Mini Cooper Years to Avoid

This car was named the Top Safety Pick in 2018 by a rating agency. However, some people say that some of its model years are not that good. In this regard, what Mini Cooper years to avoid?

There are car reviewers that say you should avoid the first and second generations of Mini Cooper. These model years are particularly those that range from 2000 to 2012. They say that these model years had frequent problems with their power steering, leaking water pumps, and transmission.

Overall, Mini Coppers are fairly reliable. However, like any car brand, there are common issues that some of its model years have encountered. Car reviewers have observed that these issues could occur when the Mini Cooper’s odometer approaches 20,000 miles.

Read on to learn more about the Mini Cooper model years that you should avoid, the reasons why along with some pros and cons of buying a Mini Cooper.

Mini Cooper Years to Avoid

mini cooper years to avoid
2012, Mini, Cooper, S, Ray, Line

HIS Named Mini Cooper as Top Safety Pick in 2018

When it comes to dependability, Mini Coopers, on average, are fairly reliable. The HIS named it their Top Safety Pick in 2018. However, just like any other car brand, it has some model years that seem to have encountered the same issues.

Avoid Mini Coopers Between 2000 to 2012

Car reviewers believe that the Mini Cooper models that you should avoid range from 2000 to 2012. They say that these models often had issues with the following:

  • Water pump leaking,
  • Power steering, and
  • Transmission.

The usual cause of these problems was hard driving. Most often, the common issues will manifest when a Mini Cooper has clocked in around 20,000 miles. Other safety issues in these model years were reported as well. These issues include engine failures and fires.

Worst Years According to Consumer Reports

A survey conducted by Consumer Reports even indicated that Mini Coopers had manifested issues over a wider timeline. The worst years, they claim, are between 2006 and 2012. Fortunately, the maker of Mini Cooper seems to have addressed these issues and made their car more reliable as the years went by.

Mini Coopers With Most Safety Issues

Some reports said that the Mini Coopers with the most safety issues were the model years between 2011, 2012, and 2013. They seem to be the ones that can catch fire and can experience engine failure. These are the common issues of a particular variant, the Mini Countryman.

Small Economy Car

The Mini Cooper is a small economy car. But it became popular because of its unique look, capacity for extreme drifting, and speed. These small cars are available almost anywhere in the world. That’s why they are popular everywhere you go.

Originally Made and Sold by the Austin and Morris Line of Cars

These mini vehicles were originally made and sold by the Austin and Morris line of cars. Eventually, they made their car brand in 1969. The Mini Cooper is now owned by BMW when they acquired the brand in 2000.

Common Problems of Mini Coopers

Make no mistake: Mini Coopers, on average, are reliable. But of course, there are model years that manifest more problems than other model years. These are the model years that you need to avoid.

From reviews and forums of Mini Cooper owners, certain problems are common to these vehicles. These problems are different with each model year, so you can’t pinpoint a problem in all these years.

For instance, clutch failures are mostly seen in the first and second generations of Mini Coopers. But in addition to this, the first generation also suffered malfunctions in their transmissions. Unfortunately for the brand, these issues led to recalls, and worse, lawsuits.

So, what are the most common problems of Mini Coopers? They are the following:

1. Transmission Failure

The automatic transmission of the first-generation Mini Coopers is notoriously known to fail routinely. This situation has forced BMW to give a warranty for the transmission. They were forced to cover this car part for 150,000 miles, or eight years whichever comes first.

2. Electric Power Steering Pump

The car’s electric power steering pump tended to fail, so BMW was forced to recall the units that encountered this problem. They found out that the cause was either a malfunctioning cooling fan or low power steering fluid.

3. Clutch Failure

Most of the first and second generations of Mini Coopers have encountered clutch failures. The cause was almost always hard driving. They found out that this issue will show up once the car is about to reach 20,000 miles.

4. Radiator Support

The support for the radiator in Mini Coopers is just made of plastic. It is also located on the front of a car in the lower part. The plastic material is quite delicate. And because it is located in a lower part of the car, it could be easily damaged if you hit a low curb on the road or a parking lot.

5. Damaged Thermostat Housing

The second generation of Mini Coopers is equipped with thermostat housings that are made of plastic. This material can be easily damaged and can break down faster than other more durable materials.

6. Water Pump Leaking

Leaking water pumps is one of the most common issues of the first two generations of Mini Coopers. These pumps have to be replaced when the car goes over 50,000 miles.

7. Engine Failure

Model years 2011 to 2013 of Mini Countryman encounter serious engine issues. In particular, the 2011 and 2012 models are prone to catching fire.

8. Difficulty in Shifting Gears

The 2011 model year of the Mini Countryman has difficulty in shifting gears. There are also some reports indicating that it also experiences oil filter housing gasket leaks.

9. Turbo Failure

Turbo failure seems to hound the 2012 year model of the Mini Countryman. The issue occurs when the vehicle is approaching 80,000 miles.

