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 7 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #124

Jun 012011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles


Power steering failed after 27,000 miles. Intermittently works for 5 minutes in the morning and sometimes intermittently functions when driving which creates a dangerous situation. Had the MINIdealer inspect it from MINIcorporates recommendation. Dealer indicated the electronics are malfunctioning and that they had plenty of replacement units in stock for circa $1,600. My claim was rejected because it is not uncommon for earlier MINIcooper power steering units to fail. I have investigated and there are multiple companies now in the business of rebuilding/remanufacturing specifically MINIcooper power steering units. Odd that a relatively low volume vehicle could generate so many business opportunities to fix a problem that apparently does not exist.

- Oxford, MI, USA

problem #123

Oct 102011


  • 120,524 miles
Electric power steering pump went out without any warning. I noticed it when I was going around a bend and the steering effort had greatly increased. If I had to make a emergency maneuver, I probably would not have been able to complete it successfully.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #122

Aug 312011


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper S. while driving approximately 10 mph, the power steering completely failed without warning causing difficulty in maneuvering the steering wheel. The contact pulled over to the side of the road and the engine was turned off. Upon restarting, the contact resumed cautiously with the steering malfunction. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who advised that the failure was related to the power steering pump. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The failure mileage was 50,000.

- Tuson , AZ, USA

problem #121

Sep 192011


  • 52,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper. He contact was driving and the steering wheel became very tight indicating that the power steering failed. The contact did not have any warning prior to the failure. The vehicle was not inspected to diagnose the failure. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage and current mileage was 52,000.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #120

Sep 152011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 59,356 miles
Power assist steering failed to assist making it extremely difficult to turn a corner.

- Battle Ground, WA, USA

problem #119

Aug 182011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
Power steering unit on my 2003 MINICooper S started to operate intermittently making it very difficult to maintain lane control. Without power steering I would grip hard and barely make it through a turn, then the power steering would operate causing me to oversteer into the adjacent lanes or oncoming traffic. I've been driving cars, trucks and motorcycles for over 40 yrs and have never experienced a driving situation as dangerous as this. I will no longer allow my daughters to drive this car until I feel confident the problem is resolved.

- Reno, NV, USA

problem #118

Aug 302011


  • 101,450 miles


The contact owns a 2003 MINIcopper. While driving approximately 50 mph, a slight loss of power steering occurred without warning. The contact continued in operation because there was no shoulder area on the road. The steering wheel was engaged forcefully in oder to maneuver the vehicle. The vehicle was taken an independent mechanic who detected a faulty power steering pump. The vehicle was repaired. There was a closed investigation under NHTSA action number EA07011 (steering: Hydraulic power assist: Pump) which the contact believed to be related to the failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 101,450.

- Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #117

Aug 252011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
We purchased a 2003 MINICooper just weeks ago from a private party. Almost instantly the power steering went out while my daughter was driving. Luckily she wasn't in heavy traffic on the la freeway. We were told by the service center that we needed a new power steering pump. We purchased this and had it installed for approx.$1200. However the electric power steering pump fan still would not shut off when the engine was turned off, so this issue was still not resolved. Immediately following this repair my daughter was driving on the freeway at 60 mph when the car suddenly jerked and slowed to a stop. Luckily my daughter was in the right hand lane and could pull over on to the side of the busy freeway.(still no power steering working)the car was towed to the MINIdealer. They diagnosed that the cvt transmission needs to be replaced, at a cost of $7150 approx. And this is before they can even diagnose the steering fan electrical problem. From all the complaints on this website about both of these problems, MINIneeds to take responsibility! we don't know what to do, as the repairs are much more than the cars value and the MINIservice manager states that the new cvt transmission only has a 2 year warranty. If this is a defective transmission, why should we pay for another one. As of today my daughter has to walk/bus to school and the MINIsits.we are interested in the class action suit.

- Incline Village, NV, USA

problem #116

Aug 262011


  • 114,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper S. the contact stated that accelerating from a stop and attempting a turn at approximately 5 mph, the power steering would seize and become difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was not inspected by a dealer nor repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and current mileages were approximately 114,000.

- Mountain View, CA, USA

problem #115

Aug 172011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
Complete power steering failure, on surface road in castro valley, ca. The sudden loss of power steering caused me to continue straight, while trying to regain control of car, I continued into on coming traffic, if another car was in opposite direction a significant accident would have occurred. Prior to this failure this was no evidence of a repair needed.

