MINI Cooper Electrical & Lighting Glitches

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
This topic covers everything about your MINI in the realm of basic electrical systems, including lights, switches, alarms and instrument displays.

However, hard starts or no starts should be discussed in the MINI "Starting/Stalling" topic. Also we have a separate topic for "Audio & Navigation" problems.


  • akitadogakitadog Member Posts: 117
    Hi all,
    I posted here before about a supercharger failure. Well, that evening, after picking up my MCS, the "Service Engine Soon" light came on. I sent it right back in and they had to replace the DME. Well, two weeks after getting it back, the light comes on again. They replaced an O2 sensor, drove it around and the light came back on with the same code. Now, they're replacing the fuel injectors, and we can only imagine what will fail this time around. I've become increasingly disenchanted with my MINI ownership experience. i love my car (when it has no issues) but this makes the third visit/loaner car to fix something in two months. As well, my 10 K service is right around the corner. I am so tired of traveling 30 miles out of the way to the dealer.

    Well, has anyone else experienced this engine light issue? What were your resolutions?

    As a side note, I was given an MCS auto as a loaner, and I really don't care for the auto at all. It holds revs way too long during easy acceleration, does not kick into 6th on highway cruises half the time, feels clunky and engine brakes noticeably when coming to a stop. It's just not programmed well at all. The 4-speed in my Olds Intrigue is so much better.
  • indyminiownerindyminiowner Member Posts: 1
  • emagersemagers Member Posts: 2
    New to this site. I have read many comments on brake costs. My Mini is mostly highway and I changed the brakes @100K. There was still a third of the pad left but the front rotors were under acceptable thickness per my micrometer. Found new rotors and pads at Auto Zone website for under $200.00 for all four wheels. Do yourself or take parts to your mechanic. Took me one afternoon. Caution: When pushing the brake piston back in the brake cylinder on the rears, use a C-clamp where the head or end rotates. The brake piston rotates as its pushed back in the brake cylinder and the C-clamp end follows the rotation. A special tool is not needed.
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,519
    My service rep did say that there was one customer who drove almost exclusively highway saw 100K km on a set of pads. I'm not mechanically-inclined so the DIY option would be out for me --- especially something as crucial as brakes! :cry:
  • carla6carla6 Member Posts: 8
    I own a 2007 Cooper S that I got in April. I am currently shelling out big bucks every month for it to sit in the service shop....for the THIRD time since I got it. BIG DISSAPPOINTMENT is an understatement. After doing my research and talking with the mechanic at the shop, they are seeing a LOT of 2007s come back in with electrical problems. The kicker is they have no clue how to fix the problem(s) and he outright admitted that to me. I feel helpless in this situation and have no clue when I will get my car back. To date, it's been in the shop for a cumulative month. Has anyone successfully gotten some service out of Mini USA??????? All I have seen so far as unfortunate people in the same boat as myself and I am highly concerned about what I just bought with my money...
  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,457
    Get it lemon lawed then. Three times for the same problem is a lemon law in most states.

    One of my clients is a sales manager for a MINI dealership and I haven't heard anything about this supposed huge electrical problem.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I was also curious and called a friend at the MINI dealership and he swears he hasn't heard much about any electrical issues aside from the "now and then" complaint every couple of weeks from a solitary owner.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I was also curious and called a friend at the MINI dealership and he swears he hasn't heard much about any electrical issues aside from the "now and then" complaint every couple of weeks from a solitary owner.

    I'd be very suspicious of any mechanic who insists something 'cannot be fixed'. To me, this is just a lame excuse for not having the talent or the ambition to do so, or to call Europe and find out how to do it.
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,519
    Our '05 Cooper is now well into its 3rd year. So far, the only problems have been a burnt-out interior light, a burnt-out brake light, a bad O2 sensor, and a leaky hydralic engine mount which they detected during a regular service yesterday. The part will be in next week, and they will repair it under warranty. So, in summary, our MINI ownership has been quite painless. So much so that we are considering buying it at the end of the lease a year from now, especially after I drove an '07 Cooper auto service loaner, and didn't really like the higher cowl and beltline, to to mention the less-than-satisfying 6-speed steptronic. Even though the CVT in our '05 has the annoying lurchiness and sluggishness at low speed, in many other aspects it actually performs better than the new 6-speed. Also, even though the new MINI is no doubt more refined, somehow it feels more "generic", for lack of a better term. It lacks the unique character and quirkiness of the old one. Mind you, I have yet to drive the "S", nor one with the manual transmission. Those may be a whole different animal.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    The new S is a turbo not a SC, so you have to like turbo cars. I don't myself but some folks do.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,457
    I haven't had a chance to drive the new S yet but I have a feeling I won't like it as much as my 2004 MINI Cooper S.

