really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
59,193 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.

2002 Mini Cooper electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Mini Cooper Owner Comments

problem #16

Mar 232013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 123,400 miles


After a short trip, I had just parked the MINIFortunately, it was outdoors and within 50ft of my tool chest. On turning off the ignition and removing the key, I noticed an unusual noise; the [electric] power steering pump continued to run. A few seconds later, smoke appeared. I raced to my tool drawer, grabbing the first suitable tool, channel lock pliers, and proceeded to hastily disconnect one of the battery terminals. Smoke was heavy at that point. Disconnecting power prevented further damage, and was fortunately done in time, before the wiring harness was incinerated, or the situation became a self-sustaining conflagration. Apparently, although there is a 100A fuse present, the fault protection on the power steering pump circuit is inadequate. I removed the power wire to the pump, to allow the vehicle to be driven, with heavy [non-assisted] steering, pending service. Since the outcome is not so bad, why should I complain? consider if the vehicle were parked indoors, and/or if the same event were to happen to someone with less electrical aptitude. I don't expect accessories to last forever; the vehicle is 11 years old with 123K miles. I do object to the failure mode, in which the power steering pump circuit becomes an incendiary device...

- Pewaukee, WI, USA

problem #15

Feb 192013


  • 102,000 miles
Power steering pump failure and drained battery (recently replaced). Car will not start, and can not access passenger or trunk door due to electrical failure.

- Boston, MA, USA

problem #14

Nov 052012


  • 135,000 miles
I turned the seat heater on and it melted a hole in the leather seat and the foam padding started to burn.

- Bluffton, OH, USA

problem #13

Sep 162012


  • 86,156 miles


My power steering fan continues to run even after the care is turned off. It completely drained my battery so I replaced the battery. Two weeks later the same thing happened and I learned that my power steering pump and fan are defective. Also intermittent loss of power steering while driving and needless to say this can be very dangerous.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #12

Dec 142011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
Loss of power when going 60 mph in the high speed left lane of four lane highway. Car went into "limp mode" and unable to accelerate. Car would only go 5 to 10 mph with large truck behind and bearing down on me. Eml and service engine lights on dash. Was able to pull into a construction lane that happened to be right there. Otherwise would have been unable to get car out of the way. Car needed to be towed. Fault codes list throttle body and wiring harness as problems and recommendation is to replace both. From my research, the problem is well known and relates to poor connector between throttle body and wiring harness. MINIhas since redesigned the angle of this connector to fix this problem. Such a loss of power while driving is extremely dangerous. Should be recall item.

- Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #11

Oct 252011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 29,000 miles
This car goes into limp mode at very in opportune times, before this latest time (again to the shop) it nearly got me T-boned in an intersection, this car has been in the shop numerous times for engine electrical problem, this is a know defect with the wiring harness-I believe this should be covered in a recall for a very unsafe situation.

- Spokane , WA, USA

problem #10

Sep 282011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 82,000 miles


I was exiting the freeway when my battery indicator light went on; I lost power steering and saw a large amount of smoke coming from under the hood. The MINIdealership has determined that the power steering module failed, and subsequently burned the wiring harness. There have been several reports of faulty manufacturing in regard to this part from bbc in uk, as well as on many forums, in particular North american motoring.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #9

Sep 122011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 67,537 miles
After an apparent short out of the anti-lock braking system a fire occurred shortly after two to five minute later the car was completely engulfed in flames. Fifteen minutes later the car was completely gone, California highway patrol as well as keys city fire department both gave their conclusion of the car being absolutely totaled. Luckily I was able to get the car stopped and off to the side of the highway and was able to evacuate the vehicle.

