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:
9 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,059 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2004 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 20 of 21)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #37

Sep 222010


  • 100,630 miles


I own a 2004 MINICooper. I started the car last week and the power steering pump was making a very high pitched squealing noise. I decided to drive another car that day because I did not have enough time to bring it to a mechanic. The next day I started the car and the pump came up to speed very slowly and then stopped making noise altogether. The power steering no longer works. I don't think I can safely drive it to the mechanic and the car has sat in the driveway since. The car is out of its warranty period so I would be looking at the expense of towing and parts and labor before I can use it again. I just saw the report on cnbc and was wondering if this is a common problem before I contact a garage. Thank you.

- Weedsport, NY, USA

problem #36

Aug 022010


  • 66,876 miles
My 2004 MINICooper S, of which I am the second owner has developed progressively worsening steering characteristics. Most times the steering is hard and typically its hardest at low speed. The steering under acceleration is notably of great concern as I have experienced erratic and unpredictable sudden pulls to the left and right without any driver input. The service history for this vehicle is consistent with the suggested service intervals. This is a major safety concern for me.

- West Hollywood, CA, USA

problem #35

Jun 122010


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 MINICooper S. the contact stated on numerous occasions while driving 40 mph, the power steering would malfunction which almost led to a crash. The contact took the vehicle to an authorized dealer to have the power steering motor and the cooling fan replaced. Since the repairs, the contact had not noticed any power steering issues. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Reno, NV, USA

problem #34

May 152010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 8,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 MINIcooper type S. the contact stated that while traveling at any speed, the power steering would suddenly stop functioning without warning; the failure was intermittent. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the failure could not be duplicated. The failure was 8,000 and the current mileage is approximately 143,000. Updated 01/04/11 updated 01/10/11

- Mankato, MN, USA

problem #33

Feb 012010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 85,330 miles
Dear NHTSA, our complaint matches the NHTSA investigation being conducted regarding the intermittent power-loss of the power steering pump of the 2004-5 MINICooper we own a 2004 MINICooper. Our power steering loss began Feb '10 and described as unexpected and intermittently-occurring total loss-of-assist to steering. This was rectified by a purchase of a new power steering pump from MINICooper (elmsford, NY) and purchase of labor (installation) from straub auto repair (hastings on hudson, NY) during that month.

- Hastings On Hudson, NY, USA

problem #32

Sep 102010


  • 66,000 miles
2004 MINICooper. Power steering pump failed at high speed while driving on windy road at night. Was able to over correct and slow vehicle safely. Had it been my daughter driving she may have crashed. Pump failed without warning and no engine lights. After looking into this issue it seems that a lot of similar incidents have occurred with new model cars with less than 50K miles. Should be a recall to BMW for this!!!!

- Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #31

Jul 012010


  • 48,000 miles


2004 MINICooper S power steering failure after <50,000 miles very hard to steer. Had to replace the pump.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #30

Aug 122010


  • 70,100 miles
The power steering went out while going up hill on a curvy two lane road. The loss of power steering forced me to go into the other lane, where fortunately no cars were present. If I was going down hill on the same road I would have definitely gone against the side of the hill or off the side of the cliff if not hitting an on coming car first. The dealership charged me over $1000 to change the electro/hydraulic steering pump. The sudden loss of power steering seems to be an issue with many minis according to forum posts.

- Berkeley, CA, USA

problem #29

Aug 132010


  • 95,000 miles
Power steering pump is failing. So far no major problems but I have had other MINIowners report this same problem and worse. I am having my pump replaced this weekend with the hope of avoiding any further issues. Hopefully this one will last a long time.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #28

Aug 012010


  • 62,000 miles
Car is very noisy on cold starts when turning the steering wheel. Steering would judder when being turned. Wheel will feel heavy and stuck at times. Power steering reservoir was empty with no signs of leaks. Power steering fluid flooded into steering rack due to failed seal. Steering rack needed replacement.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #27

Jul 152010


  • 40,000 miles


Driving normally when suddenly power steering fails completely causing instant control issues. Power steering returns intermittently.

