Notes: The 2008 Mini Cooper has problems with the oil feed lines to the turbo leaking which is not only dangerous & a fire hazard, but also costs $1,200 to fix at relatively low mileage.

Also the 2008 Mini Cooper has a defective timing belt tensioner pulley that can cause the timing chain to break, resulting in expensive engine damage.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
53,246 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.

2008 Mini Cooper engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 2 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #78

Aug 032015


  • 69,328 miles


While sitting at a red light the engine shut off and would not start, car had to be towed. A few days later it was found that the timing chain had broke. With only 69,000 miles it is unheard of that a timing chain breaks. The repair cost was $5159.60.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #77

Feb 212015


  • 52,000 miles
While traveling on the highway in dickson, tn my 2008 MINICooper lost all power without warning. I was able to make it to the side of the highway. This was during an ice storm. We had to wait hours on the side of a highway with no heat, and vehicles struggling to stay on the road, until a tow truck driver from aaa was able to pick us up, saying how lucky we were to have not been hit. When bringing the vehicle to a certified MINIdealership I was told that it was due to low oil level. The incident occured in February, my oil was changed on December. Upon repair from my independent mechanic, the cause of failure was determined to be a catastrophic engine failure due to a faulty timing chain that collapsed. I have been made aware that MINICooper is aware of the timing chain defect, and in fact sent out a service bulletin but has done nothing to fix this problem. On behalf of current MINIdrivers and potential buyers I urge you to look at this issue in hopes of preventing potential injuries or deaths.

- Lenoxdale, MA, USA

problem #76

Jun 212015


  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 MINICooper S. while driving approximately 70 mph, the vehicle began to decelerate after the check engine warning indicator illuminated. The contact coasted the vehicle to the side of the road. The vehicle was powered off and back on and was able to be driven; however, the vehicle would not accelerate past 55 mph on a 70 mph highway. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that one of the cylinders failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 62,000.

- Crown Point, IN, USA

problem #75

Jun 012015

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles


Letter from senator nelson on behalf of constituent re 2008 MINICooper (attn: Josiah manzo) document is hard to read. The consumer stated the timing chain. As a result, the engine to fail.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #74

Apr 142015

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 99,610 miles
The turbo oil feed line is a known failure point on the engines put in this generation of MINICooper S models. The oil line uses a "O" ring gasket behind a pinch/crimp connection. This connection is directly in contact with the hot side of the turbo and fails due to excessive heat. This allows engine oil to leak out over the turbo and down the front of the engine. This could cause the engine to run low on oil at best. At the worst it could cause a fire if the turbo gets hot enough to ignite the oil that is leaking out.

- Springfield, OR, USA

problem #73

Feb 132015


  • 66,000 miles
Turbocharger oil feed line leaking. The part is poorly designed and according to the research I've done prone to failure. The dealer wants $1200 to replace it. When I questioned the service person about the heat shield recall from just last year to prevent this issue from occurring, he reassured me that the heat shield recall was because of the number of paint jobs they had to do on hoods from the heat off the turbo damaging the hood paint. I think MINIshould cover the cost of replacing the oil supply line since they are well aware that this part is faulty, it gets too hot and leaks. The heat shield recall doesn't stop the damage already done. It seems my 2008 MINIis not immune to any of the "known" issues this car has. Everytime I visit the MINIdealership it's another well known issue/repair. While the dealership was very helpful with the last issue (timing chain), they were not with this latest one. They said because it was out of warranty there was nothing they could do.

- Burnsville, MN, USA

problem #72

Jan 082015


  • 64,000 miles


When the car accelerating on the first and second gear, there was a small jerking motion. Took it to the shop and they didn't find any problem with the car. One the day of the incident date, 01/08, when I started the car, the car have a loud engine sound, sounds like the car is chocking for air. The engine light is on with the RPM pointer running up and down (gas paddle is untouched). Took it to the dealer and the next day and they found there is oil leaking from the oil feed line to the turbo. $1200 to replace the part. Did some research online and found many MINIowner had the same problem.

- Hummelstown, PA, USA

problem #71

Jan 122015

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles
I own a 2008 MINICooper S and it has 38600 miles on it I have owned it for a year and have to replace the timing chain. This vehicle has had the timing chain changed once before at 13,485 by a MINIdealer. As for this time it is still drivable and has not caused any incidents.

- Cottage Grove , OR, USA

problem #70

Jan 012013


  • 30,000 miles
"death rattle" noise coming from engine compartment as reported by many others on online forums. Now engine is throwing codes indicating crankshaft out of position. Obvious related issue to a defective timing belt or tensioner. Told by dealership not a covered repair, although I've read that similar repair has been covered by manufacturer for others and for other models. As this vehicle is being driven by my young daughter, out of state, I am very concerned about a complete engine failure whilst she is on the highways in the mountains where she lives, with the potential for tragic consequences. Please consider this issue as a serious potential life safety issue, as a failure at highways speeds could certainly endanger not only my daughter, but the lives of others on the highway. Thank you.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #69

Dec 012014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
Low mileage 2008 vehicle began making loud noises from engine compartment. Diagnosed as timing chain/tensioner failure. Appears to a common problem with this model. Estimated repair cost over $2000. Mechanics say not "if" but "when" this will happen to all 2008 mcs. I believe this should be repaired on a recall. Vehicle cannot be driven safely until repaired; delay will result in total engine failure.

