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 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #34

Mar 282013


  • 54,008 miles


While driving the car (gas) started running rough and sounded like it was a diesel. After some research I found that the tensioners in the engine are worn out. I had the upper replaced, but the others also need replacing. Based on my own research, it appears the problem is related to the manufacturer's recommended oil change. The company recommends changing oil every 15000 miles with synthetic oil. The fix is supposedly to change the oil at half that, 7500. I've been told this could result in the timing chain coming off and the engine being trashed.

- Morganton, NC, USA

problem #33

May 142013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 27,454 miles
We started hearing a loud noise around 27,000 miles. Car was just over four years old and out of warranty. Ended up with a timing chain issue and it needed to be replaced. Repeated calls to MINIdealer and MINIusa provided worthless, stuck with whole repair and no assistance.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #32

May 142013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 27,454 miles
We started hearing a loud noise around 27,000 miles. Car was just over four years old and out of warranty. Ended up with a timing chain issue and it needed to be replaced. Repeated calls to MINIdealer and MINIusa provided worthless, stuck with whole repair and no assistance.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #31

Jan 082013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles


My MINICooper S was purchased brand new, and had all regular maintenance done at the dealership. However, once the warranty expired I took the car to my regular mechanic who has performed work for myself and family for twelve years. After reading this website, and it's complaints the same problems have occurred to me. The oil lines began to leak because there was a clog, and it caused the turbo to burn out. Parts and labor for a used turbo came out to be around $1,800. A new turbo alone would have cost roughly 2,000. Now several thousand miles later, there was an oil leak noticed under the car. I took it to the dealership this time, to see what the exact problem was and an estimate before taking it to my mechanic. They found "several leaks" of which they replaced the water pump, the water pump gasket, valve cover gasket, and finally the oil filter gasket. After the $1,800 bill for that was paid, a call was received declaring that the crank case now has a leak in it as well and needs to be resealed. With the oil leaking from that, the clutch could also be burning out and need to be replaced costing an additional $5,400. The repair bill on this alone would be enough to bring normal hard working people to tears. Also, the cold start rattle identifying the timing belt issues has begun on my car. There are thousands upon thousands of complaints about this on the internet. Glad to know BMW takes care of it's customers and ignores the complaints.

- Easley, SC, USA

problem #30

Apr 112012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 46,000 miles
Dear [xxx], I am writing to you in regards to my MINICooper VIN# [xxx]. firstly, I am aware of two recall notices, id# [xxx] and id #[xxx]. I believe I should have been notified of these recalls but to date have not received a letter. Several times I indicated the sensory warning came on with engine malfunction. This concerns me, because since I purchased this vehicle, I have had catastrophic failures before 45,000miles. I have brought it to the MINIservice center for these failures, including: Replacing spark plugs, faulty coil pack, faulty latch, brake replacement, catalytic converter failure, on-board computer replacement, total replacement of the transmission and currently, the solenoid valve replacement which is not yet fixed. I have enclosed copies of my invoices for these problems and service visits. [xxx], the technician at MINIof camarillo, stated this last problem (the solenoid valve) apparently is related to the vanos although the engine light came on/off with caution message engine malfunction catalytic converter. I took it out for a test drive with him it still had the same exact jolt thrashing back and forth motion hard enough it is felt on the seat. [xxx] at MINIof camarillo informed me in order to repair the ignition coil and replace the spark plugs previously replaced at the calabasas service center I have to pay a substantial amount of money in order to fix this current problem. I don't understand this since the time I brought the vehicle on May 24th the car still shakes violently while exiting out of the freeway and on frequent stops. These continued mechanical problems with my MINICooper have required it to remain unrepaired and out of service at the MINIservice center now for a week to be mechanically safe to drive. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #29

May 212013


  • 40,000 miles
Sound of the engine rattle noise when stars in the morning.

