

- Pearland, TX, USA

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