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MINI Cooper Clutch & Transmission Questions



  • Hi, there. I never received the e-mail chain, although at this point I don't think it would make much difference for me. I had a massive transmission failure at about 70k (2002 Mini Cooper) and elected to have my transmission repaired at a local independent BMW shop for 8k, as opposed to paying 12k at the dealer in San Francisco. However, since I didn't have the work done at a dealership, I don't think I would get anywhere with Mini USA. When my transmission expired, Mini USA informed me via e-mail that I was basically out of luck since my extended warranty ended at 50k. I still feel outraged by this treatment by both Mini USA and Mini of San Francisco, who never even returned my calls.
  • minimad2minimad2 Posts: 1
    Sadly, I too have had a very similar experience - not on an '04 Mini, but on an '05. Clutches are clearly an ongoing issue with these cars, but one that the company refuses to acknowledge, chosing instead to pass the blame (quite criminally) back to the consumer.

    I generally to not repost messages that I've posted to other forums, but I'm really adamant about getting the word out here, so I'm making an exception.

    I recently filed this complaint with consumer affairs:

    Clutch problems seem to be a recurring theme on this page. So I thought I would add my experience to the mix.

    At about 19,000 miles, the clutch on my 2005 Mini Cooper S convertible began groaning during takeoff (ie, while moving from a full stop into first gear). I mentioned this to the dealer in San Francisco during an appointment to fix a non-related issue, and she later informed me that the clutch was in fact wearing and would soon need to be replaced. She added, much to my surprise, that my warranty would not cover it. Terms of the warranty cover clutch replacement only after 30,000 miles.

    I took issue with this and, after posting to an online forum, was contacted my a Mini National Customer Service rep, who agreed to look into getting me full coverage.

    Several months later, and after much back and forth with the rep (who for the record was very patient and courteous) the end result was this: Mini agreed to cover 50% of the cost, but only on condition that I agreed up front to shoulder the other 50%.

    Though I'm paraphrasing, their reasoning was this: if a clutch needs replacement within 30,000 miles, it must be due to driver abuse.

    This really blew me over. What a blatant leap in logic. From my standpoint, if a clutch needs to be replaced within 30K (or just 19K in this case), it's a pretty clear indication that the clutch itself is deficient or defective in some way. To provide some background here, I am 37 years old and have owned stick vehicles exclusively since I first got my license 21 years ago. I have never, ever, ever gone through a clutch in less than 70K, and have seen them last well beyond 100K on vehicles that I've owned. There is no way that the problem I'm experiencing is due to abuse on my part, and the mere suggestion is just absurd and proof of this company's refusal to stand behind its product.

    Other postings here on Consumer Affairs prove clearly that I am not alone on this issue.

    Furthermore, I have spoken to various mechanics (from BMW) who have confirmed that these cars have clutch issues. My service adviser at Mini in San Francisco even admitted as much, but kept insisting her hands were tied by corporate policy. So, in the end, the dealer is bound by corporate, and corporate passes the blame right back to the consumer. What a fantastic business model!!!

    Needless to say, I will not be purchasing or recommending any other Mini's. I've also decided against taking the company up on their 50% offer. Though that may sound absurd, my local mechanic wants $1200 to do the whole job. Mini quoted me $1800 for the work, $900 of which I would owe. I will gladly pay $300 extra to see an honest man perform an honest day's work before I'll see another nickel of my hard-earned pay in the hands of these clowns.

    You can find this complaint, along with many others, on the consumer affairs website here (just do a text search on "clutch" and you'll see what I mean).

    This company is behaving just shamefully, and consumers need to know. Knowledge is power!
  • My experience with Mini of San Francisco was similar to yours, except no one even did me the courtesy of calling me back regarding my failed transmission at 70k. Mini USA also told me that my transmission failure could be related to the way I drive or to different "geographical conditions". As you know, we don't get alot of snow or inclement weather out here, so neither "argument" made sense. I love my Mini but I would think twice before getting another one (and certainly not at Mini of San Francisco).
  • mspeppermspepper Posts: 7
    Go to message #162 where there is a link to Consumer Affairs - I usually never go to this length but after reading everyone's complain about the same issue- transmission failure, our voices should unite and hopfully there will some good that will come out of it. As of now most of us are all out $7,000 +/- except those who got lucky and received help from Mini customer Service. To those that received help - more power to you!
  • mspeppermspepper Posts: 7

    I went ahead and fixed my transmission through an independent as well. I found a person who is trying to get signatures together for a class action suit. If you are interested, here is her email address:

    I believe she is in San Francisco as well. There is strength in numbers.

