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MINI Cooper Clutch & Transmission Questions



  • smudge1smudge1 Posts: 2
    Yes, it is to be expected unfortunately. I have had nothing but problems with my 2004 Mini Cooper and today the transmission crashed. This car has only 57,000 miles on it, over warranty now abd only two months to go on the lease! The dealership will take zero responsibility. The clutch assembly and pressure plate have to be replaced, the mechanic said it was total failure with $7000 price tag. You said it, all these years of driving manual xmsn without a single problem, now we "drive them too hard". hmph!
  • Hi, Karen. My story is almost identical to yours. The CVT transmission in my 2002 Mini went at 79,000 miles. It's costing me over 8K to fix. BMW of San Francisco (where I purchased it) wouldn't even return my phone calls. MiniUSA e-mailed me that they had conducted "a thorough and complete review of the facts" and had decided they would do nothing as my car was out of warranty.

    It's clear that the CVT transmission is problematic, but BMW refuses to acknolwedge this. I would love to join a class action suit but don't know how.

  • winniepwinniep Posts: 18
    Please write me at We are not allowed to talk about the suit on this forum and I have been delinquent in putting together a blog. I can give you more details at my personal email. Thank you!

  • My transmission just went out on Wednesday! I also have a 2004 Mini Cooper, warranty is over. What a mess!
  • I agree, it's a mess. My new transmission cost me $8,632. It makes me want to cry. I have a 2002 Mini and the transmission blew out at 75,000. MIni USA was unresponsive. BMW of San Francisco wouldn't return my phone calls. Where is Ralph Nader when you need him?

  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    Where is Ralph Nader when you need him?

    Running for President.
    Oh and Nader started his career by inventing problems that didn't exist and making them seem much worse than they were.
    Nader wouldn't be of any help against MINI or BMW.
    But if MINI's continue to have problems like this then they will lose sales and their value will plummet.
    German companies don't make fast changes unless they have no choice. Google BMW and Bangle to see how hated the design of the BMW's were to their customers and all the years to get rid of the designer causing the problems.
    I'd be interested to know what percentage of cars have had the automatics go on them versus the manuals. I believe the automatics are sourced from GM. No idea about the manuals. The new engines are Peugeot rather than Chrysler.
    It seems the transmissions are the weak link. We were looking at buying a MINI within a couple of months but might not as I hear about too many transmission problems and $8k to fix it is totally insane!
  • I agree Nader wouldn't be any help against BMW, I just wish consumer feedback was taken seriously. I'm not a technical expert on this, but my impression is that the problem was my Mini's CVT transmission. My 2002 Mini had the original CVT (which failed), according to my mechanic there were several improvements made on the CVT since 2002. However, I don't believe they use CVT's anymore. However, there was no recall or "campaign" (sounds like a party!), and I believe there should have been.
  • karen31karen31 Posts: 7
    It's really so discouraging that so many of us are in this situation. I recently learned that my 03 is worth nothing..... couldn't even trade it in to an outside dealer. I am told that other dealerships are aware of these tranny problems and they are sympathetic but since mini's are so specialized they don't have the techs skilled to step in. I had my tranny replaced with a brand new one (est at $8k) and 2 weeks later i still couldn't get a trade in value because used car managers drive it and say it's skipping 3rd gear. They tell me there was some kind of patch job -- I've had 2 repair locations confirm the same. I'm so financially upside down on this mini thing I have no choice but to pursue it. My Toyota was a dream machine in comparison..... i thought BMW was the ultimate driving machine - what a lesson this has been. Hang in there -- we will get this figured out.
  • karen31karen31 Posts: 7
    I would recommend that you not put any more money into it.
    It's a money pit --- and BMW will have to learn the hard way (like we all have).
    Keep detailed log of everything going on and stay with it. We'll make some headway here.
  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    I agree Nader wouldn't be any help against BMW, I just wish consumer feedback was taken seriously. I'm not a technical expert on this, but my impression is that the problem was my Mini's CVT transmission.

