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 5 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #18

Feb 012013


  • 52,000 miles


The oil input line to the turbo has started to leak. The car is currently sidelined because of chance of fire or failure of the turbo.

- St Peters, MO, USA

problem #17

Jan 312013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
My car had been making a rattling sound off and on for a short time (mostly in the cold mornings) I drove from houston to dallas. When parked on the side road, my car would not start up. I had no service light or any other lights come on. Took it to the dealership and I was told my timing belt was broken. I have no means to pay for the repair. While searching the internet it appears this is a very common problem and MINIcooper/BMW are aware of this and have done nothing about it.

- Humble, TX, USA

problem #16

Jan 292013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 54,667 miles
The car started leaking small amounts of oil in the garage, approximately the size of a dime. When the car was parked you could smell a slight oil burning odor. The car sat for 3 days, was driven and smoke began coming out from under the hood. There was no fire. The result is that the "turbo oil feed line" and "crankcase to valve cover hose" were replaced because both were leaking oil. At 50700 mi, we had to replace the valve cover and ccv assembly. This car was repaired under the recall PE11036 for a cooling fan issue. Considering the low mileage on this vehicle, it seems to me that there have been too many issues with it related to the turbo charger and oil system. From reading other issues online it appears that there are design flaws with the shielding of these components from high heat sources on the engine. These repairs are very expensive and are not related to poor or abusive driving habits.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #15

Jan 212013


  • 80,000 miles


The oil feed line for the turbocharger leaked enough oil to allow enough smoke into the cabin to greatly decrease visibility. The fitting is comprised of a bango fitting that is crimped to the feed line with an O-ring in the feed line. The O-ring is the component that failed and my engineering back round has led me to the root cause being that the O-ring has seen enough thermal cycled to deteriorate leading to the leak. This is unacceptable from a reliability standpoint and I know that I am not the only MINIowner that has had this happen to them. MINIneeds to own up to this design flaw.

- Amherst, NY, USA

problem #14

Jan 212013


  • 80,000 miles
The timing chain tensioner backed out of the engine block allowing engine oil to be pumped out of the engine. The tensioner works on engine oil pressure and it backed out far enough to allow the engine oil that normally pressurized the piston to be pumped out of the engine. I was lucky enough to see the streak of oil as I backed out of the driveway, but if I had not I am sure that more damage and potential fire would have occurred. This is surprising as this same part was replaced under a recall for being faulty. I believe that this is still a design flaw and something that should be addressed by MINI

- Amherst, NY, USA

problem #13

Nov 012009


  • 7,400 miles
The contact owns a 2008 MINICooper S. the contact stated that smoke was seen coming from the engine. The vehicle was unable to cool down so the contact had the vehicle towed to a dealer for diagnosis but they were unable to duplicate or diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact stated that the failure recurred and he was unable to drive the vehicle for more than a few miles without it overheating. The manufacturer was contacted and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 7,400. The current mileage was approximately 8,234. The VIN was unavailable.

- Daly City, CA, USA

problem #12

Dec 212012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles


Vehicle was brought in for warranty repairs just before warranty expired (6/9/12). Service department was asked to inspect 'turbo oil supply line' as this was tsb (sim-11-03-08) for clogs/blockage caused by the deterioration of the rubber O-ring in line that when heat cycled falls apart and clogs the line causing damage to the turbocharger. Service department stated a inspection was performed and noted there was no blockage. Turbocharger oil supply line is now broken and no longer supplying oil to turbocharger. Diminished performance and the smell of oil was the reason for discontinued driving of the vehicle. Upon inspection it was discovered the oil supply line has broken. I do not know the extent of the damage until repaired. Turbocharger may need replacing as a result of this known failing part.

- Arvada, CO, USA

problem #11

Mar 152010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 11,700 miles
MINICoopers years 2008 and 2009 have a issue which I believe is known by MINIusa, but they have failed to initiate a voluntary recall. These vehicles have a timing chain that can prematurely fail (in my case at approximately 25,000 miles). If the timing chain fails while the vehicle is being driven, it will cause the vehicle to slowly come to a full stop. In the event the vehicle is being driven in a highway, this stop could cause a severe accident that potentially can involve many vehicles. This is a very serious issue, because most MINIowners would not expect a timing chain to fail so prematurely.

- Lodi, NJ, USA

problem #10

Nov 202012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 35,900 miles
As I was driving my car started chugging. I pulled over and kept chugging. I stopped the car, looked under the hood and saw if something was wrong. Did not see anything. Started it up again and once I accelerated it stopped chugging. Drove it very scarcely and brought it into the dealership. Was told it was a timing chain. Very lucky that it has not snapped or skipped because you would have possibly lose control. The car only has 36000 miles on it and has had the oil level topped off every few fill ups. They do not look at this as a manufacturing defect, even though it has happened on quite a few cars. My local mechanic said he has never heard of a timing chain snapping or stretching to where it needs to be replaced at 36000 miles. It is dangerous and also very costly to pay for.

- Burlington, WI, USA

problem #9

Nov 172012


  • 66,300 miles
Began to hear loud knocking noise from engine of my 4 year old MINI66000 miles. Have had my MINIserviced according to the schedule at the same dealership for 4 years. After hearing the noise did research online to notice that minis have a timing belt /tensioner issue. Noticed on the same night that my oil light came on and the interesting thing is that I just had my oil changed in August of 2012 and this was November 2012. Took car to dealer and the servicer said they had heard of some MINIs timing chains failing at 14K miles. After diagnosis he notes that it is the timing chain and that the oil filter gasket was leaking which caused the timing chain to fail. This is not correct as my vehicle has never leaked oil, and I had just gotten my oil changed 3 months earlier and no mention was made by my service technician. This seems to be a common issue in minis and they are not providing any kind of relief.

