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MINI Cooper Clutch & Transmission Questions



  • sconantsconant Posts: 23
    I know this is now 01/07/07 but what was your outcome with the clutch and having to pay for "diagnosis"?
  • bbucbbuc Posts: 1
    We've taken our 2003 Mini Cooper S in to the dealer numerous times and reporting a strange loud sound every time we drove off or backed up. Every time they would say they could not duplicate the sound. Finally after being told I needed to come in and have the shop manager ride with me to see if I could point it out, they heard it.

    There is a awful sound everytime you take off or back up. The response from him was "oh that's coming from the clutch, it does that after awhile, we can tighten it but the sound may come back again."

    Every time I call dealer or check online there does not seem to be any recalls or similar problems with other Mini's. Anyone else experiencing this problem?
  • Hello, first time poster here.

    The transmission went out on my MINI too. Mine is a 2003, automatic, with 33,000 miles. I bought it used a few months ago. I was so excited about owning a car that was built this century! I still love the fuel efficiency (31 mpg SF down to LA) and the heated seats and fitting in tight parking spaces. Unfortunately I’m back to thinking of cars as a huge drain on my money and time.

    Short version: the transmission was replaced and covered under the warranty even though the warranty expired about a month earlier. SF MINI Dealership cost estimate was $5,000. They replaced a tail light free of charge and they provided a loaner car.

    I’ll post a longer version of the situation in a minute.

    Reading other posts on the forum makes me concerned that the transmission is just the first of many issues with this MINI. At this point it would not be cost-effective to sell, but the warranty won’t cover problems 3 months/years from now…

    Colleen/ctm3267 - If you’re reading this, I’m interested to know what you ended up doing?

  • In Nov 06, my husband and I bought a 2003 MINI, automatic transmission, with 33K miles. In January we noticed that the car would not go into gear unless we revved the engine about 10 times. Definitely not cool. About a month later it just would not go into gear, no matter what. Non-dealer repair shop first told us it was the transmission. Replacement cost estimate was $3,000, but I’m not sure if that included labor.

    We called up SF Mini dealership (where they had just completed the 30K mile tune-up). They immediately said they would take a look and if it was the transmission they would absolutely cover it under the warranty, since it had literally just expired.

    Short version: it was the transmission and it was replaced under warranty. Dealership cost estimate was $5,000. They replaced a tail light free of charge and they provided a loaner car.

    Longer, venting version: Looking back a few months/years from now I will probably only remember that we didn’t pay for the transmission. But since it’s still fresh…. The customer service was AWFUL:

    We dropped off the car after a 12 mile, $100 tow. After four days of no news and no returned calls, I finally got through. They said they hadn’t even looked at it yet. Service Rep#1 offered us a rental car for $25/day. We got a better deal on our own. I finally got through after about a week of no news and no response to multiple phone calls. Service Rep#2 said “oh no, I would have given you the loaner car at no charge” and “we can’t find the problem.” So we dropped off our rental car and picked up their rental car. After 3 days of no news and no returned phone calls, I got through. They said they found the problem. After four more days of no news and no returned messages, I got through to the receptionist in the late afternoon. The car had been ready for pick up all day.

    Summary: They had the car three weeks. We are out of pocket $260. We have a new transmission.

    I’m now considering 1) keeping the car and hoping nothing else goes wrong, 2) selling it and getting ????, 3) selling it and getting a new MINI with a bumper to bumper warranty and upgrading my road-side assistance plan.

