really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
36,552 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Mini Cooper Owner Comments

problem #11

Feb 122014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


The dashboard airbag warning lamp is always illuminated. The dealer wants thousands to fix this problem even though other model years have been recalled. We don't know if the airbag will operate correctly in an emergency.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #10

Aug 052012


  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper. The contact stated that the air bag warning lamp illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 93,000.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #9

Feb 112012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 106,500 miles
Nothing really special happend other than the airbag light randomly came on. I didnt hit anything or hit a big bump. I adjusted my seat and I have read that MINIcooper may have made the wires underneath the seat too short so when you recline or move the seat forward for passengers it could trigger.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #8

Apr 012009

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles


Beginning in approximately April of 2009, the airbag warning light has been on constantly. Anyone who is intelligent enough to use any internet search engine can find hundreds of accounts of the same issue. Due to what has been independently verified as a wiring problem in the seat sensors, the airbag warning light is always on and can cause the car to deploy with improper force. This is a widely known issue with MINIowners, and several independent mechanics have all attributed the problem to a wiring harness underneath the seat that breaks due to moving the seat back and forth. Unless I'm missing pages from the manual, moving the seat back and forth is a normal function, and it should not be considered normal wear and tear if simply moving the seat back and forth can render the airbag sensor useless. MINIacknowledged this issue in 2006, and stated in the interest of customer satisfaction, we are extending the warranty coverage of the vehicle for defects that may occur, for this specific air bag warning lamp issue, on your vehicle for 10 years / 150,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Under terms of this warranty coverage, MINIwill cover all necessary repair costs related to this action. I have been told three times by MINIthat this does not apply to my car. They cannot provide any information as to why it does not apply. They just tell me that my car is not eligible for this repair despite the fact that it clearly fits the bill. This is a major safety issue. The wiring is clearly defective, and nobody should have to pay out of pocket to have a defect corrected. MINIwon't even pay to have a technician diagnose the issue.

- Springfield, OR, USA

problem #7

Mar 012011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper. The contact stated that the air bag warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they diagnosed that the air bag module was faulty. The air bag module was replaced and the manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 33,000 and the current mileage was 36,000. Updated 07/08/11

- Washington, DC, USA

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problem #6

Dec 282006

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 41,500 miles
- the contact's vehicle was involved in a crash on 12-28-06 while driving at 55 mph, and the air bags did not deploy. The contact's vehicle was hit on the driver's side, the car then spun, and hit the guard rail head on and went into the left lane.. the contact has pictures and a police report. The contact stated that injuries were sustained during the crash because the air bags did not deploy.

- Aston, PA, USA

problem #5

Jan 032005

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles


Airbag light went on which indicates the airbag is not functioning. Have taken the car to the dealership three times already to have this fixed. Will be taking it in for the fourth time tomorrow. The first time I took it in, they told me they fixed the problem. The second time they told me they had to replace the electrical harness in order to fix the problem. The third time they told me that they had to replace the electrical harness again to fix the problem. I'm curious what they will say this time. Many people have reported the same airbag light problem on the MINIchat rooms. The scary thing is that the dealership told me that when the airbag light comes on, either one or both of my airbags will not deploy if I get into an accident.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #4

Dec 202004


  • miles
Air bag lights come on while driving.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #3

May 122004


  • 54,000 miles
After starting the vehicle air bag warning light illuminated. The dealership was notifed, but did not resolve the problem.

- Perry, MI, USA

problem #2

Jan 192004


  • 75 miles
This car is less than a year old. So far the air bag indicator light malfunctioned, the radio was replaced, the passenger window motor was replaced, the navigation system display is about to be replaced, and two red marks on the takometer no longer light up.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #1

Sep 302002

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 9,000 miles
Consumer's vehicle was involved in a rear end collision. The vehicle that rear ended consumer's vehicle pushed it into the vehicle that was parked in front. None of the airbags deployed. The repair shop reported the seat being broken. Consumer noted the seat hit the back of the calves and bruised them. Hit the steering wheel, fractured nose and received a concussion. Vehicle totaled with front end damage and a cracked windshield. Consumer was wearing her seat belt and was sitting pretty far back. She managed to hit the steering wheel and sustained injuries. The vehicle she hit in the rear was also towed. That vehicle sustained damage to the rear. Consumer's hood was pushed up and headlight was damaged.

- Pompano Beach, FL, USA

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