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 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #43

Aug 222012


  • 75,000 miles


The passenger air bag weight sensor stop working. As a result my vehicle displays a warning that the passenger side air bags are off. My driver side fog light housing melted and crack apart. I used stock 55W halogen bulbs. My passenger side fog light housing has also begun to melt. My power steering is not leaking now. But it has been replaced 3 times.

- San Ramon, CA, USA

problem #42

Aug 182012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 29,360 miles
While driving on the freeway to sacramento, ca from alameda, ca, for no apparent reason, my red dashboard air bag warning light and the roof-mounted yellow passenger airbag disable warning indicator light both came on. The roof-mounted yellow light then went out after about 5 minutes, but the red dashboard air bag warning light has remained on every time the ignition was turned on.

- Alameda, CA, USA

problem #41

Jan 012011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
The passenger air bag sensor activates, saying that there is a passenger in the seat when one is not present. It often reminds this "passenger" to buckle their seat belt. Other times it is silent but still indicates that the passenger airbag is turned off when there truly is a passenger.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #40

Aug 012012


  • 33,000 miles


The occupancy sensor has failed. This causes the airbags to be unarmed while the vehicle is in use. I have contacted MINIabout the problem. They covered the repair on certain vehicles, but not mine. This is a safety issue, and it should be covered on all vehicles that it has occurred on, regardless of mileage. The repair is very expensive, and should be covered.

- Bellevue, NE, USA

problem #39

Jun 092010


  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 MINICooper. The contact stated that 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 25,000.

- Irmo, SC, USA

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problem #38

Jun 142012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
Air bag light keeps coming on due to faulty oc sensors, and faulty oc sensor connectors. MINIusa refused extended warranty on sensor, or recall while passenger safety is in jeopardy. The passenger side air bag warning indicator illuminated until the engine was turned off. The failure occurred whenever the engine was in operation. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who stated the front passenger seat sensor pad was faulty and would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem in which there was no resolution. The approximate failure mileage was 35,000. I believe this is a safety related issue that should be addressed by the dealer as a warranty issue as I am not comfortable with the current situation but do not want to pay for an expensive safety related defect. I am the original owner of the vehicle and still have it. Part failed is a seat sensor. Dealer wants close to $2K to replace it, but it failed a long, long, long time ago. I would think it should last longer than 2 or 3 years. Can find tons of the same problems at

- Oldsmar, FL, USA

problem #37

Aug 282010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 74,000 miles


Initially we were parked with a large adult who weighs ~200lbs sitting in the passenger seat, and the passenger airbag off lights illuminated. Shifting around and unbuckling-rebuckling seatbelt caused the lights to go off for a bit. We began to drive anyway, the terrain was mountainous, and eventually the lights went off. That night. In the following weeks and months, it was an intermittent problem, sometimes upon getting seated and starting to drive, other times once we were in motion, very unpredictable. The problem sometimes resolved by shifting his weight or fussing with the seatbelt to get the lights off, but for the past month it has been a constant problem.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #36

May 132009


  • 38,000 miles
The air bag sensor in the passenger seat malfunctioned and was replaced under warrenty in 2009. The sensor has malfunctioned again in 2011. The dealer said they do not cover it under warrenty because the vehicle and the part were past the warrenty period. They wanted over $1000 to fix it. I conveyed to them that they have a safety problem related to this sensor and apparently they have not corrected it yet, so why would I pay to have it replaced by a part that will malfunction again. This is a serious safety issue that BMW/MINIare ignoring!

- Colchester, VT, USA

problem #35

May 072012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
Seat sensor for the passenger air bag child disabling feature failed and required replacement of the entire seat. Dealer estimate was $1300 for the replacement seat and labor. Dealer admitted that it has been a common occurrence in several BMW models. The car only has 32000 miles on it. No warranty coverage was offered.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #34

Apr 132012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 129,000 miles
Both airbag warnig lights come on when someone sits in front pass seat. When the "passenger airbag status lamp" is on that means no one is in the front passenger seat. If someone is sitting in the passenger side front seat while it's on and there is an accident the airbag might not deploy B/C the car thinks someone isn't in the seat.

- Bethlehem, PA, USA

problem #33

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 #32

Jan 102012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
Air bag sensor lights remain illuminated when ignition is powered. Seat can be either occupied or unoccupied. Initial problem intermittent, within 1 month problem constant, both airbag lights remain on. There are (2) airbag lights in this vehicle, one red lamp that is in the dash, the second a yellow lamp located near the inside center rear view mirror. Feedback appears that the issue is the airbag sensor located in the passenger seat bottom after studying several similar complaints commented on a MINIowners website. This is also a known problem occurring on BMW vehicles that is covered under warranty.

