really awful
Crashes / Fires:
5 / 28
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
80,215 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2003 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 2 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #224

Dec 012014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


While adjusting the tilt control on my MINICooper, I discovered that the entire steering column had become loose. Upon inspection, I discovered that two metal brackets used to support the steering column and attendant assembly had sheered off, apparently under normal use.

- La Jolla, CA, USA

problem #223

Dec 062014


  • 112,134 miles

- Englewood, CO, USA

problem #222

Nov 252014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
Night driving in Colorado mtns. Lights began to flicker and power steering failed. Found safe place to pull over and turned off lights and engine. Restarted and turned lights back on to resume driving within a few minuets lights flickered and power steering failed again. Had to continue for several miles until it was safe to pull over again. Attempted to turn off head lights and use fog lights on county dirt road, still lights flickered/dimmed and power steering failed. Currently vehicle is parked and we are attempting to research recall matters with this malfunction. Superior driving skill is required to operate this vehicle with nonfunctional power steering. Average operators will have great difficulty maintaining safe operation of the automobile. This issue will lead to loss of life if not addressed. Nearest dealer for MINIis 130 miles distant.

- Florissant, CO, USA

problem #221

Aug 182014


  • 101,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 60 mph, the power steering failed without warning causing the contact to nearly loose control of the vehicle. Additionally, the contact stated that the power steering motor remained activated although the vehicle was shut off. As a result, the contact had to eject the battery out of the vehicle every time the vehicle was shut off because the vehicle overheated and could potentially cause a fire. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 101,000.

- Mountlake Terrace, WA, USA

problem #220

Aug 132014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
8/13/2014- I was stopped at a stop sign in a mall parking lot and smoke started billowing out from under the right front side of the car and at the same time started coming through the vents into the cabin of the car. I tried to shut off the car, but it would not turn off. A bystander came running and opened the hood, smoke poured out, told me to call roadside assistance as he was opening hood and then told me to hang up and call 911 that my car was on fire. Flames were coming out of the engine area but there was too much smoke. The engine fan was still running. Another passerby had an commercial extinguisher and emptied it on my vehicle. The fire dept. Was pulling up as they were trying to push it aside, the car re-ignited and it took the fire department approx. 15 to make douse the fire without it re-igniting. All of these people looked my vehicle over and could find no reason for it to ignite. I purchased the car used about 4 weeks ago and have put about 3000 miles on it without any issues. My insurance company had it towed to a mechanic down the road and they are to contact me tomorrow to see if they can see why this occurred. Luckily, my daughter and I were able to exit the car and be in an area close to the fire department and good samaritans...updated 10/06/14 updated 7/15/2015

- Shelton, WA, USA

problem #219

Aug 132014


  • 145,000 miles
I was driving along the street to make a right turn and then all of the sudden, bam! my power steering went out and I could not steer. It was very scary and dangerous. Luckily I slowed down and made the corner slowly. When I arrived home, I turned the care off, checked the power steering fluid, and turned it back on. Now the power steering works again. This is the second time this has happened. Not sure why it intermittently goes out but it should be replaced.

- Johnson City, TN, USA

problem #218

Jun 112014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 125,900 miles


I was exiting an expressway and while on the ramp coming off, the steering became very unresponsive and heavy. In doing some research on the internet it sounds like my power steering pump has failed.

- Granger, IN, USA

problem #217

Jun 092014


  • 27,000 miles
I was driving down the street and was going to make a right to turn, slowed down to say hi to my roommate who was leaving and went out of gear when I went back in my steering was extremely stiff and I could barely move the wheel.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #216

Apr 242014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 79,600 miles
Was approaching airport parking lot (driving way too fast, because I was late!) when the power steering suddenly "failed"! it was really frightening to have no control, as the car pulled to the left. Luckily, there were no cars coming from behind. Just before the car came to a complete stop, the power steering mysteriously "returned". if this were to happen whilst driving at high speed on the interstate, it would surely end with fatalities. (this problem has occurred only once, however, I've owned the car for only 8 1/2 months!).

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #215

May 242012


  • 158,000 miles
Driving highway speeds, steering got really heavy hard to turn, then the battery light came on, starting smelling something electrical burning, pulled over off the road shut car off, smoke coming from the hood, open it, smoke was coming from the back of engine. Smoke subsided in a few minutes, called tow truck, tow back to work, over the next couple of days found that the power steering pump locked up and fried it, it also draw a lot of amperage that it blow 100 amp main fuse under fuse block, burnt main power wire to power steering pump. Replaced pump, wiring and fuse.

- Philadelphia , PA, USA

problem #214

Nov 202013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles


I have a problem with my 2003 MINICooper power steering its leaking power steering fluids all over the bottom of the vehicle and sometime I smell burning.

- Brooklyn , NY, USA

problem #213

Aug 242012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
For the second time in the life of this car (first in 2011), the steering pump stopped working while I was driving. The first time I was lucky and at low speed hit a concrete piling in a parking garage. The second time I was actually in traffic in an intersection. I was lucky not to hit the college students in the cross walk, again because I was not going very fast, but it's a huge safety issue. And had I not known what was going on due to the first time the steering pump blew out, I would not have known to break and re-start the car to resolve the issue. Honestly, the car cannot be steered when the pump stops functioning. And MINIhas known for years that this is an issue. I had to wait 8 weeks for the fan to come in and they didn't want to do any work until they had both parts. The pumps need to be re-designed.

