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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
66,154 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.

2009 Mini Cooper engine problems

engine problem

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2009 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #29

Apr 172013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles


Just purchased used 09 MINI2nd owner, on start up car sounded rough, dieseling sound and was told by dealer that it was common. Then when driving at low speeds or when slowing down, terrible rattle sound. Took it in for an oil change, and the rattle went away, but then came back shortly before next oil change was due. Took it in for oil change again, and sound went away again, but then came back within days. Finally was able to get an appt with the closest authorized dealer, 50 miles away, but couldn't get in for two weeks in order to get a loaner. They had it for two days, replaced the timing chain, nylon parts were in the oil pan from the guides being shredded. Picked up the car on the third day, and fir almost one week it seemed fine. Just short of one week out of the shop and heard the rattle again. But then it was fine, so I thought it was an anomaly. One week to the day since picking it up from the repair, barely made it into the drive from taking my daughter to school. Called the shop and have it scheduled to go back in. Having the car towed to the shop as the repair tech treks me that it is "unsafe to drive."

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #28

Oct 222013


  • 23,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 MINICooper convertible. The contact stated that when the vehicle was started, it would vibrate as the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for inspection or repairs. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 23,000.

- Astoria, NY, USA

problem #27

Oct 172013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
Total loss of power as I was crossing a major highway, car towed to local BMW certified mechanic, shows timing chain misfire, needs total replacement with multiple components needing replaced due to timing chain problem. 3300$ worth of damage to engine. Apparent problem with timing chain on thousands of MINIcooper and they have not called a recall on the piece. This was almost a major accident for me and is causing me thousands of dollars to replace and major inconvenience.

- St.Georges , DE, USA

problem #26

Oct 212013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 59,000 miles


I am being told by knauz MINIrepair that the timing belt needs to be fixed. It is a $2000 repair. In looking at the internet, it seems that this is a common problem that can have tragic consequences. In fact, there is one class action suit in NJ about it. MINIrefuses to take responsibility to a design failure. Something needs to be done.

- Glencoe, IL, USA

problem #25

Oct 132013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
While traveling on a highway at @ 55mph, the coolant temperature warning light illuminated yellow and then red on my 2009 MINICooper. I stopped the vehicle and observed that the clips which secured the lower radiator hose in place had broken and the radiator hose was hanging horizonally across the front of the vehicle, dragging along the ground. A hole had been worn through the hose and the coolant had leaked out. After having the vehicle towed home ($285), I purchased a new radiator hose and clips from the MINIdealership ($160) and had it installed by my mechanic ($100). I also lost a 1/2 day of work. A total loss of over $600. Because of poor design and/or inferior materials internet research shows that this is a common MINICooper problem. I did not hit anything which would cause this issue, despite MINICooper's attempts to place blame on the driver's who experience this issue. If MINICooper would properly address this issue and remedy the situation, it would spare countless driver's from being stranded on the side and the expense of fixing what should have been remedied by a service bulletin or recall.

- Newton, NJ, USA

problem #24

Sep 242013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 57,010 miles
Upon startup of the engine, there is a loud noise coming from the engine. A very unhealthy sound. Sound is unusual for any gas engine, let alone one with only 57,000 miles. Searched the internet for other MINIcoopers experiencing this problem. Many complaints all over the internet for exactly this problem. Many owners reporting early engine failure, as early as 12,000 miles reported by a MINIdealer in Maine. Most owners are seeing the problem with 40-50,000+ miles. The local MINIdealer says the repair is not covered by warranty, and repairs are approx. $2,000. Timing chains usually do not need replacement even after 100,000 of use, some cars never replace timing chains until 200,000 miles. This car seems to eat timing chains around 40-50,000 miles.

- Palmyra, NJ, USA

problem #23

Aug 142013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 35,100 miles


Started to hear a knocking noise coming from the engine compartment. Issue with the time chain. So bent out of shape that the chain almost broke. I have always kept on top of changing my oil and getting my car serviced everytime it need it so I don't understand why this would even happen. When researching my problem I saw that its extremely common for models since 2007+ to experience this. This needs to be recalled. There's no reason for a owner to have to pay 200-2000 dollars when they have done everything right with servicing and oil changes etc. Im just glad I wasn't on the highway when this happened to me because having your engine belt break in a busy highway doesn't sound safe.