- Fairfield, OH, USA

problem #28

May 092013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 55,450 miles


I had been servicing my 2008 MINICooper S at the dreyer & reinbold BMW MINIdealership for the life of the car, which I bought new. I just had it in the shop around 50K miles and was not told that I should consider changing my timing belt. One day I went to start my car and it wouldn't start. I towed it to the dealer and they told me my timing belt had broken and damaged my engine. I am no faced with replacing my engine and a bill of $6600+. this defect that was not brought to my attention has ruined my engine and after thorough research of fellow MINIdrivers, I am hesitant about what other defects may come about in the future for this car. This should be brought to the attention of the manufacturer and there should be a lawsuit or recall in place to compensate MINIowners for this faulty part.

- Indianapolis , IN, USA

problem #27

Mar 192013


  • 89,151 miles
I currently have an oil leak developing from the turbo oil line that has resulted from a failed O-ring within the line itself. Due to a design flaw, the heat from the turbo wears away the O-ring, which results in oil leaking from where the line is bolted to the turbo via a banjo bolt. This is a serious problem because if the line fails, the turbo becomes starved of oil and burns up, which ultimately causes the whole turbo unit to be replaced. Also, the oil leaking onto the turbo has a potential to catch fire, since the turbo becomes very hot during normal driving. Also if any oil leaks down to the exhaust piping underneath the turbo, those places also pose a fire hazard. MINIrecognizes this to be an issue, but refuses to do anything other than add a heat shield around the connection to the turbo. The line still has a rubber O-ring in it that will fail over repeated heat cycles, and the line needs to be redesigned.

- Pflugerville, TX, USA

problem #26

Apr 132013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 36,500 miles
The car has been smelling like burnt oil for about a week. I took it in to the shop on Saturday. Today, Tuesday, when I was supposed to pick it up, I was told that I need the following repairs because there are "leaks": 1) water pump 2) timing chain 3) valve cover 4) oil feed and return line the car has around 36,500 miles on it and we are looking at about $8,000 worth of repairs! what"?? I paid almost $30,000 for this car and now have to spend additional money to keep it running" the extended warranty that I purchased will cover the first three items on the list. The oil feed and return line is not currently covered under the warranty, even though after a brief internet search, I find that this is a very common problem with these cars. I would like to have this issue investigated, as MINImust certainly be aware of this problem and is doing nothing about it. The customers are getting stuck paying for a design flaw and this is not acceptable at 36,000 miles. The cost of this repair from my dealer is 1400.00!! please do an investigation and make them repair this defect!!

- Redondo Beach, CA, USA

problem #25

Apr 082013


  • 73,000 miles
There is a leak at the oil supply line leading into to the turbo housing. This is a major oil leak and safety hazard. Oil leaking onto the hot turbo can potentially cause a fire. Aside from the potential fire hazard, the leak, had it gone unnoticed, could have caused an engine failure. The local MINIdealership said the replacement would cost around $1,000 with oem parts.

- Cary, NC, USA

problem #24

Mar 302013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 96,400 miles


A significant engine oil leak was detected by oil spots under parked car. The dip stick registered 1 quart low. A quart was added and the car driven about 100 miles the next day. Upon return, the oil was a quart low again. During the preceding two weeks there had been several instances of a burning oil smell and on two occasions smoke coming from under the hood. This was during a rainy period and the smoke was initially thought to be steam from getting water in the engine compartment from puddles on the roads. When I took the car in for service, the dealer found that the oil line to the turbo was leaking as well as the oil filter housing seal. Both of these complaints have been noted in the database previously. The cost to repair was approximately $1000 usd.