    How is your Mini driving now or did you get rid of it?
  • My transmission just went at 66000 miles, 2003 mini cooper. I have 1 month left on my extended warranty. Does anyone know if I'm going to have a problem collecting, never dealt with extended warranties before.

    I'm seriously thinking about getting rid of it, but can only get 7000 from a dealer. My sunroof (moonroof) has leaked since day 1, fixed it once, but didn't last. My air conditioning has never worked. I have owned it for 2 years.

    The dealer is about 2 hrs away so I have been taking it to private mechanics. The tires cost me almost 1000. and a new muffler cost me about 1000. From the sound of it I'll be lucky if I don't have more transmission problems even after puchasing a new one.
  • I have collected about 60 people whom I have been in contact with who also had the same problem. My car failed at less than 60K miles. I know at least one person who was not able to collect through the extended warranty. If you would like to join us, please write me at Thanks! -winnie
  • I am looking for a 2003 Mini.....Let me know if you want to sell it and where you live? A few words about it and pictures can be sent to:
    Thanks :blush:
  • I have a 2006 mini that makes clutch noise on almost all my shifts from 1st gear. When I complained to the dealer I was told that is common in 2005 and 2006 and there was nothing they would do about it. I was also told it is not under warrenty. Reading other peoples clutch problems in this forum I see some say they were covered under warrenty and some people had their clutch "de-glazed"? The dealer told me if it makes this noise all the time my clutch is going out. I only have 32k on the car and have never heard of a clutch going out with that few miles. I am very disappointed because I thought BMW had a reputation for excellence. I am thinking about selling my car but how can I when it makes that noise? I asked the dealer this and he just shrugged his shoulders. What have other people done about this noise?
  • Our's is a 2008. From delivery, it made a strange noise when downshifting from 3rd to 2nd. Kind of the noise the front brakes make on a 21 speed bike when you hit them hard. Anyway, the dealer has deglazed the clutch 3 times now and the noise has pretty much disappeared. We're at 6,000 miles now.
  • Update on our clutch/transmission noise. Our car would make a metallic sound when downshifting mainly from 3rd to 2nd. Our Mini dealer deglazed the clutch 3 times and the noise improved. Mini has a new Service Bulletin out #210107 which says "the clutch and dual mas flywheel have an unfavorable tolerance." They removed the transmission and replaced the clutch assembly. So noise!
  • I have a 2003 Mini Cooper S with a John Cooper Works package. The first and still unresolved problem is that if the car is left unlocked the battery will go dead. I took it to the dealer in Orlando, FL three times and had the battery replaced because the dealer said that they were having a lot of problems with the Mini batteries. The fourth time they said that they would not replace the battery because the car was not maintained properly. The car only had fifteen thousand miles on it at two years of ownership. The definition I was given for properly maintaining my car was that it had to be driven at least forty miles in one direction everyday. The battery could not be replaced at no charge but, I could buy a new one from Mini and they would give me a trickle charger for free. I bought an Inter-State battery and wrote my sales person and asked to be reimbursed. I was reimbursed.

    Later I did my own investigation and found that the computer would shut down (car unlocked) in two modes: Proper shut down would be with a draw of 15 milli amps. on the battery. Occasionally the computer would not shut the system down properly and a draw of 90 milliamps draw was left on the battery. This is what killed the battery when not driven for two days. So armed with my test information off to the dealer I went.

    The dealer could not verify the problem and said that I should lock the car and it should be OK. Locking cures the problem.

    Second problem is a groaning clutch at start–off and what may be gear chatter or clutch noise when car is driven or in neutral with clutch out. Push clutch in an all chattering goes away. I have replaced two clutches and one flywheel, as well as having the transmission torn down by two independent service organizations and the noises are still there. So after spending a bunch of money, I went to the dealer. Paid a $ 127.00 diagnostic fee to be told by the Tech, “They all do that no matter what clutch or flywheel that is installed BMW or After Market they all do it”. He continued to say, “They could replace the clutch for $ 27,000 but the noise will come back”. He explained that there is an unbalance in the Transmission and Clutch assembly that they are looking into with balancers but no solution has been found.

