Notes: Power steering problems are a major issue with the 2005 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:
1 / 12
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
59,687 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.

2005 Mini Cooper electrical problems

electrical problem

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2005 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #32

Sep 072012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 59,925 miles


The power steering pump stops operating while the vehicle is in motion. It has happened three times to date: The first incident was at low speed in a parking structure; the second incident happened at freeway speed; the most recent incident occurred on a surface street while decelerating to a stop. In each case, control of the car was maintained but was very difficult. The pump function was restored by stopping and cycling the vehicle ignition to off and then restarting the engine.

- Valley Center, CA, USA

problem #31

Aug 252012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 70,595 miles
Daughter/co-owner was driving car. Shifting from 1st in to 2nd gear. Loud clunk or rattle/clicking from unside. Car lost power steering, battery light came on. Could not control vehicle. Had to call tow truck.

- Marana, AZ, USA

problem #30

Jul 222012


  • 105,916 miles
The contact owns a 2005 MINICooper S. the contact stated that power steering failed. In addition, the vehicle was unable to be started. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic who advised that the failure caused damage to the electrical system, which had become inoperable. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 105,916 and the current mileage was 105,960.

- Ballston Lake, NY, USA

problem #29

Jul 212012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles


Earlier in the day I took the car on a day trip to lake Tahoe driving a combination of interstate and mountain pass road. 3 hours later, my wife had taken the car to run an errand and came home and parked the car in the garage completely off and locked. 10-15 minutes later we hear the car alarm going off. We opened the door to the garage and saw white smoke coming from the engine compartment. There was high pitched wining also. When I opened up the door the put in neutral, the lights on the instrument panels were all on with no keys in the ignition. Opened the garage and moved the car to the driveway and away from the house. Called the fire department and I used an extinguisher underneath where orange glow was visible. The glow of the flames were toward the back part of the engine compartment and low. Saw no visible flames in the main compartment when the hood was popped open when fire department showed up they used a garden hose to cool engine compartment and suggested to disconnect the battery which I did. I had the car towed to the MINIdealer in reno, nv. Updated 8/8/12 the consumer stated the parts that seemed to have caused and were damaged in the incident were the power steering pump, power steering cooling fan, and electrical harness all in the engine compartment of a 2005 MINICooper S. updated 08/14/2012

- Verdi, NV, USA

problem #28

Sep 122011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 71,000 miles
Intermittently and rarely, when the car first starts, the power steering does not work. It is very difficult to move the steering wheel at all, and there is no apparent effect on the wheels of the car. Each time this has happened, I have immediately turned off the car and restarted. Restarting the ignition has been enough to regain the power steering. After this happened between 5 and 10 times over the past year, I realized it was a pattern and decided to lodge a complaint. I also realized that the louder-than-ordinary steering fan noise might be another symptom of problems with the power steering. In mid-September 2011, the car battery died. The steering fan was very loud. I now wonder if the battery failure was due to the steering fan, although no one at the dealership commented on the very loud fan that was extremely noticeable when they restarted the car.

- Chestnut Hill, MA, USA

problem #27

May 302012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
All bulbs are good but yet I have no brake lights are turning signals top brake light is all I have when I turn on signals windows go down sunroof opens.

- Shepherdsville, KY, USA

problem #26

May 022012


  • 59,930 miles


Vehicle fire 5/2/2012. Car parked for 4 hrs. Returned to car & drove it <50 yards for ~2 minutes (moved it from street to parking lot). Turned it off and went in store. Returned ~4 minutes later, noticed smoke/exhaust smell; presumed it was adjacent car. Unlocked car. Car would't start (no lights/electrical at all). I then noticed white smoke coming from hood. Opened hood then noticed flame/fire inside engine compartment. Went in store, got fire extinguisher and put fire out. Invoice was >$3500 from MINIdealer. The dealer's assessment: "verified power steering pump has overheated to the point where it has burned up internally as well as externally (melting all three connectors and the wiring leading to them). Inspected power steering cooling fan and verified cooling fan is seizing up which very likely led to the overheating and eventual failure of the power steering pump. Removed engine compartment fuse box to examine megafuse powering the power steering pump, fuse is intact and did not burn up. Inspected power steering pressure hose and it appears the rubber section of the power steering pressure line was subjected to the heat/melting of the main power connector (it's in very close proximity to the connector) and it appears the hose has taken a level of damage from the heat. Recommend replacement of power steering pump, the wiring section/connector pigtail from the fuse box (this is the main power connector), the engine wiring harness (contains two other electrical connectors to the pump which received extensive damage), the power steering fan (likely cause of failure), power steering pressure line (high pressure hydraulic line which has been exposed to the main connector melting and subsequent heat), and other miscellaneous items associated with those components (O-rings, crush rings, hose clamps ect...)"

- Mercer Island, WA, USA

problem #25

Sep 012010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 18,000 miles
Passenger air bag sensor is defective. The passenger air bag off light, illuminates 3-4 seconds after engine start, along with the red air bag failure light, on the main speedometer. This occurs, whether there is a passenger in the seat, or not, due to this safety defect. MINIcooper dealers, deny this is a problem, however, I have found over 40 other complaints registered on this exact defect !!! major repair cost from the dealer, to change the whole bottom seat cushion assembly, which includes the defective air bag sensor, that separates from the seat cushion, after a short time!

