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 1 of 5)

problem #98

Nov 262016


  • 48,000 miles


The turbo oil feed line is inherently flawed and prematurely fails because of a bad design. This failure causes hot oil to leak all over a hot turbo. I was lucky enough to not have my engine catch fire with the failed O-ring on mine. I was driving on the highway when large clouds of smoke begin to flow from the engine compartment. I was forced to pull over and get towed home. I was out of warranty but still very low mileage (48K) when mine failed.

- Chico, CA, USA

problem #97

Jul 212016


  • 64,000 miles
In September, 2013, my 2008 MINICooper hardtop, with the N12 engine, had the timing chain fail under operation. This caused the engine to stop, at highway speed, affecting steering, braking and all ability to maneuver the vehicle out of traffic. Two vehicles barely avoided my disabled vehicle. I contacted MINIusa and they refused to acknowledge the factory defect in the timing-chain tensioner that causes the timing chain to fail. I paid over $8000 for a replacement N12 engine. With less than 10,000 miles on the replacement engine, in July, 2016, the timing chain failed again. This time the vehicle was crossing a bridge and there was no place to try to pull off. The situation was very dangerous and left my family vulnerable to oncoming traffic. I contacted MINIusa again, and although they have admitted to the timing chain defect on their N14 engine, in the S series vehicle, they still refuse to issue a recall for the N12 engines in which the timing chain failures are more numerous. This defect causes the vehicle to become inoperable at speed which is unsafe in the extreme. MINIusa needs to issue a safety recall for every vehicle equipped with the N12 engines.

- Boardman, OH, USA

problem #96

Sep 212016


  • 34,400 miles
Pristine condition, low mileage, dealer serviced MINICooper S (owned since new) began exhibiting a rattling noise from engine at 34K miles. Dealer diagnosed it as a timing chain defect and timing chain tensioner defect. This is a known engine defect. Reference class action suit and settlement 338403. This settlement by BMW/MINIusa covers this flaw and BMW/MINIknows that vehicles produced within the 2007-2010 timeframe have this flaw. This flaw can result in catastrophic engine failure. In my case, it was noisy under acceleration, and was into the dealer for service within days of first issue. This is a known flaw. However, BMW/MINIsettled the class action lawsuit and set aside millions of dollars for claims....but those claims must be filed by 7/1/16. I did not have the issue before that date, I had it happen in September 2016 - two months later. I have requested some accommodation from BMW/MINIhowever they are refusing to participate at any level, even though they know this was a flawed part and could have caused significant damage. I am not expecting full reimbursement, but if they know the car has a major flaw, they should have some coverage in place for any of these vehicles with the flaw. Thus far the regional service manager and MINIusa have indicated because this happened after 7/1/16 they will not accommodate.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #95

Sep 012016


  • 80,000 miles


"tamara recall" timing chain.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #94

Sep 092016


  • 97,000 miles
Fuel smell started to get stronger in the cabin and outside of the vehicle, but did not see any leaks on the floor till today. I also notice the green temperature notification come on today. I had my oil changed at the BMW/MINIdealer in Ontario last month.

- San Bernardino, CA, USA

problem #93

Jun 082016


  • 55,000 miles
At 55000 miles started to hear engine rattle and rough running at idle. Took to dealer for service and they said the engine has multiple oil leaks, a faulty camshaft adjustment solenoid and faulty timing belt. The timing belt has caused the oil leaks and faulty solenoid. This will cause catastrophic engine failure. MINIwill not cover even though this has been reported and is an obvious defect.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #92

Jan 292012


  • 48,544 miles


Timing chain and timing chain tensioner broken and damaged the engine at mile 48544 - 48552

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #91

Mar 202016


  • 85,777 miles
The contact owned a 2008 MINICooper S. while driving approximately 70 mph, an abnormal noise was heard and the contact noticed thick, grey smoke coming from the front of the vehicle. The oil warning light illuminated. The contact opened the hood and noticed flames in the engine compartment. The fire department extinguished the fire. A police report and a fire report were filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The vehicle was towed. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V008000 (engine and engine cooling). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 85,777.