- Royal, AR, USA

problem #68

Mar 182014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 44,740 miles


The dealer informed me my oil feed lines to the turbo were leaking and would need to be replaced soon. After doing some research found the couplings that attaches these lines to the turbo are defective. The dealer says there is not a recall and will cost approx: $1200. The dealer installed a turbo shield to help with the heat that is causing the line to prematurely fail. With so many affected shouldn't MINIbe fixing this issue.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #67

Jul 092014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 44,353 miles
The dealer informed me my oil feed lines to the turbo were leaking and would need to be replaced soon. After doing some research found the couplings that attaches these lines to the turbo are defective. There are hundreds of complaints about this issue. The dealer says there is not a recall and will cost approx: $1500. The dealer installed a turbo shield to help with the heat that is causing the line to prematurely fail. With so many effective shouldn't MINIbe fixing this issue.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #66

Jun 172014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
I was driving on freeway and car just stalled. I made it to side of freeway. It was a very dangerous situation being on freeway in small car that stalled. Luckily, I was driving in the far right lane so I was able to make it to the shoulder. Repair shop advised that timing chain broke. There was additional serious collateral engine damage due to timing chain breaking. Car is perfectly maintained and regularly serviced.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #65

Feb 162011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 47,825 miles
The following reports are from: Orlando MINI350 S. lake destiny drive orlando, fl 32810 (407) 835-2727 incident 1 @ 47,603 miles: Service advisor [xxx]. [xxx] found timing chain rattle "noise at idle up to 2,100 RPM. Noise is a rattle under valve cover near cyl 1. interrogated fault memory, no faults. Found noise to be related to valve-train. Performed steps outlined in bulletin 110207. Measured timing chain slack at 71.5mm. Needs completed replacement timing chain cassette." Replaced tensioners (part # 11-31-7-598-956, part # 11-31-7-534-833), and many other parts. Incident 2 @ 96,125 miles: 100% client goodwill provided. [xxx] found that the "timing chain tensioner failed, found vehicle timing chain tensioner to have failed causing vehicle to become out of timing, replaced timing chain and tensioner at this time, cleared faults from system and test drove vehicle, all ok..." replaced tensioners (part # 11-31-7-609-483 [already updated from the one used above], part # 11-31-7-534-833), and many other parts. Incident 3 @ 105,543 miles: Service advisor [xxx]) found "defect code 00 11 08 03 00, check timing chain tensioner, found it was an updated model, ok after that repair" since it was updated. Nothing was replaced. Noise got worse. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Port Orange, FL, USA

problem #64

May 042014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
I was driving in a three lane highway when the engine stopped suddenly and would not restart. The 2008 MINICooper S was towed to a local MINIdealer. I was informed that the timing chain had broken because the timing chain tensioner had collapsed. MINIusa informed me that there was a recall for the tensioner which my car qualified for and if the dealer could state that was the cause the engine would be replaced free of charge. The dealer refused to make the connection and refuses to tell me after a tear-down what caused the failure. MINIis taking no responsibility and I'm left with a $12000 repair bill, beyond what the car is worth. It is well documented that the failure of the tensioner causes engine failure.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #63

Jan 312014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
As I was driving the car, the hood in the front started to release smoke. There was also a smoking smell. This continued throughout the ride. Brought the car to a mechanic who indicates that the car is leaking oil onto the engine, making it extremely dangerous to drive as it can cause a fire. This problem continues to exist after I replace the oil pipe.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #62

Apr 012014


  • 145,000 miles
Was driving on hwy, at 55 oil supply line to turboleaking oil order replacement line oil line has defective rubber seals after heating up fail co was aware of this should be recalled I may repair with factory pcs that did not work co should recall do to fire possibility oil pours out of engine on to muffers very unhappy.

- Shepherd, TX, USA

problem #61

Mar 242014


  • miles
I have now experienced my second timing chain tensioner failure within a three year period. Countless reports are surfacing around the globe of the faulty design, and the manufacturer (BMW) has acknowledged a design flaw. They have yet to issue a recall as the federal govt has not yet mandated the repair. This is a very dangerous situation (and expensive ~ $2K) should the system fail. The only notice is a rattling sound in the engine compartment prior to failure. BMW claims the tensioner should be good for upwards of 120K miles. My vehicle has less than 50K and this is the 2nd failure I've experienced in the last 3 years. Considering the number of MINIcooper vehicles on the road, a nationwide recall is the only measure to ensure this problem is adequately addressed.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #60

Mar 052014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 66,500 miles
The 2008 MINICooper S started making the infamous "death rattle" noise. I took it to a mechanic who specializes in imports. He changed the oil, which wasn't due for another 2,000 miles, and he changed the oil filter. The noise continued so he added oil stabilizer to ensure that oil was being filtered. The noise still persists at start-up, and goes away after the car warms up for a couple minutes. The mechanic told me I'd have to get the time changing belt replaced to fix the "death rattle, " which is a common thing in MINIcars.

- Chalmette, LA, USA

problem #59

Feb 052014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
The contact own a 2008 MINICooper. The contact stated that she started the engine and before she could shift into gear, the engine made a loud tapping noise before it stalled. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for inspection where they stated that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 37,000. Updated 10/18/16 updated 10/27/16.

- Florence, PA, USA

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