Failure of the automatic transmission is common. Even though the automatic transmission is advertised as "sealed for life," our technicians recommend the automatic transmission fluid be replaced every 30,000 miles with only the approved Mini/BMW fluid. Our technicians recommend thorough troubleshooting before replacing the transmission because programming procedures can affect how the transmission shifts and there is a special procedure to refill the transmission.
Car Problem Reports
Mini Cooper Service Recommend for "Sealed For Life" Transmissions
Mini Cooper Problem
Drive Train Affected: Automatic Transmission
Average Mileage: 109,000 mi (50,000 mi - 137,000 mi)
Visitor, 2003 Mini Cooper, Automatic Transmission, 50,000 mi
My wife had a near death experience when the transmission failed in the middle of an intersection. She pressed the accelerator only to have it go all the way to the floor and nothing happened, but the honking horns and near misses as she frantically called for help. When i arrived she had been able to traverse the intersection by continually turning the car on and off and eventually shifting to manual. i took the 2003 mini cooper to a certified repair shop and they did a diagnostic on it. The diagnostic code was P1661 and the technician relayed that there were faults in the transmission and that a rebuilt transmission was recommended at a cost of $5000 for the transmission from the dealership and $2000 labor to replace it. i researched the web and found that others had similar problems and a law firm had filed a class action law suit against BMW for defective transmissions. When i called the two dealerships in Atlanta, one would do the repair of the transmission on the "sealed for a lifetime" transmission and the other would not service any transmission on a mini cooper that they did not sell. Based on that comment it is clear that the dealership denying to do service work on factory product is aware of significant issues realated to transmission problems. BMW should step up and take care of the customers who bought mini coopers. By the way, the consumer cannot do any maintenance on a "sealed for life" transmission system thereby negating the standard manufacturing contention/deflection that the consumer failed to service and maintain the failedd part.
Visitor, 2003 Mini Cooper, Automatic Transmission, 130,000 mi
Hello everyone, I have just discovered this transmission problem - my mini wont change gear.
It has just had the power steering pump replaced (another common problem apparently) at a
cost of $2000 australian dollars. Not happy. Hopefully it is just the programming as mentioned.
Visitor, 2002 Mini Cooper, Automatic Transmission, 98,000 mi
We had the gearbox replaced under an extended warranty when it failed. A pushbelt link fractured or in some other way failed, initially causing noise that quickly escalated into complete failure of the entire belt.
This is a unique drivetrain. Stone cold reliable until this failure just shy of 100,000 miles. The car continues to deliver on the initial promises of a fun drive, excellent fuel economy, superb brakes, and much more room than most people realize.
Visitor, 2005 Mini Cooper, Automatic Transmission, 137,000 mi
Failure to shift went from bad to worse. Now reverse is very slow reacting. Seems as if it has no Auto. Trans. Fluid but I don't have any leaks.