The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2002 Mini Cooper, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. INVESTIGATION: AIR BAG WARNING LAMP ILLUMINATION

    NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP05006

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: September 19, 2005
    • Date Closed: October 06, 2005
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Air Bags
    Air Bags:Side/Window

    Summary: ODI has granted the petition and has opened a preliminary evaluation (PE05-053) on illumination of air bag warning lamp on model year 2002 and 2003 MINICooper vehicles.

  2. INVESTIGATION: AIR BAG WARNING LAMP ILLUMINATION

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE05053

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: September 27, 2005
    • Date Closed: March 01, 2006
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Air Bags
    Air Bags:Side/Window

    Summary: In March 2006, BMW reissued a service bulletin first issued in September 2003, to MINIdealers regarding the repair procedure for improper wire crimps in approximately 31,500 model year 2002 and 2003 MINICooper vehicles produced up to January 2003.the new service bulletin states that the warranty coverage for the issue (I.e., air bag warning lamp illumination with fault code for high resistance in side air bag/seat belt pretensioner circuit) is extended to 10 years or 150,000 miles, whichever occurs first.BMW plans to send letters to owners during March 2006.the subject wire crimps are located under the front seats and are part of the main wiring harness that interface with the under-seat wiring harness connectors for side air bag and seat belt pretensioner modules.BMW stated that, although the subject crimps were improperly manufactured, the crimp connection is still sufficient for the restraint system to deploy when needed.according to BMW, the electrical resistance levels in the subject vehicles can exceed the threshold that illuminates the air bag warning lamp, but they do not exceed a much higher limit in which deployment of the restraints may no longer occur.ODI believes that there is lack of evidence at this time to conclude that the restraint systems may not deploy with the high resistance condition.the Agency believes that further expenditure of Agency resources does not appear to be warranted at this time.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that no safety-related defect exists.the Agency will monitor the issue and reserves the right to take future action if warranted by the circumstances.

  3. INVESTIGATION: ENGINE COMPARTMENT FIRE

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE07022

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: April 19, 2007
    • Date Closed: August 15, 2007
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Steering:Electric Power Assist System
    Steering:Hydraulic Power Assist System
    Steering:Hydraulic Power Assist:Hose, Piping, And Connections
    Steering:Hydraulic Power Assist:Pump

    Summary: In response to an information request (ir) letter sent by the Office Of Defects Investigation (ODI), BMW stated that the cause of the alleged defect is an insufficient seal of the ground cable of the power steering pump at its attachment to the chassis.water ingress can occur and the water can travel along the power steering pump power cable and come in contact with the power steering pump power cable connector.the connector can then corrode and a high thermal load condition can occur.according to BMW, this ultimately could result in a localized smoldering condition that does not propagate. To correct the water ingress issue, BMW implemented changes to the wire routing, the power steeringpump connector and the ground eyelet connection between February and July of 2002. In a review of warranty claim data sent by BMW, 67 percent of the vehicles noted in warranty claims had production dates after August 1, 2002. Additionally, ODI noted eight reports of consumers witnessing flames coming from the engine compartment.this preliminary evaluation has been upgraded to an engineering analysis (EA07-011) to further assess the scope, frequency andpotential safety consequences associated with the alleged defect.

  4. INVESTIGATION: ENGINE COMPARTMENT FIRE

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA07011

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: August 14, 2007
    • Date Closed: August 13, 2008
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Steering:Electric Power Assist System
    Steering:Hydraulic Power Assist System
    Steering:Hydraulic Power Assist:Hose, Piping, And Connections
    Steering:Hydraulic Power Assist:Pump

    Summary: The Office Of Defects Investigation (ODI) analyzed consumer complaints to BMW of North America, llc (BMW)and to ODI that alleged failures of the electrohydraulic power steering (ehps) used in model year 2002 through 2003 MINIcooper vehicles.the analysis determined that 43 of the 52 (83%) reports were related to allegations of power steering loss and 9 (17%) were related to allegations of engine compartment fires. Although some of the reports alleging fires note small flames were visible in the engine compartment, analysis of the damage caused by these failures indicates that even the most severe incidents were limited to localized thermal damage to the ehps electrical connections and wiring insulation.none of the complaints alleging loss of power assisted steering indicated that the increased effort resulted in a crash or loss of vehicle control. A safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further use of Agency resources does not appear to be warranted. Accordingly, this investigation is closed.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist. The Agency will monitor this issue and reserves the right to take further action if warranted by circumstances.see document file for additional information regarding this resume.

