Notes: Power steering problems are a major issue with the 2004 Mini Cooper, with hundreds of owners reporting complaints to the NHTSA about their power steering suddenly failing while driving.

Some power steering failures have caused crashes & injuries. Average mileage at failure is well under 100,000 miles & the repair cost is over $1,000. Not good.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
110,568 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.

2004 Mini Cooper drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Mini Cooper Owner Comments

problem #12

Apr 302015


  • 52,000 miles


I was driving around 40 miles per hour and the car abruptly slowed down then sped up without any warning, if another car was behind me, it would have caused some serious damage. Now my car wouldn't shift shift out of first gear. I was told by my mechanic that the cvt transmission is gone. After reaching out to MINIusa, they told me they haven't had any problem with this transmission and it's pass the warranty date. If the folks at MINIusa had been honest with me I could have made the deadline for a settlement pertaining to the same problem they claimed they had no idea about. This product need to be recalled! after doing extensive research the cvt transmission have had problems all along and the company have been settling claims for quite some time. Why are they allowed to run hard working folks into death because they know most of us can't and wouldn't pursue this matter. It will cost me $6500 for the part and another $2200 for labor, the car is now valued at $5500. It there something wrong with this?

- St. Thomas, VI, USA

problem #11

Jan 052015

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
On my 2004 MINICooper, base, with cvt, it the rpms jump to ~3800 between 50-65 mph. When I accelerate to above 65, the rpms return to the normal range. Upon slowing down, the rpms then jump again between 50-65.

- Sylvania, OH, USA

problem #10

Nov 052012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 59,000 miles
1) automatic transmission busted. Car stalled dangerously on the highway. 2) power steering pump busted. Steering locked dangerously on the road and could not be moved.

- Cambridge, MA, USA

problem #9

Jul 192010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 35,147 miles


We purchased a new 2004 MINICooper R50 and paid extra for installation of a cvt transmission. The cvt Ł (sport mode)Ł failed in 2010, just 2 years after its warranty expired and with only 35,147 miles driven. We were told that it could cost between $2,000 and $9,000 to repair/replace the sport modeŁ function, and since the automatic transmission is still operating, we decided to avoid the uncertainty of costly repairs and make sure no one else drives this vehicle. Since then, we have learned of other premature cvt failures and three class-action lawsuits regarding this transmission: Aarons V. BMW of North America, llc [xxx],bonomo V. BMW[xxx], and bourne-miller V. BMW[xxx]. premature ┐'sport-mode┐Ł failure can cause permanent damage to a $9,000 transmission with deadly consequences on U.S. highways at high speeds. Class action lawsuits do not address this problem, and we have ┐┐opted-out┐Ł of participation in them. Please investigate the extent of premature cvt failures in the MINICooper and issue a recall appropriate to remedy this potentially deadly defect. Please let us know if more information or documentation is required. Under penalties of perjury in the state of California I swear that the forgoing details are accurate and truthful to the best of my ability. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Eureka, CA, USA

problem #8

Oct 282013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
I have a 2004 MINICooper it has recently reached 87000 miles and the cvt transmission is failing. Normally you change your transmission fuel every 25,000 to 50,000 miles. My model MINICooper hatchback does not come with a reservoir to change such a fuel it was a guarantee by the manufacturer that these models would not need such a service and that the transmission would be fine throughout the lifetime of the car. What worries me is that I have not been able to drive my MINIover 50mph due to the increase of RPM's. without the speed increase it is not safe for me to drive on the highways as I normally would. A cvt transmission replacement could cost thousands. But more importantly I'm worried about my safety its possible that my transmission could fail while mobile. Thats my main concern. I recently read that there has been a lawsuit addressing these issues. It is BMW's due diligence to address this matter seeing how thousands of citizens are operating this machinery on a daily basis.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

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problem #7

Apr 062013


  • 34,700 miles
I was driving down I80 and my car started to kick and sputter then the engine light went on and I dropped speeds and almost got rear ended by the car behind me he swerved honked his horn and gave me the finger. I took it to a shop and they told me the transmission needs to be replaced and the number three cylinder blew out and I would need to replace the headgasket and refurbish the engine. When I first bought the car it would periodically kick and stall out on me I took it back to the dealer ship they told me it was just the engine breaking in. A couple weeks later I saw the oil was a little low and again it kicked and stalled. I took it back in they said they had to reprogram the tranny.

- Strongsville, OH, USA

problem #6

Apr 012013


  • miles


2004 MINICooper. Consumer requests assistance for hazardous vehicle transmission and steering wheel. The consumer stated the vehicle stalled while driving on a busy highway.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #5

Jun 182011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 76,020 miles
I was yielding to make a left turn on green. The car was in neutral. It was a relatively hot day. When I went to go I shifted into gear and immediately found it difficult to turn. As I furthered down the road to my event and was ushered into the parking lot by traffic control, the power steering diminished more and more as I drove on. By time I got to a parking space, I could just barely turn into my spot. A few hours after the event I turned on my car and it drove as normal again. After this powersteering failure I had a power steering fluid flush done. It has been a bit over a year since the first time it happened, but in the past two weeks I've lost my power steering about ten times. It's always when I'm at a slow speed or stopped. Usually shutting the engine on and off again will solve the problem but once it did not. I left the car alone for a few hours and when I went to drive it again it was like normal. It has not always been hot when my power steering fails. I keep my car in a garage so it is seldom baking in the sun. When the power steering goes, it feels as if the car is gripping back and gets progressively worse as I continue to drive. I am not an aggressive driver and I live in a flat area where driving is a simple task.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #4

May 132011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 824,000 miles
I had only had my MINIfor about two months and was driving from huntsville, al to tuscaloosa, al for an event for my daughter. The cvt went out and I had to rent a vehicle to go. Then when I got it fixed they told me it would be about $2,000 dollars but when I went to pick it up it was $6,000. Then about a month ago 1/2012 my power steering started messing up and took to my mechanic. He thought it was hopefully just a loose hose and got it working again. However two weeks ago it went out again and he checked it out and the power steering pump was toast. Does not even have 100,000 miles on it. I am very disappointed with it.

- Hazel Green, AL, USA

problem #3

Apr 102011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
Very disappointed with MINICooper and the corporation of BMW on how they handled my issues with my 2004 MINII came to the dealership several times in ramsey, New Jersey with the repairs that were recalled. I had printed the recalls as evidence that there were identical issues as the repairs needed to my car! the dealership ignored and refused to even look at the recalls on paper and to my dismay I was forced to pay out-of-my-own pocket! I had no choice because of my concern to drive a ┐'safe┐Ł vehicle. To my disappointment I had to return back to the dealership with the same and additional issues that were no repaired! the next day the manager assured me that all was taken care of and the car was finally safe! wrong again! with additional calls to both the dealership and BMW I still did not have a solution nor a safe car!. the issues were: 1.brake light being replaced multiple times and then caused a fire. 2.steering 3.stability control ultimately, I have contacted NHTSA several times to assist and the response was to contact the dealer. I'm at the point I need to now take this to a new level to resolve this situation.

- Forest Hills, NY, USA

problem #2

Nov 012008


  • miles
2004 MINICooper with motor mount, electrical, flat tire sensors issues. Cvt transmission replacement recommended. One day while driving on the highway, the vehicle just stopped; dead no power. The consumer stated the vehicle is sitting in the garage un-drivable because she doesn't have the $8,000 to replace the cvt transmission.

- Hollywood, FL, USA

problem #1

Nov 202008


  • 60,950 miles
Supercharger failed at 60,950 miles, resulting in complete rebuild of unit. Faulty gear and lubrication design.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

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