really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
43,568 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.

2010 Mini Cooper engine problems

engine problem

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2010 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #35

Nov 032016


  • 83,500 miles


During normal vehicle operation, vehicle lost power. Pulled to the side of the road, turned vehicle off, and vehicle would not restart. Had vehicle towed to local mechanic. Problem was diagnosed as a broken timing chain.

- Jackson, TN, USA

problem #34

Oct 252016


  • 25,000 miles
Timing chain evidently broke with little warning and car died in middle of road. BMW MINIhas known of this and settled a class action lawsuit without ever issuing a recall or notification to owners. The car had less than 30,000 miles on it.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #33

Aug 152016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2010 MINICooper S. upon inspecting the vehicle, a technician heard an abnormal noise and stated that the timing chain needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN and failure mileage were not available.

- Amesbury, MA, USA

problem #32

Aug 092016


  • miles


Tensioner broke causing timing chain sheared the camshaft gear and destroyed engine...had car 7 months...bought used at Toyota of nicholasville in nicholasville

- Clay City, KY, USA

problem #31

Apr 162016


  • miles
The timing chain guide rail, chain tensioners, slike rail friction wheel etc all had to be replaced and it only has 13000 miles I know that BMW is being sued and habberstad said that we would be informed of the suit if our vehicle is part of the suit. Please help us with this matter.

- Huntington, NY, USA

problem #30

Nov 302015


  • 66,568 miles
The contact owns a 2010 MINICooper S. while driving approximately 70 mph, the vehicle overheated and the temperature gauge warning light illuminated. In addition, smoke and a burning oil odor emitted from under the hood. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. After the vehicle was serviced, the turn signals and windows failed to operate. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer, but the diagnosis was unavailable. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 66,568.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #29

Feb 192016


  • 60,000 miles


The car just stopped running. We towed it to a mechanic and the engine broke down. It appears to be an issue that has been identified by many others and a class action suit is in the works. I don't have the $5000 to repair it. I'd like for MINIBMW to extend the warranty to 7 years and cover this repair since it's a known issue.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #28

Aug 242015


  • 55,000 miles
My daughter was driving the MINIcooper on hwy 101W when the car suddenly and with out warning lost all power. She was fortunate to not have been stranded on the highway. We had the car lifted and taken to a BMW dealer. They determined that there is a hole in the #4 cylinder that is responsible for the loss of power. The car has 55K miles on it and is 5K miles outside of full warranty. We have all service records well documented that exceed BMW \mc recommendations. We have since had the car lifted and taken to the mc dealer in camarillo ca. They with out explanation as to what happened state that the car needs a new engine at our cost of $6,500+. this is crazy given the low miles and the fact that it has been well maintained. There is much more information that we can provide however the site seems to time out and this is my third attempt at writing this notification. Please advise or contact me if you can help with this matter. BMW is fraudulently selling these vehicles as reliable and they need to be taken to task. Regards, mike fahner

- Klamath Falls, OR, USA

problem #27

Dec 272015


  • 80,000 miles
Purchased car w/50,000 miles on it and have already had water pump replaced and now while driving down the road going about 40 mph the timing belt broke and blew parts into the engine, so it pretty much needs a new engine already now 25,000 miles after we bought it. Lots of complaints about the timing belt/chain on these 2010 models. Seems odd to me.