    Any thoughts/comments/suggestions are welcome.
  • bbuc, I had a 2005 Mini Cooper and waited for the new 5 spd transmission. Ever since the first day I drove it I noticed that in slow manuevers,ie pulling into a parking space or backing out of the garage the engine would vibrate violently. I have had many 5spd or stick shift cars in my life, in fact I have a 1987 supra turbo with 170000 miles on it and just changed the clutch on it 6000 miles ago, but this cooper is very touchy on the clutch. I had repeatedly complained to my MINI dealer in Arlington, TX but to no avail. I had to push them to get the factory engineer down here to check the car. all he did was drive it and admitted that there was a problem with the clutch. But blamed it on me. He was a young engineer who didn't seem to know much. He wanted me to rev it to 2000-2500 just to do these low speed manuevers like that isn't dangerous in tight spaces. Well, BMW you lost me as a future customer for any of your other products since I was treated like this for 18 months. Traded the car for 200 less than I paid for it in July 06 on a Toyota FJ Crusier. No problems on the cruiser. By the way I only had 8000 miles on the MINI when I got rid of it. The clutch always chattered in low manuevers and I had to consciously raise the rpms to keep the Mini from chattering and vibrating violently. By the way BMW You also lost out on another sale I completed on a new LEXUS ES350. I will never consider a BMW again because of the way the dealer and BMW corp treated me. I should not have to pester a luxury car group to do its job.
  • I am going through similar situation with my 2005 Cooper (Automatic) w/8000mi right now. Luckly I have the road-side assis. plan and was able to take it to my favorite authorized Mini service dealer and still under warranty.
    But even after the transmission is replaced (w/re-built one), by reading the Forums here makes me worry. I, too hope nothing else goes wrong....

    Any thoughts/comments/suggestions are welcome.
  • bfromholdbfromhold Posts: 38
    zippco ~

    What kind of problems have you had with your transmission? Has it already been replaced with only 8,000 miles on it? I also have a Mini (2006) with an automatic transmission with the same mileage as yours. So far everything seems to work fine, but now I'm a bit worried after reading a couple of complaints from this Forum. :confuse:

    What kind of situations are you having with your Mini? I'll have to be more attentive on my MCS to see if I experience anything unusual. I'm thinking it would be a good idea to buy the extended warranty after what I've read here.

    Is there anyone out there that has higher mileage (50,000 or more) on an automatic transmission with no problems?
  • zippcozippco Posts: 4
    My 2005 Mini Cooper's auto. transmission was replaced with a re-built transmission.
    One day I noticed that when merging on to a highway,(going from 30 to 60mi/hr) it jerked and hesitated for a second. But it drove fine once going. Then few weeks later, I could not drive any faster than 25mi/hr on a slushy road, I first thought it had something to do with the Dynamic Stability Control. (I must admit my knowledge in auto-mechanism is very limited...) But once towed to the dealer/service, they said it's "defect transmission"..... It is running great right now. And I found that the MINI Customer Relations reps are very helpful.
    Since I DO love driving my Mini, most likely will buy the extended warranty when the time comes.
  • bfromholdbfromhold Posts: 38
    zippco ~

    Thanks replying so quickly to my inquiry about the problems you've experienced. I'm sure I'm not the only one who appreciates the fact that you shared your misfortune. At least it'll give me a heads up to look out for anything usual.

    I should buy the extended warranty for peace of mind. However, I may buy a new Mini in 2009, so I'll just have to wait and see how many miles I'll have on my 2006 by then. Thanks again for sharing... May the rest of your driving experience with your Mini be uneventful. :)
  • paw9paw9 Posts: 3
    Hello, I'm a first time poster to this site. I'm thinking about a MINI and just drove a base model on Saturday. It definitely scores high on fun. But I'm really worried about the reliability after reading these posts - although it looks like the problems are limited to older models? I've owned Hondas and Toyotas in the past which were extremely reliable - I never took them in for anything other than routine maintenance. Should I be worried about the 2007 MINI? :confuse:
  • zippcozippco Posts: 4
    It took me a while to decide after owning 2 Toyotas in the past.(Both drove it over 100,000mi) But I just love how MINI drives, no comparison when it comes to "Motoring"!
    I guess you need to ask yourself how long you plan on keeping the car, 3 yrs? 10yrs?, then get the right warranty and ENJOY driving! I admit that after the transmission problem,I am bit worried but personally, I don't wish to go back driving a Toyota. Good luck and let me know what you decide! Zippco
  • Hello,
    It's been a bit since the transmission was replaced, so I wanted to post a quick update. My husband and I haven't had any new problems and the difficulties with the dealership are quickly becoming a distant memory. Even after all the hassle, I agree with a few of the other posters that it's just a lot of fun to drive! And I love fitting into tiny parking spots! Despite this rough start, our next car may be another MINI.