    Third problem is a rough idle that develops that goes away when the AC is shut off or the engine is revved. Don’t know what it is and don’t want to take it to the dealer.

    I think the only thing I can do is to sell the car to a person that is hard of hearing.

    Extremely Disappointed.
  • epg3epg3 Posts: 1
    My 2004 Mini Cooper S had a hesitation and a cluck sound a couple of times when changing gears...then three days ago I drove it and it would only go about 22 mph. It felt the same the way it would feel, starting out in 4 gear from a stop. I had 3/4 miles to get home and it just became slower...made it home...waited 20 min and when I started the car it sounded and felt just fine, except one thing; it would not even matter what gear it was in. Nota an inch! It has normal miles for a 2004.

    The closest Mini service is over a 100 miles. Does anyone know what this could be, I have no clue?
  • I have only 49K on my 2002 Mini and is now at the shop because my transmission is out.It's going to cost me about $6,000. My mechanic said that the Company knows about this problem and he said that there was a lawsuit being started. So yes I'm very interested in giving you my email so that I can know the Status of the law suit. My email is
  • No I don't have a Mini S. I don't know what caused it to fail, one day it just died on me. My mechanic showed me the part that broke though. I considered an extended warranty as well maybe I will get one after all this is overwith.
  • I hear you I bought my car about a year an a half ago and I don't know much about my Warranty, I'm trying to find out if my car still had one or if it is out but I agree these cars may look cool but they are a PAIN!.
  • Mine is a 2003 Mini with 18,500 miles and which I have enjoyed a lot. Largely but not entirely trouble free UNTIL NOW. It's a shopping car that has never been very far from home. While down shifting the other day to accelerate on to a busy hwy, I heard a loud thump and the clutch went dead. I coasted to safety on the shoulder and found there was no clutch action at all. Engine, heater, radio, etc all running okay . There had been no indication of any clutch problem. A nearby independent opined that both the transmission and maybe the clutch had to be replaced---- and at great expense. Suggested the car be taken to Mini where given the very low mileage some price saving might be available. So my Mini was trucked to Mini of Sterling, Va (its birthplace), where the "Out of Warranty" hymn is now being sung .Awaiting my fate I share this tale with bated breath because misery is said to ,like company
  • joem5joem5 Posts: 201
    Over my dead body and I'm unanmious in that.
    As Charleton Heston said " They will have to pry my rifle from my cold dead hands."
    Seriously, unless you have money to throw away do it. I'am not a Grinch, she has a BMW 530i . I think a Mini is a girl thing. :shades:
  • i have a cooper 2003 too. my clucth went out with no i think.i bought it used with 62k i have 75k now,it's always been smooth clutch but now it squeel like a pig,when i turn it on. everything else works fine,like if something is rubbing when it is on. like the belts. now i can't drive it but need to run dianostics on it.what can it be? anyone know?i don't think is the clutch, or do they go out without warning? :sick:
  • dbw477dbw477 Posts: 1
    I have an 05 mini with 58,000 miles. The car makes a very loud clicking or rattling noise when its cold and sometimes when hot. I took it to a good mechanic and he told me there was something wrong with the transmission, it would cost $800-$2000. when I took it to the dealer, they couldn't hear the noise since the engine was warm. I made an appt for february. do you have any information on the lawsuit that was filed?
  • joem5joem5 Posts: 201
    Go to post 114 and I think PF Flyer posted a link, as you can't form a class action suit on Edmunds, but there is one.
    Also, alot here have posted 1- 800 #'s to call.
    I guess if you can afford it. You should own it for 50k and sell it and buy another.
    I don't just go by Edmunds any more as they rate cars for example a 7.4and the owners rate them a 9.3 Also, dealers quote Edmunds alot.There are alot of options out there especially Consumer Reports data where you can track inherit problems over 4 years or so.
  • Hiya there, perhaps you kind folks can help me...

    A few days ago i noticed my mini had a lot less power than i was used to.

    At first i thought it was the air conditioning sapping a bit of the power, but even then it seemed like quite a drop in power. The car is making a strange whiney revving noise, (like a scooter or something). I tried to get up a bigish hill, which i would usually be able to easily speed up at 80kmph, but i was struggling to get it up at 50kmph! As this is happening, the air con would come on or go off randomly, regardless of whether its turned on or off. It has been very hot here (43 degrees celsius) but would the heat really effect the power of the car?