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #24

Feb 272012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
The car lost power steering intermittently lasting different length of times. The steering was extremely hard to move. This occurred as I was driving 35 mph with no warning on a left hand turn. MINIdiagnostics identified the power steering pump and fan needed to be replaced and said it was infact the same issue being investigated by NHTSA but declined to assist in repairs.. $1200... standing only behind the 30,000mi/3 yr warranty expiration. Please recall the 2005 MINIfor this issue...

- Severna Park , MD, USA

problem #23

Nov 152010


  • 77,000 miles
On three occasions, my 2005 MINICooper has had power steering failure. Each time, I was driving at speeds between 35-45mph and has put me in dangerous positions where I was unable to steer myself out of major materials and onto a safer road. I am not strong enough to easily overpower my vehicle's steering. My first experience happened as I was driving 35mph on a busy road at peak hour. I was on a four lane road, two in each direction. I was in the left hand lane coming up to my apt when my steering went out. I was unable to maneuver to the right lane to pull over due to the sheer strength needed and high traffic volumes. I immediately put my hazards on to alert motorists and slowed down my speed. I was left stranded before a major curve in the road. I was unable to move my car in either direction. A second experience occurred prior to a curve as I was exiting an interstate highway. As I attempted to turn the wheel I noticed the wheel was stiff/rigid. I could not make the curved exit ramp and blocked tremendously high speeding exiting traffic behind me. I believe this is a significant danger to drivers. Prior to each incident, there were no warnings/lights indicating issues of any kind. I would suggest an investigation, as I was not able to find any recalls from miniusa. I have searched the internet and have found many forums (usa & uk) of MINIowners discussing each of their incidents caused by power steering failures. I strongly believe this is not an isolated problem and could cause great harm to owners. It is common that once an accident/death has occurred due to faulty parts, a recall is made. An investigation should be made before this happens.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #22

Dec 232011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 36,000 miles


I use my MINICooper the night before parking it at around 10:00pm the night of December 22nd, 2011. The next morning went to work as usual by mass transit. At around 8:00am I received a call from my neighbor telling me that my car was on fire. The superintendent of my building had seen the car smoking and by the time he came back to grab an extinguisher the car had caught on fire. The fire was put of in short time and the fire department assured the fire was off spreading fire retardant, a powder talc like over the area that caught fire. The fire was over the right side grille between the windshield and hood. The estimate of record prepared by geico adjuster describes damages in the instrument panel, dash pad crossmember, supercharger, air grille and much more parts. The car has been considered total loss by geico and currently going through the process to try to settle but haven't because the estimate they gave me for the value of the car is very low compared to what I paid for it and the low mileage of it. This is terrible since I have not finish paying the car, I'm shocked a car can catch fire by itself I would appreciate if someone can help me with the problem of MINICoopers catching while parked a recall for the same problem is all over the internet today Jan 17th, 2012. Or guide me if the insurance company will do something regarding the recall, although they are not recalling the model or year my car was made.

- Brooklyn , NY, USA

problem #21

Dec 202011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
My 2005 MINICooper convertible was parked in a parking lot after a short trip, not running. I came out of a store and saw smoke pouring out from all around the hood area. I raised the hood and the smoke began to subside. Smelled like an electrical fire. There was no previous warning of any kind. The repairs include the alternator, power steering pump, reservoir, power steering pump fan. At a total out of pocket of $1900.

- Todd, NC, USA

problem #20

Jul 212011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
Driving home from work at about 70 mph, the power steering failed. I was going around a bend in the road when suddenly the power steering failed that almost caused an accident. Without notice the car reverted to "rack-and-pinion" mode. I was fortunate that time to gain control of the car and did not go over the side of the road or hit another car. I didn't drive the car for several months then took it to a few mechanics for an estimate. Dealer says replace the steering pump at $1200 but they will not honor any assistance due to the premature failure of the steering pump or the electrical connection to the cooling fan failure. The power steering fan quits then the pump gets hot and shuts off. I called MINIusa today and they said they will not assist me in paying for the manufacturing defect. My pump failure is intermittent suggesting that the problem is electrical and on point for a recall on 2004 MINICoopers. My car has the same problem and was manufactured in 2004, but is the 1707 car outside their "official" recall range. MINIBMW sent a "Mr. Driver" letter out on 12/2004 for this "recall." My car had not been purchased yet. The dealer says that replacing the steering pump will solve all the problems including the electrical issue. Apparently, the new steering pump has a design feature that eliminates the electrical failure problem (defect code: 0032630100 & labor code: 0055719). The more the pump overheats because of the fan non-operation problem, the pump will need to be replaced, it will be burnt out. One thing is sure, I have a premature failure of the steering pump making my car dangerous to drive. I can't afford to fix it. Nor do I believe, I should be responsible for the manufactures design failure. The car is not fit to drive as intended. Why is BMW getting away with this? many thousands and thousands of drivers have this same problem.

