really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,651 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

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problem #16

Apr 282011


  • miles
I was driving from East los angeles to West los angeles (playa del ray) on the 105 West hgwy when the cars transmission went out. This happened in the middle of the freeway in la during rush hour. I had to slowly move over to the right hand side of the highway until I could find an area with a shoulder. I barely made it to the shoulder and could have died from one of the cars speeding past me. Luckily I made it. I called aaa and they brought a tow truck which towed the car into a shop which stated that they would not be able to rebuild the transmission. They said I would have to replace the whole thing which would cost $7,000 minimum. I called multiple other dealers and shops, whom all gave the same estimate. I donated it to my local npr station because I did not want to pay that amount of money to replace a faulty transmission, with another faulty transmission.

- Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #15

Jun 122010


  • 93,101 miles
Just driving along and car began to sputter, and then transmission let go. Engine revved, but the gears were gone. No forward or reverse. Nothing.

- West Wareham, MA, USA

problem #14

Jul 112009


  • 63,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 MINICooper. The vehicle shut off while driving approximately 25 mph. There were no warnings prior to the transmission failure. The contact feels that this is a serious safety issue because a crash could have occurred. The failure mileage was 63,000.

- San Gabriel, CA, USA

problem #13

May 132009


  • 67,700 miles
Transmission whining noise eventually leading to transmission failure. MINIis aware of this problem with cvt transmissions and refuses to admit fault. Very common problem occurring in most 2002 vehicles with only 40,000-60,000 miles on them. Cost is 7000 to replace. MINIdoes not offer repair on this part.

- Hinsdale, IL, USA

problem #12

Feb 202008


  • 60,000 miles
Back in Feb 2008 the steering on my 2002 MINICooper just went out with no warning. I was left without power steering in the middle of the 101 freeway, which is very dangerous! I fixed the problem, which was very expensive as it was the entire steering system that failed and filed a complaint with MINII never heard back but continued to drive the car. Recently, September 2008 the transmission in that same car needs to be replaced. I have had nothing but major problems with this car and feel it may be a lemon. MINIis unwilling to help me as my car is no longer under warranty. I feel as though these problems could result in serious injury as there is no prior warning and I am concerned for all present and future MINICooper drivers.

- Beverly Hills, CA, USA

problem #11

Aug 032008


  • 43,191 miles
The automatic transmission of my 2002 MINICooper failed while my friend was driving my car. She was on a winding coastal road and the car died on a blind curve, putting her at great danger. Fortunately nobody was hurt. The car was towed to the san francisco BMW dealership, where I was informed I needed a $8500 "refurbished" transmission, as the transmission is not even made anymore. Research on line shows that this becoming a frequent problem with "first generation" minis with the "cvt" automatic transmission. I declined the repair and sold them the carcass of my car. This is a dangerous problem and BMW/MINIis not accepting responsibility.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #10

Jan 102008


  • 98,901 miles
I was driving my 2002 MINIon the freeway at 65 mph and I felt a sudden jolting and sensed a backward force impeding it from going forward. Luckily, it was night time and there weren't many cars, because my MINIstopped going forward and was merely running on momentum. The car got worse and started making a loud clunking sound from where the transmission sits and the car continued jolting not going forward as I barely had enough momentum to pull to the shoulder. After turning off the engine and checking that everything was fine by appearance (no oil leak, no blown gasket, etc), I restarted the car fine, but the car never again engaged into gear until I spent a whopping $7,000 to fix it. I would shift into D and the engine would rev, but the car stayed inert. The transmission is a closed system and when no harm is done to it and no fluid is not leaking, transmissions shouldn't pose any problems at considerably low miles (99K). I started researching on the possible problems with the transmission and sure enough, there was a long list of complaints on the faulty design. Next, I had to shop for mechanics. All the experienced MINImechanics told me that BMW offered no replacement parts because of a patent the inventor had on the cvt design. I had to have the whole transmission replaced because there were no options BMW left for the consumer. It was either you pay $7,000 or your MINIwill be scrapped and never run again. My mechanic was nice enough to chop open the transmission and saw that it was just a metal belt that drives the transmission that was broken. A simple belt that probably costs no more than $200 could have been replaced and a whole lot of consumer money could have been saved if the part was available to the us- not to mention the whole ordeal wouldn't be there if BMW had designed a reliable transmission in the first place, (ie use a regular automatic transmission instead of a cvt when the cvt has not be fully tested for its reliability).