- Ceres, CA, USA

problem #8

Apr 272009


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 MINICooper. The contact stated that the headlights and cabin lights would remain illuminated after the vehicle was shut off. In addition, the contact stated that he would often become locked inside or outside of the vehicle intermittently. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer and they advised him that the control module would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 60,000.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #7

Mar 302011


  • 45,000 miles
A fire was caused by the failure of the power steering cooling fan. At some point the day of the incident the fan seized and the resulting electrical resistance in the main wiring harness caused the wiring harness to heat to a point of melting some of the plastic wire insulation allowing for direct wire to wire contact and resulted in an electrical fire between the engine and the passenger compartment. The resulting fire completely disabled the vehicle's electrical system and requires at minimum the replacement of the entire main wiring harness. Event description after a short drive (less than 2 miles on a cold engine) the vehicle was parked. After the engine was turned off smoke was seen rising from the vehicle engine compartment. Upon raising the hood, flames were seen between the engine and the passenger compartment reflecting off both fire walls. 2 fire extinguishers were required to put out the flames after the battery was disconnected. Total loss of the vehicle to fire was prevented by the owners actions.

- Lake Balboa, CA, USA

problem #6

Dec 152008


  • 60,000 miles


Purchased a used 2002 MINICooper about 3 1/2 yrs ago w/ about 12K miles. At around 15-17K miles the transmission basically exploded while I was on the highway. I was told that there was a crack in the transmission. MINIreplaced it with I'm guessing a rebuilt transmission. At the time of the repair I asked them if they were putting in a new clutch and they said no, which I found strange. Now at 60K miles the clutch is basically done. When the car is cold it shifts pretty normally, but after 15-25 minutes of driving the first two gears become hard to engage and they slip. This is not my first five speed and I'm shocked that this clutch is done after such little mileage. Should they have replaced the clutch when they replaced the transmission? I'm not a mechanic but to lose a clutch at 60K miles doesn't make any sense. My driving habits are pretty normal. I'm not lighting up the tires at traffic lights or racing people. This is an everyday car mostly used on the highway. I'm bringing the car in to have it looked at the MINIservice center in freeport NY on 12/29/08. Also had a problem with overheating about 4 months after car was purchased. And air bag light stays lit. Have had this problem corrected once or twice. But the light still stays lit.

- Long Beach, NY, USA

problem #5

Jan 162008

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 42,000 miles
I was driving my 2002 MINICooper. I had driven 1/4 mile and thought I heard something crack or spark under the dashboard on the passenger side of the vehicle. Then I saw smoke, pulled over, got out, and the whole car went up in flames.

- Fort Benning, GA, USA

problem #4

Sep 282007


  • Manual transmission
  • 29,000 miles
Significant and repeated electrical failures caused the car to randomly switch into eml mode, reducing engine output critically. When this happened on a highway there was not enough power to remove the car from the road safely. After several ineffectual repairs, the wiring harness was replaced. Shortly after the repair, the car was parked, emergency brake set, manual transmission set in first gear. Unattended, turned off with no key in the ignition, the car moved itself several feet, hitting another car, burning out the starter and draining the battery. The car was moved to a repair shop where the starter was replaced. Overnight, with the car parking inside the locked shop, the car moved itself across the shop. Mechanics are now investigating the problem.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #3

Feb 142003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 MINICooper cvt. Vehicle stalls in traffic conditions. Boggs down, lunges upon acceleration. Power failure. No indicator lights on dash warn of problem. Vehicle has been serviced on three occasions for same problems. Boggs down and lunges corrected by reprogramming on first service. After first service vehicle stalled again in traffic conditions. Returned to service dept. Who were unable to replicate stalling after 400 miles of test driving it. Contacted MINIdivision of BMW of America. They sent technical specialist who checked the electrical system, no apparent cause. MINIrepresentative is currently having electrical harness replaced. Vehicle out of service for 6 weeks and counting. Major safety concern.

- Fountain Valley, CA, USA

problem #2

Apr 182003


  • miles
The vehicles rear hatch is electronic and if the vehicles battery died there would be not way to into the battery compartment. The dealer was notified.

- Dunedin, FL, USA

problem #1

Aug 092002


  • Manual transmission
  • miles
The head light failed twice, the dealer replaced the module and then the computer chip.

- Winchester, VA, USA

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