- Ortonville, MI, USA

problem #31

Apr 012012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
I had returned home to California after living in Hawaii for a few months. I got in my car, drove it for a few days, only to find that while on one of those drives my airbag light illuminated. Not one person had driven my car since I had been gone. I took my car into BMW and after paying $180 for just a diagnostic fee, I am now told that my "passenger side floor mat sensor" has gone bad and will need replacing for $1,600. They said they would have to replace my entire seat for this. BMW has, supposedly, recognized this same exact issue in other BMW models on the passenger floor side and is indeed a manufacturers defect and has recalled bmws accordingly. However, with the minis, they have not fessed up to this being a manufacturers defect and the dealer now wants $1,600 from me. I have absolutely zero motivation to pay for something that did not break under my watch, and something that is clearly a manufacturers defect. My car was sitting in a garage under a car cover for 3 months, and there is no way with just 50,000 miles on my car that this should be happening. Because I refuse to give them $1,600, my passengers are now at risk for an airbag either a) going off when not supposed to, or B) not working at all. I pay top dollar for this car and it is an absolute disgrace that BMW will not recognize that this is a safety issue above all. I am really hoping that someone will not have to lose their life over this faulty airbag that they are trying to make customers pay for. I expect top service from a top brand like MINIand BMW, and so far they have not taken responsibility for an issue that is clearly their fault.

- Escondido, CA, USA

problem #30

Apr 052012


  • 65,000 miles
Air bag light keeps coming on due to faulty oc sensors, and faulty oc sensor connectors. MINIusa refuses extended warranty on sensor, or recall while passenger safety is in jeopardy.

- Abington, MA, USA

problem #29

Mar 012012


  • 42,000 miles
Passenger seat occupancy sensor/mat failed causing airbag "off" warning light and possibly (conflicting info from publicly-available sources) turning off passenger seat airbag triggering function. The cost of replacing this component is such a large portion of the airbag system purchase price and the fact that it may also be essential for the system's proper functioning, make it seem reasonable that it should be warrantied for the life of the (airbag) system itself, or a "fix" engineered and installed at no cost to a vehicle owner.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #28

Mar 052012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 29,437 miles
Passenger seat airbag sensor failed.

- Geneva, IL, USA

problem #27

Oct 172011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
The airbag light saying that the airbag is turned off has been turning off and on for a while. Probably several years. In the last few months, the seat belt signal will activate even when no one is seated in the passenger seat. It usually happens right after the passenger has exited the vehicle. The only way to stop it is to buckle the seat. Then the airbag warning lamp on the dashboard will turn on as well as the "airbag light is off" signal. Sometimes both stay on for a while. There is no way of knowing when and if the airbags are actually working when I have a passenger in my car, which is frightening to me. I had my mechanic run diagnostics and he found that there's a tsb for this very problem on 2005 minis. It requires replacement of the sensor mat. I called the dealership where I bought the car to verify whether such a key safety component of the car shouldn't be under some extended warranty and was told no it wasn't. the only way to repair the issue is to replace the bottom seat of the passenger side which I was told would cost $650 + labor of $400 or so. They also told me that if I ordered the new seat and had it replaced by my mechanic and that didn't resolve the problem, they would not take back the seat. The only way it would be covered is if I had them run the diagnostic for $95. I think it's outrageous that with so many people experiencing this same key safety problem with their car that they can get away with not extending the warranty to this model or else recalling the item. And what's worse, there is no way to be assured that even when the lights are not on, that the airbags will actually deploy properly in the event of an accident.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #26

Feb 112012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
The airbag sensor in the passenger side seat does not correctly detect a person sitting in it. When a passenger is in the seat, the airbag sensor stays "off".

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #25

Nov 152011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
Very disappointed to find out that a vehicle I have taken exceptional care of to avoid costly repairs has also had the occupancy mat go bad out of the blue.... I wasn't even driving the car! I held out hope that the repair would be covered under warranty, and was told off the record by the service advisor that this issue has been one of the biggest complaints he receives and in his opinion has cost MINIa tremendous amount of repeat business. It is very hard to swallow the $1400 repair when it is evident that this is a manufactures problem which will cost someone their life one day; maybe then they will do the right thing and fix their problems. Like Toyota; it took people dying for them to address the accelerator problem. Sad, very sad.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #24

Jan 192012


  • 76,000 miles
The airbag warning light comes on intermittently. The repair shop says the sensor under the passenger seat is bad. BMW has known about this issue for several years and issued a 10 year 150,000 mile extended warranty and recall for approximately 150,000 vehicles over model years 2004 - 2006. For some reason they refuse to include the 2005 MINICooper S in the extended warranty and want ~$2,000 to replace the entire seat bottom for the defective sensor. This is a safety issue caused by a known and admitted defective part. MINIshould issue a recall and replace the defective sensor under extended warranty as their parent company BMW has done for various models affected by the same defect.

- Vestal, NY, USA

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