really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
64,397 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.

2010 Mini Cooper engine problems

engine problem

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2010 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

Dec 312014


  • 58,768 miles


I was driving my 2010 MINICooper S 50-55 mph when I heard a loud noise come from the engine compartment. From then on, the engine was making a rattling and clacking noise and the oil light eventually came on. Pulled over to the side of the road and got out to look at the car. Oil was all over the frontside and wheelwell of the car. All the oil had came out of the engine. Towed the car to a mechanic who told me the engine was seized and that the timing chain tensioner had broken lose and somehow that allowed all the oil to pour out of the engine. Had to have the engine replaced for a cost of a little over $5,000. A BMW specialist wanted $8,500 to do the same job. Now my new engine they just installed is leaking oil from somewhere and there's a light clicking noise coming from the engine. Im so afraid it's going to happen agian, and I know that MINIusa will be of no help. It's a shame that I had to find out what a terrible company they are in this way. I needed a reliable car for my new job and ended up with the exact opposite, an unreliable vehicle from a manufacturer that has no integrity whatsoever. I loved these cars, now I just hope this doesn't happen to anyone else.

- Hanford, CA, USA

problem #19

Aug 172015


  • 50,000 miles
My car shut down when I was driving out of a highway on a ramp. It stopped on the ramp. I noticed this because when I stepped on the gas my car didn't speed up but slowed down. I tried to restart it multiple times but it didn't work. Finally it was tolled to an mechanical shop and they told me the engine was broken.

- Allston, MA, USA

problem #18

Feb 162015

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 41,000 miles
I purchased my 2010 MINICooper hardtop in October of 2010 with 2,446 miles on it. This car came from a MINIdealership. I have driven this vehicle for the last four years without one mechanical issue. Today I have approximately 41,000 miles on the car. On the evening of February 16, 2015, I started my car to leave my place of employment and a low oil indicator light flashed. Living in a cold weather climate, I thought the engine needed time to warm up. After letting the car warm up, I attempted to leave the parking lot and the car failed as I was about to make a turn onto a main road. My husband had the car towed to a local MINIspecialist where we were told the car was extremely low on oil due an internal leak coming from the timing chain tensioner seal. We were told the leak has been happening for a while; however, the first indication of low oil was only minutes before the car failed. The car had been to a local MINIdealership for regular service less than a year ago. In addition the mechanic found coolant in the cylinders and is unsure of how this occurred. The mechanic feels it could have been caused by a cracked engine block or cracked cylinder head. Additional testing would need to be done on these parts to confirm. At this time, my husband and I are being told that the entire engine needs to replaced on a car that only had 40,000 miles on it. The estimated cost we received was $10,315. This is a tough pill to swallow considering it is a "young car, " in our minds. With all of the issues found by the mechanic it seems as if this car had a faulty engine from the start. I have contacted MINIusa regarding this issue and hope they stand behind their vehicles.

- Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA

problem #17

Dec 292014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 50,270 miles


We purchased a used 2010 MINICooper S convertible from schwartz Mazda in, shrewsbury, NJ on Dec. 27, 2014. After two separate MINICooper dealer service depts confirmed that the time chain was beyond specification by 6 mm and needed to be replaced. After several attempts, we got no where or satisfactory resolution with the dealer to replace the timing chain. We feel that our safety is at risk and should be fixed, as expressed in the limited warranty of the vehicle given by schwartz Mazda.

- Chester, NJ, USA

problem #16

Jan 212015


  • 51,000 miles
I have a relatively new MINICooper (2010 hatchback) with 51,000 miles. Recently, I started hearing a rattling noise coming from the passenger side of the vehicle. Upon doing a search online, I came across hundreds of other owners who experience the same exact issue - know as the death rattle, the tensioner and timing chain comes apart (a known manufacturing defect) and can cause the car to either stall while in motion and cause catastrophic damage - as the chain is metal. The issue has received significant attention and extreme frustration - leading MINIto try to silently address the issue on a one-off basis rather than issuing a voluntary recall. For customers who complain (even when the vehicle is out of warranty), MINIhas been paying for having the timing chain/tensioner fixed. For the hapless consumers that do not know, either they pay thousands of dollars to have the vehicle fixed or find themselves in an accident. MINICooper is allowing a known manufacturing defect to continue unaddressed and for thousands of consumers who have a relatively new vehicle could be subject to extreme risk - if the timing chain/tensioner fails due to a manufacturer defect. Please take a look at this redditt post - please see this reddit post: www.reddit.com/R/MINIcomments/2rvh26/mini_death_rattle/ - which explains how MINIhas been paying for certain repairs to silent the customers who complain the most. There is a significant safety issue - if MINIis paying for repairs outside of warranty, they clearly acknowledge there is a manufacturing problem/defect but only are resolving this on an ad hoc basis - why should owners who don't know about this "fix" be subject to driving a potentially unsafe vehicle?