Again, what are the Mini Cooper years you should avoid? Car reviewers advise that you avoid Mini Cooper with model years from 2000 to 2012. These first and second Mini Cooper generations usually have power steering issues, leaking water pumps, and transmission. So, they have low-reliability scores.

Mini Coopers are High Mileage Vehicles

mini cooper to avoid
2015 Mini Cooper

Mini Cooper models are popular as having high mileage. On average, they usually reach from 80,000 miles to 250,000 miles – if they are cared for regularly. So, don’t allow the troublous models to give you a wrong estimate of this vehicle brand.

Consumer reports have validated their reliability. Even their vehicle ratings are improving as of late. This signifies maturity in the design and manufacture of this car brand. Mini Coopers made after 2012 have vastly improved in many aspects.

For instance, the 2015 Mini Coopers have earned reliability ratings that are above average. The 2014 models underwent a redesign that endured up to 2020. This means that the car has featured more modern technology, styling, and design during those years.

2021 Mini Cooper Hardtop

Combination of Quickness and Fuel Efficiency

The new version of the classic Mini Cooper won’t disappoint you. Car reviewers have described it as a clever combination of “quickness and fuel efficiency.” The 2021 Mini Cooper Hardtop is available in five core trims, two-doors, and gas-powered.

Available in Sub-trims

This classic car is also available in sub-trims:

  1. Iconic,
  2. Signature,
  3. Oxford Edition, and
  4. Classic.

With more packages available, plus add-on amenities, you will get the features you want in a Mini Cooper.

Can Go from Zero to 60 Miles in About 5.1 Seconds

This car is also fast. It can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in just about 5.1 seconds. After a brief hiatus, the manual transmission Mini Cooper is back as well. It comes with a lower suspension which is sports-tuned. The brakes are more powerful, and its chassis is reinforced.

As with its bad model years, it’s just the same with other car brands. The Mini Cooper is no exception. Its manufacturer made innovations over the years. There are bound to be some issues here and there as years go by. But BMW seems to have confronted these issues and made the Mini Cooper more enduring to its loyal fans.

Which Mini Cooper Models Are Safe to Buy?

Let’s focus on the Mini Countryman variant of the Mini Cooper. The main reason is that this variant perfectly blends utility and flexibility. It is also the second best-selling Mini Cooper model. Here are the used Mini Countryman model years that you can consider safe to buy today.

  1. 2010 MINI Countryman
  2. 2014 MINI Countryman
  3. 2015 MINI Countryman
  4. 2016 MINI Countryman
  5. 2017 MINI Countryman
  6. 2018 MINI Countryman
  7. 2019 MINI Countryman
  8. 2020 MINI Countryman

It is also surprising that there were no complaints against most of these Countryman models. So, according to many reviewers, most of them are safe to buy.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Mini Cooper

used mini cooper years to avoid
2020 MINI Countryman

Even if you know the model years of Mini Cooper that you need to avoid, you still have to consider its pros and cons. This will give you the utmost confidence that you are making the right decision when ready to buy a particular Mini Cooper:


1. Affordable

Compared to other cars of its class, the Mini Cooper is relatively affordable. Given its features and reliability, this car will give you great value for your money.

2. Easy to Park

You won’t have any difficulty parking it even in a very tiny space with its small size. You can park it almost anywhere there is available space.

3. Fun to Drive

This cute little car is so fun to drive. Since its body is small, it can get up so fast in just a short time.

4. Very Thrifty

Even if it uses premium gas, it will only consume a decent amount of gas with its small engine size. Some owners find that they only need to fill her tank just once a month. This allows them to drive their minis from and to their work and around town occasionally.

5. Spacious Cabin

For a car this size, its cabin offers a lot of space.

6. Less Maintenance

This little car requires less frequent maintenance

7. High Resale Value

The resale value is high as long as it is carefully maintained.


1. Fewer Dealers

In some places, a dealer is about a couple of hours away.

2. Expensive Fuel

Its engine uses premium gasoline, one of the most expensive fuels today.

3. Can Be Expensive

If you need or want to have certain features, the price of a used Mini Cooper can skyrocket easily.

4. Small Car

If you are used to big cars with ample cabin space, you will have to reduce your expectations considerably. This small car is really small and offers just a fraction of cabin space.

5. Repairs Can Be Expensive

If the car you are buying is already out of warranty, you can expect high repair costs. So, before deciding on a used Mini Cooper, be sure that it has no major issues that will give you a headache after buying it.

6. Service Not for Local Car Shops

If you give your Mini Cooper to a local car service shop, you might not be provided with the service that your car deserves.

Conclusion: Mini Cooper Years to Avoid

Many car reviewers believe that you should avoid Mini Coopers with model years ranging from 2000 to 2012. These vehicles belong to the first and second generation of Mini Coopers. Reviewers say that these model years had frequent problems with their transmission, leaking water pumps, and power steering.

But make no mistake. Mini Coopers are fairly reliable. But just like any car brand, some of its model years have encountered the same issues. These issues begin to show up when a Mini Cooper is approaching 20,000 miles.

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