    Thanks to everyone who posts here. It really is a great resource.

  • nona47nona47 Posts: 5
    Hello, this is a COPY of aN email I sent to MINI USA, nevertheless all they provided me was the usual @#$%%$@ customer service response- THEY CANNOT DO NOTHING TAKE COMPLAINT BACK TO THE DEALER. It seems we have the same problem, DOES ANYONE OUT THERE HAS THE SAME PROBLEM, OUR MINI S 2006, ONLY HAS 8,000 PLUS MILES.... ORDERED CUSTOM FM OXFORD FACTORY. THANKS

    The following is to voice a technical concern (get some answers) rather than a customer service complaint against the dealer or service manager. I hope that a person with the proper technical background can provide a clarification.

    Our Mini has been making this squealing -grinding noise, mid clutch release, mostly when vehicle is cold and in first gear (when need engine torque to move the vehicle fm idle). When the noise occurs you can feel it in the clutch pedal. Once the car has been driven for over 30-40
    minutes this noise/condition is not reproducible. Because of what I have just described, I took our Mini to the dealer, the customer service manager knew exactly what I was describing to him. I was told that this
    is a well known GLITCH with the MINI's clutch system, and that there is no repair for it, just keep observing. If anything I do appreciate this man's honesty in sharing this information. I have been a driver of 35 years- driven many stick shift's, the only
    time I have ever heard a noise like such is when a clutch is getting ready to be replaced and well into the 90k miles. We, that is my husband and I, purchased our MINI hoping to own a piece of great German (BMW)-English engineering that is affordable. Needless to say our hopes regarding the quality and craftsmanship of your products has been
    shattered, by the fact that it does not appear your engineers are finding a solution to this GLITCH (I was informed this has been a common occurrence for quite a few years), thus eventually, having to replace a
    clutch at 40k miles at the customer's expense (not covered in the warranty). I believe BMW can do much better than this even if the MINI is not one of your HIGH END products. You don't have to be a seasoned mechanic or engineer to figure out that something that is grinding, is not working properly, even if it does not happen every day or 1-4 times
    on the day it happens, that a grinding noise means release of shavings (damaging to any mechanical system) and uneven wear or damages to a particular part in this case could be the clutch plate, CLUTCH RELEASE
    THROW OUT BEARING( shavings/dust could affect this part) or fly wheel. :( :mad:
  • nona47nona47 Posts: 5