- Loomis, CA, USA

problem #26

Nov 242015


  • 35,000 miles
The timing chain tensioner came loose causing an oil leak and the timing chain to slip/skip which in turn caused damage to the motor and now my car needs a new timing chain & new motor which is costing around $9K. This car only has 35K miles on it & this should not have happened! I was driving on the freeway when all my oil leaked out, causing lights to flash & loud noises. Once pulled over to a gas station and found all the oil was gone, a mechanic there noticed the tensioner coming out, tightened it, then refilled the oil. The car held the oil at this point but then the car would not start. After towing it to a shop, they saw that it would need a new timing chain but didn't want to do a full break down of the car since it is very involved and there could be motor issues so he suggested I contact MINIusa & a MINIdealership. The dealership said they had to have it there to determine the issue & see if the manufacturer would cover the costs. So I towed the car again to a MINIdealership & they said it needs a new motor since the valves were damaged also. After sending this info to MINIusa (the manufacturer), they reported to me that they would pay $4K of the $9K in costs (not even half). Getting advise from a lawyer, this entire issue should be covered by the manufacturer and I already paid too much just by having it towed twice when this is a flaw in the car. The car only has 35K miles & this tensioner should not have come loose in the 1st place causing all this damage. In the end, I am still fighting with MINIusa (after being without my car for almost 4 weeks) to cover all costs of repair for this and asking that this be reported as a "known issue" on the tsb so other people do not have the same problem I am having!! I have attached the email I got from seattle MINIfor the diagnosis to give you an idea of what they see happened!

- Woodinville, WA, USA

problem #25

Nov 192015


  • miles


The water pump and thermostat in this vehicle failed. After getting it replaced at the dealer I learned later there is a recall (that had already been completed). I also learned that the thermostat may have been covered by the federal emissions warranty (the dealer said it wasn't because the light wasn't on).

- Plymouth, MA, USA

problem #24

Oct 252015


  • 69,000 miles
Timing chain mechanism failure at 70,000 miles. Known issue among at least 500,000 MINIcooper generation 2 models

- Alameda, CA, USA

problem #23

Oct 272015


  • 48,000 miles
Driving on freeway when timing chain breaks and causes thousands of dollars of damage to engine. Compression to engine stops and car stalls out. One moment totally fine, the next wrecked on freeway.

- Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #22

Oct 172015


  • 65,000 miles
Purchased car April 2014 w 46,000 miles. Warranty history showed valve gasket replaced. At 64000 miles dealer says it needs to be replaced again. Not told at purchase - at MINIdlr - that car consumes a quart of oil every 700 miles which I was just told by local servicing dealer that they consider that normal. Leak at gasket contributes to air infiltration and poor oil consumption I was told. I would not have purchased the car knowing this. It adds considerably to the operating costs. After telling servicing dlr this weekend that I knew the car had already had valve cover gasket replaced, he said he would cover 75% of over $800 cost. He obviously knew that it didn't or shouldn't need that work so soon after being done. The MINIdealers are thieves and withhold vital information. The strut mount apparently is also "domed" which speaks to structural integrity of this car. I would never recommend a MINIto anyone and feel their practices are completely unethical and the build quality is substandard to what is considered normal. Who needs to have the valve cover gaskets replaced twice in under 65,000 miles" who has to go and buy oil every month and a half" the last car I owned that needed that was a 20 year old 1975 Pontiac with over 100K. Miles. Garbage.

- Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, USA

problem #21

Sep 092015


  • 61,000 miles
I was driving the car for a 300 miles trip, never had an issue before. After stopping in san antonio the fans kept running for at least 15min. Stopped at a conveinience store and topped off coolant which wasnt missing any and checked the oil level and added one quart of oil. Taking on the trip to austin tx, the car was running fine at 70mph when my low oil light came on. Ten seconds later pulled to the side and smoke started coming from the engine. Less than a minute later on the side of the road and fire started blazing throughout the car burning all our belongings.

- Brownsville, TX, USA

problem #20

Dec 312014


  • 58,768 miles
I was driving my 2010 MINICooper S 50-55 mph when I heard a loud noise come from the engine compartment. From then on, the engine was making a rattling and clacking noise and the oil light eventually came on. Pulled over to the side of the road and got out to look at the car. Oil was all over the frontside and wheelwell of the car. All the oil had came out of the engine. Towed the car to a mechanic who told me the engine was seized and that the timing chain tensioner had broken lose and somehow that allowed all the oil to pour out of the engine. Had to have the engine replaced for a cost of a little over $5,000. A BMW specialist wanted $8,500 to do the same job. Now my new engine they just installed is leaking oil from somewhere and there's a light clicking noise coming from the engine. Im so afraid it's going to happen agian, and I know that MINIusa will be of no help. It's a shame that I had to find out what a terrible company they are in this way. I needed a reliable car for my new job and ended up with the exact opposite, an unreliable vehicle from a manufacturer that has no integrity whatsoever. I loved these cars, now I just hope this doesn't happen to anyone else.