- Wheat Ridge, CO, USA

problem #26

Jun 212010


  • 42,000 miles
On a 2004 MINICooper S, intermittent failure of the power steering pump causing extreme difficulty steering. Car has 43,000 miles. Many similar cases reported in online forums.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #25

May 282010


  • 71,421 miles
Driving on the highway and the power steering failed for no apparent reason. Car had just been inspected and there were no other mechanical or road hazard issues but I almost collided with a vehicle because the steering wheel froze. In actuality, it required a great deal of strength--unexpectedly so it felt frozen.

- Centreville, VA, USA

problem #24

Oct 012009


  • 90,000 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) why has the NHTSA administration taken no action against MINIand BMW for the known defect in power steering systems. I am wondering, amid all the Toyota controversy and recalls, especially now about the broken steering rods, why there has not been a recall, or at least a public warning of some kind about steering issues on the MINIThe power steering pump in MINIs of all ages and mileages are prone to fail while driving. This happened to me while driving my 2004 MINICooper S across a snowy and icy mountain pass here in Washington state. It was quite a surprising, frightening, and unsafe experience to say the least. Others have filed complaints with you folks, as well as the company, but so far as I know nothing has been done. If injuries and fatalities are the criteria, how would anyone know the steering was an issue unless they had experienced the terror of losing steering at speed" this issue prompted a recall in great britain. Why not here. Even a cursory search of the internet reveals the depth of the problem, yet neither BMW nor MINIhave taken any steps to address the issue here in the us. Can you tell me why?" [xxx]

- University Place, WA, USA

problem #23

Feb 192010


  • 37,000 miles
1. an hour into a highway drive, all the electrical failed. All lights, gauges, radio, etc. All but the power steering returned in a moment, less than a second. 2. the power steering does not work. 3. power steering pump internal electronics area shows significant scorching and melting. Pump was replaced but power steering system still inoperable. The old pump is available.

- Springfield, MA, USA

problem #22

Apr 132010

(reported on)


  • miles
2004 MINICooper. Consumer states while driving power steering malfunctioned.

- University Place, WA, USA

problem #21

Apr 012010


  • 63,454 miles
I was driving on I-95N when the steering became all tight like I couldn't turn the wheel. No indicatior lights came on. I reached my destination, shut the car off for several min, got in started it up and it was fine. Got back on I-95S and 5 min later the steering wheel felt like it was locked up I couldn't turn it. Again no warnings!!!!! are you people going to wait till some one is killed to make BMW fix this!!!!!! I have read it's beein going on since 2002 power steering pump failures

- Greenwich, CT, USA

problem #20

Aug 152009


  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 MINICooper. While driving at approximately 35 mph, the contact noticed steering became extremely difficult. After the initial failure, the steering problems became intermittent. The vehicle identification number was unavailable at the time of the complaint. The current mileage was approximately 78,000. The failure mileage was approximately 65,000.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #19

Feb 012010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6). I have a 2004 MINICooper S (BMW) that I have owned for about a year and a half but recently, past 3 months., I have had the power steering quit suddenly on 3 separate occasions. Thankfully I was not on a high speed road at any of those times because when the power steering went out it I could barely turn the wheel and I'm a 36 yr. Old male with quite a bit more strength than my fiance who also drives the car. I believe this is a very serious flaw with the car as I have checked with other MINIcooper owners across the country who each and everyone of them has experienced the same exact problem with the power steering failing suddenly. I can only imagine what would happen if this occurs at high speeds or during inclement weather, this is a safety hazard that should be recalled by BMW since I am not the only MINIcooper owner with this problem. [xxx]

- O'fallon, MO, USA

problem #18

Feb 122010


  • 44,000 miles
The power steering pump suddenly failed. This is an electric-hydraulic steering system and the car is not controllable when the pump fails. The car has been properly maintained and has less than 50,000 mile.

- Houston, TX, USA

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