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 5 of 6)

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problem #23

Jul 202011


  • 48,000 miles


The passenger airbag SRS floor mat sensor is damaged and may cause the passenger airbag to not deploy in the case of an accident. The SRS airbag light is illuminated.

- Granada Hills, CA, USA

problem #22

Jun 072011


  • 41,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 MINICooper S. while driving approximately 35 mph, 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 41,000.

- Hudson, OH, USA

problem #21

Oct 312011


  • 34,500 miles
The contact owns a 2005 MINICooper convertible. The contact stated that the passenger side air bag light warning light illuminated upon starting the vehicle. The failure recurred on an intermittent basis with and without passengers seated in the seat. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and the contact was informed that there was a wiring failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, but offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 34,500.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #20

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 #19

Oct 082009

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Passenger air bag light reads "off" and center console alert is lit. Getting various diagnoses from shops, but no one really knows how to fix the problem. No one will definitively say, "yes, your passenger airbag is off" or "on." This is a known problem with minis and there should have been a recall.

- Boulder, CO, USA

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problem #18

Dec 132010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
2005 MINIcooper warning lights indicated the passenger side air bag turned off while an adult passenger was in the passenger seat. Issue started during a cold NY winter after 5 yrs of fault free operation. Normally the passenger seat will sense the weight of a passenger and automatically adjust the force of a deploying airbag. Dealer reported faulty seat mat sensor with a replacement cost of $1300 which is not covered by warranty. After extensive internet search for similar problems, these sensor mats fail at a regular rate, and are not covered by any recall. Due to the high cost and repeated failure these repairs are not being performed.

- Albany, NY, USA

problem #17

Apr 152011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 47,500 miles


The airbag light for the passenger seat comes on intermittently when someone is sitting in the seat. Also, the light which indicates the passenger side airbag is off comes on when someone is sitting in the passenger seat. Certainly, this is a safety issue and we believe BMW/MINIshould fix this at no charge.

- Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #16

Sep 012009

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
Passenger airbag system failure--passenger airbag off light illuminated and won't go out. According to web-forums, 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

- Lincoln, CA, USA

problem #15

Apr 082011


  • 66,000 miles
The airbag light on the dash came on while driving. There was no accident or incident that prompted the light to come on. Apparently, minis produced three months after this vehicle are included in a recall or "extended warranty" by the manufacturer for airbag sensor lights, but not this specific vehicle. Based on discussions with dealer service, it could be a very costly repair, estimated at $1200. It seems very strange that vehicles manufactured so close to the covered time period are also having issues. Perhaps MINIneeds to consider expanding the scope of the airbag sensor extended warranty.

- Monrovia, CA, USA

problem #14

Nov 012010


  • 50,000 miles
I have a 2005 MINIcooper. The airbag sensor in the passenger seat failed around 50,000 miles. I was told that the passenger seat had to be replaced at a cost of $1400. This is a know issue with this year of MINICooper S. dealships need to be aware of this problem and MINIBMW needs to have a recall.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #13

May 012010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 29,000 miles


The airbag sensor light on the center dashboard and "airbag off" light above the rear view mirror turn on when a passenger is in the car. It appears as the passenger airbag sensor is failing to properly detect the passenger's weight.

- Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #12

Feb 162010


  • 99,450 miles
The red airbag warning light in the speedometer area came on at approximately 99,450 miles. It came on after driving across a city railroad crossing at low speed. I took the vehicle to the dealer and asked about the light, and they indicated that it would require additional investigation but could be a faulty seat sensor which would cost approximately $1250 to replace. They also indicated that they were not sure whether or not the airbags would deploy properly in the event of an accident. Further research indicates that this model and year may also have problems with the wiring harnesses and connections, and that only the dealer can reset the warning light. As of December 2 2010 the vehicle has 113,000 miles on it and the warning light is still on. 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. Thanks.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #11

Sep 172005

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles
The air bag light comes on for no reason. This has been happening since I got the car and I read that it had to do with putting bags on the seat. I later discovered that it does not matter if there is a bag, a person or an empty passenger seat.

- Casper, WY, USA

problem #10

Oct 252010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
MINICooper 2005: At 60,000 passenger side air bag sensor malfunctioned. Light stays on no matter if someone is in the seat or not. MINIservice says it will cost $1,000 plus to repair sensor, and that the bag will not deploy if sensor is malfunctioning.