- Hanford, CA, USA

problem #19

Aug 172015


  • 50,000 miles
My car shut down when I was driving out of a highway on a ramp. It stopped on the ramp. I noticed this because when I stepped on the gas my car didn't speed up but slowed down. I tried to restart it multiple times but it didn't work. Finally it was tolled to an mechanical shop and they told me the engine was broken.

- Allston, MA, USA

problem #18

Feb 162015

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 41,000 miles
I purchased my 2010 MINICooper hardtop in October of 2010 with 2,446 miles on it. This car came from a MINIdealership. I have driven this vehicle for the last four years without one mechanical issue. Today I have approximately 41,000 miles on the car. On the evening of February 16, 2015, I started my car to leave my place of employment and a low oil indicator light flashed. Living in a cold weather climate, I thought the engine needed time to warm up. After letting the car warm up, I attempted to leave the parking lot and the car failed as I was about to make a turn onto a main road. My husband had the car towed to a local MINIspecialist where we were told the car was extremely low on oil due an internal leak coming from the timing chain tensioner seal. We were told the leak has been happening for a while; however, the first indication of low oil was only minutes before the car failed. The car had been to a local MINIdealership for regular service less than a year ago. In addition the mechanic found coolant in the cylinders and is unsure of how this occurred. The mechanic feels it could have been caused by a cracked engine block or cracked cylinder head. Additional testing would need to be done on these parts to confirm. At this time, my husband and I are being told that the entire engine needs to replaced on a car that only had 40,000 miles on it. The estimated cost we received was $10,315. This is a tough pill to swallow considering it is a "young car, " in our minds. With all of the issues found by the mechanic it seems as if this car had a faulty engine from the start. I have contacted MINIusa regarding this issue and hope they stand behind their vehicles.

- Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA

problem #17

Dec 292014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 50,270 miles
We purchased a used 2010 MINICooper S convertible from schwartz Mazda in, shrewsbury, NJ on Dec. 27, 2014. After two separate MINICooper dealer service depts confirmed that the time chain was beyond specification by 6 mm and needed to be replaced. After several attempts, we got no where or satisfactory resolution with the dealer to replace the timing chain. We feel that our safety is at risk and should be fixed, as expressed in the limited warranty of the vehicle given by schwartz Mazda.

- Chester, NJ, USA

problem #16

Jan 212015


  • 51,000 miles
I have a relatively new MINICooper (2010 hatchback) with 51,000 miles. Recently, I started hearing a rattling noise coming from the passenger side of the vehicle. Upon doing a search online, I came across hundreds of other owners who experience the same exact issue - know as the death rattle, the tensioner and timing chain comes apart (a known manufacturing defect) and can cause the car to either stall while in motion and cause catastrophic damage - as the chain is metal. The issue has received significant attention and extreme frustration - leading MINIto try to silently address the issue on a one-off basis rather than issuing a voluntary recall. For customers who complain (even when the vehicle is out of warranty), MINIhas been paying for having the timing chain/tensioner fixed. For the hapless consumers that do not know, either they pay thousands of dollars to have the vehicle fixed or find themselves in an accident. MINICooper is allowing a known manufacturing defect to continue unaddressed and for thousands of consumers who have a relatively new vehicle could be subject to extreme risk - if the timing chain/tensioner fails due to a manufacturer defect. Please take a look at this redditt post - please see this reddit post: www.reddit.com/R/MINIcomments/2rvh26/mini_death_rattle/ - which explains how MINIhas been paying for certain repairs to silent the customers who complain the most. There is a significant safety issue - if MINIis paying for repairs outside of warranty, they clearly acknowledge there is a manufacturing problem/defect but only are resolving this on an ad hoc basis - why should owners who don't know about this "fix" be subject to driving a potentially unsafe vehicle?

- San Francisco, CA, USA

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