- Wall, NJ, USA

problem #90

Mar 142016


  • miles
I purchased my 2008 MINICooper 3 years ago and it's currently around 78K my car was diagnosed with timing chain stretched and possibly engine damage. However MINICooper usa doesn't want to reimburse the money I'd pay out of pocket myself.

- Mason, OH, USA

problem #89

Mar 272016


  • 61,500 miles
I own a 2008 MINICooper S and it has 62000 miles on it. As many other MINIowners, I have " rattle noise" issue when cold start and popped up "engine oil pressure too low" warning yesterday when drove home on city street. This vehicle has had the timing chain tensioner/guide changed once before at 18,942 by a MINIdealer.

- San Ramon, CA, USA

problem #88

Feb 192016


  • 92,000 miles


I purchased a new 2008 MINICooper from autohaus West/MINIof St louis. The MINICooper was designed, manufactured, assembled, distributed and sold by BMW of North America, BMW (U.S.) holding Corp., and bayerische motoren werke aktiengellschaft. I experienced a progressive failure of the timing chain, timing chain tensioner and related tensioner rail, guide rail and support rail. The timing chain had previously been represented to have a useful life equal to the life of the car. The timing chain is located within the engine, consists of a metal chain, and is not subject to adjustment or routine maintenance. I experienced a progressive failure of the timing chain as follows: (a) death rattle or diesel noise from engine upon start up & at low speeds, (B) rough idling after highway driving, (C) power loss & engine stalls on highway exit ramps, (D) power loss & engine stalls on highway, & (E) catastrophic engine failure. The MINICooper was serviced by autohaus West on three separate occasions with repairs//replacement of spark plugs, battery, igniter coils, thermostat cover and other items totaling over $3,000. Autohaus West failed to identify the timing change as a problem. Autohaus West, BMW of North America, llc, BMW (U.S.) holding Corp., and bayerische motoren werke aktiengellschaft have known about the timing chain tensioner defect since 2007 and have failed to warn consumers, issue a recall or provide extended warranty coverage.the loss of power & engine stalls are serious safety hazards & will eventually lead to accidents, injuries & even death. Technical service bulletin M110207 was issued in January, 2008. However, it is not widely known to consumers and fails to give consumers adequate warning. BMW settled class action re N14 engine used in MINICooper S. however, it has ignored same problem with N12 engine used in MINICooper. Same issues.

- O'fallon, IL, USA

problem #87

Dec 152015


  • 109,000 miles
Engine rattle upon startup. Next thing I know is the timing chain guides broke and the valves bent. Thousands in repair and MINIwon't cover a thing.

- Coral Gables, FL, USA

problem #86

Oct 232015


  • 108,000 miles
In the spring 2014 I purchased a 2008 MINICooper 2D hatch with around 98,0000 miles for $14,000 with warranty in ivrington, NJ from springfield auto group auto sales. In January 2015 I had a tune up done and the mechanic reported to me after doing a engine diagnostic test that there was a problem with my immediately reported the problem to my warranty company that was provided through my the car loan company credit acceptance. The warranty company refused to pay for engine to be dropped out of the car to find out what the problem was. They advise me that I would have to pay for the engine to be dropped out of the car to be and checked out before they pay for anything. In October 2015 the MINICooper engine finally broke down while driving I had to pulled it over while driving up route 280. The wrecker service took the MINIto a mechanic. The mechanic stated the timing chain had broke and there was major engine damage and the repair bill will be from 2K to rebuild the engine and 8K for a new one and I still own 11K to bank for the car. The car has approximately 106K miles on it. I've heard of a lot of complaints with those minis with those same issues happening anywhere from 30K miles to over 100K miles from 2007-2010 models. Nothing else has been spent on the car for repair. I'm not wasting anymore money on that junk MINICooper. It's to late for the lemon law to be applied. Can anything get done so that I can implement a lawsuit and receive any money for that from BMW or and the dealer or is it a waste of time? thank you in advance.

- Newark, NJ, USA

problem #85

Dec 012015

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 46,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 MINICooper. When shifting into first gear, the vehicle easily switched into the reverse position. The contact was involved in a crash. The air bags failed to deploy. There were no injuries and a police report was not filed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 46,000.

