A Mini is a small economy car known for its unique look, speed, and great drifting. There are different types of Mini cars sold on the automotive market through the years. Mini is owned by BMW and they are known for manufacturing some of the most popular small cars and the Mini Cooper is the most popular model. But as impressive or unique as it sounds, it is not without fault and there might have been some Mini Cooper transmission problems you should know about. Mini Cooper transmission problems that warranted some recalls include an accidentally reprogrammed transmission control unit that lets the drivers exit the car even when the car is not in park position, detachment of the shift cable resulting in the transmission to remain in the previous gear selected, and gear selector lever won’t disengage from the park position.
There are also some reported Mini Cooper transmission problems that are most common on Mini Coopers with an automatic transmission. It includes sudden loss of drive, rattle from transmission, hesitating and lurking on acceleration, slow or delayed gear shift and no TCC engagement, and slow or delayed gear shifts during acceleration.
Mini Cooper Transmission Problems: Does Mini Cooper Have Transmission Problems?
When BMW bought Mini and relaunched it, it won the hearts of many car buyers. Since then, Mini began offering a number of models which were celebrated by its loyal consumers. The most iconic model among all the Mini vehicles is the Mini Cooper. It is well-known around the globe due to its great design, its performance, and fuel efficiency.
However, as the Mini Cooper ages and hits some mileage, there have been some reported Mini Cooper transmission problems. Although Mini Coopers are great cars, they are not perfect. Just like any other cars, they are prone to problems.
It is said that they are susceptible to Mini Cooper transmission problems when under some circumstances. Like when they are used on rough roads, when it hits high mileage, when it is being pushed to the higher ranges of their mileage, or when drivers do not practice good driving habits. Some Mini Cooper transmission problems are also caused by some defects and wrong software used which was corrected by the Mini by doing some recalls and some technical service bulletins..
The Mini Coopers models that have received a lot of reports due to some Mini Cooper transmission problems or have suffered the most transmission problems are the 2002 Mini Cooper (02V201000), 2014 to 2015 Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S (14V789000), 2014 Mini Cooper A/T (TSB SI M12 07 14), and 2008 Mini Cooper and Cooper S (TSB SI M25 02 14).
Some of the common Mini Cooper transmission problems include:
- Faulty software that lets the drivers exit the car when the car is not in park.
This problem has been reported on certain 2014 to 2015 Mini Cooper or Cooper S vehicles. The problem happened when the dealers accidentally reprogrammed the transmission control module or TCM with a software that lets the drivers exit their cars even when the car is not in park. This had happened during the cars’ service appointments.
This is a problem since when it allows the driver to exit the car without the transmission in the park position, the car might roll aways when the driver or its passengers exit or anytime after that. This can lead to injuries and car damages.
To correct the problem, BMW of North America recalled certain 2014 to 2015 Mini Cooper hardtop two door and Mini Cooper S hardtop two door cars that were manufactured on January 6, 2014 to October 17, 2014. The recall started on February 1, 2015 and the dealers fixed the problem by reprogramming the transmission control module with the right software for free.
- Shift cable detaching from the shift linkage when changing gears.
This is one of the Mini Cooper transmission problems that are commonly experienced by the 2002 Mini Cooper models that are equipped with manual transmissions. This is a problem since the shift cable is the one in charge for connecting the gearshift lever in the car interior to the shift linkage.
It can happen that the shift cable detaches from the shift linkage while the driver is trying to shift gears. When this happens, with the shift cable detaching from the shift linkage, the driver won’t be able to change the gears and the transmission will just stay in the last gear selected.
When this happens and the transmission stays in any forward gears, you may still be able to drive your car, but you can only drive it in that gear. You won’t be able to change it. But when the car shifts into neutral and the gear stays there, you will no longer be able to accelerate or maintain the speed. This can compromise your safety and increase the risk of a crash or an accident.
To correct the problem, BMW issued a recall on certain 2002 Mini Cooper models with manual transmissions. The dealers fixed the problem by thoroughly inspecting the shift cable and by installing a retaining clip over the end of the shift cable when needed. This helps keep the shift cable from disconnecting from the transmission.
- Poor engine idle when the transmission is placed in reverse or drive position.
The 2014 Mini Cooper A/T is said to have this Mini Cooper transmission problem. The problem usually happens after a cold start. The engine idles poorly and tends to shut off when the transmission is put into reverse or drive position. It is said that faulty software is causing the issue. To correct it, a reprogramming should be done. You will have to reprogram the DME with version ISTA/P 2.53.2 or the later versions.
- Gear selector lever can’t be disengaged from park position.
