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:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,377 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 3)

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

problem #51

Sep 172015


  • miles
Takata recall"? the seat occupancy sensor malfunctions - 3 warning lights - always on. Took MINIinto dealership for this problem on 9/17/15. They diagnosed: J# 1 511mzotherdiag general diagnosis vehicle needs right seat weight sensor replaced. Part needs to be ordered - $1493.47 part cost - customer advised. Neither BMW/MINIcorporate or the dealership can say when the replacement part will be available - nor can they guarantee occupant safety - airbags may not deploy there is an accident. The mileage on the MINIis 26,959. When is this vehicle to be included in the recall? and when will the parts be available to fix it"

- Brookfield, CT, USA

problem #50

Apr 052016


  • 90,000 miles
SRS computer and sensors are failing. No accident, no flooding just failing sensors and computer. MINIclaims this is a "maintenance" item, yet there is no documented maintenance protocol for these items. Vehicle has less than 100K miles and air bag system components are failing. Hence we don't know if the system will work or not and the vehicle will not pass our state inspection.

- Lovettsville, VA, USA

problem #49

Jan 012014


  • 98,000 miles


Passenger side air bag light started by intermittenly turning on> now its is on all the time. Same issue as other MINICoopers that have been recalled. Was told I have to replace the sensor seat mat. This repair should be covered by MINIBMW).

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #48

Feb 042016


  • miles
Passenger side air bag sensor mat faulty. Same issue as other MINICoopers that have been recalled. Was told I have to replace entire seat. $1,000. Was told there is a nation wide back order for the seat. This repair should be covered by MINIBMW).

- Meridian, ID, USA

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problem #47

Apr 072016


  • 46,000 miles
My car only has 47,000 miles on it and has the same passenger side airbag issue. It started off at times having the problem, now is on all the time. MINIwants $125 to diagnose the problem, which seems evident. Also paid $425 to fix electrical wiring that corroded and $1,700 2 months earlier this year when wheel sensor went bad and 3 lights went off in the car.

- St Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #46

Jun 092016


  • 88,000 miles


Airbag sensor mat does not recognize whether a person is sitting on the passenger side thereby not activating the airbag; this has been happening on & off for months; passenger airbag light comes on immediately despite occupancy while parked and during driving (all conditions-highway, city street, turning; etc. Started approximately from 75K miles; now constant from 85K

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #45

Jan 152016


  • 63,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 MINICooper S. while driving various speeds, the front passenger side air bag warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the seat occupancy mat would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 63,000.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #44

Jan 132016


  • 50,000 miles
Faulty seat occupancy detector in passenger seat. There has been a recall on this in several models, but they do not currently include this model/year. Failure of the seat sensor prevents deployment of the passenger airbag and can only be fixed by replacing the entire seat (expensive). No user-specific actions have caused this defect, it's a well known problem. The issue was originally diagnosed in 2014, re-diagnosed 1/3/2016. The best resolution we have been offered is 10% off repair costs.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #43

Apr 112016


  • 13,588 miles
Takata recall: My 2008 MINICooper S hardtop began experiencing issues with the "passenger air bag off" light staying lite whether or not a passenger is in the car. On April 28, 2016, I took my car to a MINIcooper dealership to have the issue diagnosed (at a cost of $53.95). The diagnosis states "fault passenger side seat mat sensor" (invoice copy attached). I don't understand why my vehicle that meets the criteria for the April 2015 air-bag recall except it is a hardtop instead of a convertible is not included in the recall. To fix this item will be over 1300. My car only has 14,000 miles on it. Due to the cost, at this point I do not plan on having it fixed and will say my prayers every time I travel with a passenger in the vehicle.

- Homosassa, FL, USA

problem #42

Apr 262016


  • 88,000 miles


My 2008 MINICooper was in accident in Jan 2016. The (passenger) light came on and it was immediately take to autobody shop. The passenger airbag warning light was evaluated and added to repairs. The seat map sensor is the chief problem. The car is undrivable. The dealership in sterling indicated that it would take 15-30 day to received the part. The part was delayed until March 24,2016. Three days prior to delivery it was updated to Jul 13, 2016. At this point my rental car from the insurance company ran out. I contacted customer care but was not able to receive a date nor assistance about my part and lost of vehicle. After conversation with Liberty mutual, auto shop and dealership, we were told that the vehicle was safe to drive without a passenger in the seat. No resolution has been made, many individuals ( consumer, insurance company and auto shop) involved in the situation stated it was not safe nor could loss be guaranteed. As of the 4/18/2016, the part has been put on indefinite back order. Currently there is no known time frame return of vehicle. I am without transportation and I will need to purchase another car. Additionally I have heard from other repair facilities, MINIs passenger seat occupancy sensor affects far more model years than those for which BMW has already announced recalls. I am also aware that more than 60 MINIowners are waiting on this part as well.