- Daly City, CA, USA

problem #9

Aug 052002


  • 46,000 miles
I am the second owner (both older ladies), of a 2002 automatic MINICooper with 46,000 miles. Yesterday while driving home from work the tranny failed. It downshifted or something and the ep warning light came on, which means transmission failure and I was two feet away from being rear ended! I could have been killed. After researching on line, I have read great amounts of consumers with the same complaint. It is dangerous and very costly according to the figures I've read of people whose had theirs fixed or replaced. These cars with the cvt transmissions needs to be announced to the public for safety reasons alone not even to mention the cost! sincerely, bonnie quinn

- Havelock, NC, USA

problem #8

Mar 082008

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,980 miles
Cvt transmission failed after 32,000 miles, needing costly replacement.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #7

Apr 272004

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles
I just found this web site and after reading through the various issues other people are having with their MINII decided I should also go ahead and share my issues as well. Back in April of 2004, I was hit on the front passenger side by a Honda Accord traveling about 50 miles an hour and my airbags failed to deploy. I never had a check engine light or an airbag light for that matter but it's a scary thought not having your airbags deploy, especially at such a high speed of impact. I used to be in love with MINIs but I have been so "soured" by them as of late with all of the issues I have been having. My automatic transmission is shot and because of that, I can't even start my car.

- Fair Lawn, NJ, USA

problem #6

Dec 262007

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles
My automatic transmission failed on my 2002 MINICooper rendering the car will not start. The dealership wants $6000+ to fix the transmission. I had a similar issue about 3 months ago and they just reset the code and it worked fine. They said if they tried resetting the code again, the car may just die on me while driving.

- Fair Lawn, NJ, USA

problem #5

Nov 302007

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2002 MINICooper with a cvt automatic transmission. The transmission has failed. The care has about 61,000 miles. The transmission has to be replaced costing me at least $6,000.

- Champaign, IL, USA

problem #4

Aug 282007

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles
I recently was driving home from sacramento when my car stopped driving on the freeway.... luckily I was able to pull off to the side and call for help... the car was still running and the RPM's were going up, but would not drive or reverse. I had no idea what the problem was especially since I had just had the second inspection service on the car on 4/10/2007 at the cost of $850. The car had not been driving funny, no lights had come on, nothing was abnormal. Aaa took my car to MINIof sacramento dealer where I had to leave it over night (the service department was no longer open) and check myself into a hotel. I called the next morning and they said because I did not have an appointment they would be able to take the car on an emergency basis and take a look at it around 5:00 pm. I was called later that day and told the car needed a new transmission and it will cost $7,500... the car has roughly 59,000 miles on it. Updated 02-21-08

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #3

May 232007

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,600 miles
The contact owns a 2002 MINICooper. The contact stated that her transmission failed while driving 30 mph. The dealer informed her that there is warranty expired that covered the transmission. The vehicle has a cvt transmission and, according to the NHTSA website, there are many others with this same failure. The computer chip was replaced three times after stalling on three separate occasions prior to the transmission failing. The vehicle was constantly shutting off and stalling in the middle of the road. The current and failure mileages were 57,600. Updated 02/01/08. The consumer stated the battery also needed replacing after 41,000 miles. The consumer stated the repairs cost her $7,000. Updated 02/01/08

- Milpitas, CA, USA

problem #2

Jun 262003

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 5,950 miles
When the air conditioning is on, car stalls or stumbles while starting movement in first gear. This causes merges, left turns to get dangerous. Hot weather increases the occurrence of the problem.

- Gilroy, CA, USA

problem #1

Oct 282002

Cooper 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I am having a problem with my 2002 MINICooper, it is experiencing problems with the transmission and it has been in the service department in three separate occasion totallying 54 days, the last time that it was in the service department it was 40 days. They finally said the problem was corrected, but it took them that long to figure out what was wrong. I called the dealership and told them that I wanted to be compensated only for the days the car was at their shop, also I informed them that if the MINIhas to be taken to the shop again, that will force me to enforce the lemon law. Melissa steffy, the general manager, said for me to send her the letter and she wil see what she can do, but that it was unlikely that they would compensate for anything. I don't think it's fair because I purchased the car to use it, not for them to have it in the dealer's service department. I would appreciate if you could assist me with this matter. Thanks leyda ramos for edid batista : lrmia@aol.com

- Chelsea, MA, USA