Service Recommend for "Sealed For Life" Transmissions on Mini Cooper

Problem Description and Possible Solution

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.

Problem Data
RepairPal Verified
Average mileage: 97,167 (4,956–143,000)
Drive Trains affected: Automatic Transmission, Manual Transmission
9 model years affected: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, more2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012
55 people reported this problem
Viewing 1 - 20 of 33 comments
Car hesitates during acceleration, it's slips into gear with a extremely hard jerk. I am afraid to drive it in case it may not go during the time of pulling out onto the freeway or etc.
Even when new, the transmission would sometimes slam a shift. It did this rarely so we didn't think much of it. Now we have over 100K miles on the car. It's been dropping a gear suddenly. Usually between 3rd and 4th. We would be driving normally. Just slowly gaining speed. Suddenly, the revs will flare. Our solution is to either just let up on the accelerator until the revs drop. Or my solution is to use the tranny in manual mode. Even then, when I ask for a shift from 3rd to 4th, sometimes it takes a long time and the revs will flare and slam home.
Car jerks when accelerating
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.
it doesn't go two second its stuck on first gear please help me
not yet fixed but the problem is harsh shifting when engine is warm and had traveled about 5 miles
The transmission would shift hard and fell like my car was being kicked.
car seems to remain in a lower gear at speeds over 50mph causing a dragging effect
Unfortunately for me - BUT GOOD FOR OTHER's - LOOK FOR THE LAW SUIT - CLASS ACTION - who will give the guys with CVT a refund for repairs of Mini's Automatics transmissions
Car doesn't seem to want to.shift out of gear. When you take you foot off acceleration the car slows down quickly
Just bought the car used. Low miles and the previous purchase inspection was perfect. Started jumping and lagging a bit when accelerating or decelerating. Just signed myself into paying monthly payments on a lemon.
The transmission works well in sport mode.
But when in regular mode,
it will buck and shift hard from first to second.
It started at around 60,000 miles jumping into gear when shifted from park to drive. Now it is slipping in and out of gear at around 60 miles per hour.
The car now has around 120k on it and I need the transmission replaced to drive it.
Automatic transmission will not shift into park, This car experienced a similar problem at 48,000. miles. The transmission was replaced but is experiencing the same problem.
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.
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.
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.
not shifting properly, lugs
Same as everyone it's bucks hard .downshifts for no reason I hate this car almost died cause of this damn car
My problem is the same as all the others. Transmission seems to slip. It dogs then bucks hard into gear. Not fixed yet. I was searching to see if other people,had the problem before I called the dealership.