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #23

Mar 242013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 49,200 miles
I have owned the MINIsince new. Always regularly serviced at the MINIdealer. Recently I started the engine and it sounded more like a diesel engine, very noisy and unusual. Took it to the MINIdealer and as I explained what the symptoms were, the front desk person that took my details diagnosed the problem. The preliminary diagnosis was confirmed later through an inspection by a trained technician. Like many, many MINIowners I have had a timing chain problem. That the front desk staff can diagnose a problem like this made me curious, it must be such a common problem that the dealer sees it regularly. Some research confirmed this was a widespread problem with minis. Owners have had terminal engine damage with engines that are low mileage and simply should not have any problems. This issue with the engine is serious and can lead to a major accident because of a catastrophic engine failure while driving at highways speeds. Although I was lucky, and do not have a huge out of pocket expense as I have extended warranty coverage, I still believe this is an important safety matter that BMW/MINIappear to be ignoring. It should be the subject of a vehicle safety recall. It is poor engineering and design on their part, that should be rectified.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #22

Jan 272012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 35,900 miles
We purchased this car in late Sept./early Oct. 2012 with 29K miles on the car. My wife drives this car, and while traveling on the interstate, as she was entering the off ramp in forest lake, mn her car started to jerk/run like crap (late January 2013). She was able to drive the car home, I tried to figure out the issue, but everything I checked test good, so I brought it to a local import tech, and he diagnosed the failure to be the timing chain tensioner, allowing the timing to jump. He says he started up the motor to test further, it idled for less than a minute before the motor died and now will not start. I now, after owning the car for 3-4 months, have a major engine failure. I do not care to think what would have happened if this happened while my wife was traveling down the interstate at high speeds.... thankx

- North Branch, MN, USA

problem #21

Feb 252013


  • 70,000 miles
Timing chain tensioner failure on 2008 MINICooper leading to large oil leak under pressure. Loss of all engine oil, oil spraying onto hot exhaust system, engine oil pressure loss and oil warning light. Could easily lead to complete catastrophic engine failure/seizure at highway speeds and accident.

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #20

Mar 142013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
The timing chain has locked up. I notice that this is a commom complaint.

- Reno, NV, USA

problem #19

Feb 282012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
Strange knocking/rubbing noise coming from the engine compartment for the year 2007+ MINIcooper. From the MINIdealer repair details it appears to be a issue with the timing chain and tensioner system. It also appears that without being fixed the car will eventually have a timing chain failure and possible motor destruction. This could occur while driving and I could lose control of the vehicle causing a crash. MINIwill not fix this problem that they know about without the vehicle still being under warranty. I call for a recall.

- Bastrop, LA, USA

problem #18

Feb 012013


  • 52,000 miles
The oil input line to the turbo has started to leak. The car is currently sidelined because of chance of fire or failure of the turbo.

- St Peters, MO, USA

problem #17

Jan 312013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
My car had been making a rattling sound off and on for a short time (mostly in the cold mornings) I drove from houston to dallas. When parked on the side road, my car would not start up. I had no service light or any other lights come on. Took it to the dealership and I was told my timing belt was broken. I have no means to pay for the repair. While searching the internet it appears this is a very common problem and MINIcooper/BMW are aware of this and have done nothing about it.

- Humble, TX, USA

problem #16

Jan 292013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 54,667 miles
The car started leaking small amounts of oil in the garage, approximately the size of a dime. When the car was parked you could smell a slight oil burning odor. The car sat for 3 days, was driven and smoke began coming out from under the hood. There was no fire. The result is that the "turbo oil feed line" and "crankcase to valve cover hose" were replaced because both were leaking oil. At 50700 mi, we had to replace the valve cover and ccv assembly. This car was repaired under the recall PE11036 for a cooling fan issue. Considering the low mileage on this vehicle, it seems to me that there have been too many issues with it related to the turbo charger and oil system. From reading other issues online it appears that there are design flaws with the shielding of these components from high heat sources on the engine. These repairs are very expensive and are not related to poor or abusive driving habits.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #15

Jan 212013


  • 80,000 miles
The oil feed line for the turbocharger leaked enough oil to allow enough smoke into the cabin to greatly decrease visibility. The fitting is comprised of a bango fitting that is crimped to the feed line with an O-ring in the feed line. The O-ring is the component that failed and my engineering back round has led me to the root cause being that the O-ring has seen enough thermal cycled to deteriorate leading to the leak. This is unacceptable from a reliability standpoint and I know that I am not the only MINIowner that has had this happen to them. MINIneeds to own up to this design flaw.

- Amherst, NY, USA

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