- Boston, MA, USA

problem #212

Jan 162014


  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINIcopper S. the contact stated that while driving approximately 25 mph, the power steering assist failed without warning. The vehicle was maneuvered into a parking space where the contact shut off and restarted the engine. The vehicle was able to be driven to the contact's place of residence but had not been taken to a dealer or independent mechanic for diagnosis of the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 83,000.

- Lancaster, SC, USA

problem #211

Jul 012010


  • 70,000 miles
I have an 03 MINICooper base model that had the impending power steering failure. It happened suddenly and without any indication. Last June I received the reimbursement letter, so I sent in my information and receipt for the replacement. As time passed and no response from MINII decided to contact costumer relations, needless to say they had nothing on file and said it should take another month to receive my info. Another month passed, keep in mind we are in August now, no response. Called them up and was told my information is still not there. So I sent two emails with my receipt in hopes that it might speed up the process. About three months later I called and they had said they received my information and that they had sent it to their reimbursing division. Two days ago I called and they gave me the run around again. This is just outrageous, if your going to send a letter say you'll reimburse everyone do it in a timely professional manner. Just before all this happened I had no problem with MINII was actually thinking about buying a 4door version of the MINIAfter this incident I will not be purchasing a MINIor BMW for that matter. In addition I will influence people into not purchasing any of their products. I understand they had a lot of people send in letters for reimbursements but it is not ok to lie to people. I also know I am not the only one who has had this issue. I am trying to contact as much people as I can about this matter in hopes that this doesn't happen to anyone else. Nobody should have to deal with this.

- Tulare, CA, USA

problem #210

May 152013


  • 27,500 miles
Back in may of 2013 the power steering pump starting being very loud and making noises. The steering wheel is also quite hard to turn since then. This could end up badly when completely fails when I'm mid-turn or something. This needs to be fixed asap.

- Media, PA, USA

problem #209

Oct 092013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 109,400 miles
Accelerating after being stopped at a red light, lost power steering, smoke came out of hood, engine temperature redlined, and battery light came on.

- Pelham, AL, USA

problem #208

Sep 262013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 133,380 miles
We bought 2 2003 MINICoopers in 2003. Both vehicles had electric power steering pump failures, one in March 09 at 143060 and the other MINIin July 2010 at 133380. We received the eps extended warranty letter and sent in our claim, usps documented delivery to MINIusa on June 29, 2013. I have called MINIcustomer service" on August 8, August 29, and today September 26. No one there can tell you anything and they do nothing except apologizing for not knowing anything. They say responses are taking 12 weeks which is where I am on the calendar. My repair costs were in excess of $2000. Today I am sending a hand written complaint letter with copies of all receipts to jim mcdowell vp MINIusa. NHTSA needs to followup on this. The extended warranty was intended to head off a recall but they are not handling it in a proper manner. Turn up the heat!

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #207

Jun 012013


  • 9,000 miles
My power steering pump had been losing fluid, randomly continuing to run after shutting the car off and finally gave out two or three times while driving. I received a letter in the mail and that stated the pump had an extended warranty on the item. When I contacted the dealer to have work performed, I was told to continue adding fluid since this was not a formal recall item. I advised them the pump had failed twice (at that time) and they still insisted I refill the fluid and I would be fine. This seems like a cheap way to avoid a recall and they're not actually fixing the issue. This needs to be reviewed again and BMW/MINIneeds to fix these issues before a catastrophic event happens that costs more than a stressful situation.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #206

Jul 022013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 146,000 miles
Power steering pump failed. Once it came back on it doesn't shut off running the battery dead.

- Lake Wylie, SC, USA

problem #205

Aug 232013


  • 89,000 miles
Ehps extended warranty coverage 4/11, I purchased a 2003 MINICooper with 88327 miles. 7/2011 the power steering pump began malfunctioning, working intermittently. I filed a complaint with the NHTSA. 5/24/13 I received a letter from MINIusa offering to reimburse the cost of steering pump repairs. They also stated that it would take 4 żż 6 weeks for reimbursement. The only other item in the envelope was a change of address card. I called the toll free number and followed the instructions. 5/25/13 I mailed copies of the letter and the receipt for the power steering pump. I called their customer service department on 7/16/13, was put on hold several times, then told they didn't have my receipt. But they had the email address I had hand written on the receipt (corrected, as the email on the receipt had changed.) when I pointed that out, he put me on hold again, then claimed they didn't have my VIN #. how, since they located me from the VIN #? he insisted I send in the information again, this time with the VIN# noted. I asked why I hadn't received any kind of letter saying my documentation was not complete. He told me the letter was sent the day before my call. 6 weeks after that call, I still have not received any letter from them. 7/16/13 I re- sent all the documentation. On 7/26/13 I again spoke with customer relations. I was told they had received my complete paperwork and all of it was in their system as of 7/24/2013. On 8/23/13 I again called customer relations. After verifying my name, address, email, and VIN # he put me on hold. When he returned, at first tried to say my information was not all in yet. I told him I had spoken with [xxx] who had confirmed the information was all in their system as of July 24th. He gave me further run-around, would not give any indication of when I might expect payment and in general stone walled me. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Elkview, WV, USA

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