- Castro Valley, CA, USA

problem #114

Aug 122011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 90,500 miles


While cruising 60mph I was approaching the curved ramp from I-26 to the Cooper river bridge in charleston SC. All of a sudden the power steering failed. I had to "man handle" the steering wheel to enter the left curve. Part way thru the curve, the power steering started again and immediately took the vehicle in a severe turn to the left. Just about lost control of the car and several other vehicles on the highway swerved to avoid me. Very dangerous situation. Stopped at the MINIdealer in charleston, service was absolutely no help. Spoke with the parts guy and was told it is a real problem with the MINIthey have them in stock and may usually get another delivery everyday. I would hope that the manufacture step to the plate and remedy this dangerous condition.

- Hilton Head Island, SC, USA

problem #113

Aug 112011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
I own a 2003 MINICooper automatic and I've already had to have the power steering pump and the cooling fan replaced twice, and now, only a year later after my 2nd replacement and a few thousand dollars later, it needs to be replaced for a third time. The care only has 80,000 miles on it. This is costly and a safety issue for drivers. I will never buy another car by MINIor BMW.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #112

Jul 282011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
2003 MINICooper S power steering box failure only 70,000 miles.

- Friendsville, TN, USA

problem #111

Jul 312006


  • 57,000 miles
After car was sitting for 4 hours the power steering did not work; I muscled the car home and when I started it to take to my mechanic the next day it was working again; I reviewed this on line and discovered that it has happened to others (MINICooper, 56,000 miles, '03.

- Newport, RI, USA

problem #110

Aug 082011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Repeated power steering failure. Have replaced pump (as well as belts, fluids, etc.) new pump fixed problem for about 2 months. Now it just stops working again! no computer code showing problem. May work fine on start then just go out a any point. May stay out. May be fine after restart. No power steering without notice is dangerous! car has 90K miles. Should not have this problem! this happens repeatedly at all speeds, at all driving times, at many varying circumstances (wet/dry, hot/not hot, engine cold/engine warm, straight roads/curvy roads). Date below is today's date, but this began happening 2 months after bought car used. Dealer has made numerous good faith efforts to repair, but the problem keeps returning. It is a defect and a dangerous one!!!!!

- Elkview, WV, USA

problem #109

Jul 252011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
Power steering pump started to become louder around 83K miles. When I was driving around a turn, the steering wheel tightened up and it became almost impossible to turn the wheel. I almost wrecked because of this. After research, it is concluded that my power steering gave out. Nothing has been done yet to correct the failure.

- Matthews, NC, USA

problem #108

Jul 232011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper S. the contact stated while driving 65 mph the power steering failed. The vehicle was driven onto the emergency lane because the steering wheel was very hard to maneuver. The dealer was contacted in regards to a recall and stated only a class action law suit was in progress. The contact was told to bring the vehicle into the dealer to be repaired at her own expense. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 58,000. Updated 08/31/ the power steering pump was replaced. Updated 09/12/11

- Salmouth, ME, USA

problem #107

Jul 112011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 86,900 miles
Power steering abruptly failed in rush hour traffic. Was fortunately able to get vehicle to the shop for repair without further incident. Power steering failures are unfortunately almost guaranteed in my year and make vehicle. The independent mechanic said that this is a very common complaint and MINIusa has even redesigned the power steering pump due to the high failure rate, and also recommended replacing the fan due to high likelihood of shorting or fire. I participate in an enthusiast forum where these reports are common which is why I took it to the shop immediately, to avoid further in-driving failure or worse, a car fire. This issue has been investigated in the past and it is unconscionable that neither NHTSA nor MINIusa has recalled these vehicles for what is an almost guaranteed failure with obvious and potentially grave safety risks. I am paying $1200 for the repair which is expensive but not out of line with what others are paying and worth my personal piece of mind since MINIusa will not publicly admit there is a problem. Vehicle is a 2003 MINICooper S with 87,000 miles.

- Lafayette, LA, USA

problem #106

Jul 082011


  • 62,220 miles
Sudden loss of steering due to the failure of the power steering pump when exiting highway. Fortunately, I had enough strength to stay within the curve of the off ramp while braking to a stop. My wife would not have had the strength to keep the auto from going off the ramp.

- Salem, MA, USA

problem #105

Jul 052011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,387 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper. The contact stated that while driving approximately 15 mph the power steering was lost and the wheel was extremely difficult to turn. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where they informed the contact that the power steering system failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileages were 49,387. I stopped at the red light in the right lane. I then accelerated to make the right turn and the car would not turn in the middle of the street. Then it barely let me turn it to drive, and pull over. The tow truck came and took it to MINIdealer. It cost $2240 to fix. They said it was the steering system failure. Updated 10/07/2011

- Torrance, CA, USA

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