    Maybe it will be ok though as I am interested in the Clubman when it comes out.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Clubman sounds great. If I bought a new MINI (I'm thinkin' about it) I think I'd get a base model 6 speed manual.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,457
    The old regular MINI didn't have nearly enough power for me and the 5 speed trans was rubbish. I never drove a regular Cooper after they put the same 6 speed from the S in it but I am sure it is better.

    The New New MINI, R56 I think is the chassis code, has to be better in base form then the old one was.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yeah it is, definitely. The old base MINI has a very rough engine IMO and a clunky shifter...the new base MINI's engine is quite smooth and it shifts nicely. I don't think it is too much more powerful but it has BMWs variable valve timing so you can rev it up pretty good. Its an engine that requires driver attention but I'm up to the task. After all, I duke it out with the big boys in a puny 1.5L Scion most of the time and it works fine (if you pay attention).

    I'd expect the new base MINI engine to be even easier to modulate. But a speed demon it ain't.
  • alpha16alpha16 Member Posts: 1
    I am also having huge problems with my '07 Mini Cooper S that I purchased at the end of June. It will be in the shop for 15 days this week, and I will then begin the Lemon Law papwework. The shop says they have no idea what is wrong with it. I would like to know where your at right now with them. Have you looked into the LL in your state? Please keep me updated on what is happeneing with your car. I hope it works out for you.
  • gatkdgatkd Member Posts: 1
    I bought a mini cooper convertible 2005 in USA Miami and arrive in my country(Panama, Central America) after 2 weeks. The problem is the warning lamp of airbags and safety seatbelts lights up while I driving.
    In Panama the BMW don´t sell and repair minis.
    I trie to disconet( Reset ) the battery in about 10 seconds and doesn´t work. I don´t think that the problem is mal funtion, something happens in the travel to Panama.
    What Can I do?
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,519
    Yes, the new base engine is quite smooth and rev-happy. But paired with the 6-speed steptronic, it was a bit of a disappointment. Probably more to do with the tranny than the engine though.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I think the steptronic adds about 1 second to the 0-60 time.
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,519
    You mean the stepronic is actually slower then the CVT? :surprise: :confuse:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    No, slower than the 6-speed. I don't believe there is a CVT anymore is there?
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,519
    Nope, no more CVT. I mistakenly thought you were comparing the steptronic to last year's CVT.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I was just tracking down stats on the base model car (hard to find actually) since I'm thinking of getting the base model 6 speed and wanted to compare performance to say my 5-speed Scion xA.

    Also I get a prompt through e-mail whenever someone posts a review of the new MINI on Yahoo, and while I've plowed through a lot of reviews, I haven't seen any particular trend regarding electrical glitches. I always worry about "first year" models, and a lot on the 2007 MINI is new, including engine and trans.
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,519
    "I always worry about "first year" models,..."

