hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,373 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #14

Jun 302008


  • 60,905 miles


2003 MINICooper, transmission problems. Dealers states it would cost seven thousand dollars to replace and fix. With the car only worth double than that it is an shameful act on MINIfor doing this to customers. Sounds of rattling and transmission slipping, dealer states it is a regular problem with the Cooper but there is no recall of any sort.

- Hunting Valley, OH, USA

problem #13

May 012008


  • 113,000 miles
Cvt (continuously variable transmission) failure.

- Little Egg Harbor, NJ, USA

problem #12

May 072008


  • 77,000 miles
I was driving home from work and the MINICooper would not accelerate any longer. Fortunately, I was about a mile away from home and called for help. We had to push the car all the way home. Come to find out, many people have been having the same problem with the MINICooper transmission. They noted something about the cvt transmission that MINItried experimenting with. I've read many stories where MINIcars just stopped in the middle of the highway. Many MINItransmissions have been giving out around 70,000 to 80,000 miles which is unorthodox for a transmission. The cost to replace the transmission was approx 8,000.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #11

May 192008

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


My cvt in my 2003 MINICooper failed at 85000 miles.. suddenly and it seems a rarer large percent are failing. With an average replacement price of $7000.. for a car that cost $21,000.. never had a transmission fail like this.!! car was towed to dealer.. appro 1.4 miles away and we were given a lift home... approx 24 miles away. We are waiting to hear what the repair cost will be but research gave me the number already of $7000. To be honest.. I cant afford that !!!

- Bay Shore, NY, USA

problem #10

May 032008

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
Cvt failure at 37,000 miles dealer estimates cost at $8,400 to replace (there is no repair option).

- Manchester, NH, USA

problem #9

Apr 102008

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles
Driving to work one morning and the engine response seemed sluggish. Called a mechanic friend, he said it's either the spark plugs or transmission problem. Book appointment for service. Several days later, complete transmission failure at 83,000km. MINICooper has said that I need a completely new transmission, being just off warranty by 3,000km I was quoted approximately $9,000 for repairs.

- Calgary, 00, USA

problem #8

Mar 142008

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


My 2003 MINICooper uses a cvt transmission system and the transmission has failed after only 75,000 miles. I was fortunate to get the vehicle to the dealer for repair before the transmission actually failed but I was told by the dealers service center that the car was unsafe to drive as the transmission could go out at any time. I never would have expected a transmission to give out with so few miles on it and only took it to the dealer because it was making a strange sound. Had I not taken it in I could have lost the transmission while driving. I have heard from other owners of vehicles like mine and it appears this is not an isolated incident. The transmission system used in these cars is unreliable (I believe the manufacturer stopped using it after 2004 or 2005). There could potentially be a large number of these cars on the road with transmissions that are about to fail at any time whose owners are unaware of the problem.

- Snoqualmie, WA, USA

problem #7

Jan 052007


  • miles
Sudden unexpected failure. Cvt transmission (automatic) in 2003 MINICooper. First one was under warranty. The second time they told me they would sell me another car. The car sold for $22K new, transmission costs $8500 to replace. So that's $17000 worth of transmissions 4 years (its been sitting for the last year while I still have to make payments). I don't think their idea of buying another car to replace my transmission was a good idea.

- Dublin, CA, USA

problem #6

Oct 092007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
2003 MINICooper transmission failure at 70,000 miles, 4 years. MINIusa and BMW of North America, llc have a long history of this failure and refuse to take accountability for their defective parts, claiming it's a characteristic of the car. Smells of deceptive trade practices to me. Not to mention a monopoly-- there are only two dealership in dallas/fort worth that service MINICoopers, both tell me that the cost will be between $6K-9K to replace w/labor costs. Pep boys and other independents won't or cannot touch it because it's a MINICooper and only MINIauthorized dealers supposedly have specialty software/parts to perform job. This is a racket, MINIand BMW need to step up and stop selling defective transmissions and replace this at their cost and stand by their product and faulty and defective manufacturing. This is a problem for many first generation MINIs as I have learned from my recent on-line research. BMW/MINIhas changed the transmissions on the MINI2007 model -- wonder why?? they advertise that this car is a safe, dependable and long lasting car, but to the contrary, look at the list of problems people are reporting with them. God help them.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #5

Aug 172007

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,255 miles
My 2003 MINICooper with the cvt transmission began making a ratcheting noise from the transmission. The car was towed back to town, and after talking to the dealer, it was driven to the dealer. I was told it needed a new transmission: $7,200. No rebuild available. It had just turned 90,000 miles, driven by myself (retired) and my wife; very easy driving. This was over half the value of the car, so we drove it to a transmission shop that we were aware of for a second opinion. On the test drive at that shop, the transmission "blew up" and locked up everything on the street. The steel belt in the transmission had come apart, destroying everything internally. Had this happened on the freeway or a busy street, it could have been disastrous. Upon researching this transmission, I find that this problem is not at all uncommon. I believe MINIshould be doing something about these early model cvt transmissions, which obviously have some mechanical defects built into them.

- Spartanburg, SC, USA

problem #4

Sep 042007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles


I need a new transmission at only 58,000 miles for my 03 MINICooper. The manufacturer has offered to pay for the transmission, but I'm being asked to pay $2,500 for labor. I've never heard of a transmission crashing at 60,000 and I'm surprised that BMW and MINIaren't doing more to keep me as a loyal customer.

- Reseda, CA, USA

problem #3

Jun 252007

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper. While driving 50 mph, the rpms increase and the transmission makes noises when shifting gears. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer who stated that the cvt transmission needed to be replaced. The current mileage is 91,991 and failure mileage was 89,000.

- Monroe , GA, USA

problem #2

Nov 072006

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles
2003 MINICooper cvt transmission died @ 83000 miles. I purchased vehicle from northwest MINIin Tacoma, wa on 10-18-05 with 49000 miles and one year later the tranny is toast. Nw MINIwants $7200 to replace with same 'questionable cvt transmission'. ironic that MINIhas abandoned the cvt transmission for the 2007 models...they know it's a dog. I'm stuck, with many others, holding the bill!

- Bainbridge Island, WA, USA

problem #1

May 152003

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 4,000 miles
My 2003 MINICooper S stumbles and bogs down when starting in first gear. When starting from a dead start and letting clutch out, the cars power cuts off for a moment and then cuts back in. This was not a characteristic of the car prior to my dealer upgrading the software for the engine management system. I've contacted MINIusa (aka BMW) and they acknowledge the problem, but have no fix for it. I consider it a safety issue, especially when pulling into traffic and the car hesitates badly.

- Dallas, TX, USA

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