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 8 of 21)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #277

Mar 252012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 96,804 miles


My power steering went out today while driving. It was one of the most scary experiences I have ever had. I adore my little car, but today it made me so scared I am not sure I am ok driving her any more. While driving on a local road, I noticed than my steering wheel was very stiff. I started to turn into the left-turn lane and could barely do it, then tried to turn left and almost hit the cars around me because I had to use all of my strength to make the turn. My power steering went without any warning, none. I have never experienced something like this before, I had no idea what was happening. I immediately looked online when I got home to learn more about what happened and how much this repair will cost and was amazed and very disappointed to see so many similar accounts by other 2004 Cooper owners. I feel lucky after reading others stories that it happened to me on a local road close to home. I also just looked in my file and see that my power steering cooling fan was replaced 9 months ago when my car was at the dealership for other repairs. MINIBMW, how can you ignore this incredible issue and danger?

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #276

Mar 232012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 112,987 miles
While driving the power steering inexplicably went out without warning making steering and controlling the vehicle difficult. The problem was potentially quite dangerous due to its unexpected nature. If I was not traveling straight at the time of the failure which showed itself as I began my next turn and had begun a turn when the system failed it would have been almost impossible to control the car. Serious and dangerous issue.

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #275

Jun 022011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 144,000 miles
Steering became difficult while driving requiring full arm strength to turn wheel. An accident could easily have occurred if other vehicles were in the area where I was turning. Vehicle now requires wide radius to turn. A very dangerous situation. I have a strong upper body but anyone driving 2004/05 minis with this steering problem should take care and have dealership fix and pay for the repair.

- Farmington Hills, MI, USA

problem #274

Oct 052011


  • 60,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 MINICooper S. while driving approximately 40 mph, the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostics where the mechanic advised that the power steering pump would have to be replaced. There was an open investigation of the failure under NHTSA action number: EA11005 (steering:hydraulic power assist:pump steering:electric power assist system steering:hydraulic power assist system) that could have been related to the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000.

- Aurora, IL, USA

problem #273

Mar 142012


  • 64,000 miles
Failure of power steering pump made vehicle very difficult to maneuver in traffic and when parking.

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #272

Mar 162012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 54,671 miles
Exiting on an off-ramp from the freeway the power steering pump failed and steering became rock hard and it took considerable strength to keep the car from going straight and running into the guard rail around the turn. Very scary experience and if I had decreased muscle strength the car would have veered straight for the guard rail and at high freeway exit speeds.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #271

Mar 132012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 124,840 miles


While driving on an interstate highway, the power steering completely failed, resulting in a near-loss of control and crash due to the sudden dramatic increase in physical effort required to control the car. The failure was determined to be related to the power steering pump no longer functioning. There was no loss of fluid or breach in the hydraulic system. This is apparently a very common problem among this model of car.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #270

Sep 132011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 93,000 miles
Experienced power steering loss driving along a Suburban road. After stopping and restarting the car the power steering returned.

- Harvard, MA, USA

problem #269

Jan 072005

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 8,300 miles
I bought this vehicle new in 2004, and have had consistent problems with the steering, most recently on Friday, March 9, 2012. I have taken it to the MINICooper dealer at least four times for this problem. The power steering pump has been replaced, so has the steering column, as well as the lower steering shaft spindle. Still, the power steering function goes out without warning. It is exceedingly dangerous and I have to drive this car to do my job, and I'm spooked by it.

- Milton, MA, USA

problem #268

Mar 072012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 73,682 miles
Intermittent power steering failure. Power steering pump remains on after shutting off the car and drains the battery.

- Moorhead, MN, USA

problem #267

Dec 072009

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 35,845 miles


I had multiple incidents where my power steering wasn't available. Several times the power steering failed driving around the corner which was very freighting. I contacted BMW about the issue but they said it was normal wear and tear. I donżżT agree with that since my car only had 35K miles. I owned other cars where I never had a failed power steering pump. MINIuk seem to handle the problem much better for their customer (see link below). I cannot believe that there has no recall being made yet. Paid almost 1K for replacing the defective pump and it seems that the new pump they put in my MINIstarts acting up again.

- Bridgeville, PA, USA

problem #266

Dec 082011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
Technically there were 3 incidents with my 04 MINICooper. Out of nowhere, while driving down a busy street, the power steering just stopped working. Luckily I was in the far right lane, and slowed enough to veer to the roadside and call for assistance. When the car was taken to a mechanic, I was told the power steering pump was bad and needed to be replaced. Also, I was told that it happens frequently with MINIs. however, I did not ask them to replace my pump, I wanted a second opinion. Out of nowhere my car started to drive without any issue whatsoever. I got a second opinion and was told in about a year, it would need to be replaced, but they too mentioned this issue with MINIs. I was shocked. Weeks later, I was making a left turn and the power steering went out. I barely missed a bus stop on the corner, full of people. Shaken, I again called MINIand asked about a recall or any procedures toward having one made. Obviously, they were unhelpful, but they too divulged that this is a common problem. My car started to drive normally once more, but I drove as little as possible while I continued my research. A third time, I couldn't even get my car out of the driveway and I decided that was it. I was just going to take it to a MINIdealership and have the pump replaced. When I called with my situation and then told them I believed my power-steering pump was needing to be replaced, they didn't argue or say they'd look into it, they basically agreed, and gave an estimate. I took it in and they again asked no questions, they didn't look into the problem. $1200 later, I left with no questions answered, with a hole in my pocket. If this is a common problem, it needs to be addressed asap. What if I had hit that bustop full of people, or worse? I can still tell there's something wrong with my steering. MINIneeds to do a recall. Yesterday.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #265

Feb 292012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
With out any advice, the steering turns rigid and hard to manipulate, I checked the fluid and it looks fine and clean.

- Deer Park, TX, USA

problem #264

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 #263

Feb 182012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles
While driving, I noticed it became markedly more difficult to turn the wheel. I was able, with effort, to drive safely to my destination. When it was time to return home, the power steering was working for the first 4 or so miles, then it gave out again.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #262

Feb 112012


  • 98,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 MINICooper. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the steering wheel seized without warning and was difficult to control. The contact inspected the vehicle and the failure was located at the power steering pump. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 98,000.

- Stevenson , AL, USA

problem #261

Feb 052012


  • miles
Took car into dealer and they said the power steering pump needs to replaced, which would cost $1050 for parts and labor. Prior to taking it into dealer, the steering wheel locked up on several occasions, which caused me to use all my strength to get the car to steer. On February 5, 2012, the steering wheel locked up, I parked the car, and the power steering pump fan ran continuously until it drained the battery. I have read online that MINICooper owners are trying to get BMW to recall this defect, but they will not. I also read that NHTSA checked into this, but I do not know what the outcome was.

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #260

Feb 042012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 54,620 miles
Power steering pump went out completely without warning as I was diving at a low speed. Steering wheel became extremely difficult to turn, making the car very dangerous to maneuver out of traffic and park safely. Narrowly avoided hitting pedestrians due to my inability to turn steering wheel.

- Decatur, GA, USA

problem #259

Nov 012011


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 MINICooper. The contact stated that the power steering only functioned intermittently. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer were made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was 54,000 and the current mileage was 55,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #258

Jan 262012


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 MINICooper.the contact stated that while driving in reverse, the power steering seized momentarily before resuming normal operation independently. The contact had experienced the failure at least twice. The dealer was not contacted and the vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was 75,000 and the current mileage was 84,000. The VIN was not available.

- Hercules, CA, USA

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