    Me too. That's why I'm glad the lease on our '05 MINI does expire till July, 08!
  • ticatica Member Posts: 64
    do you have some heavy things on your passenger seat? my lights light up if I have heavy bags or books, it thinks there is a person on with no seatbelt...
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,519
    We just leased an '07 Cooper base with the rain-sensing wipers. It's been snowing here today and the rain-sensing feature does not seem to work, at least not on snow. One click on the wiper stalk is supposd to bring on the rain-sensing setting, but it just seems to go go regular speed. Does it not work when it is snowing?
  • tiff_ctiff_c Member Posts: 531
    I know you aren't going to want to hear this but I think you need to sell the car. Electrical problems are really tough to diagnose unless the are occurring, ask any reputable electrician even if they don't work on cars. Early original Mini's had endless electrical gremlins as well.
    I don't think you will get enough MINI owners to come forward as a group although it doesn't hurt to try. There are some huge Mini Forums that might be more receptive as this group is in fact pretty small for members.
    I'd have to love the car to death before I'd keep going through all that just to keep it.
    Get an Independent mechanic to fix it once and for all if the dealer isn't competent.
    Class actions unless they are huge are usually not worth the effort and have a lot of complainants.
    Real world answers are never nice ones but I'd either have an independent fix it or sell it and yes even tho it wasn't a Mini I have been through all that with other makes.
  • gunter2007gunter2007 Member Posts: 1
    I understand what you're saying but this is not for class action. My engine blew up to a fan quitting. I had no warning indications. I have spent a ton of money on maintaining the car not to mention servicing and the minor modifications. I can't afford to get rid of it. The dealership claims that there are no documented cases of electrical problems and that is what I have to prove even though my car has visited there often enough to pay a mechanic's salary each year!
  • tiff_ctiff_c Member Posts: 531
    I understand what you're saying but this is not for class action. My engine blew up to a fan quitting. I had no warning indications. I have spent a ton of money on maintaining the car not to mention servicing and the minor modifications. I can't afford to get rid of it. The dealership claims that there are no documented cases of electrical problems and that is what I have to prove even though my car has visited there often enough to pay a mechanic's salary each year!

    I hear what you're saying and believe me I do know how you feel but some cars are lemons and if yours fits in with the lemon laws of your state you will be ok otherwise it's really tough to prove and the car dealer has a better chance in court. It's not fair but the only thing you can do is go in armed with all the receipts for work done and try to get in labeled as a lemon. If you do then they'll usually have to make good. Most lemon laws are only for new cars tho, so I don't have any more suggestions. I do hope it works out for you. I also suggest that you try the really big MINI forums. Just Google MINI Forums.
    British cars always have dodgy electronics it seems. :sick:
  • mini04mini04 Member Posts: 1
    It will not unlock unless I have the lights on. Can someone tell me what it wrong?
  • kikysomakikysoma Member Posts: 1
    So some problem. Back in the beginning of April my husband and I were rear ended hard by a bmw golf car. We were ok but we have had it sent to Cincinnati Mini to get it fixed FOUR times.

    The problem isnt the car doesn't run, heck it looks good as new on the outside but every time a passager gets in or a bump is hit we have these lights come on

    -Seatblets not in
    -Passagers airbag not working
    -hood or trunk is not closed
    -Turn signals will not come on or will come on and not go off for a good while
    -And when the car is turned off the internal lights come on by themselves and run the mini's battery to dead.

    What they have done
    -Changed the battery
    -completely put in a new electric conceal

    Now thankfully we have the mini still under warranty so for the many trips it has made we have not had to pay anything but my husband is very upset that he can't have his car back for more then 12 hours from the shop before he has to call and have it towed back.

    If any one has any idea what the issue could be we would greatly love the help so we can finally have his car for at least a day.
  • plsmrvllplsmrvll Member Posts: 3
    I have a 2009 Cooper S. Has anyone else experienced an electrical 'clicking' sound, like a relay turning on/off, from the passenger side compartment? Had it in for service and they didn't find it. It's intermittent, and it clicks several times when it happens. Hard to pinpoint it, but I'm thinking it has to do with the fan/AC.

    Thanks in advance,

  • violetdcvioletdc Member Posts: 9
    Can't help you there, Pat. :confuse: You said it's intermittent--does it ever occur when you turn on the heat (assuming you aren't in a tropical climate just now)? I'm trying to remember if my '06 S ever did that, and can't come up w/anything. As usual, you can NEVER duplicate what's happening when you've got a tech there ready to help.

    I'm sure some of the more experienced folks in the community can help. Are you registered on NAM? There's a multitude of information there. I hope the clicking gets taken care of, cuz I'm sure it's annoying you to no end--it would 4 me! :shades:
  • jrbljrbl Member Posts: 1
    Hi, both electric fans are not working. My mechanic has done all the basic stuff; straight wired them (they work) checked relays etc. There is a low pressure switch
    on the AC that should send a signal for the fans to come on: also the radiator cooling fan is not working. Any help would be appreciated.
  • garymeergarymeer Member Posts: 1
    I have a different problem and I am at a loss to figure it out or know where to start.

