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:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
46,392 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2008 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #71

Jun 012023


  • miles


Occupant side airbag sensor is defective my mechanic put a code reader to verify it-??s a 2008 hatchback and I see they have recalled all the convertibles but not the sedans I would think the same airbag sensor is in my car are there any updates to my car because the replacement is very very expensive and the airbag failure light is a pain to have displaying

- Norwalk , CT, USA

problem #70

Nov 252022


  • miles
Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) Airbag Warning Light has come on indicating a malfunction with this safety system and consequently that the airbag safety system may not deploy in the event of an accident. This problem is not unique to my specific vehicle and appears to be a very common issue amongst BMW Mini vehicles as evidenced by much discussion on forums across the internet.

- South Haven, MN, USA

problem #69

Sep 232022


  • miles
This vehicle just went over 66,000 miles and the airbag warning light started appearing. An independent mechanic and dealership both diagnosed and said it's a defective front passenger seat occupant detection mat and I'd need to replace the entire system/seat. Several other vehicles with the same part have recalls however my specific 2008 model is not included in this recall. I believe it should be included in the recall as this is clearly a known issue and an obvious safety system/design flaw. No sort of crash or collision occurred and now the vehicle will not pass safety inspection and is unusable because of this until I spent roughly $2000 on the repair.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #68

Jun 012022

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles


Hello, An airbag sensor recall was issued in 2015 and Mini Cooper refuses to fix this safety issue. They are saying this recall is expired, but it has not been 10 years and the car only has 54,000 miles. This is a known defect. Car is currently broken. This should be covered by the manufacturer. Thank you, [XXX] INFORMATION Redacted PURSUANT TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- El Dorado Hills, CA, USA

problem #67

Feb 012021


  • miles
My air bag warning light is always on. The machanic said I need to replace the whole passenger seat to replace the airbag sensor. A new seat will cost $1500 and labor will cost $500. I was not in an accident.

- Vashon, WA, USA

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problem #66

Feb 262021


  • miles
Passenger seat airbag occupant sensor/mat failed causing airbag light to be on and for airbags not to deploy incase of a accident. MINIdid not recall this issues but put a warranty extension for 10years for this defect they are aware about. This has expired for many vehicles including mine. This is safety issue that's a potential risk of injury or death incase of a accident and the fact that MINICooper does not recall this matter is inhuman. Please help with this matter.

- Queen Creek, AZ, USA

problem #65

May 012020


  • 72,000 miles


Airbag sensor fails to pass the vehicle's internal safety check and a warning light is displayed. This light indicates that there is a fault with the airbag, and it will not deploy if involved in a wreck while this light is on. For the past 9 months, this sensor has been coming on intermittently at first, and now it stays on constantly while the vehicle is in operation. A safety recall was issued for this problem for other models/years of the MINICooper, but when I look up my VIN it shows no recall. In online searches, I see many other owners of this same make/model of MINICooper who have the same issue. This is a serious safety issue, one that should be covered by the manufacturer, not an expense I should have to incur.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #64

Oct 232020


  • 81,253 miles
The front passenger seat occupant detection mat sensor has failed. The front passenger air bag is not activate in a crash when the seat is occupied. Recalls active for this exact issue for the same make in other years and models are currently recalled however others are excluded.

- Henderson, KY, USA

problem #63

Jun 202020


  • 90,000 miles
To the best of my knowledge the airbag system is off line. The passenger airbags do not turn on when a passenger is seated. The passenger airbag indicator light shows that it is not turning on with or without a passenger. Also the drivers side airbag indicator light comes on the dashboard and the tachometer when I start the vehicle. This problem began while the vehicle was parked and stationary.

- Graham, WA, USA

problem #62

Mar 152020


  • 120,000 miles
Recently purchased a used 2008 MINICooper. Passenger side airbag sensor warning light is on and always stays on. This is a known defect that MINIhas covered under warranty/recall. I took vehicle to BMW/MINIdealer in birmingham, al and was informed that this particular recall expired in 2018, or with vehicles with more than 120,000 miles. Mine has 123,000 mi. Also called MINIcustomer service and received the same information. Many videos exist on internet/youtube about this particular defect and how to bypass problem by installing a part that bypasses the sensor or by using a scan tool to erase the code to remove the warning light. Neither of these solutions seem safe. I am concerned that the car's passenger airbag would fail to deploy in the event of a collision. Here is a video that explains the problem and a possible unsafe fix: Https://