    I've also read about the clutches wearing out very fast as well. Shame they ruin the car with fun flat tires, no spare and shoddy transmissions.
    You'd think they'd have a bit of concern about quality and reliability considering that they do not deal on price at all.
    That cost them a sale from me a few months back, because why hurry to buy the car when it won't matter as the price is fixed?
    They do need to own up and fix the cars but sadly they probably won't and not in a poor economy. Also not connecting with current BMW dealers has hurt them as well.
  • That's terrible that your 03 Mini wasn't worth anything! The mechanics who installed my new $8,632 transmission did a great job, which is the only silver lining in this whole fiasco. They purchased specialized tools for the job and sent me pictures via e-mail of the repair process. They also told me that this repair was one of the most expensive repairs they have done, even more expensive than repairing one of those high-end 100K BMW's. It's outrageous.

    The Toyotas I used to drive routinely went to 150K or 200K miles. I was hoping for the same for my Mini. I also had no choice but to pursue the repair option, which makes me want to weep given the shape the economy is in and the fact that my daughter needs orthodontia.
  • lisagalisaga Posts: 1
    Hi Marianne,
    I will also be contacting Karen at her alternative email address. I had to replace my clutch on my 2004 mini after just 2 years, and now 20k miles later (no longer under warranty). The dealer in Boston (where it was purchased) insists there's nothing wrong with the car and that it must be the fault of the operator.

    I've been driving standard autos for over 20 years and NEVER replaced a clutch one time. Before buying this new mini, I always bought used cars. I've driven all of my used cars between 5 and 8 years and never once had to replace a clutch.

    The dealer offers no acknowledgment that there's a problem with anything other than the driver!
  • afox30afox30 Posts: 3
    So, I'm back. I was researching yet another potentially catastrophic issue with my Mini when I noticed my post on this forum from back in September 2006 when our clutch was fried at 31k miles!

    This time, the transmission is making noises and I fear we're about to head down another costly road. This time, we're sitting on 53k miles, but our warranty expired in December. Definitely not covered, IF it is the transmission. I'm getting another opinion today. In any event, it's something NOT GOOD, and something guaranteed to be costly. The beat goes on...
  • scootrosscootros Posts: 2
    I just had some transmission work done on my '06 Cooper S. Apparently the pressure plate was going bad, so they had to replace the whole clutch kit. I am disappointed that this happened at 33K miles, but at least it was covered by the warranty. Last year the motor mount failed, and now this. With gas prices going up and this thing being thirsty for premium fuel, I'm seriously considering selling it. Anyway, just thought I'd share my experience for anyone considering buying one of these. I'd say get a Honda and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with owning something RELIABLE.
  • smudge1smudge1 Posts: 2
    Sorry you have to go through this, it is stressfull and dissapointing to say the least.
    My transmission went out at 57,000 miles (over warranty) and 2 months before my lease was up. I brought it to Motorwerks Mini in Minneapolis and calmed listened to them tell me it was not covered.... then I pulled out the card I had in my pocket. Class action lawsuit, formal complaints to BBB, NTSB and Commissioner of Commerce and since i have a very big mouth, the media. I said $9500 is pennies compared to the damage this will do to your dealership if you don't stand behind your product. They ended up covering the cost though told me when I called to check on it that my front strut was out $500, oil pan gasket leak $750 (really, for a$12 pc. of cork? Are you on crack? was my loving response) and of course 4 new run-flat tires for over $1000 (another class action)
    Anyway, my point is be persistent with these people, 3000 mile over warranty? and 53000 miles for the life of a transmission is unacceptable, that cannot be argued.
    Good luck and don't take any dookie.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    A broken motor mount along with clutch issues would tend to make one believe you are an aggressive driver, as both items are quite often damaged in "spirited" driving.

    No accusation here, but what explanation did the dealer give for the broken motor mount?

