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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 8
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
72,563 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #32

Aug 152016


  • 130,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 MINICooper. The contact stated that the vehicle's battery was located in front of the firewall above the gear box. The battery acid leaked onto two shifter cable linkages, which caused them to melt unexpectedly. The vehicle would not shift gears. The contact also stated that the same failure occurred one other time. The vehicle was repaired six months ago because of the same failure. The manufacturer was notified. The vehicle was not repaired again. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000.

- Wake Forest, NC, USA

problem #31

Jun 162016


  • 135,000 miles
Driving down Honda parkway I heard pop sound. TPMS light started flashing and smoke started coming out from under hood. I pulled off of road into a gas station. At that time I didn't have any power brakes.the car was fully engulfed in flames in about 10 mins. The fire dept put out fire.

- Belle Center, OH, USA

problem #30

Feb 272015

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 114,000 miles
I was driving my daughter to school when it first happened, the wheel got so tight and I hit the curb. Thank god I was in a school zone and therefore I was driving slow. After that, I noticed that same day that my battery was drained when I was leaving from work. I got a jump but then it happened again when I stopped for groceries. I figured something must be wrong with the battery (which is fairly new) or the alternator. I took my car to a shop and they diagnosed the battery and the alternator was fine. But they also said there was a strange noise coming from my power steering pump. I bought power steering fluid thinking that was the reason, but after I poured some its still the same. I started researching and I found out a lot of people are having this same issue and its a defective issue for this MINIgeneration.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #29

Dec 092014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 110,200 miles


I experienced a sudden loss of power steering on my vehicle. Fortunately this did not result in a crash but it sure scared me. I am concerned about my safety driving this vehicle and may consider getting rid of it. I am disappointed in MINIs unresponsiveness to this issue.

- Donaldsonville, LA, USA

problem #28

Jun 102014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 70,800 miles
While driving around town the power steering quit working making the car very hard to turn. It was not noticeable driving straight, but when taking a left or right turn you almost cannot make the turn unless you really crank on the steering wheel. This problem has been happening intermittently without no warning. In order to get the power steering back, the ignition has to be completely shut off, and then restarted.

- Goodyear, AZ, USA

problem #27

Jul 032014


  • 124,500 miles
The contact owns a 2004 MINICooper S. the contact noticed that the vehicle's air bag warning indicator was constantly illuminated and both front windows hesitated to roll up and down. Also, the air bag indicator would illuminate when the front seat belts were buckled or unbuckled. The dealer stated that there was a positive cable in the fuse box that malfunctioned. The contact was informed that the failure could destroy the electrical system, cause a fire, and keep the air bag from deploying in a crash. The seat belt buckles were repaired, but the failure recurred. The dealer also discovered that the cable was being stretched and the center switch pack case was separated, which could cause the windows to detach from the vehicle while driving high speeds. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 124,500.

- Glendale, CO, USA

problem #26

Jul 152014


  • 145,000 miles


Merging onto interstate I accelerated and suddenly lost power. Engine was running but I could not get any speed. Eml message lit up on dash. This was very dangerous situation, losing power as I merged with traffic that was going at highway speed. I managed to limp to side of the road. Shutting off car and restarting reset something and eml message disappeared and engine operated normally. Googling problem showed my experience was not unique and that could expect it to occur again. And it seems dealer can only diagnose source of problem if error message is on.

- Mystic, CT, USA

problem #25

Jan 182014


  • 137,000 miles
Traveling East on 376 approx. One mile from the squirel hill tunnels, a women in another vehicle alerted me, trying to tell me my car was on fire. I pulled off the highway to the side of the road, pulled up the hood and saw fire. I called 911 and the fire company came and put out the fire. Googled the interenet and found there was approx 200,000 cases of fire without the manufacture recalling all vehicles.

