What Year Mini Cooper Should Be Avoided

Last updated on January 13th, 2023 at 08:34 pm

The Mini Cooper is a collection of small, sporty cars. These popular and iconic vehicles are considered inexpensive luxuries because of their relatively affordable price tags.

But before you buy one of these cars for your daily drives or weekend toy, read on to find out which year models are best avoided and why! 

But before that…

Is A Mini Cooper A Good First Car?


Mini Coopers are great vehicles to consider as a first-time car owner. I’ve repeatedly recommended these cars for first-time buyers without regrets. They look clean, safe and come with a relatively affordable insurance cover.

Also noteworthy is the vehicle’s high second-hand/resale value.

One downside may be their high fuel consumption. But the vehicle’s mileage and easy-to-customize interior and exterior still make it a good and enjoyable option for prospective car owners.

Related Article: Subaru vs Toyota Reliability: Subaru Maintenance Cost VS Toyota

 Do Minis Have A Lot Of Problems?

Not a lot.

Mini Coopers are widely reliable and won’t always have you pay regular visits to your repairer.

They often do well without servicing or oil change now and then, as with many other cars. However, it’s common knowledge to change your oil regularly, so your car always runs on clean oils, which does a lot of good to your car’s overall health.

Many Mini users say they had their cars checked for the first time after about two years’ drive.

Even more, the vehicles come with a three-year warranty which offers you free fixes if anything odd comes up within the first three years.

However, every car comes with a fair share of concerns. Commonly reported problems with Mini Cooper include:

Transmission failure: first-generation mini vehicles’ automatic transmissions were known to fail recurrently. 

A resultant lawsuit against BMW compelled the company to offer a warranty covering eight years or 150,000 miles – whichever occurred first.

  • Clutch failure

Clutch failure is common with both first- and second-generation Mini Coopers. However, this failure that may develop even before the first 20,000-mile drive is linked to hard driving.

  • Leakage of Thermostat Housing and Water Pump

Many users of first and second-generation Mini Cooper have also reported water pump leaks. In many cases, they are due for replacement after 50,000 mileages. 

The second-generation models feature a plastic thermostat, which [expectedly] breaks over time.

  • Issues with Electric Power Steering Pump

Mini Cooper’s electric power steering pumps’ failure became too common, so that the manufacturer, BMW, made a recall. 

The recurrent power steering pump failure was linked to low power steering fluid and/or the malfunctioning of its cooling fan. 

  • Issues with Radiator Support

There are also complaints about radiator support. These issues are linked to its plastic build and low-spot position. The plastic radiator support is placed in the car’s front, exposing it to a high risk of damage as it can easily hit a low curb, particularly when parking. 

That said, there are certain year models you may want to reconsider before investing in.

What Year Mini Cooper Should Be Avoided

2005 to 2006 are remarkable performance years for the Minis Cooper vehicles. Within that period, most concerns with earlier makes were fixed, which made these models widely reliable.

Some reviews score the 2006 to the 2012 year models as the worse production year for Mini Cooper. 

Comparatively, Mini’s 2015 to 2019 models have reportedly had fewer issues and complaints. They also have the best second-hand value.

That said, when opting for a Mini Cooper, avoid first-generation models that come with CVT automatics, as they are widely known to break down at about 100k mileage. 

I prefer Cooper S with the torque-converted automatic transmissions or the manual alternative.

Turbocharged-engine of 2007 to 2010 Mini Coopers had loads of concerns, most of which were fixed in the 2011 and late 2012 JCW models. 

2005 Mini Cooper might have been the worst, based on complaints from users, particularly about reported transmissions failure.

Talking engine failures, the 2009 and 2007 models had the worst complaints.

Are Mini Coopers Good High Mileage Cars (How Many Miles Will A Mini Cooper Last)?

Talking mileage, some factors come to play:

Mini or MINI?

Notice the difference? 

Mini is a classic old-model ride and can go whatever mileage without worries. All it takes to keep your car going is an experienced mechanic who knows the in and out of these products.

For the MINI products (owned by BMW) –particularly the R50/53, 2002 to 2006 models) 

These are a more contemporary class and can develop issues after about 80 to 100 thousand miles – particularly with the auto transmission non-S models. Yearly, these models can go an average of 10k miles.

However, the R56 2007 – 2014 models are thought to be more reliable. These variants can go as much as 15k miles yearly. 

Mini Coopers may go from 150 000 to 250kmiles. This, however, widely depends on usage and owners’ maintenance culture.

While some reports say they started having problems with their minis at about 90 thousand miles, many have gone 200 000 mileage with everything still sound and intact.

Here are factors that may determine how long your mini cooper last

  • The replacement parts used
  • Rite rotations
  • Oil change routine 
  • Regularity of service appointment
  • Driving pattern 

What Does The S Stand For In A Mini Cooper?

The Mini Cooper S version is an uprated variant of the Mini Cooper model. Against widespread opinions, the S in Mini Cooper S does not represent ‘Supercharged.’ 

While the opinions differ, I like to think the S does not mean anything noteworthy – probably just a way of marketing their upgraded product. 

Closing Thoughts

 The Mini Cooper has been around for a long time, and the company is still going strong. However, it’s essential to know what year of the model you should avoid if you want your car to last as long as possible with minimal repair costs. 

Hopefully, this piece has brought you up-to-date on which year Mini Coopers should be avoided, and you can now make an informed decision about your purchase.

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