It has been reported that the 2008 Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S are experiencing this problem. It would happen that the gear selector lever can’t be disengaged from the park position. This problem may happen randomly and is hard to reproduce. If you check the EGS unit, you won’t find any stored faults. There are also no warnings displayed in the car’s instrument cluster. In most cases, the problem will just disappear when the car is locked and goes to sleep or when the hazard switch light goes out. The issue is said to be caused by an EGS software error. To correct the problem, you will have to reprogram the computer using the latest version of ISTA/P.
The Mini Coopers as a whole are known to be reliable. But just like any other car, it is also susceptible to some transmission problems. To make sure that your Mini Cooper’s transmission will last for a long time, you need to make sure that it is well-maintained. Although Mini Cooper transmission problems are more common in manual transmissions, the automatic transmissions can suffer Mini Cooper transmission problems too.
The transmission of a car consists of a lot of components that work together, making up a complicated system that creates a lot of friction over time which can lead to Mini Cooper transmission problems.
Mini Cooper transmission problems can be a hassle since it can be very expensive to have it fixed. It is for this reason why you need to be on the lookout for the early signs of a transmission failure so you can prevent serious Mini Cooper transmission problems from occurring. Early signs of a transmission failure include:
- Difficulty switching gears.
- Leaking fluid.
- Engine overheating.
- Burning smell.
- Gear slipping.
- Unusual sounds when in neutral.
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, it is best that you take your car to an auto service shop and have it repaired immediately.
Mini Cooper Transmission Problems: What are the Common Problems with Mini Coopers?
The Mini Cooper might seem to be a fun car with its unique look and impressive fuel efficiency, but it seems to have an inconsistent reliability history. The Consumer Reports have reported that the Mini Cooper’s reliability history seems to be spotty because of the past recalls on some models and its overall satisfaction ratings. It seems like the Mini Coopers are suffering some common problems.
So what are the common problems with Mini Coopers?
- Mini Cooper Transmission problems.
The first gen CVT or R50 has been reported to have the worst Mini Cooper transmission problems. The problems with this transmission are so severe that the Mini and BMW were the subject of a class action lawsuit. The said class action lawsuit has forced the Mini to cover the affected transmissions under warranty for eight year or 150,000 miles.
The problem was so severe that the transmission replacement cost more than the vehicle value. If you don’t want to deal with this Mini Cooper transmission problem, you need to steer clear of this particular model.
Although 2nd Gen models and the Mini Cooper S with an Aisin transmission are better than the faulty CVT model, they also have some transmission problems such as harsh shifting due to a faulty valve body. The valve body can be replaced if you have detected the problem early but if it’s not, you may have to replace or rebuild your transmission.
However, according to the reports, most of the Mini Cooper transmission problems are caused by lack of maintenance or ignoring the recommended maintenance interval. This might be because Mini has stated that their fluid needs not to be changed. It is just plain wrong. The transmission fluid gets contaminated and loses its abilities as it ages so changing it regularly is a must. The first gen Mini with a 5-speed manual transmission was also reported to have a terrible design which causes premature failure. The Mini with the most reliable transmission is the one with a 6 speed manual variation.
- Clutch failure.
The first or second gen Mini Cooper is said to suffer premature clutch failure. It can happen on the 5-speed transmission and 6-speed transmission models which can fail even before hitting 20,000 miles. It is said that the problem occurs because of the driver’s bad driving habits.
Aside from Mini Cooper transmission problems, the Mini Cooper can also suffer from water pump and thermostat housing leaks. A water pump leak is a common occurrence when the Mini Cooper hits more than 50,000 miles. To prevent other problems from occurring, it is recommended to have it replaced. As for the thermostat housing leak, it will happen eventually since the material used for it is plastic. It is bound to fail and weaken over time. You can have it replaced before it starts to leak.
- Timing chain noise.
When the car is idling on a cold start, you may hear a rattling sound caused by a rattling timing chain. This is a common problem and is often referred to as the death rattle. When you notice this rattling sound, do not ignore it. Have it checked and repaired immediately since the problem can get worse quickly. This problem is often caused by low or contaminated oil. To prevent this problem from happening, follow the recommended oil change interval set by the manufacturer.
- Damaged front radiator support.
The front radiator support can become damaged because Mini used plastic for its material instead of a tougher one. It is the one that holds the cooling fan, radiator, and condenser assembly. It can easily become damaged because it sits very low under the front of the car.
- Faulty electric power steering pumps.
This problem was the subject of a recall of some Mini Coopers. This can happen since the electric power steering pumps are susceptible to failure due to low power steering or the electric cooling fan failure.
Mini Cooper transmission problems can be prevented when you make sure that it is well-maintained. You need to ensure that it has the proper fluid level. Plus, you need to follow the recommended fluid interval to prevent it from being contaminated. Practicing good driving habits can also help prolong its life. When you drive roughly or drive the Mini Cooper on rough roads, it can cause extra damage to its transmission over time.