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
59 people reported this problem
Viewing 1 - 20 of 34 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.
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.
not yet fixed but the problem is harsh shifting when engine is warm and had traveled about 5 miles
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 seems to remain in a lower gear at speeds over 50mph causing a dragging effect
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.
I would like to start by saying my car has been maintained completely 100% at Mini Cooper/ BMW dealer it's whole life. I have all service records down to the first oil change at 8,000 miles. I just received my car back one week ago from the dealership and it has been driving perfect. As of this morning it ended up completely high reving and not allowing me to driving anywhere over 30 miles per hour. Hills are extremely difficult but she pout pouts herself up them. I have noticed its stuck in first gear and won't engage outside of that. I am hoping that it just needs to be reset. I have placed $3,000 into this car since I have had it and it's becoming a real pain. The dealer in my opinion is worthless and never knows what to do. The last thing it was in for took three seperate attempts before they got it right. They just take it and have it for days and then more so turns into weeks. Trading it in as soon as I can get it ready. I just need to get this first gear issue solved without spending millions for it to get a new transmission. Any ideas to get it back in regular mode would be amazing.
When warm will fail to shift in lower gears. Told 5K used or 8K new transmission to fix.