- Plainville, CT, USA

problem #9

Jul 082010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 66,000 miles
I have a 2005 MINIcooper. The airbag sensor in the passenger seat failed around 66,000 miles. I was told that the passenger seat airbag and both door sensors had to be replaced along with the battery cable at a cost of $4000. Sounds as if BMW still has real electrical problems in their cars and are sticking it to consumers to fix it instead of fixing these problems themselves. The car has never been involved in any accident.

- Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #8

Jun 242010


  • 74,200 miles
The airbag light is on and the passenger seat airbag detection light says off even when an adult is sitting in the seat. I took the car in and the airbag code read was a 71 indicating that the OC3 mat in the passenger seat is faulting. The dealership is telling me that the airbag may or may not work even if a passenger is in the seat. I was told by the dealership that it would cost up to $3000 for my car to replace the OC3 mat!!! no safety recall warranty available for this model year as there is on others!

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #7

Jun 302010


  • 86,000 miles
Both my passenger airbag warning light and airbag warning lamp in the instrument panel is illuminated deactivating airbag deployment when an adult is sitting in the passenger seat and remains on when passenger seat is vacant while driving. There is also 2 technical service bulletins (tsb) I'm aware of relating to this malfunction: Tsb: Si M-65-02-06 airbag warning illuminated, FC55 for vehicles produced from August 31, 2005 - April 25, 2006. NHTSA 10026024 (my vehicle was produced in August 2005 as indicated on my driver door panel). Tsb: 720106 airbag warning lamp for OC3 seat mat fault, airbag warning lamp illuminates together with the passenger airbag status lamp. NHTSA 10019981. I spoke with 2 service managers at MINIindicating faulty detection mat, parts were in stock and will not be covered under warranty for repair or replacement estimated at approximately $1000. My only recourse is to repair it, feeling uncomfortable driving my vehicle or transporting passengers in the event the airbags will not deploy. In addition, BMW of North America, llc extended the warranty on passenger airbag detection mats to 10 yrs/unlimited mileage for specific BMW models ranging from MY04 through MY06, who owns MINIof North America. I've read several forums relating to this issue, one of which states MINIdid extend the warranty on models prior to MY05, but problem hasn't been resolved in model years thereafter as mentioned in my complaint and other NHTSA bulletins. I contacted MINIof North America with no positive response.

- Sierra Vista, AZ, USA

problem #6

Jan 182010


  • 40,800 miles
Defect initially occurred at night time in rush hour traffic: Dash-lights went out, turn indicator not functional, heater blower stopped working (causing fogging of windshield/windows), air bag lights went on, seat belt light on consequently had to pull on the side of road (limited visibility, no speed indicator, could not operate vehicle safely). A couple of attempts at ignition cycling partially restored functionality. After initial defect, problem could be reproduced intermittently (all/some of the component listed above failed during course of normal operation of vehicle). Vehicle inspected by MINIBMW dealer, root cause: Interference on K-bus of one of the audio component, resulting in failure/malfunction of other components on the bus. Ultimately component (MINII-pod interface) had to be removed -- part is available if needed. Request to have repairs covered was rejected by MINIBMW customer relations on grounds there was no recall (vehicle is 5 months out of warranty --- 41K miles).

- Schaumburg, IL, USA

problem #5

Oct 012008


  • 52,000 miles
My airbag light came on. The dealer said I had a defective seat sensor but the airbag would still work... my dashboard looks like a christmas tree. Later I heard about the warranty extension for this fault. I drove 200 miles round trip after making an appointment. They looked at it and said it is not covered by warranty. The dealer has given me alot of misinformation... doi trust them on this? no, of course not. Although they have a BMW dealer adjacent, the BMW dealers are not like the ones I am accustomed to dealing with. I am disappointed that MINIhas such poor service while most of its BMW dealers are so stellar. The heated seats work only a few minutes. The dealer said I need a new fuse, in spite of what the manual says. It says if it blows more than twice, the vehicle should be returned to the dealer for service. I did and their diagnosis was that it had a blown fuse.

- Apex, NC, USA

problem #4

Apr 152009


  • 50,000 miles
Passenger side airbag is disabled when passenger is in seat. If passenger shifts in seat, the airbag may or may not enable. Have been told the fault lies with the airbag sensor mat under the seat. This is a common issue for several BMW models and an extended warranty has been offered. For several MINImodels, the issue has been reported and an extended warranty has been offered. So far, the 2005 model has not been included.

- Memphis, TN, USA

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