• Sep 29, 2010
2010 Mini Cooper 50 Camden Edition – Click above for high-res image gallery

Mini boasts about the go-kart like handling of its popular Cooper model. It's true, the car handles like a toy – except when the power-steering goes out. According to CNN Money, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into numerous claims by owners that their power steering assistance suddenly disappeared.

So far 54 owners have complained of the issue, which may be blamed on a power steering pump failure. So far it seems that the issue is only showing up in some 2004 and 2005 model year cars. There have been no reported incidents and most drivers were able to maintain control of their vehicle. However, a few did report they struggled to do so.

BMW of North America, which owns Mini, has said it's aware of the investigation but has yet to receive any formal notice from NHTSA.


Photos by Steven J. Ewing / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: CNN Money]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      BELIEVE IT. I've got an '04 "S". And it happens when you don't expect it. Right in the middle of a turn. It gets harder than hell to steer and then Whamo, it comes back and you almost steer it into the curb. I called Mini and they said that there was no problem. I contacted the NTSB and filed a complaint. I've read about all over on blogs. I'd love to shove this up that Mini service advisors a.............But still all, and all, I love my Mini. It does have "Gokart steering", most of the time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Too much go-kart like?
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's happened to a heck of a lot more than 54 people. Power steering failures are horrifically common on all the 02-06 model years. Failure is often attributed to failure of the cooling fan that cools the electric pump, thus making the pump fail. Heck, I'd love to get a manual rack for my MINI. The power steering pump is so loud, it's obnoxious.
      • 4 Years Ago
      REAL mini's don't NEED no fancy power steerin'.


      Power anything really...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I had 2005 with power steering issues. In our case the cooling fan for the power steering pump died causing the pump to overheat of course eventually begin to fail. The pump would get so hot the fluid would boil out of the reservoir, which sucked because the replacement fluid is pretty expensive and not always easy to find (Pentosin CHF 11S). I think the problem was the fan and the pump were mounted under the car and was wide open to catch dirt and debris so it was bound to fail by design.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's why the first thing I bought for my car was the old giant skid-plate. I've never had a problem with the pump but who knows if it's due to the skid plate or luck. But with some of the snow and ice i've had to drive through, it has to have helped keep the fan safe.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My mother has a 2005 Mini Cooper that had a power steering issue. It would toggle between being active and then being completely disabled, at random. It was pretty scary. We have a local ex-Mini mechanic who has seen the problem before. Somehow moisture gets into the steering column and rusts over parts internally. He removed and lubed the parts and reassembled. Good as new. He said he's seen it a few times before.

      I wonder if that is related.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Pre-Feb 2005 or Post-Feb 2005 build? Many changes on the latter (I.e. Mine). No issues with mine so far.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm pretty sure it's a pre-Feb, but I'd have to check.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I had a '05 Cooper S I bought in 2008. A few months after I bought it, the power steering would go out from time to time. In the Cooper, the PS works via an electric pump instead of being turned by the engine. I soon discovered that if the steering went out, I had to turn the car off, then restart it and the pump would once again work.

      In the Mini community, this was a well known issue and they determined it was because of the location of the pump and it's inability to be properly cooled. The pump cost over $300 to replace with a rebuilt unit that was claimed would not suffer this issue, but I got rid of the car so I didn't have to fix it.

      Hal
      Atlanta
      • 4 Years Ago
      I didn't have power steering on my 75 Corvette, and it wasn't an issue. However, I did lose power all together once while driving my Suburban, and that was a slight issue because that was heavy!

      But losing Power Steering on a Mini... wouldn't say it'd be the end of the world for most healthy and able human beings. Though I can see it being an issue for Betty White.

      Glad they're getting it taken care of.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Who's getting it taken.care. of?
        I own a 2005 mini cooper S and just recently @ 93K miles, im bearing a very obnoxious humming sound coming from behind the engine down low in the area of the steering link. Im no auto mechanic but I can definitely tell its a ps issue. When the motor is idling and I turn the steering wheel Slowly right or left, the pitch of this annoying sound noticeably changes in pitch. Sounds like this power steering issue you all are mentioning is happening to me. Any idea how much longer I have before I lose it all together? Any idea how much tme I have until complete failure? Cost of getting it fixed. ? Etc. ? Thanks. If someone can link me to an official complaint dept. Ill gladly add my name, info, etc. Thank you, Tommy Ruffimg
      • 4 Years Ago
      I thought it was well known that just about all Minis from the first few years of production end up with power steering failure after around 60k miles. I have had several of them and it has happened to all of them. It might even be dangerous since it can fail at any point, but somehow BMW has gotten away with not recalling them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      First, I'm extremely proud that Mini owners are an engaged and attentive enough lot to maintain control of their vehicles when something unexpected happens. It's refreshing to see people not panic and die in these situations.

      Second, as others have said it's a well-known issue within the Mini community. Guess the NHTSA just finally got around to it?

      Third, it's common on the '02-'06. A bit disingenuous to toss up the current R56?

      • 4 Years Ago
      OOOHHH MYYYY GOOOODDDDD!!!!! These people MIGHT HAVE TO USE A LITTLE ELBOW POWER! What are we going to do!? NHTSA has no business involved in an 'investigation' that is not safety related.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I have experienced it. The problem with people these days are that everyone is so distracted with cell phones and such, that if something suprising like this happens, the driver cannot react fast enough to compensate. I have had several vehicles that did not have PS, and when it is designed for PS, it is like trying to raise anchor on a ship. I agree with you too, crazy scary when it goes out around a corner at low speeds.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm on my 2nd steering pump + rack here. 02 MCS though, so not included for any recall.
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