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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 6
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
40,206 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 1 of 3)

problem #43

Aug 222014


  • 57,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 MINICooper S. while driving 60 mph, smoke appeared from the vehicle and the service engine, coolant, and oil warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle stalled and was able to be restarted after several attempts. The contact stated that coolant was added on two occasions, but the coolant indicator illuminated one week later. The vehicle was towed to a dealer who diagnosed that the thermostat, water pump, and engine were melted and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V008000 (engine and engine cooling). The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 57,000.

- Port Murray, NJ, USA

problem #42

Dec 242013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Driving my 2008 MINICooper S at 70mph on the highway, the vehicle lost power and died. The timing chain tensioner failed causing the motor to blow up and the timing chain popping through the valve cover, the timing chain tensioner is under a factory inspection notice, I never received a notice to inform me of the part failure. Now the engine needs replaced.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #41

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 #40

Apr 022012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles


My MINICooper S has less than 60000 miles on it with proper maintenance and has had failure of the friction wheel (aka timing chain or tensioner system). The first signs of the issue are a very loud, rattling noise during acceleration and as the problem gets worse, it continues to rattle during idling. The MINIcorporation is very aware of this problem and while the dealership itself worked with me to lower the cost because they say it happens frequently even with proper maintenance on the car and while the vehicle is still under warranty, the corporation wouldn't acknowledge or help with the cost to fix it. Also, if the problem isn't fixed immediately, it will lead to a blown engine. Furthermore, I have read that several MINIowners have replaced the friction wheel only to have the same problem reappear not long afterwards. This is an issue of faulty manufacturing and MINIneeds to stand up and absorb the cost to fix it and/or recall the minis affected to ensure it no longer happens.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #39

Apr 092012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
Timing belt and tensioner needs to be replaced, has broken guides and causes very loud "diesel" sounds. Only 50,000 miles on the car. Oil leak in oil line going to turbo.

- Shepherdsville, KY, USA

problem #38

Apr 072012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles
I have a 2008 MINICooper S that has a timing chain issue that seems to be a problem for this model, as I researched this issue found that looks like a production issue which I believe should be corrected by MINIBMW. Not everyone has $2000 to have this fixed, I have 28K miles which I consider a farely new car still not fare for us consumer who shell out alot of money for a car we believe to be reliable and is not, please review this problem and help us consumers be treated fair we need your help to stop these company's from taking advantage of us until something horrible happens.

- Rockford, IL, USA

problem #37

Dec 012011


  • 55,000 miles


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. This in turn leads to a lack of power/acceleration/movement endangering the driver and other drivers. Currently BMW/MINIhas acknowledged this issue however has failed to repair or replace the defected item outside of the warranty period. This issue also does not appear to be an issue from certain date or assembly line. It has been affecting a wide range of MINICooper S and john Cooper works models with a date range between 2007-current. MINICooper drivers around the U.S. and world have been reporting a strange knocking/rubbing noise coming from the engine compartment for the year 2007+ MINICooper. From the misc dealer repair details it appears to be a issue with the timing chain and tensioner system. It also appears the without being fixed the car will eventually have a timing chain failure and possible motor destruction. On a good note BMW/MINIknow what the problem is however is failing to come up with or acknowledge a permanent solution. How many customers issues will it take before BMW/MINIwill issue a full recall? we all hope not many more. I am in the second generation MINIgroup myself. Every morning I cross my fingers in hope that when I push the start button the sound of engineering failure doesn't sing from under my hood!

- Lilburn, GA, USA

problem #36

Mar 162012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 59,302 miles
Vehicle makes a loud noise from the engine compartment at cold start, dealer informed me it's the timing chain and tensioner, total cost about $1950. Dealer informed me it's a common problem but there is no recall from MINIusa.

- Westampton, NJ, USA

problem #35

Jan 182012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
The oil lines that supply the turbocharger are leaking oil and it continues to get worse, starving the turbo of cooling oil and spraying oil all over the engine.

- Newport, KY, USA

problem #34

Oct 122011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
Engine developed a knocking, rattling sound which grew louder over time. The local MINIdealership diagnosed a timing chain glide and tensioner failure. Replaced the entire assembly. Was told MINIrealized the glides were inferior and was now using upgraded glides in the replacement kits. When asked if this shouldn't be a warranty replacement since it could lead to total engine failure, was told this was up to MINIusa, not the dealer. This is also a safety issue if the timing chain breaks while driving, seizing the engine, and leading to loss of control of the vehicle.

- Ruskin, FL, USA

problem #33

Aug 182011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 58,000 miles


Tensioner allowed timing chain to slap the chain guard, such that pieces of the chain guard eventually got caught in the timing chain and the car was off time and off camber. Pieces of the chain guard were spread throughout the valve housing. Replaced tensioner and whole timing chain assembly. 2nd tensioner lasted only 3 weeks. Am on my 3rd tensioner and holding my breath.

