(Updated) MINI USA Announces Water Pump Recall Affecting 89,000

(Updated with detailed information) In perhaps the largest recall ever announced, MINI USA is recalling every Cooper S and JCW model sold from 2007 to 2011. The recall effects almost all 2007 – 2011 R55, R56, R57 and R60 models with the turbocharged Cooper S engine. For a full list of the cars affected and the specifics behind the problem, read on…

The Issue

The issue involves the electric auxiliary water pump on models that are equipped with the N14 turbo engine. The auxiliary pump is controlled electronically by an engine control unit. After switching off the engine, the electric auxiliary water pump conducts heat away from the turbocharger.

Under certain conditions, the pump’s electronic circuit board can malfunction. The malfunction can occur as a result of certain design features in combination with high operating temperatures.

If the water pump can fails, there’s a slight chance that the circuit board can overheat. And in an extreme case, overheating of the circuit board can lead to smoldering of the water pump. If smoldering occurs, this may also lead to an engine compartment or vehicle fire.

Models Affected

Here’s the full list of Cooper S models affected:

2007-11 / Cooper S (Dec 2006 – Oct 2010)

2008-11 / Cooper S Clubman (Dec 2007 – Oct 2010)

2009-11 / Cooper S Convertible (Dec 2008 – Oct 2010)

2009-11 / John Cooper Works (JCW) (Jun 2008 – Oct 2010)

2009-11 / John Cooper Works (JCW) Clubman (Jun 2008 – Oct 2010)

2009-11 / John Cooper Works (JCW) Convertible (Apr 2009 – Oct 2010)

2011 / Cooper S Countryman (Nov 2010 – Jan 2011)

How can you tell if this is happening to your MINI? The first tip-off will be a plastic burning smell, or burning and/or smoke from the front of the vehicle may be noticed.

What Should I Do While I Wait for MINI to Notify me of a Fix?

First you can continue to drive your car. However MINI recommends parking your vehicle outdoors until repairs have been performed. Those who own affected cars will receive a letter asking them to have this service performed by their authorized MINI dealer, do so as soon as possible.

What’s Next?

At this point MINI is fixing all cars in its inventory and will be announcing a formal recall shortly. Any new or pre-owned MINI in dealers inventory will be held until the recall can be completed, but customer cars are not yet being held and the recall repair will not be happening until the service bulletin is released.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the cars after 12 engine fires had been reported including five that destroyed the cars entirely. In eight of the 12 cases, the fires occurred when the cars were parked and turned off.

We’ll have more as we get it…

  • dave

    What about cars sold in Canada?

    • JCWR56

      Yes, it’s also going to cover those in Canada too.

  • Hmmm… Im affected but in the UK not the US, wonder why they arent being recalled here as well, the cars are all built in the same place. I got a Dec 2010 R60.

    • Ords

      I would imagine once the governing bodies in the EU are aware, you’ll see it happen.

  • Gary

    Something doesn’t compute in this MF translation of the NHTSA recall.  The action extends to the non-JCW R55/R56/R57 S and R60 S model year 2011,  which all carry the N18 engine.  In fact, I see nothing in the recall that limits this to the N14.  Looks like misinformation is being promulgated here.

    • rosvick

      I was about to say the same thing.  I wonder if MINI had a split year in 2011, where the early models (January 2011 and prior) were fitted with the N14 engine, and the late models (February 2011 and on) have the N18?  I’ve seen GM do this a few times, for example.

    • db

      I’ve seen the recall and it specifically states it is for the N14 engine on all R5x and R60 MINIs.

      • Gary

        Strange…I wasn’t aware that N14 was used in ANY R60, yet this model is specifically called out separately…

    • Porthos

      How about just wait and see who gets the letters for recalls. If you don’t get one you don’t have to worry.

    • Mary

      Something doesn’t compute in this MF translation of the NHTSA recall. The action extends to the non-JCW R55/R56/R57 S and R60 S model year 2011

      Intresting statement, +100500


  • MINI water pump recall – HA!!!! why not recall all the damn BMW’s too, we have to replace our pumps and housing at the 100K mark or they disintegrate. Hope they get our new Countryman correct, before they build it. Think it is time to call my sales person to make sure he is aware of this recall.