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #22

Jul 152013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 55,177 miles
Third complaint and counting..... I went to start my MINIonly to notice it was leaking oil heavily under my car. I brought it to my repair shop who told me it might be the O ring. They replaced it and told me to bring it back a week later. I returned Friday July 19th to have them look under the hood. There was oil everywhere. All over the engine. The seal was fine! it turns out the vacuum pump needs to be replaced and possibly the timing chain at a later date. The cost for the pump and labor is $574. So far I have spent almost $4000 on repairs. I don't have an estimate for the timing chain, I can only imagine. I only bought my MINIin February at 49K miles and she's been in the shop longer than she's been driven. I don't know what to do any more and wish that BMW/MINIwould acknowledge that all R56 engines are defective. If I known I would have bought another better reliable car than a MINIand that is coming from a person who loves my MINI

- Boerne, TX, USA

problem #21

Jul 012013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 55,008 miles
This is the second complaint I've made within six months of purchase: I was driving along the highway at 70mph when the reduce speed engine light came on. Before I had a chance to reduce speed the car came to a complete stop on the fast lane of the highway. The car behind me swerved as I managed to restart my 2009 MINICooper S and pull into the slow lane. I managed to avoid collision and placed hazards on. I got my MINIto brady's auto repair. The mechanic told me that the loss of engine power was due to turbocharge failure on an original MINIpart. He said that BMW done a recall for the same part which is in the 2009 MINICooper S and couldn't figure out why they hadn't done it for MINIThe turbocharge was completely replaced on my MINIat the expense of $2778.47. I contacted MINIwhich stated that there is no recourse and nothing they can do. I'm responsible for the repair. I am not happy with this at all as I had my two children in the MINIwhen this incident happened and it could have lead to loss of life if the driver behind me hadn't taken action. I hope the NHTSA does investigate this matter in all MINIcoopers.

- Boerne, TX, USA

problem #20

May 012013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 37,970 miles
First noticed the rattle while driving the car. Everytime subsequently after that whenever I turned the car on I would hear a loud rattling noise under the hood. Car is a 2009 MINICooper S with 38,005 miles on it. Timing chain and assembly needs to be replaced. Dealership quoted me $5,000 to repair. The car was just out of warranty and MINIusa didn't want to help out with repair cost. Seems like a lots of these fairly new cars have this issue. Dealership that quoted me said they had 5 they were working on just this week. They expected MINIto issue a recall but were surprised they hadn't. guys in the parts department were all to familiar with all the parts that were required to fix the problem. They had them readily accessible and expressed their sympathy of having to pay $$ to fix what unquestionably is a manufacture defect. Please help us give MINIa friendly nudge into issuing this recall.

- Hayward, CA, USA

problem #19

May 142013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 53,900 miles


I had my oil changed and automatic shifter replaced under warranty rite around 49500 on odometer. I have a 100K maintenance care plan that covers all engine oil changes, brakes and rotors. But right around 53000 I kept getting the service in 1700 miles light when ever I start the car and goes away. The miles started reducing sooner than the actual miles driven. I went to MINIshowroom to check what was going on and they said I need a oil change according to key fob (they changed my engine oil just 3K miles back). I got the call that afternoon saying my timing chain tensor was bad and leaking oil. It's a car less than 4 years old with 50K miles, this shouldn't happen. They said it can grenade the car if I driving without fixing. The parts was $33 but labor was $400. Wth MINIPeople are not buying warranty for this. In the morning I was proud of having a MINIthat covered engine oil change under my 100K warranty. But evening $450 ripped off my bank account. Can't take this anymore. Happy I did not grenade my engine. But not happy taking the $450 charge. Some people here get the same problem even after fixing this issue in 20K miles and MINIdoesn't seem to keep up their word on there 2 year warranty on their repairs. I think I'm going to change my car in a year. I like the drive but can't take this repair bills.

- Herndon, VA, USA

problem #18

Apr 142013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
Turbo oil feedline / pipe failure, resulting in leak, possibly due to excessive heat.