- Millbrook, AL, USA

problem #61

May 292020

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles


Warning message for seat belt tension/air bag malfunction and both lights are on. The vehicle has 40+ thousand miles on it, I am a second owner. This problem just started on May 29, 2020. No accidents for this vehicle. Cost for repair is over $2000 and so far there's only recalls for 2008 convertible which I totally don't understand. This looks to be an ongoing problem with the MINIand needs to be addressed due to the air bags being affected. I currently have no photos but can readily supply photos upon request. The seat belt light/air bag emblem shows on the dash screen when entering the key while stationary, no one is sitting in the passenger seat when this happens and does not go away when occupied.

- Eddy, TX, USA

problem #60

Nov 152019


  • 96,000 miles
Passenger side airbag seat mat is defective. Just stopped working. Cost to replace is over $2000. So, the warning light for defective airbag sensor remains on.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #59

May 312019


  • 92,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 MINICooper. While driving, the passenger air bag warning indicator remained illuminated. The contact was concerned that the air bag might not deploy in the event of a crash. The vehicle was taken to MINIof bedford (located at 209 S river rd, bedford, nh 03110, (833) 785-4497) where it was diagnosed that the air bag sensor needed to be reprogrammed. The contact also was informed by the technician that the passenger seat would need to be replaced if they removed it to reprogram the air bag sensor. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure and provided a case number. The approximate failure mileage was 92,000.

- Keene, NH, USA

problem #58

Aug 242018


  • 18,000 miles
Passenger side air bag, when a person is sitting in the seat, the air bag sensor indicates the air bag is not on.

- Ponte Vedra, FL, USA

problem #57

Jun 252018


  • 112,000 miles
Air bag warning light on speedometer is on. I have had it reset and it comes back on. The failure code is "93B1 head airbag, front passenger." What has failed has not been determined yet. The vehicle mileage is 112,000 miles. This warning came on while the vehicle was stationary, parked.when the code is reset, it will stay off for awhile and then return.

- Monterey Park, CA, USA

problem #56

Sep 202017


  • 59,500 miles
Passenger airbag sensor malfunctioning with airbag light on and not certain what will happen if airbag needs to deploy. This seems to be a widespread problem based on internet search. MINIrecalled first generation models for this issue but did not include the second generation vehicles (mine).

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #55

Sep 012017


  • 113,500 miles
Seat belt warning light comes on when starting car. Called local MINIdealership and was told there was an "extended warranty" for seat mat sensor.

- Spring City, PA, USA

problem #54

Feb 072017


  • 80,000 miles
I was in a bad car accident in which my car was rear ended. I was in the very most right hand lane on the highway, at a stop in stop and go traffic. The vehicle behind me did not stop, hitting me at approximately 75 mph. As a result, my car spun out to the right and hit the guard rail on the side of the highway head on. The car then bounced off of the guard rail, and spun about 180 degrees to the left, where the rear end of the car then hit the same guard rail and finally stopped. When the car crashed into the guard rail head on, the air bag did not deploy and I hit my head and my chest against the steering wheel. I sustained a fracture in my T2 vertebrae and bad chest bruising.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #53

Sep 012015


  • miles
Airbag passenger side light on w only 25000 miles on it, mechanic told me it's a short in the wiring caused by sunroof slicing into it. Said he could fix it but headliner has to come down and he doesn't do that kind of work. Contacted MINIusa and was told it's out of warranty and dealer prob won't fix it without charge. When someone gets killed or mamed, maybe they'll recall. Cost to repair about $5K...

- Scranton, PA, USA

problem #52

Apr 102014


  • 65,000 miles
Starting around 65,000 miles passenger airbag sensor appeared on the dashboard when car would be turned on and would remain on while driving even though no one was in the passenger seat. Had it checked by local MINIworkshop and they said it was due to the defective passenger airbag mat in 2001-2008 models. They looked up my car for recall using my VIN and my car was not included, though the 2008 Cooper S convertible that uses the same exact part was included. This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. This is a safety recall!! all models should be included since all models have the problem!! it is completely absurd that MINIwould pick and choose which of their customer's lives they want to save. I am being quoted between $700 and $1200 to get this issue fixed. MINIshould foot that bill; they installed a defective part that is crucial in the safety of their customers and they need to own up to it.

- Maize, KS, USA

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