  5. INVESTIGATION: Loss of power steering assist

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA11005

    Component(s): Steering
    Steering:Electric Power Assist System
    Steering:Hydraulic Power Assist System
    Steering:Hydraulic Power Assist:Pump

    Summary: The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) originally opened the investigation of loss of power steering assist in model year (MY) 2004 and 2005 Mini Cooper as Preliminary Evaluation PE10-038.The investigation was upgraded to Engineering Analysis EA11-005 in May, 2011.During EA11-005 the scope was expanded to include MY 2002 and 2003 vehicles that use the same steering system.The subject vehicles now include MY 2002, the first year BMW sold MINI in the U.S., through mid-MY 2005 covering approximately 109,000 vehicles.The subject vehicles use an electrically driven pump to provide hydraulic pressure to a conventional rack-and-pinion steering gear.A pump, the electric motor, and an electronic control unit (ECU) are housed in a single component BMW calls a "Power Pack."The investigation focused on contaminant-induced failure of the ECU resulting in a loss of assist without warning.When assist is lost mechanical steering is retained however increased steering effort is required to keep the vehicle on an intended path.Some consumers reported that restarting the vehicle (cycling the ignition switch) would often reinstate the steering assist.Additionally, and by design, assist can also reinstate during the drive cycle in limited circumstances.The unexpected loss of assist, and/or possibly the reinstatement of assist while driving, may contribute to a loss of vehicle control in certain driving situations.During MY 2005 production BMW introduced a revised Power Pack design (the ECU incorporated a conformal coating of the circuit board) which resulted in a significant reduction in failures.ODI identified 20 reports describing crashes consistent with a loss of power assist event possibly caused by a failure of the Power Pack.Two reports alleged an injury however both were minor in nature and did not require emergency treatment (a subsequent doctor's visit occurred in one case).Ten of these reports described low speed crashes with minimal, or in most cases no property or vehicle damage (e.g., striking a movable barrier in a parking lot).Additionally 27 other reports alleged or indicated that a crash occurred due to a Power Pack failure however in reviewing these reports, ODI either 1) was unable to confirm that a crash actually occurred (8 reports), or 2) determined that the crash circumstances (e.g., adverse road/weather conditions) or cause (e.g., the crash was caused by steering linkage failure) were not attributable to a Power Pack failure (19 reports).Throughout the investigation BMW maintained that loss of assist in the subject vehicles did not constitute a safety related defect, noting that the subject vehicles are smaller, light weight vehicles that can be reasonably controlled when assist is lost.In May 2013 BMW launched a 13 year/150,000 mile extended warranty coverage utilizing the redesigned Power Pack as a replacement part.ODI continued its investigation.In July 2014 BMW provided ODI a status of the ongoing extended warranty program, and in May 2015 ODI requested an update of complaint data.Following a review of the provided data, ODI informed BMW of its assessment that loss of steering assist failures were not adequately resolved by an extended warranty program.On October 12, 2015 BMW notified NHTSA that it would conduct a safety recall (15V-660) on approximately 86,000 subject vehicles not previously remedied with the new design Power Pack through regular or extended warranty programs.The recall covers MY 2002-2005 MINI Cooper, MY 2002-2005 MINI Cooper S, and MY 2005 MINI Cooper/Cooper S convertibles manufactured through Feb 9, 2005.Vehicles produced after this date are not included since the redesigned Power Pack was incorporated into vehicle production at that time.