    I took it into BMW, the guy thought nothing much of the loud revving noise (i might be a young woman, but im not a fool and i know when my car isn''t driving the way it should be) and asked me if i was using premium petrol (i am).
    My car is an automatic, but I have been reading lots about transmission problems with the mini, mine was in the shop a few months ago with the power steering failure, luckily its still under warranty so it didn''t cost me anything to fix. Its still under warranty.
    Does this sound like a common problem?
    any tips on what i can ask them to look into when it goes into the shop next week?
    I really dont want to think i have bought a lemon, my dad tried to talk me into getting a Hyundai Getz (also sold as the Hyundai Click or Hyundai TB).
    was he right?

  • I purchased my automatic trans Mini @ 44,000 miles from a local Mini dealer. It seems like yesterday! My car now has 60K miles on it and I haven't even had to take it in (yet) for its first servicing under my ownership. About two weeks ago, I drove it out of my driveway and made it halfway down the block before the car stopped! The engine sounded great. It just wouldn't go forward or in reverse! I didn't even have time to coast it over to the side of the road. I had it towed to the same dealership from where I purchased it. Diagnosis: needed new transmission. When I purchased the car I was told it would be under warranty for 100,000 miles or 6 years. Now they tried to tell me this meant a "maintenance warranty". Wait a minute! Why would I have purchased a car with 44,000 miles on it without a warranty on the major systems! In fact, the gal who was telling me the transmission wasn't covered was the same gal who sold me the car!!!!! They did cover the transmission replacement....not just a rebuild, but....a total replacement! Car drives like a new car but it did so up until the minute it just died in the middle of the road. I googled "Mini Cooper transmissions" and found out this is a problem with ALL automatics. So, even with a new transmission, my fear is this will happen again and I won't be as fortunate as I was the first time. What if I'm in the fast lane of the freeway and it just dies on me! Bye! Bye! My life! I feel totally unsafe driving this car.
  • Even though my 2004 Mini's automatic transmission was replaced "free" by the dealer, my main concern is that this new transmission will also "die" and it will happen at a place which is totally on the freeway in the middle of traffic moving at 80 mph! When my transmission died, it died power AT ALL. Fortunately, I was in the middle of my block on a residential street and there was no traffic around me. This car is a fatal accident waiting to happen, given its history of transmission problems. I'm ready to sign up for making an honest entity out of Mini sellers!
  • joem5joem5 Posts: 201
    I think you should of listen to your father.Alot of fun rides out there you can deal on.The Nissan 2dr or a 350 Z maybe an Acura Types S ,if you can find one.
    Take your car and have a diagnostic test done. Dealer will charge $100.00 or so. Some people go to VIP and have it hooked to their computer to find problems. (could be free too) It could be something simple like an oxygen sensor.
    However, the loss of power sound like your tranny. I have a post on
    here. My wife has a BMW 530 and was having it serviced and her mechanic said to stay away from the Mini.She wanted a drive around town car and thought it was cute. It is a head turner but every time you turn around you're out a few thousand.
    Hey, good luck. :shades:
  • Hey all,

    My car suddenly died a few days ago, and when I took it to the dealership they told me I had burned my clutch out, and that I needed to replace it for $2250. Now, my car is a year old, still under the 3 year warranty, and only has 14k miles on it. Is it really possible for me to burn out the clutch THAT quickly? I mean, yeah I did burn it out on accident once on a hill, but that was months ago and the clutch wasn't slipping immediately prior to break down. What can I do?
  • It seems as though the best kept secret about the Mini is that standard transmission clutches are defective and automatic transmission transmissions are worthless, as well! Either way, it is one very expensive car to own! Plus, the inconvenience of REPEATED breakdowns wherever you happen to be ......out in the boonies or on the freeway going 80 miles an hour! With the clutch and transmission repairs costing $2,200/$7,000 EACH time the problem occurs, the Mini is a Major headache! From what I've read on this forum......these serious problems do reoccur.....for some, annually! I am ready to torch mine!
  • I guess it's possible that you could burn out a clutch that fast. Our's seemed to be defective from the gitgo and was replaced under warranty at 6,490 miles. There's a Mini Bulletin on this #210107. Our new clutch assembly has started making the same noises after 5,000 miles so my guess is it's a lousy design. This is our 3rd and last Mini! Suggest you contact Mini Customer Service and see if they can help.
  • joem5joem5 Posts: 201
    Steph, fix it and sell it.
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