really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 7
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
69,252 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.

2003 Mini Cooper electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #11

Jun 152009

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 67,000 miles


2003 MINICooper S with 67,000K miles, power steering pump failed and caused a short circuit resulting in a complete meltdown. The pump, hydraulic lines, cooling fan and wiring harness were all burned or melted. There was no symptom or indication of a failure. Car drove and acted "normal" prior to parking it for the day. When I got back in the car, 8 hours later, no power steering. If it had been in my garage when the short/meltdown occurred, it may have caused fire. Miniusa basically said I was on my own due to expiration of my warranty. (60,000).

- Peyton, CO, USA

problem #10

Apr 022009


  • 60,500 miles
Spontaneous engine bay fire in 2003 MINICooper with 60,000 miles. Vehicle was driven normally to work, turned off, parked, locked and left. Unattended car caught fire several minutes later. Seattle city fire department responded to emergency call, but fire self-extinguished within 10 minutes. Soot covered engine bay and acrid smoke permeated vehicle. Inspection revealed melted connection between wiring harness and power steering pump, requiring replacement of pump, cooling fan, wiring and other parts. Internet communities of MINIowners contain numerous reports of sudden engine bay fires in 2002 and 2003 MINICoopers caused by electrical shorts linked to faulty power steering pumps or fans. Frequently these fires occur after the car has been switched off. They always result in moderate vehicle damage and major repair costs (mine is estimated @ $1,600). Occasionally they result in total vehicle loss and / or additional property damage. Had this fire occurred in my home garage at night the results could have been catastrophic; if this kind of incident (sudden power steering pump failure + electric fire) were to occur on a freeway at speed it could easily result in fatalities. BMW / MINIusa has reportedly quietly reimbursed individual owners who have suffered spontaneous fires, but has not acknowledged the widespread nature of the problem -- which is ridiculous. As I discovered while researching my incident, if you google "MINICooper fire" or "MINIpower steering pump failure" you get a rash of these reports. Apparently NHTSA investigated MINIengine bay fires in 2006-2008 and dismissed the problem, alluding only to the chance of some "localized smoldering." This is irresponsible -- my MINIwas billowing acrid black smoke and could easily have burned out, taking other cars on the parking deck with it. Shocking that this major, dangerous vehicle defect has been ignored. I am one of many victims. Please reopen this investigation into MINIfires. Thank you.

- Edmonds, WA, USA

problem #9

Dec 052008


  • 52,000 miles
I purchased my '03 MINIcopper S with 49K from a Honda in mechanicsburg, pa dealer in August. In December, I purchased tires and then went to a self-service carwash afterward. When I got home and before I put it in the garage, I took out the hose and washed off the wheels and under the car. During the process there was white smoke, which I thought was steam from the water hitting the manifold. I put the car in the garage and later when my wife came home she commented on the smoke and mist in the garage (it was quite cold that night.) the next day when I pulled the car out, the steering was very stiff and I only drove it out the driveway and on the road before I realized the power steering was completely out. I drove it about 15 miles to the dealer after checking fuses and determining that the problem was beyond my mechanical skills. The power steering pump, fan and harness were replaced along with the battery (shorted out). Insurance adjusters from hondacare (extended warranty), state farm insurance company (my comprehensive insurance) and the dealership determined that the power steering pump had caught fire. Their conjecture was that I had put out the fire with the hose when I sprayed under the car. Honda care paid $1999 from extended warranty for the power steering pump, battery, power steering harness and fan. A total of $2700 additional from state farm comprehensive insurance (hondacare extended warranty would not cover harness, towing and diagnostic work from the MINIdealer in Maryland, etc because they were the result of damage caused by the power steering pump fire); state farm insurance was exceptional and covered the difference with comprehensive covered. The parts are not available at this time but I was told that there are reports including pictures from adjusters at hondacare and from state farm insurance.

- Hershey, PA, USA

problem #8

Nov 302008


  • 68,500 miles


Battery failure. Battery has failed for the third time since car brand new in Feb, 2003. On each occasion the vehicle would not start after having given no warning. The first failure was in 2005 at 26,000 mi., the second in 2007 at 51,000 mi., the third in 2008 at 68,000 mi. Each failed battery was a manufacturer's brand (MINI

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

problem #7

Jan 042008


  • 60,000 miles
I was driving home one day when several lights lit up in my car. I was scared because these lights were: Low tire pressure, low brake pads, traction control light, & ABS break light. I pulled over and shut off the car, and when I turned it back on, they still were lit up. I am not sure what caused this as I wasn't driving erratically, just normal. I still do not know why exactly they are on, however I figure it is something to do with the computer.

- Hendersonville, NC, USA

problem #6

Dec 132006

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 85,000 miles
While driving at a three way intersection my MINIsuddenly cut out and blocked traffic in all directions; so much so that people had to stop traffic and cars needed to be backed up to get my car in a secure place. This was due to a defective wiring harness. Initial estimate for repair was $1200 parts and labor, but upon my complaint just labor was charged me - I feel neither is appropriate as this is a product issue, in my case a safety issue, and I should be reinstated to my pre-harness incidence at the product owner's expense. I further notice that there is a T.O. for this item and part of it states only replace at owner's complaint - in my case this was almost too late as I was in a very busy area when my car died and shut down three lanes of traffic.

- East Haddam, CT, USA

problem #5

Dec 232004


  • miles


Complete failure of the internal controller area network, resulting in blown electronics, service engine soon light, ABS light, dsc light and air bag light. Cause was apparently a faulty radio. However, a replacement radio failed when installed in the vehicle, bringing more controller area network problems.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #4

Apr 032004

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,200 miles
Computer(s) failure resulting in a lost of ability to move forward or rearward. The engine computer(s) have been replaced as well as the transmission.

- Flushing, NY, USA

problem #3

Jan 142003

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 7,975 miles
Driver's side electric window would not open for 18 hours. This occurred after a heavy rain storm and did not clear until after a 20 minute drive the following day. Attempts to open the window the day and evening of the failure while parked and driving all failed.

- Aiea, HI, USA

problem #2

May 222003

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,500 miles
The computer system doesn't seem to be working properly. My car just stopped running while driving in rush hour traffic (this happened twice.) my key-less entry doesn't work. Finally, the tire failure light comes on when the tire pressure changes but it doesn't light up when I had a flat.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #1

May 292003

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
MINICooper 2003 stop dead at the the intersection for the third time.the car was towed to the dealer.

- Aberdden, NJ, USA

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