- Coraopolis, PA, USA

problem #24

May 312012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
I drove my sister's 2004 MINICooper sometime in spring of 2012 to check on work done from the dealership. As I yielded into a roundabout and entered it, the power steering cut off which steering effort became very heavy and very nearly had a collision with another vehicle. I sister informed me afterwards that the issue just happen recently occurred to her too, as she exited a highway exit ramp at nearly 55mph, and power steering had failed. Luckily, she was able to react quickly with the power steering loss. Pulled to the side, shut the vehicle, and turned on the vehicle again, and power steering came back on. It has intermittently going off/on w power since then which the dealer recognizes, but warranty has been expired since it's 9 years and over 100,000 mi. And we are left with a bill at around $1,400 average. $800 in parts alone. There are many MINIcustomers known to have this issue of power steering loss in their early models too, same as my sister's year model. So far fortunately, there are no injuries nor fatalities directly from this power steering loss from what I know of. But many are faced with this large repair with we're facing, and some may forego/ delay repairing it. Transport Canada, recognizes this as a safety issue, and recalled about 9,000 MINIs last year. And the power steering pump part is no different than theirs. When are we going to act like our neighbors" until we get someone horribly injured or killed?! or have MINIcustomers such my sister facing this large repair order on this defective part that's known to fail prematurely" this is a serious gamble with lives.

- Towson, MD, USA

problem #23

Feb 122013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
Driving off-ramp at 35 mph power steering stopped functioning and steering became really hard, lights went off, ac stopped working, and lots of engine lights came up, almost crashed when turning a corner and engine started home and shut off car, when tried to turn on again, it failed to start.......

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #22

Dec 042010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 38,000 miles


12-4-10: The power steering pump kept running after the car was off and drained the battery in 2 hours. Sept., 2012: Two incidents of power steering loss while driving. First time I had no power steering when I started the car. I drove a short distance, stopped and restarted the car and the power steering worked. Second time I lost power steering briefly while driving at low speed. My mechanic found that the power steering fan had seized and replaced it. When he took it for a test drive, the power steering pump was making a loud noise. He replaced the pump as well and the problems were corrected.

- East Lansing, MI, USA

problem #21

Oct 202011


  • 113,400 miles
Cooling fan stopped working already installed 3 fans from time of purchase of vehicle this will be my fourth one its has issue with low speed. It burns only low speed on it tried to install aftermarket fan did not last more than a month had to purchase from a dealer now another one this can has nothing but a problem with this issue.

- Rego Park, NY, USA

problem #20

Aug 242012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
The power steering failed, common problem in 2004 MINICooper. Canada has issued a recall in January 2012.

- Flushing, NY, USA

problem #19

Jun 012012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 83,000 miles
The vehicle had been acting strange for the last couple of months, the steering would become heavy at times, and on the other occasions would work just fine. A trip to the dealership revealed that the power steering pump had failed. This seems like a known issue with most of the 2004 MINICoopers, a defective part was put into the car while manufacting. MINIis not taking any responsibility of it, and the dealership is asking for $1200 to replace it. Due to the power pump failure, the temparature rises and may have caused damage to a few hoses around that area.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #18

Apr 282012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 50,144 miles
Lost power steering at highway speed due to power steering pump failure. Short circuit or fire melted power steering pump wiring harness. Damage was caused to other portions of electrical wiring harness by fire, resulting in blown fuses. Upon removing key from ignition at roadside, engine kept running until battery was disconnected.

- Oak Hill, VA, USA

problem #17

Mar 012012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles
I was unable to get my vehicle smogged. The obd was not communicating with smog machine. Took it to dealer and found the power steering electrical was causing a short circuit in the system.

- Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #16

Feb 262012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 87,860 miles
While exiting the freeway the steering suddenly and without warning became extremely heavy taking significantly more effort then normal to just move the wheel slightly. The next day the power steering worked normally but the fan on the power steering pump continued to run after the engine was turned off. After 5 minutes in a parking lot it had drained the battery to the point where it struggled to start the engine. When I returned home I was forced to disconnect the battery until I can get it serviced.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #15

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 #14

Dec 072011


  • 50,000 miles
Parking assist alarm stopped working completely then the next time as soon as the vehicle was in reverse the alarm sounded as though impact were imminent though nothing was behind the vehicle. Alarm continues to sound whenever the MINIis in reverse.

- Apo , AE, USA

problem #13

Nov 252011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles
While driving in a 35mph zone, smoke started coming out from under the hood (bonnet). Driver noticed odd steering response shortly before smoke appeared. Repair shop noted power steering pump failure causing wiring loom fire. Research has found numerous power steering pump failures on MINICoopers. When power steering fails, driving is next to impossible given size of steering wheel and power assist design.

- Winston, OR, USA

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