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 3 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #204

Aug 152013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


Luckily, I was pulling out of a parking space (low speed, high manageability) and my power steering completely went out. It is very difficult to make turns. I stopped at a mechanic shop - fluids and belts were fine. It's the fan/pump that has suddenly quit working.

- Waterford, MI, USA

problem #203

Apr 262012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Re: ehps extended warranty coverage I received a letter for extended warranty coverage for a power-assist steering issue which I had already repaired at my own expense. When I called to inquire, was told claims for reimbursement would be processed in 6-8 weeks. I submitted my claim June 12, 2013. Yesterday, August 9, 2013, I called to inquire about the status of my claim and was told that, due to "overwhelming" response, claims for reimbursement were taking much longer and that my claim had no status (meaning nothing had been done with it). At MINIs recommendation, I resubmitted a request for reimbursement by email today. I would like the NHTSA to be aware of the delayed processing as I am surely not the only person affected. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Salem, MA, USA

problem #202

Jul 152013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 114,975 miles
The power steering pump, fan, hydraulic fluid pump chf 1 core charge) and hose clamp were replaced by the dealer 5 days earlier. MINICooper/BMW sent me a letter for voluntary replacement because my MINIcopper 2003 had too many complaints with this issue. The car was running ok except for the power steering after the replacement I only drove about 70 miles because I was off from my school. The incident happened on July 15, 2013 approximately at 3:45 pm. I drove about 30 miles back from work. Parked the car in front of rite aid in rancho palos verdes. When I returned to the car it wouldn't start. Used jump cables for several minutes without success. Went to my mechanic close by. My mechanic came to look at the car, he was able to start the car. I drove back home about 6 miles. When I parked the car the car was very hot and most of the lights in the panel were lighten. I must mention that my car has a new battery and new starter (both were replaced 9 months ago). It seems that the problem is directly related to the electrical system and to the replacement of the part on 7/17/2013.

- San Pedro, CA, USA

problem #201

Nov 212012


  • 123,000 miles


One time last year I loss power steering while going around a corner, I was caught off guard and almost had a collision. I pulled over, turned off my vehicle, and upon re-starting the problem was gone. Now, a couple days ago my power steering went out while I was on the freeway. I pulled over and re-started and still no power steering. Later that day it randomly came back and now I am experiencing intermittent power steering loss, that usually goes out once a trip.

- Burien , WA, USA

problem #200

Jun 192013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 88,671 miles
Power steering issue which MINIusa reached an agreement with ntsb to avoid a recall by providing an "extended warranty." Spoke with MINIservice department and informed them my steering pump was making noise and had gone out intermittently twice. They informed me that due to the fact this was not an official "recall" but rather an extended warranty, the steering unit would have to catastrophically fail before they were permitted to replace it. What kind of a safety board is the ntsb that would allow such an agreement to be reached wherein someone has to be put at risk to drive a vehicle to catastrophic failure of a steering unit, potentially resulting in accident, bodily injury or even death, before they would compel the automaker to repair the vehicle to make it safe" this is absolutely ridiculous!!! I am supposed to continue driving a vehicle with a known problem in the steering, putting myself, family and others on the road at risk awaiting "catastrophic failure"....... not knowing when, where or under what circumstances that is going to occur" MINIusa & BMW you will never get another penny from me and I encourage everyone to actively boycott their products & dealerships!

- Conroe, TX, USA

problem #199

May 242013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 180,000 miles
5/18/13 - after parking the car, the power steering pump continued to operate when the key was removed from the ignition. The key was inserted back into the ignition switch and turned to the "on" position. The power steering pump stopped running. 5/28/13 - when returning to work after lunch the car started perfectly and no problems were apparent. I pulled up to a stop light and sat waiting on the light to turn green. When the light changed I started accelerating in 1st gear and noticed that the steering was very heavy. I immediately pulled over to make sure that the pump was not overheating. The pump has completely failed at this point and the car is able to drive, albeit dangerously.

- Gainesville, GA, USA

problem #198

May 032013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 62,000 miles


After driving the car under normal circumstances a short distance and parking the car, a fire ignited in the engine bay. The fire extinguished itself prior to the fire truck arriving. Vehicle was towed to local dealer who, upon inspection, indicated the power steering pump and/or associated hardware had failed and caused the fire.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #197

Apr 252013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 107,000 miles
Sudden loss of power steering when approaching a busy intersection. I barely made it through a few curbs before entering a parking lot. I let the engine cool off for 30 minutes, then the power steering came back on. I decided to go straight to the dealership, about 3 miles highway, and about 1 mile from the dealership I lost the power steering again. Forcing the car through the last few turns, driving slowly, I made it to the dealership. The replacement pump & fan set me back about $1,500.

- Casco, ME, USA

problem #196

Apr 212013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 113,000 miles
The power steering pump doesn't shut off when the car does. The pump ran until the battery died.

