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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
61,748 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2005 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 3 of 6)

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problem #63

Nov 152013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 89,000 miles


In an offset frontal accident, both front airbags deployed even with the front passenger seat unoccupied. Based upon information provided about this vehicle, the passenger side air bag should not have deployed. This appears to be a defect related to the operation of the air bag deployment system. The driver of this vehicle suffered a serious second degree burn approximately 2 inches in diameter to the inside of the right wrist. The long sleeve sweater driver was wearing had a large hole burned thru it in the location of the burn to the wrist. This burn was caused by the air bag hot gas discharge. Hands were between the 9 & 10 and 2 & 3 O'clock positions on the steering wheel. Driver was sitting correctly positioned relative to steering wheel and was properly wearing the seat belt.

- Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #62

Jan 072013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
Occupant seat sensor failure in passenger seat, airbag light comes on and stops airbag operation. I believe MINIBMW is liable for this safety issue and should fix it under recall. Several passengers have refused to ride in my car for fear of safety. Part is $1200 plus installation and reprogramming. This is a very common known issue. MINIBMW's negligence on this issue is astonishing.

- San Francsico, CA, USA

problem #61

Aug 192011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 42,487 miles
The passenger airbag warning light on this 2005 MINICooper stays on and won't go off. Dealer advised on 8/19/2011 that this would cost $1229.88 to replace the seat mat sensor but told owner that the airbag was working, it was just the sensor/light that didn't work. Many, many complaint about this exact issue with the 2005 MINImodels are on the internet. Dealers refuse to correct the problem. Since the light is on and the repair is expensive, passengers take a risk that the airbag won't work at all.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #60

Aug 132013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 97,698 miles


Air bag indicator came on, and the "passenger air bag off" indicator came on simultaneously. Called MINIcooper of pensacola, fl and they said the car was not eligible for repair. They said the bag would deploy if their was an accident at full force. I bought the car for my grand daughter and feel the air bags should be active and operable for the life of the vehicle. There are numerous complaints on the internet about this issue. I feel BMW is negligent in not recalling these vehicles and correcting a major flaw, and inherent safety issue.

- Mobile, AL, USA

problem #59

Aug 192006

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 5,500 miles
The airbag light on the dash and above the windshield for the passenger seat used to go on and off without a passenger in the seat. Starting in 2011, it continues to stay on, meaning the airbag is turned off. The dealership said the airbag sensors were bad and the entire passenger seat needs to be replaced at an estimate of $1,000. The dealership could not confirm that the airbag would or would not deploy if the car faced impact and someone was in the passenger seat. This is a serious safety issue and no fault of the car owner. Please recall this problem before someone gets injured or dies.

- Aliso Viejo, CA, USA

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problem #58

May 152013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 35,890 miles
Occupant seat sensor failure in passenger seat, airbag light comes on and stops airbag operation. I see that NHTSA has contacted BMW for this problem and for this model year; however, BMW/MINIwon't take blame for airbag failure. BMW takes irresponsible attitude that even though car has only 36,000 miles, safety is my problem, not thiers. As a side note, dealer says part is $1200 plus installation and reprogramming. BMW, the ultimate driving (and killing) machine.

- Fort Mill, SC, USA

problem #57

May 202013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 35,900 miles


2005 MINICooper. While driving approximately 45 mph, the front passenger air bag off indicator illuminated with an occupant positioned in the seat. In addition, the failure would occur even when an occupant was not present in the front seat. The illumination no longer continued when the engine was turned off. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who stated the passenger seat mat sensor would need to be replaced. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 35,000.

- Fort Mill, SC, USA

problem #56

Sep 102012


  • 24,500 miles
The passenger side airbag light came on and has not gone off. This has rendered the passenger airbag inoperable. The seat was rarely used as my wife uses the car as a summer car. ## VIN failed ##

- Saratoga Springs, NY, USA

problem #55

May 142013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 68,563 miles
My air bag light on the passenger side is on. MINIdealer says it is a broken sensor in the seat. I checked online forums and this is a common problem lots of complaints. MINIwill not correct the problem unless I pay. It seems as if this is a safety issue and not an isolated case. I would think because of the nature of the problem there should be a recall.