    Our Mini has been making this squealing -grinding noise, mid clutch release, mostly when vehicle is cold and in first gear (when need engine torque to move the vehicle fm idle). When the noise occurs you can feel it in the clutch pedal. Once the car has been driven for over 30-40
    minutes this noise/condition is not reproducible. Because of what I have just described, I took our Mini to the dealer, the customer service manager knew exactly what I was describing to him. I was told that this
    is a well known GLITCH with the MINI's clutch system, and that there is no repair for it, just keep observing. If anything I do appreciate this man's honesty in sharing this information. BUT IT DOES NOT SOLVE OUR PROBLEM... :mad: :cry: WORST yet CLUTCHES ARE NOT COVERED UNDER WARRANTY, ACCORDING TO SERVICE MANAGER, IS NOT UNCOMMON FOR MINI CLUTCHES TO DIE AT 40K MILES..... :cry:
  • pareesparees Posts: 2
    After reading about all the clutch/transmission problems, I am reconsidering this purchase. Does anyone know if these issues have been addressed in the '07?
  • pareesparees Posts: 2
    Please, can't anyone give me any information on what I might expect in the new model? I have been driving standard transmissions for 35 years and have never replaced a clutch in less than 80k miles.
  • Hi, I own a 2002 Mini with only 29K mi on it. At first I was happy with car, but recently have driven the car more frequently and have experienced many little problem and noises, such as, trunk latch, srs light (air bag) due to faulty seatbelt latch, a factory recall. Overheating an constant fan running and NOW to top it all off transmission problems, what's next. I am not sure what it will or going to run me but after reading prior commentary I am afraid to even ask at dealer, since my warranty is out. Doe anyone have any suggestions, beside getting rid of it, which I intend to do after repair..... Cute cars, but not reliable what so ever, many glitches and it seems that it will be a while before you can really say they are reliable especially for the money you are paying!!!!!!!!Needles to say, WITH ALL THESE PROBLEMS I AM SURPRISED MINI HAS NOT GOTTEN SUED UNDER LEMON LAW TO MAKE BUYERS MORE AWARE OF THESE LITTLE ISSUES!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • YEAH If you want to save aggrivation of running back and forth to dealer and worrying about clutch issues, don't buy a mini for time being!! they look and drive nice, but problems will pop out in the first 25K mi be aware!!!
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    The gearbox was changed in 2005--specifically because of the transmission/clutch in the earlier models--from Midlands to Gertrag--which is the same manufacturer of the transmission in the Mini S. Gertrag is very reliable, but as its only in the 2005 and later models, I would steer away from the base Mini Cooper in any year prior to 2005.
  • zippcozippco Posts: 4
    Sorry to hear about your 02 Mini....I don't blame you for wanting to get rid of it. But still have to spend the $$$ for the repairs...Have you contacted the MINI customer service? I'm not sure what they can do but they may have suggestions. And I believe they need to hear about these problems from owners!
    After replacing my 05 MINI(auto)transmission at 8K mi,(under warranty)and now at 10K mi, so far it's been smooth running. I plan on keeping my Mini for at least 5 more years. Has anyone out there purchased an extended warranty before 5yr/50K warranty expired? And wondering if you used it.
  • bfromholdbfromhold Posts: 38
    zippco ~

    I have a '06 MCS with an automatic transmission. I've got nearly 11,000 miles, but haven't had anything unusual happen yet. What happened to yours that warranted having the transmission replaced? Is your Mini an S?