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #15

Jan 082015

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 68,995 miles
Around 7:30pm on way home from work engine started ticking and not shifting correctly. Call my mechanic, who is certified BMW, to get car into shop next morning. Took car to shop next day at 730am for him to check out. He called later in the day to tell me timing chain guide broke off into engine. According to his research there was a recall on this for earlier models - M110212 - so called dealership to see if they would consider this under recall. Spoke to service manager and he said the recall was for minis' up to date 5/03/2009 and my production date was 11/2009. Told him it seemed odd I had same issue and last time I had issue with car my replacement part was prior to production date - this was fixed because I was still under warranty. I spoke to MINIusa and they said up to dealership to consider. Dealership said I could get it tolled in and they would do diagnosistics but didn't believe it would be part of recall and that I would have to show proof of all car maintanence - made me feel like my fault. My mechanic can certify I do proper maintanence as he said he looked at my engine and it is clean. MINIdealership would not speak with my mechanic to get the professional to professional explanation, they just kept staying my production date was too late for recall. I have opted not to get vehicle towed to dealership (1 1/2 hour away) so they could diagnosis and then tell me not part of recall so charge me for diagnosis and then I pay for tow back. The reason being is last time they had my car in for an issue it took them 3 days to diagnosis, another week to get part and couple if more days to fix - they seemed to be in no hurry to fix my problem nor cared that I lived so far away and had to rent a car.

- Merritt Island, FL, USA

problem #14

Sep 222014


  • 68,000 miles


The timing chain belt broke suddenly and flew up into my engine, destroying the engine completely. I got a new engine, but this new engine is also faulty (reason unknown) and now I need another new engine.

- Cypress, CA, USA

problem #13

Sep 122013


  • miles
Engine timing chain rattle.

- Teaneck, NJ, USA

problem #12

Sep 122013


  • miles
Engine timing chain rattle.

- Teaneck, NJ, USA

problem #11

Sep 122014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • miles
Timing chain rattle.

- Teaneck, NJ, USA

problem #10

Jun 102014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 50,500 miles


Engine seized while driving on the 6-lane highway during rush hour traffic. Just a sudden complete loss of power, all vehicle operation stopped. Fortunately, I was on the outside lane, and I was at an exit that went down hill, so I coasted down the off ramp before it rolled to a complete stop. Some bystanders assisted me in pushing the vehicle off the side of the busy 4-lane road. Turns out it is the timing chain problem with many MINIcoopers, 2007 - 2012. There is a faulty or missing part, that if not addressed, results in "catastrophic engine failure". my vehicle had 50K miles on it; I purchased it new, so I have all vehicle records, all recommended maintenance performed; all recalls performed, and my records are 100% complete. The real kicker is - my service records clearly show that several times I reported a "rattle" from the engine (while under warranty) as far back as 2012. And the service records indicate that the dealership "could not duplicate customer complaint of rattle". the notorious "rattle" is the first symptom of this engine flaw that can result in catastrophic engine damage, and it was known by the auto industry in 2012. Cost - $8K, complete engine replacement required. Dealership and BMW deny any wrong doing, and deny any knowledge of the "engine" issue. Following the incident, I spent a month of my time trying to figure out what happened, why, had it towed to three places, lots of phone calls, research, etc. Luckily no one died. This was a very dangerous situation to be in, and the people that stopped to help me push the car were very brave. I looked pretty pathetic I am sure - lone, petite female trying to push a car on a very busy 4-lane road during rush hour, in 90 degree heat. Lucky for BMW/MINIthat no one died. I guess that is exactly what it will take to force them to recognize this problem.