- Binghamton, NY, USA

problem #17

Jun 142012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
The timing chain has an issue and rattles really laud. This is causing issues with the vehicles idle and speed during driving.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #16

Mar 142013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
MINIreleased a service bulletin (campaign: Sim 11 02 12) regarding faulty timing chain tensioner. At appx. 40K miles, my Cooper S was taken in for service and it was reported there was a "rattle" in the front of the engine. The dealership replaced the tensioner under warranty. Now the same issue has occurred. I am being told the entire timing chain assembly needs replacement at an approximate cost of $3K. MINIhas offered to pay 1/2 the cost. There is no explanation why the repair is not covered under 2 year replacement tensioner warranty; since this original issue was only partly addressed while in 50K car warranty. My MINInow has 77K. Once warranty request is submitted from dealer to MINIcorporate, decision is final. There is no appeal. Failure to perform service will result in engine failure in near future.

- Murfreessboro, TN, USA

problem #15

Mar 132013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
Timing chain tensioner failure. No warning whatsoever. Timing chain broke, causing complete engine failure. Out of warranty so MINIwon't touch it. Will cost $7500+.

- Bastrop, TX, USA

problem #14

Mar 042013


  • 49,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 MINICooper S. the contact stated that while parked, the engine fan failed to deactivate. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and informed the contact that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V008000 (engine and engine cooling). The approximate failure mileage was 49,000.

- Boerne, TX, USA

problem #13

Dec 212012


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 MINICooper S. the contact stated that she noticed the engine had a leak. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection and they stated the water pump and the turbo charger needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 75,000.

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #12

Feb 192013


  • 29,000 miles
The timing tensioner on my MINICooper S backed out, resulting in a massive oil loss while at highway speeds. This is apparently a known issue by MINIbut no known recall has been issued at this point.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #11

Dec 152012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 63,963 miles
12/14/12: I drove home from work. I had no problems driving, but heard a bit of a cold start knock. 12/15/12: Car didn't start in the morning. I immediately got the car towed to herb chambers in boston, where I had exclusively taken it to every maintenance check-up and issue I had since I purchased it new at the same location, even after my warranty had expired. 12/16/12: Herb chambers performed a diagnosis for $135, and said that the timing chain was broken, which would cost $2,500 to fix. However, they also said that other engine parts may be broken, but they wouldn't know until they started working on the timing chain. As you can see, I was not happy at all with this inconclusive diagnosis. Do I pay $2,500 for them to then tell me it actually needs a new engine for close to $10,000, or do I tow it elsewhere? 12/17/12: Towed car to german performance service for a more complete diagnosis, which showed that the timing chain and tensioner were broken, as well as most valves and other engine parts. We conclude that it is cheaper to replace the entire engine ($3,213 + $1,980 of labor = $5,193) than to fix everything individually, which would be more labor intensive. 12/21/12: I contacted MINIusa to inform them about my situation and how unpleased I was with herb chamber's extremely vague diagnosis, as well as MINIs major timing chain flaw. MINIusa completely ignored my request for the sole reason that I took my car to a 3rd party mechanic. They said that if I had stayed at the dealer (even though they gave me an incomplete diagnosis), that they may have helped me out. 12/30/12: I contacted herb chambers boston with the same concerns. They understood my points, but said that unfortunately they cannot force the manufacturer to do anything they do not want to do. As a small gesture, they did give me back what they charged me for their initial diagnosis ($135).

- Waltham, MA, USA

problem #10

Dec 232012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 62,100 miles
Vehicle was taken to dealership in Feb 2012 for a rattling noise. Service center at braman miami said that they could not duplicate the noise, so it was assumed they found nothing wrong with the vehicle. Prior to this, the vehicle had been in the shop 2-3 times due engine malfunction light, rough idle at cold start and loss of turbo power due to leakage in turbo oil feed lines. This was repaired in early 2012/late 2011. In December of 2012, while driving the rattling noise of the complaint in Feb 2012 intensified and oil light illuminated while driving. Car was pulled over to safe location. Once car was stopped, the engine malfunction light also illuminated. Driver checked oil level, which appeared low but within the marks on the dipstick. Oil splatter was observed on the hood and on engine. Rubber gasket feeding to engine was observed to be displaced where oil appeared to have leaked out. Vehicle was towed to braman miami. Service department reported that failure was caused by timing chain/tensioner issue. Service dept is charging 17K usd for repairs as it is not found to be under the scope of warranty of previous repairs to the turbo oil feed lines. MINIhas been contacted to see if any relief can be provided as this seems to be a common issue with these vehicles.

- Miami, FL, USA

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