Mini Coopers are notoriously fun to drive, but when your transmission starts giving you trouble, it’s no fun at all! Overall, MINIs are well-made and reliable vehicles – but they’re not without fault.
At The HAUS, we often consistently see the same types of transmission issues in Mini Coopers. If you own your vehicle long enough, there’s a chance you might encounter one or more of these common Mini Cooper transmission problems.
Delays in Gear Shifts and Acceleration
Gear change issues are common in MINI models that are equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission. This is often caused by excessive wear within the end plug bores. These parts cap the bore, preventing critical pressure loss. However, they tend to wear out with time, allowing a loss of hydraulic pressure that can upset gear change patterns. There are several upgrade kits available to address this well-known problem.
If you’re dealing with this issue, you’ll likely notice that your MINI’s shift flares on acceleration, has erratic or delayed gear shifts, or fails to engage the torque converter clutch. It’s important to watch out for these symptoms, as this issue typically does not trigger any warning lights.
Sudden Loss of Drive / Rattle from Transmission
It’s quite common for older MINI models with a Continuous Variable Transmission to experience a sudden loss of drive. This is often disconcerting, because there may be no indication that there’s a problem.
Often, your MINI will drive without any noticeable issues, then you’ll be jarred by a loud bang and, possibly, grinding noises coming from your transmission. Of course, this will be accompanied by a series of check engine and other warning lights.
This issue is almost always caused by a snapped drive belt, which is a well-known and documented Mini Cooper transmission problem. Since the drive belt connects pulleys inside your transmission, when it snaps, it often scatters a large number of shavings and metal parts, damaging gears and other nearby components.
Unfortunately, when this happens, your only option is to replace the entire transmission. Since a new transmission often exceeds the value of the vehicle, choosing a second-hand or rebuilt transmission may be your best option.
Hesitation on Acceleration
Hesitating or lurking while accelerating is another common problem amongst MINIs with Continuous Variable Transmissions. Sometimes, this is paired with an engine speed that is higher than it should be while coasting or slowing down. In most cases, the problem will be constant, and you’ll probably see some warning lights.
There are several possible causes for this issue. One is that your TCU software may be outdated. In this case, a technician can use a diagnostic tool to check the version you’re using and install an update if needed.
The hesitation could also be the result of problems with your charging system or your battery, which can cause spikes or drops in voltage. A faulty alternator can also generate excess voltage, which could disrupt the transmission electronics.
Total Transmission Failure
Unfortunately, we often see Mini Coopers with total transmission failure. This is mostly due to the manufacturer’s suggestion that it’s not necessary to change the transmission fluid. The truth is, if you want to ensure your automatic transmission will last, you should have the fluid changed every 30k to 40k miles.
Some of the signs that your transmission is beginning to fail include low or leaking transmission fluid, an overheating engine, intense vibration or shuttering, trouble with gear shifting, and an overheating engine. Often, if you’re having transmission issues, your check engine light will also come on.
If you notice any of these issues, it’s important to bring your MINI to an experienced Mini Cooper Specialist right away. Getting an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible is the key to preventing further damage to your transmission or your engine.
Need Help with Your Mini Cooper Transmission?
The HAUS is the best-known MINI fixer in the San Fernando Valley and Sherman Oaks. No matter what’s going on with your Mini Cooper’s transmission, our experienced certified technicians will quickly diagnose and fix the problem so you can get back on the road right away.
Don’t trust your MINI to just anyone! We’re currently accepting VIP appointments, so give us a call or book your spot online today.