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #9

Jan 292014

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
MINICooper 2010. Starting/stalling issues. Car doesn't start. It happened a couple of months ago as well. Car has been towed 1 and brought to prestige MINIin NJ (car dealer) for service 3 times. After replacing battery and an engine sensor, the problem persist. The car will be towed again today (Jan 30, 2014) for further costly repairs. I have extended warranty and maintenance on this car but even with that, the cost of repairs and towing are not covered. This is a very poor, unreliable car (MINICooper 2010). Responsiveness from prestige MINIis also very poor. Service manager doesn't respond to calls or return voice mails. Very poor service.

- Metuchen, NJ, USA

problem #8

Dec 302013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
At about 42000 miles, I started to notice a rattle coming from the engine when the engine was first started. The rattle was most noticeable between 2000 and 3000 RPM. This rattle also coincided with the weather turning colder. The rattle continued to worsen over time, an oil leak developed, and the check engine light eventually came on. After searching the internet and calling my MINIdealership, I determined that the timing chain tensioner was most likely at fault. I ordered the part and replaced it myself. During the process of replacing the tensioner, I found that the old tensioner was loose in its socket. After replacing the part, the engine ran smoothly and continues to run smoothly.

- Nantucket, MA, USA

problem #7

Dec 092013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
We were driving the car at 20 mph and the check engine light came on. We pulled over to the side of the road and did not note any problems. We then drove directly to the MINIdealership nearby and they said the head gasket seal was broken a leaking oil. Also they said the timing chain and belt tensioner needed to be replaced as they were loose. No repairs were ever performed on these parts. It was noted that there was build up in the oil lines to the turbo causing it to seize up and needed to be replaced. Total costs were $3,000 for parts and labor.

- Apo, AE, USA

problem #6

Nov 202013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 50,600 miles
Engine seemed to be lacking power intermittently driving to work. Felt something was wrong, but no indicator lights displayed so I continued driving. Noticed heater began blowing cold air, yellow warning light came on indicating engine was beginning to overheat. Within 10 seconds, red warning light replaced the first light (engine overheating!). continued on until I could safely stop. Called wrecker to take to repair shop. Found coolant & oil had exploded from engine with visible crack in the plastic housing. Thankfully, car was still under warranty. MINIdealership honored the warranty. Stated the vacuum pump had failed causing catastrophic failure of the entire engine. Engine is being replaced.

- Springfield, MO, USA

problem #5

Oct 172013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Took my 2010 MINICooper S to a MINIdealership in ann arbor mi, where they had the car for 8 days and finally came back to me saying that its the timing chain that needs replacing, which is a fix with a total cost of around $1,500. I previously had a 2007 MINIcooper, which also had the same issue, where in that case the timing chain had actually broken. This issue seems to be widespread and MINIna needs to issue a recall on this particular part for the model years that this design defect has affected. Prior to this issue, I had only owned the vehicle for 6 weeks and was purchased from motor city MINIwhich is an official MINIdealer. This vehicle also went through an inspection before being sold to me.

- Royal Oak, MI, USA

problem #4

Sep 092013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 61,270 miles
Engine experience rapid oil loss which coated underside of vehicle including tires. When the brakes were applied the vehicle became unstable but I was able to avoid a crash. While pulling to the side of the highway the oil light came on. The vehicle was towed to a mechanic. He reported that a fastener on the cam chain tensioner had become loose which caused the leak. That part had never been modified or service. There was no leak when I began my commute. The problem occurred in only a few miles. Searching online forums indicates that this is not an isolated incident.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #3

Nov 152012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
The car has a recall for water pump, never done until the car engine stop. Now the engine is totally lost. I think the car has a previous recall the timing chain tensor but never was done.

- Aibonito, PR, USA

problem #2

Jun 062012


  • 5,600 miles
The contact owns a 2010 MINICooper. The contact stated that on two different occasions, two passengers sustained burns to their legs from the exhaust pipe while placing an item in the trunk. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer and the manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 5,600 and the current mileage was 5,732.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #1

Jul 062012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 56,800 miles
Oil level is decreasing rapidly after each oil change. Dealer states it is normal for this car to burn one quart of oil every 800 miles. However, I disagree and believe this is due to a defect since cars should not burn this much oil, especially when new.

- Berkeley, CA, USA

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