really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,556 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

problem #11

Sep 142009


  • 90,000 miles


2003 MINICooper. 5 speed manual transmission. Car transmission flew apart while driving.

- Newburgh, NY, USA

problem #10

Feb 072009


  • 65,000 miles
Failure of 2003 MINIcooper manual transmission. My car has been under regular maintenance. I first noticed the car losing power going uphill, then it became difficult to put the car in gear. Next morning I was unable to get into reverse, was extremely difficult to shift and some gears could not be engaged. At a stop light I began hearing a very loud grinding noise, like metal in a blender, the car would not engage in gear, I had to be pushed out of the intersection. The dealer offered nothing. My private mechanic found metal shreds throughout the transmission. Said a bearing had come loose and destroyed the interior of the transmission, all at 65K miles. He also said the engine could have failed while on the freeway at high speeds and this could have been life endangering. Also the power steering pump went at 30K miles. Both very costly repairs and the transmission locking up a very serious life threat. The replacement costs for the transmission were $3K and that was from a private mechanic. Online research shows a plethora of consumer complaints and information that MINIcooper knows about this. Neither the local dealer nor corporate office would offer any help in replacement costs.

- Solana Beach, CA, USA

problem #9

Dec 312008


  • 69,000 miles
I bought a new 2003 MINICooper with a 3 year 36K warranty 6/26/03. While under warranty and receiving recommended maintenance through the dealer, the car required repair of the driver's seat which was frozen in the reclined position. Shortly after the warranty expired, and 10,481 miles after a dealer maintenance check, the brake light indicator began flashing. I took it immediately to the dealer. I was told the entire brake system needed replacement for $886.60. At the same service visit, I was told the front struts needed replacement to the tune of $1600. My male friends who are mechanically inclined and/or engineers said that one would need to be doing stunts in a car to need that kind of repair at 50,293 miles. It was not clear why the indicator only tells when brakes are totally shot, or why the most recent service check had not shown worn pads and disks. Later, at 53,007 miles, the driver's side window failed and that cost $497.51 to replace. At 62,516 miles the air conditioning system died which cost $1173.58 to replace. The automatic door lock on the driver?S side does not work and lord knows how much that repair will cost. Now at 69K, the manual transmission needs replacement. My present mechanic (cheaper and more reliable than dealership) says the replacement of the transmission and clutch with a remanufactured system will be >$4000. This is an outlandish amount of repair and repair cost for a $19,000 car with 70K mileage. I have had 2 previous Honda that were cheaper than the MINIand never needed a clutch or transmission. My son drove my $14,000 '95 Honda civic until last month and it had 200K miles. I will never buy another MINIor BMW for that matter, based on this experience. I will be sure to discourage others from buying one. I hope a class action suit is formed.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #8

Aug 102007


  • miles


My transmission failed on my MINICooper once when it was in warranty and I had to pay to have it fixed, once again, and it was just out of warranty and I paid 3000$ to have it fixed and once again when the 2nd transmission was in warranty and minicooper fixed it. This car was a lemon and MINInever accepted responsibility for the defective transmission problems.

- Altadena, , CA, USA

problem #7

Mar 102008


  • 34,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 MINICooper. While driving 40 mph in first gear, the transmission began to randomly make whirling noises. He took the vehicle to the mechanic and was informed that the transmission needed to be replaced; however, they did not explain what caused the failure. The vehicle is currently repaired and a new transmission was installed. The contact believes that a transmission should not have to be repaired within five years. The failure mileage was 34,000.

- North Oaks, MN, USA

problem #6

May 022008

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 61,211 miles
2 transmissions needed to be replaced within 1 1/2 years. 1st trans was replaced in November 2006 after experiencing grinding noise in the front end of the car. On Friday May 2, 2008 heard a pop while turning left and experience the grinding noise. Dealer now states that it's the transmission and want $5,000 to replace. I complained that this is the second one in 1 1/2 years and was told that a call was placed to the engineer and waiting for their response on whether they will cover the costs.

- Winnetka, CA, USA

problem #5

Nov 152007

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 107,000 miles


I will be installing what will be the third manual 5-speed transmission in my MINISame problem, seems to be the final drive bearing is failing likely due to lack of lubrication. I have records of all service and check it regularly and it has never been low. The bearing is apparently not getting a proper supply of fluid. Problem number two, my power steering pump failed on me once. It exploded while I was driving. The hoses basically got too hot and blew up. I fortunately was able to limp it to a shop without any fire. On another occasion the power steering fan continued to run even when the ignition was shut off, needed to replace the entire pump this time which cost me $500 installed with a remanufactured pump. Third, I have had to put three windshields in the car. None of these repairs were warranted! MINIneeds to suck it up and claim responsibility for these shoddily made cars, they have made their money and don't care to help with anything. I am a loyal BMW customer but I think I will stick with the older models now as they aren't impossible to work on and find parts for. God knows I will not pay 23 grand for this nightmare again.

- Ventura, CA, USA

problem #4

Feb 272004

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 41,900 miles
One morning driving about 100 mph going up to ct I pay a toll take off the car hesitates in first gear then goes ok about a 2 miles from the toll I am doing about 100 mph and switch to the right lane and the car just stop giving me power so I go to change to 5th gear no luck so I let the car roll to the shoulder call MINIroadside and they tow to nearest dealer to my house. The dealer has my car for a total of 8 days and tell me the L/front axle will not stay in the transmission. Then the dealer say that its not covered@ first then tells me that will cover it a day later after the MINIspecialist take a look @ it and say we will cover it this time as a favor. Now it is ten days later and the same thing has happen again this time I have to pay for towing and I cant wait to have a talk with the dealer. I will keep U guys posted.

- Hempstead, NY, USA

problem #3

Jul 172003

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 1 miles
Engine power loss starting off in 1st gear. When stating from a complete stop in 1st gear the car will hesitate for aprox. 2-3 seconds before the rpms increase. There is no combination of clutch and throttle that will alleviate this situation. The combination of warm temperatures and running the A/C contribute heavily to the power loss. Colder weather does improve this power loss.

- Cartersville, GA, USA

problem #2

Oct 222003

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Car loses power suddenly and lurches in first gear when moving off from a standing start.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #1

Sep 102003

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
2003 MINICooper S. there is a "stumble" when starting off in first gear. The car seems to lose power and lurch momentarily. No combination of clutch and gas pedal motion seems to fix this. Issue has been heavily documented and discussed on MINIenthusiast forums, so it is not a driver clutch-user error.

- Sherman Oaks, CA, USA

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