    Given it is an "S" model, one would think that that type of driving would be anticipated by Mini...
  • joem5joem5 Posts: 201
    You, maybe right about agressive driving. I've always had 4,5,and now a 6 spd and have had no problems.
    However,alot of people are postng the same complaint. I can't see alot of women posters popping the clutch or double clutching.IMAO
  • scootrosscootros Posts: 2
    No explanation was given for either broken part. No accusation was made by the service department that I was at fault. I have driven cars with manual transmissions for over 20 years (am I THAT old?!!), and I have NEVER had a mechanical failure until now. I will say that I drive this car in a spirited way sometimes, but I am much gentler with it than I was with the '87 BMW 325 I had 20 years ago, and I put about 80,000 miles on that car with no major issues whatsoever. The bottom line is that I don't think the MINI is built to last. Enjoy it while it's in warranty, and then get rid of it; that's what I'm going to do.
  • tkowalskytkowalsky Posts: 1
    I need to know if you can put a 6 speed in a mini that had a 5 speed without many problems
  • rufust1rufust1 Posts: 2
    I feel your pain. My 2002 Mini cooper with only 34 thousand miles just blew a transmission 2 weeks ago. As I am finding out this is the norm. My sister owns an S model, with 55 thousand miles and I have not given her the bad news yet. My father raced and built engines for the originals and I grew up with Minis. Morris motors must be horified to see what BMW has done to their cars. My dream of owning a Mini has become a nightmare. BMW needs to recall them all!!!
  • rufust1rufust1 Posts: 2
    I found a recall also the number given was 1-888-327-4236
  • ramquistramquist Posts: 7
    After reading posts about transmission failures I was fearful of this impending repair (noise at 60k and I was wondering how long I could milk it before the huge cost).

    Well I complained to the dealer when they informed me of the good news and they said contact Mini Customer Service.

    MINI CS actually responded quickly, 3 email communications in 36 hours. They called the dealer and made the arrangements to provide the parts at no cost but I pay labor. I feel this is a very reasonable response because in life things to happen.

    I have the email chain with CS if you are would like to see what I did. I don't think I did anything other than maybe hit the right cord.
  • Hi, there. I contacted Mini CS as well about my "massive transmission failure" at 74K miles, and they did nothing (I had purchased the extended warranty until 50K miles). I would be interested in the email chain with CS, as I exchanged numerous e-mails with them as well but to no avail. Mini of San Francisco was completely unresponsive as well. I ended up paying over $8,000 to replace my transmission.

    What year is your Mini? How far out of warranty were you?
  • :confuse: We just took delivery of a new 2008 S. We now have 2,000 miles on it. From almost day 1, we started getting a strange noise when downshifting from 3rd to 2nd if between 30-40 mph. The noise sounds like rubber on metal...kind of a skreech but not like a loose belt. More like chauking a pool cue or hitting the front brakes on a 10 speed bike. The dealer has deglazed the clutch twice. The sound is now less frequent but still there. It also seems to go away after the car heats up. Anyone had a similar problem or better yet, a fix?
  • ramquistramquist Posts: 7
    I was 10k and 2 years over (60k and 6 yrs old). email me and I will send you the email chain.
  • :confuse: My 05 Mini convertible's CVT has a hesitation when starting up from a stop, but if I use the lever in the right Sport position, then start from a dead stop - the hesitation does not exist! Is there some reprogramming that might be done by BMW to get the "normal" position to enjoy the same smooth startup as the Sport position?
  • kferokfero Posts: 1
    Can you please send me the CS thread about your failed transmission to I would greatly appreciate it
  • mspeppermspepper Posts: 7
    Hi- could you send me the email chain? I'm looking at this exact problem- massive cost and out of warranty. 67k 2003 Mini Cooper.
  • mspeppermspepper Posts: 7
    Did you get the failed transmission email chain? If so, could you also send it to I am facing the same problem . It is much appreciated.
  • No, I never got a transmission thread. The dealer "de-glazed" our clutch for the 3rd time and it appears to have fixed the noise problem we were having when downshifting from 3rd to 2nd. We've only heard the noise once since the last visit and it was barely detectable.
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