- Renton, WA, USA

problem #84

Oct 272015


  • 125,000 miles
On 15 Aug 2015 I purchased a 2008 MINICooper 2D hatc with 122,629 miles for $6,325 with no warranty in stanford, nc from karas auto sales, Inc. On 27 Oct 2015 the MINICooper broke down while driving and pulled it over beside the road. The wrecker service took the MINIto a mechanic. The mechanic stated the timing chain had broke and there was major engine damage and the repair bill will be from 8K to 10K in repair cost. MINIhad approximately 125K miles on it. I've heard of a lot of complaints with those minis with those same issues happening anywhere from 30K miles to over 100K miles from 2007-2010 models. Nothing else has been spent on the car for repair. I'm not wasting anymore money on that junk MINICooper. It's to late for the lemon law to be applied. Can anything get done so that I can implement a lawsuit and receive any money for that from BMW or and the dealer or is it a waste of time? thank you in advance.

- Newton Grove, NC, USA

problem #83

Nov 112015


  • 90,000 miles
As many others have posted here, my engine began rattling loudly when I would start it up. To alleviate this, I would top off the oil and get frequent oil changes, in fact, more often than MINIBMW suggested it should get an oil change. This would usually take care of the rattle. One night, the engine rattle kept increasing and suddenly the car stopped in the middle of a busy street just 20 feet from railroad tracks without any warning lights or indications whatsoever. I had it towed to a nearby mechanics shop I trust (not the dealership). The timing chain had broken and bent the valves and I'm in the process of having a new engine put in (with the same faulty timing chain) to the tune of $6,500. I called MINIBMW usa because my mechanic said he's seen this problem frequently in my model. MINIsaid they would not do anything for me unless the car was diagnosed by the MINIdealership, and even then there would be no guarantee they would cover anything because of "my vehicle's age." MINIBMW usa wouldn't even acknowledge that there have been frequent reports of timing tensioner/chains having problems. I'm even more surprised how frequent this problem is now that I'm looking on the NHTSA website. This needs to be a recall and something that MINIBMW should cover and respond to, since there have been several class action lawsuits against the company because of this.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #82

Nov 132015


  • 89,633 miles
After MINIBMW repaired the timing chain tensioner and the timing chain, my turbo oil supply line developed a significant leak (within a week/ within 200 miles of MINIservice) causing smoke to escape from the bonnet, oil to cover the front engine/turbo/exhaust. Oil now puddles beneath the car when parked. The car has 89, xxx miles. I first noticed the smell of burning oil when driving across town at a speed of 40mph. When parking the vehicle, upon idle the smoke billowed from the bonnet of the car. According to MINIforums, this problem of a failed O-ring in the turbo oil supply line is a known problem resulting in numerous failures that can lead to catastrohic damage to the turbo, catalytic converter, and engine.

- Okemah, OK, USA

problem #81

Jul 012015


  • 45,000 miles
When starting car, I get a grinding, rattling noise from the engine. I have been told this is the chain tensioner on the car

- Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA

problem #80

Oct 042015


  • 69,362 miles
Purchased at 61,000 miles 9/9/14; had synthetic oil change 5/15; 9/29/15 car began to have a rattle but unsure if it was front of car or back of car. Rattling stopped on acceleration. No warning lights came on. 10/4/15 car died at 69,362 miles while driving on a two lane road on a curve. Was able to coast to getting half the car off the road. Bypassers pushed me off the rest of the way. Towed to mechanic who said it was the timing chain guard that split off. Called MINIthey said their dealership service dept had to look at it. Had it towed to oh 70 miles away. They told me I had an oil leak which caused the following to be damaged - crank shaft, harmonic balancer, cylinder head, timing chain and guard and maybe other stuff but they couldn't tell without further examination. Told $5,000 plus to fix, but I see MINIestimate states $3,500-4,500. My local mechanic found no evidence of an oil leak causing the trouble, nor did I have an oil spot where I parked my car in the garage or work parking lot. No oil or engine light came on.

- Meadville, PA, USA

problem #79

Sep 282015


  • 59,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 MINICooper S. the contact stated that while parked, there was an abnormal burning oil odor from the vehicle. The failure recurred constantly. The contact parked the vehicle and noticed oil leaking onto the ground. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 59,000.

- Dallas, TX, USA

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