- San Rafael, CA, USA

problem #19

Apr 102008

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 45,830 miles
4/10/2008 airbag light on dash came on intermittently - MINIdealer could not duplicate problem 9/23/2008 airbag light on dash came on and stayed lit - MINIdealer found micro-cracks in OC3 seat mat fault code FC71 stored in mr55K checked faults replaced OC3 seat mat installed seat and enable seat mat with GT1 cleared faults summer 2011 - airbag light on dash came on intermittently October 2011 - airbag light on dash came on and stayed lit 11/15/2011 - MINIdealer refuses to cover under warranty, despite known issues with this component having a history of being defective.

- Morrow, OH, USA

problem #18

Sep 022011


  • miles
Parked the vehicle after a short trip of approx. 10 miles. Left car for approx 5 to 7 minutes. Returned to find smoke billowing from under the hood. Immediately started to unhook the battery cable. Got the battery unhooked and smoke diminished. Tried restarting car, restarted fine, but no power steering. Assuming that the power steering pump went up in smoke. Fortunately, damage seems to be limited to ps pump... not sure yet if smoldering/smoke indicates any other damage under the hood or not.

- Zionsville, IN, USA

problem #17

Jul 272011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
2005 MINICooper S - engine fire a few days ago (7/27/2011) my 2005 MINICooper S caught fire in the lower rear engine compartment while parked in a business parking lot. It had been driven a short distance (about 6 miles) three hours prior with no indication of a problem. The car ignition was off and there was no key present in or near the vehicle. Fortunately, a co-worker spotted the car billowing smoke from beneath the hood and we were able to quickly extinguish the fire before any significant damage was done to the vehicle or surrounding property. According to the mechanic who diagnosed the car and subsequent electrical fire - the incident was caused by an overheating and eventual ignition of an electrical harness caused by a sudden failure of the power steering pump. I must emphasize that prior to the fire, there was no indication in the vehicle (warning system) or by the vehicles performance that there was any problem with the pump or handling. It failed completely without warning! while parked and unattended! thankfully, the car was not parked in my garage at night where the fire would have certainly gotten a lot worse before being discovered and could have potentially been devastating to my property and family. As it stands the car is scheduled to be repaired at a cost of nearly $1000, possibly more as we do not yet know if there was any damage caused to additional components within the vehicle by the pumps failure. I am the original owner and only driver of this vehicle. This car has been regularly maintained and was recently mechanically inspected last March. No issues were found with the vehicle at the time of it's last maintenance and inspection.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #16

Jun 222011


  • 65,000 miles
Upon starting the vehicle and sometimes while moving at low speeds the power steering would fail making the vehicle extremely difficult to steer. The dealer explained that the relay in the auxiliary engine fan had failed likely as a result of the power steering fan failing. Both the auxiliary engine fan and the power steering fan had to be replaced. The cost of the repairs and labor was $1060.14.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #15

May 082011


  • 97,005 miles
The steering wheel on my MINICooper has become hard to steer on and off for the last couple of days. At the onset, I was going at about 15 to 20mph and turning right. The steering got hard to turn and I was having difficulty staying out of on coming traffic. I pulled off to the side of the road, turned off the car and hood under the hood to see if there was anything to explain what was going on. I was not able to identify anything to explain this occurrence, so I restarted the car and it was back to normal. Since then it has done this on and off several other times. I call the mechanic and was told these vehicles have lots of problems with the steering pump, cooling fan and rely switch.

- Newton, KS, USA

problem #14

Dec 032010


  • 75,350 miles
The vehicle has loss the power steering assist due to power steering pump failure. Thus requiring increased force to steer and control the vehicle. Steering has becomes extremely difficult and has made manoeuvring this car far harder and dangerous. The car has spotty electrical failures; example the window just doesn't want to roll up; no, wait, it does. No, wait, it doesn't. the stereo just gives up; no sound anymore, then it plays again. The same with the drivers side door you could here it unlock and re-lock, but the door would not open and then it would. Also both of my keys to open the door both turned off at the same time and I had to have the keys re-calibrated at a MINIdealership to reopen the vehicle.

- Estelline, SD, USA

problem #13

Oct 012009


  • 67,000 miles
The power steering failed during a left turn, almost causing me to head straight into opposing traffic waiting at the left turn signal opposite me. I managed to pull the wheel hard enough to get it to the curb. I restarted the car and it was fine. This happened again months later on a canyon road and finally on a 2 hour road trip where I was freeway driving approximately 70 mph when I felt the wheel tighten. As I was on straightaway, it wasn't obvious until I had to exit. Again, I pulled over, turned the car off and restarted with no problem. I brought it in on 11/30/2010 and had to have the power steering pump replaced. Now I have to go in because there is an electrical current coming through my steering wheel. There have been several other issues with this model that are not life threatening but have been an unnecessary expense. Without quick reflexes and, quite frankly, a bit of strength, this could have been a very serious accident.

- Venice, CA, USA

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