- Hampton, NH, USA

problem #54

Feb 062012


  • 40,000 miles
The front passenger seat weight sensor for airbag activation failed. Due to this, the front passenger airbag will not deploy in an accident. The only fix is a $2000 replacement of the entire front passenger seat.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #53

Apr 082013


  • 74,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 MINICooper S. the contact stated while driving at various speeds, the two air bag lights illuminated stating that the air bags were off despite a passenger being in the seat. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the passenger side air bag mat sensor would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified but they offered no assistance. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileage was 74,000.

- Everett, WA, USA

problem #52

Mar 012011


  • 40,000 miles
Around 2 years ago, while driving with a passenger in the front passenger seat and while driving without a passenger in the front seat, the light comes on indicating that the passenger air bag is off. This is extremely concerning that the car's passenger airbag might not be working, particularly with a passenger in the front seat. This malfunction has been reported on other forums to be linked to a faulty sensor in the car seat, and a NHTSA service bulletin (id number: 10043927) has been filed. I hope that NHTSA can conduct an investigation into whether a recall should occur, given the safety concern of potentially not having a passenger airbag go off if a passenger is in the front seat and an accident occurs.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #51

Mar 052013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 61,126 miles
The "passenger airbag off" alarm lights came on on both the speedometer panel and the light above the rear view mirror. While I'd had an adult passenger earlier in the day, the passenger seat was unoccupied at the time. I have been unable to turn the light off, to test the bag, or to do much of anything about it. I see by doing an internet search that this has been a recurring problem with MINICoopers for quite some time. See NHTSA bulletin numbers si M-65-02-0 and 720106. I feel this is a safety issue and should be addressed by MINICooper usa rather than paid for by the consumer.

- Aiea, HI, USA

problem #50

Nov 062012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
Passenger airbag off warning light on. Dealer wants $1800 to fix defective system.

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #49

Sep 042012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
Passenger seat occupancy sensor lights stay on at all times, whether the seat is occupied or not. Seat mat sensor defective. This is a common safety issue with this model that the manufacturer is fully aware of. Repair cost is in excess of $1,300 for a very simple part.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #48

Dec 032011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
Air bag warning lamp turns on and remains on randomly. Diagnostic indicates passenger seat occupancy sensor is defective. The passenger seat is used infrequently and looks like new. We have been told this is a safety issue that could result in either the air bag failing to deploy or deploying with too great of force. The cost of repair is prohibitive and yet the issue makes the vehicle almost un saleablimpossible to sell without the repair.

- Wildwood, MO, USA

problem #47

Dec 032012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 91,500 miles
Airbag light on center display as well as yellow airbag off light on overhead console intermittently appear and disappear for no apparent reason. MINIwant over $1500 to replace a seat bottom pad sensor.

- Valencia, CA, USA

problem #46

Feb 062012


  • 64,000 miles
Passenger airbag, front seat, sensor has a fault or short in it. Intermittently, while adult passenger is in seat, the warning light turns on, and passenger airbag "off" warning light comes on--thus shutting off the passenger airbag. This a known issue with the 2005 and 2006 MINIcoopers and a serious safety issue. In this past month the frequency has increased to approximately 99% where the passenger has no safety protection as air bag is shut off. To date MINIis not warrantying this defect and it is a very expensive repair. I think a safety recall should be issued asap.

- San Marcos, CA, USA

problem #45

Oct 282011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
Passenger side "air bag" off light is on all of the time and thus, the passenger air bag will not be deployed in an collision. Have had sensor worked on, system flashed by BMW, etc to resolve issue. BMW unable to resolve without extensive cost.

- Tullahoma, TN, USA

problem #44

Nov 052012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 118,798 miles
Airbag light and passenger airbag off light illuminated intermittently.

- Barre, VT, USA

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