    I've considered buying the extended warranty, but not sure what I should do right now. I figure on keeping the car for about 3 years, but I may be past 50,000 miles by then. I average about 18k a year. From what I understand, the extended warranty & extended maintenance should be bought together. I've heard that you need to show proof that you've had the transmission "serviced" at regular intervals (not sure what they do). That means a lot of extra dough $ to spend.
  • nona47nona47 Posts: 5
    They are adorable cars but full of glitches, the reason we bought ours in 06 is because the reviews seem pretty credible from the auto mags.... I wish I would have found this forum earlier it would have made a difference.... in our decision. Our Mini makes a grinding- squeal- clutch on first, which they told me at the dealer is a known problem, in order to apply the Lemon Law the dealer must attempt to repair the same problem x3- the way it is in FL. So if one has problem that is not reproduceable once the vehicle has warmed up, such as our problem, at worst all one can hope is that the transmission dies while on warranty- nevertheless we will have to pay for the clutch on this repair as it is not part of warranty, even with a full transmission change. :mad:
  • hotwlzhotwlz Posts: 2
    Hi: I have a 2006 Mini, 5 speed and was having a grinding noise especially at idle. If I depressed the clutch partially, the noise would go away. I brought it to the Mini dealer and they at first thought it was the clutch. So I left it at the dealer. I got a call the next day from and was told that it wasn't the clutch but the transmission. Apparently the transmission is non-serviceable so if a part breaks internally, the entire tranny has to be replaced! It only had 6500 miles on it. The service person was great! They assured me that it wasn't my fault and would replace it under warranty. I've read a lot of the responses and I would blame the dealer for not stepping up and taking care of the customer. Fortunately, the service is so good where I am that I would buy another because I am so confident that they would take care of any problem that came up. Makes a huge difference! :)
  • nona47nona47 Posts: 5
    With 6000+ miles and warranty the tranny is covered, did they used the same clutch and parts or they replaced with new ones? The problems with the clutch, is well known, I think BMW should find a remedy, as it is not a problem the dealership can resolve but rather at engineering level with the clutch assembly. I like my dealership but I am not too happy with the manufacturer...., I also understand the frustration of my service manager- as there is no repair for my specific problem. :surprise:
  • annisezannisez Posts: 1
    I just joined this group after reading many reviews and experiences of others' with their Mini. I've been considering a 2007 Mini S for a few months now, and going for a 2nd test drive tomorrow. This board has been most helpful and quite revealing, to say the least. Unfortunately, I'm very disappointed after reading about so many problems with this car! It's a great looking car, fun to drive and very peppy. But reliability is also a main factor for me, and it doesnt sound like the Mini is reliable. Very disappointing. :cry:
  • winniepwinniep Posts: 18
    I have a 2002 Mini Cooper with a CVT engine and 55K miles on it. This morning when I was driving to go teach my 2nd grade class, my car stopped running in the middle of the road. This was not the first time this happened-the car had stopped on me three times previously, once in the middle of a busy freeway-but this was the first time the check engine light did not come on. I towed it to my mechanic, and he reported that my transmission is busted, and not pumping hydraulic fluid. My warranty just ran out June 2006, so I am looking at $5000 to replace the transmission plus labor. Since I purchased the car, they have had to also replace my computer chip (apparently, this was the reason why my car stopped the other 3 times). I am finally going to sell it, or call a lawyer! I would not suggest any one buying this car.
  • 06mc_conv06mc_conv Posts: 1
    I just bought a brand new 2006 Mini Cooper Convertible with the auto CVT transmission. I complained immediately about the car hesitating to go into reverse when the car was shifted into reverse. They stated that was customary for the CVT engine. I advised that I had owned a 2007 Nissan Altima and that it too had a CVT engine and that you could not feel it shift at all (hence the reason for getting a CVT engine). I have owned the car for 45 days and only have 1300 miles on it. Yesterday the car after stopping at a light in downtown Denver traffic would not go in drive or reverse. Mini picked the car up and called me today to tell me the transmission is shot. They stated that they are going to put a new tranny in car. I advised that was unacceptable as the car is brand new. They agreed to buy the car back and give me a new one. The dealership, Ralph Schomp Mini, has been phenomenal and will keep me a happy and loyal customer. DO NOT BELIEVE when they tell you that it is normal for the CVT engine to hesitate and shift hard.....the whole idea behind the technology is that you do not feel the transmission shift!!!!
  • iraida2iraida2 Posts: 1
    Hello all, I am a Mini '03 owner - 36000 miles on the car. I went to Carmax for an appraisal and they found everything in great condition, except for the transmission which they say shifts hard. 2 weeks ago I took the car for a service visit at the dealership (now off warranty) and they found nothing wrong with it. I don't feel like it's driving differently - would the mini dealer have detected this on inspection or is Carmax trying to give me a run for my money?
  • hotwlzhotwlz Posts: 2
    Hi, if you don't think there is anything wrong and the dealer doesn't think there is anything wrong, the most likely Carmax wasn't being truthful. If there was a problem and you are off warranty, the Mini dealership would have at least given you an estimate so they could do the repair.
  • nona47nona47 Posts: 5
    I am glad the dealer came through for you, but still it leaves a bad taste when a brand new car is having tranny problems. I will have a problem accepting another mini fm the dealer as we ordered our mini fm Oxford- didn't care for all the bells and whistles the dealership always orders on their cars. Mine is a stick shift, and still has that grinding noise on first. It does not happen all the time but it makes you wonder where the fine German engineering went on the trannys in these cars.... :surprise:
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