- Herndon, VA, USA

problem #41

May 082015


  • 100,000 miles
I purchased my 2008 MINICooper brand new from MINIof the woodlands in Texas. About a year ago, the passenger airbag warning light started illuminating randomly, which disables the passenger airbag while it is illuminated. This happened more and more frequently, until it stays illuminated most of the time now. I brought it to MINIif the woodlands for evaluation, and was told that the seat sensor had gone bad, and it would cost $1,900 to replace it. I find this failure to be a little odd, considering that my MINIs passenger seat has almost never had anyone in it! also, sliding the seat forward/backward seems to affect the frequency & duration of the sensor failures; though the overall frequency & duration continues to increase. From what I've seen online, and heard from other repair facilities, MINIs passenger seat occupancy sensor affects far more model years than those for which BMW has already announced recalls. I'd even be happy if MINIcould just circumvent the passenger seat sensor, and have the airbag deploy in an accident whether or not there's anyone in the passenger seat. That's a far better option than having it deactivated whether or not there's a passenger in the car! but MINIof the woodlands told me that there's no way they can do that.

- Montgomery, TX, USA

problem #40

Oct 102015


  • 54,000 miles
The seat occupancy sensor malfunctions. The passenger side airbag may not deploy even if the passenger side seat is occupied. The airbag light sometimes stays on, while sometimes goes away. MINIhas recalled several cars for seat occupancy sensor mat fault but my car isn't on the list. The light stays on when vehicle is stationary and also while running. I'm unable to use the passenger seat for safety concern. The airbag light goes away on its own as well but turns back on within a few miles.

- Lexington, MA, USA

problem #39

Jan 012015


  • miles
Passengers air bag appears off when someone are seat. This evolve a serious safety issue in case of accident.

- Morovis, PR, USA

problem #38

Sep 152015


  • 52,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 MINICooper. The contact started the vehicle and the front passenger's side air bag warning indicator illuminated continuously. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who confirmed that the air bag sensor would need to be replaced. The manufacturer and dealer were notified and they were unable to provide an expected date for the part to become available. The approximate failure mileage was 52,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Mobile, AL, USA

problem #37

Jan 112016


  • miles
Air bag warning light on. Passenger airbag off despite someone sitting in that seat

- Coral Gables, FL, USA

problem #36

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 #35

Oct 092015


  • 86,500 miles
I bought this car used with 86,100 miles on it. When driving within the first 500 miles, the airbag light and seat belt restraint system indicated on my dash (both the tachometer and the speedometer). An alert for the airbag appears as an icon on the tachometer. I took the car to the dealership who indicated the auto got wet which caused the air bag module to fail, which now needs replacement at a ridiculously high cost.

- Okemah, OK, USA

problem #34

Oct 302015


  • 61,000 miles
Air bag warning with the fault code 93C3 which has caused a recall of 91 thousand vehicles... my MINIS is not a recall car. (on the same grid as the recalled MINIs...same oem repair parts) MINIusa representative [jamie] suggested I remove the air bag and put a sign up in the dash indicating 'no air bag" if I did not want to pay the $1500+ in repaiir cost... and that will allow me to pass the state inspection.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #33

Oct 082015


  • miles
The mileage on the vehicle 16600miles. The warning light for the front passenger airbag goes on intermittently. The light for the front passenger airbag illuminates "off". took to dealership and found the passenger seat mat faulty. Started flickering while driving but now the light is on constantly when start car and driving. I have read that there is a recall for this problem for vehicles manufactured up to July 2008. My MINIS shows a production date 8/01/08. I had this car built to my specification in July 2008. I have paid for the part because I believe this is for the safety for whom ever rides with me but the part is on backorder and we are waiting for it to arrive from germany. BMW/MINIhave not resolved the issue if it is still happening. The cost to repair is approx.$ $2153. If I wait till I get a recall and there is a fatality....." if at a later date a recall is made for my vehicle can I get the full cost reimbursed"

- Hilo, HI, USA

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