- Chatsworth, CA, USA

problem #195

Apr 222013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 131,000 miles
I was changing lanes to prepare to exit off the interstate while on my way to work. As I made the lane change noticed steering was tighter. After exiting the interstate, the vehicle was very hard to steer at the top of the exit ramp. The turn made was very wide nearly missing oncoming traffic. Suspect power steering pump has failed.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #194

Mar 052013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 56,000 miles


Power steering failed. Car was very difficult to steer. Almost caused an accident.

- Santa Monica, CA, USA

problem #193

Sep 012011


  • 123,000 miles
In September 2011, I was driving my 2003 MINICooper S at 55mph on a rural two lane highway when I experienced a momentary loss power steering of power steering. This resulted in the wheel becoming very difficult to turn. When power steering returned (without warning), my car swerved but I was able to keep it on the road. This happened several times over the next 20 miles before I lost power steering and it did not return.when I arrived home, I checked the power steering pump and it was non-operational. I replaced the pump and its dedicated cooling fan. In August 2012 (125000 miles), I again lost power steering at highway speeds. The second failure was identical to the first (suddenly came and went before cutting out and not returning).

- Houghton, MI, USA

problem #192

Jan 262013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 100,389 miles
The steering on my '03 MINIcooper started making whining/ groaning noises that were not the normal steering noises. The steering has limited power boost, sometimes near normal, other times almost no boost. The steering doesn't return to straight as it used to. After making a right or left turn, the car keeps trying to turn the last direction steered. With effort, I can hold the car straight, but it pulls noticeably the last direction turned. The electric steering motor groans, changing speed up and down, even when the car is not moving. All fluid levels are normal and there are no leaks or drips of any fluid. The power steering fan and radiator cooling fan are operating correctly. The steering effort is not consistent. Sometimes at expressway speeds, as well as slower surface street speeds, the steering stiffens up where it requires much effort to control, then minutes later, will go back to normal boost levels. This often happens when negotiating lane changes or expressway ramps with what should be a steady rate turn. An independent mechanic states the electro- hydraulic steering pump is causing these issues and that BMW is aware of this problem.

- Tavernier, FL, USA

problem #191

Feb 222013


  • 136,000 miles
I was driving my car home from work on Friday night, 2/22, when the steering wheel locked up on me and I had a hard time turning it. It then started working fine again after a few minutes. Then it locked up again while I was driving. Since it was on a highway I was doing over 60 M.P.H. it was terrifying not having complete control of my vehicle at that speed.

- Edison, NJ, USA

problem #190

Feb 052013


  • 85,000 miles
The power steering pump fan then pump failed resulting in a complete loss of power assisted steering. While the vehicle was steerable, the loss was surprise at slow speeds when turning off a road. It took a very significant force to control the vehicle and I almost hit a concrete abutment. I doubt that a young teen or any person who was not that strong, would have been able to control the vehicle. The dealer when presented with the repair knew of the issue and of many reports of a near accident like mine.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #189

Nov 152012


  • 84,000 miles
Power steering pump is beginning to fail. From reports I have read I am worried that the car will catch on fire and in turn catch my house on fire.

- Tifton, GA, USA

problem #188

Jan 132013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 83,243 miles
Parked vehicle in home garage and the power steering pump continued to run even when key is removed. I was familiar with this issue as many other owners have experienced it and reported. Refer to NHTSA action number : EA11005. The pump will continue to run until battery depletes or fire occurs. There is no cooling provided by dedicated cooling fan when vehicle is off. I disconnected the battery to stop pump from overheating.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #187

Dec 142012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 136,420 miles
Powersteering unit fails and steering becomes unreponsive.

- El Granada, CA, USA

problem #186

Dec 112012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
I parked my car in a parking garage after driving approximately 20 miles. I walked to a dentist down the street for an appointment. While at the dentist I get a call that went to my voicemail that my car (while parked with the engine off) was on fire and was filling the parking garage with smoke. Upon receiving the message I rushed home to find that the fire was already out, but the smell of smoke was still very strong. I noticed that the inside indicating lights of the car were on as if the key was in the ignition of the car. I immediately disconnected the battery and inspected the car to find the source of the fire. Upon inspection I found that the flames had come from behind and slightly below the motor. There was a metal shield that was blackened by the flames that I could not see around so I jacked up the car and removed the driver side wheel to further inspect the source of the fire. After doing so I could then clearly see that the source of the fire was the power steering pump due to the surrounding burn marks. The total amount of damage has yet to be assessed by my insurance company. They towed the car and are inspecting the car on Dec 13, 2012.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #185

Dec 052012


  • 98,003 miles
One night I'm driving just normally on the highway, everything was fine, no signs of any other parts included and out of nowhere my power steering goes out. I almost got into an accident.

- Dallas, TX, USA

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