    I have a whirring noise when my 2004 MCS (r53) is off. It simply started without any notice at all. All the car was fine, parked it, whent into the office for a few minutes and back to the car and the battery was almost dead. The whirring whining noise was there. car barely had enough juice and eventually couldn't. Got it jumped and it runs perfectly. drove it home and I let it idle for an hour. turned it off, waited 10 or so and it happened again. this time, when i tried to start it the headlights flashed, next time the driver window went down 1/2" at a time in the same beat as the starter, next time the wipers went in time to the starter.

    jumped it again and it ran fine. Looked at the battery and the indicator was black (I know they arent all that reliable). put a volt meter on it and 5.5 volts. Ah dead battery. Jumped it and headed to the autoparts store. took the battery out and had them test it... it was GOOD.

    The sound sounds like a relay or switch not turning off when the car turns off. I live in a small town, only mini, maybe 1 of 2, hard to find a foreign car mechanic. Couple of questions:

    anyone recognize this issue?
    Will a real electrical diag be the right direction to go?
    Will Pulling codes help?
    Any ideas? I fixed a pass window issue by finding a blog that said, bang with your fist just above the speaker on the pass door - it worked :)

    I have reset the ECU, I noticed there are some diags under some of the options.

    Help! I love my Mini and hate my work truck which i am now driving! THANKS IN ADVANCE!!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Could that be your radiator cooling fan operating? If so, and you own a 2004, I would check for low coolant level, caused by a small thermostat housing leak.

    If the engine is too hot when you shut it off, that cooling fan can run for 10 minutes easily and it draws a lot from the battery.

    If your battery is the original one, then it's toast anyway---too old.
  • forom55forom55 Member Posts: 1
    The car in question has 140xxx miles on it and has been having issues with the lights turning off when in use at night, the power windows won't go down anymore and the battery has a drain. If anyone has had similar problems and found an answer please let me know thanks!
  • I have a similar issue with my 04 Cooper S after having it jumped. The battery seems fine but windows won't roll down at all. I called a trusted Mini mechanic and he said to try disconnecting the negative battery cable for 2 minutes and it should reset the windows. I haven't tried it yet but will let you know.
  • pcmorganpcmorgan Member Posts: 1
    Maybe this is common knowledge, but new to me. Cooper 2003. Light control wand suddenly messed up. Right turn click seemed to work, but Left turn click brought up brights. Bright click brought up hazard lights. One parking light came on after car had been parked for an hour. Strange stuff. Disconnected positive battery lead so battery would NOT drain overnight. Re-attached in morning and all was well. Apparently, it re-booted.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Probably not a good idea to disconnect the battery since that would erase whatever trouble codes might be stored (if any), which can give you some idea of what might be going on here.

    In any event, let sleeping dogs lie as they say. I also have a 2003 Cooper S and electrical glitches just come and go all the time in my car. I have no idea if this is due to bad grounding, a short in a wiring harness, or just the fault of the blind men who built this car in the first place.
  • dirkg8989dirkg8989 Member Posts: 1
    I have a problem with all the lights on my 2009 Clubman. They are always all on if the car is on. When I unlock the doors or open the barn doors, the headlights, tail lights, brake lights, dome light, side running lights.... all come on. I cannot find a way to turn any of them off. It doesn't matter if the headlight switch is set to on, off or automatic, they still stay on while the car is on. After I shut the car off, they all stay on for a short time (10 or 20 seconds maybe). Because all the bulbs are lit all the time, applying the brakes or switching the directional lever doesn't change the lights, although the little arrow on the dash does flash as if the directionals are working. Any Ideas? The car sat unused for a week before this problem arose, and the last thing I did with it was to jump-start another car.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    edited November 2016
    You're going to need a full wiring diagram for this problem. You will (or someone will) have to figure out how the signal to the interior lights and dome lights (normal operation) is being hijacked to the other lights.

    You might be able to find the wiring diagram HERE, or your mechanic can call it up from his database. Ifhe is flummoxed, then you will have to go to an electronics specialist.

    You may find one in your area from THIS LIST. These people are the best in the business.
  • preetam1preetam1 Member Posts: 1
    I Have mini countryman S 2016 model. Can you please advise on following issues -

    1) Recently I changed the front side (right ) CV axle and I feel that car is little bit rough.
    2) Lights on glow box is not working. I checked the fuses all are working fine.
    3) Rear parking sensors are note working
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Could you please clarify? What is a glow box? Do you mean lights inside the glove box? Or do you have a diesel Mini and you mean "glow plug light"?
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