- Hurst, TX, USA

problem #8

Aug 182012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles


Driving in the mountains when I began to smell burnt oil. As soon as I was able to I pulled over, immediately there was a cloud of smoke coming from under the front hood. I opened the hood and though there was no fire it appeared that the smoke was coming from oil leaking onto the turbo from the oil feed line. After letting the car cool I proceeded home. Now whenever the car is sitting idle I can smell burnt oil and after getting home I can see oil pooling on the top of the turbo. I have been told there is an issue with the connection on the turbo oil feed line due to the design of the line and heat from the turbo and I will have to replace this at my own cost.

- Greenville, SC, USA

problem #7

Aug 202012


  • miles
Knocking noise when starting and running. I thought it was from the wrong fuel added to it, or low oil when I purchased it. I corrected those two issues, but it still makes the knocking noise. I am very afraid it will seize. I believe the timing chain and tensioner system needs to be replaced.

- Bristol, CT, USA

problem #6

Mar 012012


  • 38,000 miles
I was told my warranty expired end of June. I bought MINIS 08 used in February from a MINIdealership in westchester, elmsford, NY. I noticed a knocking noise that to me didn't sound normal not too long after I bought the car. The people at MINItold me it was from something else, a loose piece and that they "fixed the problem." This noise only became worse, and now the car is at 45,000 miles and not even 6 months from purchase. The noise became even louder, which then it sounded like a tractor trailer. I changed the oil, the noise wasn't as loud but still there. My mechanic said that the timing belt is going to snap soon, and is a dangerous problem that can cause an accident, and once it breaks, the whole engine will be destroyed.

- Scarsdale, NY, USA

problem #5

Jul 182012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
My wife and I live in munich, germany, where she works for the us government. Last Wednesday, while on the autobahn our car began to make sounds as if it was driving through a puddle or that there was some sort of fluid being splashed on the undercarriage of the car. Because it was a sunny day, I knew something was wrong and I was preparing to pull the car over to investigate the cause of the sound. Before I could do so however, I heard a popping sound and suddenly the car became flooded with a thick white/gray smoke from the vents and dash. I pulled over as quickly as I could and by the time I got out of the car, the entire hood and inside cabin was engulfed in smoke. Rather than pop the hood, I first ran to the trunk and grabbed a reflector (which is required by law here) and ran 20-25 feet behind the car to place it on the ground, to warn oncoming traffic. No sooner had I done this, when I head an explosion, quickly turned around and saw that the entire front half of the MINIwas now engulfed in flames. I could do nothing but sit and watch, as within moments the fire had spread throughout the rest of the car and soon became an complete fireball. German police and fire officials showed up 15-20 minutes later and by the time the fire was extinguished, all that was left was a charred frame of metal. Fortunately I was not physically hurt by the explosion or the fire. However, mentally I have replayed the experience a hundred times and each time I ask myself, what if I had popped the hood first, or what if I had taken even an extra 30 seconds in pulling the car over? thinking about it just makes my blood run cold and feels me with dread. We purchased the car in '08 in Virginia and never had any issues with it and it was even in the shop earlier this year, where the fluids were all topped off and everything was told to be in excellent running condition.

- Apo, AE, USA

problem #4

Jun 252012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 53,500 miles
My car started making a weird noise in the front of the car near the engine when I turned it on. Then it continued to make the loud noise as I drove. I took the car to the dealer and they said the timing chain stretched and caused the guide rail to break, which fell into the oil pan. The dealer said I was lucky my engine didn't look up while I was on the highway. This was a $2100 fix on a 4 year old car with 53,000 miles.

- Valley Park , MO, USA

problem #3

Dec 152011


  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 MINICooper. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the vehicle's temperature started to increase and the temperature warning lamp illuminated. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, who diagnosed that the thermostat was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was repaired. The failure and current mileages were 84,000.

- Greely, CO, USA

problem #2

Jun 182012


  • 26,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 MINICooper. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the engine failed. The contact stated that the air condition was on and began to blow out warm air. The contact also stated that the engine began to shake so he pulled the vehicle over. Upon looking under the hood, the contact noticed that there was oil spilled everywhere. The check engine light was illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was towed to a dealer for an inspection and they stated that the engine had catastrophically failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified and they stated that the vehicle was under warranty. The failure mileage was 26,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Lawton, OK, USA

problem #1

Apr 162012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 59,952 miles
The turbo charger has totally failed (car is under half power) and the top guide on the timing chair (tensioner system) is broken. I have done the proper maintenance with exceptional care. The turbo is cooled by the known failed auxiliary water pump with integrated circuit board and is currently under recall. MINIBMW is refusing to cover these failures clearly caused by defective parts and design (oil line leading to turbo gets gummed up because it is too small). They are attempting to charge me over $5200 to repair the car (20% of the vehicle cost in 2008) for what is absolutely a manufacturer problem. My car is not operational and has not been operational for over 2 weeks while I continue to 'fight' BMW's determination not to cover these problems. Reading countless blogs with owners experiencing the same problem(s) I believe BMW is intentionally selling a product it knows is defective and collecting thousands of dollars on repairs. No car should experience a total failure of a turbo and broken timing chain in 60K miles. This is outrageous and NHTSA should protect us consumers from this fraudulent activity by issuing a recall - sooner than later.

- West Bloomfield, MI, USA

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