hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,610 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

problem #9

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 #8

Jan 302012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 75,400 miles
Power steering went out while driving making it hazardous to maneuver turning left. I reported this December 14 2011 and the dealership couldn't find problem. Replaced the power steering fan in December. Replaced the entire power steering pump January 30, because power steering would go out intermittently. I feel this is a dangerous problem and the power steering shouldn't fail. There should be a recall of this problem.

- Grand Prairie, TX, USA

problem #7

May 122008


  • 56,000 miles
My car was parked after being driven for 20 miles or so. Within ten minutes of being parked, my officemate ran into the office saying my car was smoking. It was actually on fire. The fire department came and put out the fire. My mechanic says that it is a failure of the power steering pump. I need to replace it, the fan, and most of the wiring around the part. Right now, I'm trying to find a wire for him that MINIwill not get him. It is in the process of being corrected.

- Seabrook, TX, USA

problem #6

Nov 012007

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles


Without notice, the battery died. Upon install of a new battery, a fan started running before the vehicle was turned on. An independent mechanic and the dealer confirmed that the electrical steering pump and steering pump fan had failed and needed replacing. The dealer where I purchased it said I needed to take the vehicle to the dealer where I last had it serviced. I contacted corporate services who informed me that I was eligible for a goodwill warranty extension provided I took to the vehicle for inspection at the dealer where I last had it serviced. The service dealer, and corporate relations, would not provide a goodwill extension because they maintained that my mechanic caused the steering pump to fail. The dealer offered to repair the parts for about $1900 for a new pump and $140 for a new fan. After some research, including information the dealer told my mechanic, this failure is a regular problem with the earlier MINImodels and the dealers keep additional parts in stock to repair vehicles as they come in. Additionally, I read that MINIsubsequently changed the design of this component to rectify the problem but never informed prior owners of this change. Moreover, I also read that this problem has been happening with MINIduring the initial 50,000 miles of ownership, and in some cases the failure of the pump fan has caused engine fires while the vehicle is in operation.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #5

Nov 132007

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 55,000 miles
First power steering problem occurred around 31,000 miles, in the form of a slight vibration. Since the 50,000 miles mark, power steering has failed on innumerable occasions, frequently 5 or 6 times within a few minutes, and while driving and taking sharp turns, potentially causing loss of control of the vehicle. At first, turning ignition on and off temporarily resolved the issue. However, this is no longer effective. Other power functions have been disrupted as well, such as power locks and power windows, sometimes locking you in the car (door latch mechanism is also unpredictably faulty at the same time, resulting in being potentially locked in without any means to exit the car-this has happened on a couple of occasions). The power steering is now staying on even after the engine is turned off and the ignition key removed, and as a result, the battery is being discharged. Based on available information, this is the final stage before the car spontaneously catches on fire. I am now in a situation where my car is at risk of spontaneously catching on fire, and my locks and windows frequently unexpectedly malfunction, particularly when the steering pump malfunctions, potentially locking me into my car, with a steering pump that will not shut off and threatens to catch on fire. Catch on fire while I'm locked into my car...

- Wayne, NJ, USA

problem #4

Oct 092007

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 114,000 miles
1) no notice given up to failure of power steering 2) power steering gave out on car after white smoke poured out of engine area 3) car is at dealership right now.

- Monaca, PA, USA

problem #3

Jul 242007

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 77,035 miles


Sudden and intermittent power steering failure maintaining control of vehicle became difficult scheduled for repair.

- Spotsylvania, VA, USA

problem #2

Jul 232007

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 69,813 miles
We have a 2003 MINICooper S that spontaneously caught on fire today. I was driving about 40 mph when I smelled something and the power steering just quit working. I came to a stop, then smoke came out from the side of the car. I pulled into a parking lot and opened the hood - there was a fire under the exhaust by the power steering pump. I was able to get a bucket of water and put the fire out. I got on the internet and there are at least two sites (see: www.consumeraffairs.com/automotive/MINIhtml www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/showthread.php"S=015B1E186260B0639D13cf8A7D6522dd&T=73527&page=8 where many people have had similar issues. What does it take for a recall" I have not seen any deaths, but several reports of fires. If I had been driving 70 on the interstate when the power steering quit and the car caught on fire, it could have been a disaster. Please do something about this. I see where an investigation was opened in April (PE07022), but please move on this. I am very afraid the next person will not be so lucky.

- Delavan, IL, USA

problem #1

Aug 112006

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles
I had ~40,000 miles on my MINICooper last summer. The power steering just stopped working while I was motoring. I went to turn and whoa, no power assist. I'm estimating the date the problem occurred. I can look up the repair order if the correct date is important. I think that because of the many problems some of us have had, there is a reason why I have read that the 2007 MINIis going to have a different steering system from the electrical-hydraulic ones we now have. I guess I was lucky because when it failed on my 2003 mc, there was no problem other than the loss of power assist. And it was repaired while still under the 50,000 mile warranty. In this day and age when it seems most cars last 150,000+ miles with no work beyond routine maintenance, it makes me wonder why BMW/MINIcan"?T seem to get it right. There have been many P/S problems with minis. Here is a thread and voting poll on the problem... www.mini2.com/forum/faults-fixes/49527-important-have-you-had-power-steering-pump-failure-please-vote-yes-no.html here are some real horror stories involving fires. Some from other things, but many from the P/S pump. www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/showthread.php?T=73527&highlight=power+steering+failure www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/showthread.php"T=68356&page=3&highlight=obituary there are many additional web pages with threads like the above, but they are on the miniusa.com owners lounge web site where you need an account to access them.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

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