- Bossier City, LA, USA

problem #32

Feb 062012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 28,300 miles
My 2008 MINICooper S (with 28,300 miles) has experienced diesel sounding engine problems coming from the engine. I looked this up on the internet to find this was a tensioner or timing belt issue with the car. Almost 600 people have used this site: to share their experiences about this problem. This is a formal request to please request action on BMW's part to rectify this timing belt situation. The owners of these cars should not and can not be forced to pay for this engine problem of such a new car. A recall needs to be issued, and BMW needs to come up with a permanent fix.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #31

Jan 272012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 61,838 miles
Turbocharger needs to be replaced and the dealer wanted to charge me $3,700. But the cause of my turbocharger needing to be replaced was the cause of my auxiliary water pump - thermostat housing going out in 04/12/11 which caused the turbocharger to overheat and become damaged. I reminded the dealer about the water pump being replaced so they contacted MINIusa and it took them 2 weeks for the dealer and MINIusa to cover the replacing of the turbocharger under warranty. Even though they replaced the water pump back in April 2011, the current Feb 2012 recall for the auxiliary water pump is being replaced concurrently with the turbocharger. These are the 3 complaints on my car in less than a year: 04/12/11 - water pump replaced under warranty. 10/20/11 timing chain replaced and cost me $2,239. And now 01/27/12 they wanted to charge me another $3,700 for the turbocharger. Who pays almost $6,000 in repairs on a car that is 3 years old?

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #30

Oct 202011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 57,803 miles
Loud knocking noise upon starting the car. It was very loud so I took it to the dealer. A metal piece from the housing for the timing chain broke off and caused damage that cost $2239 to repair. The service rep seemed to know about this problem. I asked the service rep for my old parts which I have kept and upon inspection the parts looked good (timing chain and tensioners (plastic parts). The flaw is in the design, a one inch little metal piece that cannot support the vibration of the timing chain broke off and caused all the damage. I've read multiple complaints on this site regarding timing chain problems on S models, this should be a recall.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #29

Apr 122011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 49,492 miles
Water pump melted - thermostat housing replaced at 49,492 miles. My engine light lit up yellow and by the time I arrived at work it was red. I tried pouring coolant and it just spilled out onto the ground. I took it to MINIto get it serviced and they said the heat from my engine caused the thermostat housing to melt and was replaced under warranty. They replaced it with a new pump but not with the one that is now the February 2012 recall that MINIis doing on all 2007 - 2011 S models for (the electric auxiliary water pump that cools the turbocharger has an electronic circuit board that can malfunction and overheat). See next complaint from 01/27/12, as the cause of the old faulty water pump this has now caused my turbocharger to go out and MINItried to charge me $3,700 to replace it. But I reminded them that my water pump was previously defective and that has caused the current problem with the turbocharger and now they are replacing it under warranty along with replacing the recalled electric auxiliary water pump.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #28

Dec 152011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
Timing chain cover broke apart and spread throughout the engine. I feel this is a defect. MINIthe company that handles the extended warranty is refusing to cover.

- Shelbyville, TN, USA

problem #27

Jan 062012


  • 20 miles
2008 MINICooper - my temp light came on/yellow and thinking just low and added more coolant. But it keep giving me the light signal. I didn't see any hole or is not dripping any coolant. On 01/06/12 I called MINICooper of loveland Colorado to take my car in for service because my temperature light came on to yellow and then red. I was told by the MINICooper dealership, I have a hole in my coolant pipe and no one knows why. So, on the way home, my car starting to smoke bad and my car stopped running. It over heated. The last people touched my car was 6 months ago to get my oil changed from the MINICooper dealership. What's weird about it, how and why did I get a hole and why my car over heated? please I need help with this because now, it's costing me over 2500 to get my problem fix.

- Greeley, CO, USA

problem #26

Jan 042012


  • 23,455 miles
When the car is started cold in the morning with an ambient temperature of around 37degrees F. there is a rattle in the engine compartment somewhat similar to a diesel engine rattle but louder. Could be a timing chain problem that will destroy the engine eventually. BMW needs to do something about it.

- Fallbrook, CA, USA

problem #25

Nov 252011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 44,000 miles
I drove less than a mile and smoke started coming out of the engine. The turbocharger was leaking oil onto the engine, which almost caused the car to catch on fire.

- Evansville, IN, USA

problem #24

Sep 092011


  • 37,136 miles
The vehicle was driven approximately 1 mile, then stopped at a gas station to add air to a low tire. While the car was idling, white smoke came from the engine, followed by dark smoke. When the hood was opened, we saw a small flame coming from inside the front of the engine. We ran to get a fire extinguisher from the gas station attendant; by the time we returned, flames were visibly shooting up out of the engine. We were able to extinguish the fire with a hand-held fire extinguisher. There were no injuries and the fire department was not called. The vehicle was towed to the nearest MINIdealer. The service attendant declared that he had no experience with any engine fires in his tenure with MINIAfter an investigation (pictures taken by service and emailed to MINIcorporate), the auxiliary water pump was found to be the source. It was replaced, along with a number of connectors and hoses, and the engine was cleaned of fire extinguisher powder. When I asked several times about this problem, the only answer I received was that this staffer had never heard of a car fire like this in his time (3 years) at MINI

- Anderson, IN, USA

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