really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
52,500 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
  2. replace engine (1 reports)
2009 Mini Cooper S engine problems

engine problem

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2009 Mini Cooper S Owner Comments

problem #2

Jan 282016

Cooper S

  • Manual transmission
  • 55,000 miles


At 30,000 miles my timing chain was replaced due to a recall. a few months before replacement my car rattled until it was warm I was told that was just a characteristic of the car. At 55,000 miles I was going up a slight hill to work my car's engine light came on and my car lost power. I was able to limp the last 5 freeway miles to work. My husband took it to the local Mini dealer and they diagnosed that a valve failed @ a cost of $5000 or the piston could have a hole in it requiring a new engine at a cost of $10,000.

I purchased this car brand new and I have taken meticulous care of it. Every time there has been any needed maintenance it has been done. Reading ALL the complaints online this issue is most likely due to the timing chain recall/issue! Now I am stuck with car with that blue books for $11,000 and repairs that will cost $10,000. Of course the dealership is totally denying and or taking any responsibility!

- Barbara B., Algona, WA, US

problem #1

Aug 152011

Cooper S

  • Manual transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I bought the car new with zero miles. I had it till 50,000 miles and then the engine basically caught fire and practically totaled the car. BMW dealership worked a trade in deal to get me out from under it. Basically nodding to knowing the issue.

10,000 miles: Over its life the car demanded excessive oil. The thing just burned through synthetic motor oil like it did gas. It took till about 10,000 miles for me to determine this issue. Generally in the morning or on cold days the you could hear the engine. Some days it sounded like a diesel engine from the 70’s. It was terrifying hearing the first time. Doing a bit a research online, users called this the “cold start”. This caused a misdiagnosis for years. The idea is that the Twin Turbo 4 cylinder engine burns oil excessively fast because of … power. I guess it is what they like to claim. I accepted this claim and just got into the routine of checking the oil level on every other gas fill up. In the winter, I would skip a few times, and the noise would come back and I would simply fill the oil up and presto, the noise was gone.

30,000 miles: Then at about 30K miles before the car left warranty, the engine’s response time was decreasing heavily. At one point I went to pass a car and the engine felt like it turned itself off and came back on. The dealership spent days with it and told me of a new known issue with the later Mini Cooper S with the Timing Chain. They said the timing chain simply didn’t keep up with the engine due to the chain tension devise would get stuck at certain times. This meant the timing chain was slowly expanding. Worried that this was a major problem, they said that this would have no permanent damage to the engine and that it meant that I would have to replace the timing chain sooner than later. He recommended every 40K. As well to keep up more frequently with the engine oil changes as the oil was able to leak through this manifold.

50,000 miles: On another repair issue, I had them check the timing chain displacement and sought to see if I had to pay for a new timing chain (costly repair). They advised it was still okay. A couple months later I was travelling down the road when I thought I smelled smoke. For a second in the mirror I swore I saw white smoke behind me. But couldn’t see it reappear. The next day I felt the same thing happen, some smells and I swore I saw white smoke. I took it in to the dealership. They said they found no issues. It must be someone else.

2 weeks later I am driving and the car is engulfed in white smoke. I pull overand check the fluids assuming I have a radiator issue or coolant level problem. The whole engine seems like it is pouring smoke from every angle. I have it towed to the car dealership.

A week of examination has gone by, they determine the engine is completely ruined. Almost every gasket, every seem is leaking motor oil.

The reason being that the motor’s 50K life was very difficult despite earlier claims. The motor was under massive stress from the timing chain which was slowly separating from a malfunctioning timing chain tension bolt flawed by design. The spaced timing chain made the engine shake and over time began to fall slowly apart. Oil was leaking everywhere out of it.

There was 2 solutions. Either the owner can keep up with costly timing chain replacements more consistently than 40K or replace engines. Neither are acceptable. timing belts are cheaper but chains are pretty expensive.

However the idea of the car just burning oil fast was a myth. The car was leaking oil excessively. In the end, the car was basically totaled in under 3 years.

- Nick T., Manassas, VA, US

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