BMW has been producing the Mini Cooper since they acquired the rights in 2000. However, it’s been a popular automobile since 1969.
Well-known for its aesthetics, the Mini Cooper feels like the epitome of British class. But, is a Mini Coopers a reliable vehicle?
Mini Coopers have an average reliability rating, meaning they are neither very likely to break down nor are they very likely to last an impressively long time. That said, the Mini Cooper has the highest reliability rating of any subcompact SUV, so it’s your best option for reliability in that category vehicle.
According to Repairpal, it’s got a reliability rating of 3.0-stars. That’s out of a maximum of 5.0-stars.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the reliability concerns that have been seen with Mini Coopers.
How Reliable Are Mini Coopers?
Mini Coopers aren’t unreliable, but they’re not as reliable as they could be, either. Expect to spend around $850 a year on repairs if you own one of them.
You’ll need to take it to a repair shop about once every 2 years. That’s a little higher than average.
Most automobiles need to go about 0.4 times a year, while the Mini Cooper has to go 0.6 times a year.
Compared to other vehicles, the Mini Cooper costs more to repair, too. That’s what has the biggest impact on their reliability rating.
There are more issues associated with older model years. The first-generation Mini Coopers seem to have problems more often than others.
Newer Mini Coopers don’t have nearly as many issues.
The biggest source of problems would be the CVT used in first-generation models. The CVT used in first-gen models only lasted around 100,000 miles.
Modern Mini Coopers use a torque-converted transmission. These seem to last for as long as 250,000 miles on average.
Other parts of the car perform similarly to most vehicles.
For example, you’ll need to replace the brake pads after 70,000 miles most of the time.
Its tires tend to last about 30,000 miles and the fluids need to be refilled every 10,000 miles.
If you’re driving them 15,000 miles a year, your Mini Cooper could last as long as 17 years in the end.
That’s because they’ve got decently-reliable engines. You shouldn’t have any issues until you’ve got more than 200,000 miles on them.
Do Mini Coopers Break Down a Lot?
Consumer Reports ran a study on Mini Coopers and found them to be rather unreliable. However, the study focused on first-generation Mini Coopers.
They said the biggest problem spots were with the engine and electric systems. Their reports indicate it performed the worst of all the cars they studied.
However, you still only have to take them to a repair shop 0.6 times a year. So, you might not have any problems with them until it’s been a while.
Mini Coopers were redesigned in 2014. Current model years continue using the redesigned model.
Consumer Reports found the redesigned models have far fewer issues.
As a result, they’ve given newer Mini Coopers an above-average reliability rating.
J.D. Power echoed these sentiments as well. They’ve tested the 2019 model and gave it their highest dependability score for subcompacts.
J.D. Power also looked at the 2020 model. And, it received its highest score for dependability among subcompact vehicles as well.
Are Mini Coopers Really That Bad?
The degree of reliability for Mini Coopers mostly depends on the model year you’re looking at. Older model years had a number of issues with their engines and transmission systems.
However, after redesigning them, BMW improved most of the issues.
Now, most reports suggest the Mini Cooper is a rather reliable subcompact automobile.
Older models of the Mini Cooper also used plastic housing for their cooling systems. These could hit curbs whenever you’re driving over them.
BMW replaced the plastic housing after its redesign in 2014.
What Are the Mini Cooper’s Most Common Issues?
The biggest issue Mini Cooper has had would be with its transmission systems.
BMW was subject to a lawsuit involving the first generation’s unreliable transmission system.
Another common problem has been the Mini Cooper’s radiator. Because they’re so low to the ground, you can hit the curb with your radiator.
That could break their coolant hoses.
Carcomplaints.com also noticed an issue with the 2006 Mini Cooper’s power steering.
For a lot of people, their power steering went out after passing 80,000 miles.
It was such a widespread problem that BMW issued a recall for that model year.
The first two generations used plastic housing for their thermostat systems. Because of this, they would wear out over time.
BMW suggests having them replaced after 50,000 miles as a result.
Otherwise, you could develop leaks in your cooling system.
Most Reliable Mini Cooper Years?
The 2016 Mini Cooper received 4 out of 5 stars for reliability from Consumer Reports. This is the highest score any Mini Cooper has received for its reliability.
The 2016 Mini Cooper also benefits from improved fuel economy compared to old models.
Consumer reports gave honorable mentions to the 2010 and 2020 model years, too.
If you’re looking at recalls, the 2011 model has the fewest. So, you might want to consider that, too. It only had 2 of them according to the NHTSA.
The worst performing model year would be 2006. According to Carcomplaints.com, this model has the most complaints of all model years.
As a whole, the newest Mini Coopers seem to be the most reliable. After 2014, BMW redesigned how they made them. And, it sounds like they’ve solved most of the older model’s issues.
They replaced the CVT with a newer torque-converted transmission system. As a result, newer models tend to last a lot longer overall.
Taking Care of Your Mini Cooper
The best way to make your Mini Cooper last is by taking good care of them.
If you’ve got a first-generation model, you should replace their cooling hoses. BMW recommends replacing them with something other than plastic.
And, they said you should get it done after they’ve passed 50,000 miles.
Follow the directions inside of your owner’s manual as well. There is a recommended maintenance list in the back of it!
Older models had a tendency to burn through oil faster than usual. So, you should keep an eye on your fluid levels to make sure they’re full!
Storing your Mini Cooper in the garage could help to protect it from the elements, too. That way, you won’t have to deal with any rust issues on their exterior.