    • Anonymous

      Are you seriously complaining about something with 100k miles on it? That is absurd. 

      • Evan

        A water pump should be a lifetime part. The one on our E36 was still going at 290k miles. The one on my parent’s 1999 Grand Caravan was still going at 295k miles. I just replaced mine on my 2006 E90 with 76k miles. It’s a design failure in the electronics of the water pump and the temperatures that it is exposed to.

        I’m not into the “100k  miles is great so don’t complain” angle here. There are pumps that have failed much earlier. My mechanic had a 2010 with 45k miles in for a water pump failure. This is actually makes me hesitate in keeping a BMW or MINI with the electronics long term. But I don’t think at modern car with barely 80k miles on it should make me hesitate to keep it for another 80k miles.

        It seems with BMW designed water pumps (N52 or N14 etc), the electronic ones are not reliable and there is something wrong with the design.

        • Anonymous

          Amazing about the E36- they had plastic blades and would detonate at less than 30k miles usually.

          The new pumps are electric and they are variable flow and pressure- they do that for emissions and for efficiency. They are considered a use/replace part now that they are not mechanically connected to the engine because of the electronics and use. They won’t ever be  mechanical again as the parasitic loss from it is too great by modern efficiency standards. Everyone is doing this.

          The water pump in this recall is not main one but the secondary one that is used to cool the turbo after the car is off, it is the circuitry and not the actual pump. BMW/MINI do not produce these parts and built/ designed by a supplier that has not met its obligations for design or production and during component testing BMW did not experience these issues. It will be fixed. 

          Try buying a car today that does not have electronics; not happening. 

  • Giuseppembg

    I write from italy, mini jcw, and many here have changed coooper S2 or 3 water pumps in less than 30 thousand km

    • R Burns

      In France too… and for free, even after the guarantee period is over

    • Gary

      Don’t confuse the primary water pump (for the engine cooling system, the one that usually needs replacement) with the aux water pump (for cooling the turbo only; rarely fails mechanically but is the target of the recall)

      • R Burns

        Actually I confused with the High pressure pump 😉

  • Minicabrio2005

    Will Australia be affected too?

    • Gish

      I believe so. Just called Doncaster BMW, but the lady I spoke to did not have details and advised that if my car was affected, that I would be contacted.

      Based on information on this site, it only affects the cooper S and JCW models (which rules mine out)

    • Judy

      My car totally destroyed in Australia. If you get a letter go into your dealer straight away.BMW did not want to know about our fire as it was out of warranty!!!! Fifteen months later I received a recall letter even though it was a write off and not even registered.We were treated like idiots.

  • Neferti

    In France Too! Look here —> http//distributionthp.free.fr/ and particulary FACEBOOK : http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/groups/distributionTHP.PSA.BMW/   (EP6 PRINCE MINI/BMW = THP PSA PEUGEOT CITROËN = same engine)

  • Frank Granados

    Alarming. The second generation MINI is a quality control and reliability fiasco.  Our cars are going to take a hit in the resale department.

  • Captain

    I would be more concerned about resale if they did not address this issue.

    • Gary

      I couldn’t agree more with you.  Frankly, when I’m scanning a CARFAX report on a used vehicle I like seeing the implementation record of any manufacturer recalls.  Gives confidence that the major bugs have been appropriately mitigated.

  • RO

    That’s nice – now MINI should step up and do the same for the problem with the 2002-2005 the electric power steering.  As of May 2011 over 70,000 failures were reported.  Just had mine go out while driving and making a right hand turn. Very dangerous.  Yet MINI has not done a darn thing about it. 

    • MoBoost

      Yes, they should. Apparently they aren’t as concerned with the steering problem as fiery death from the pump electronics.

  • Perhaps this explains why I had my water pump, friction wheel, turbocharger, MAF, intake manifold and throttle body replaced under warranty last year, in that order. I love my Cooper S when it’s not in the shop, but I doubt I’ll ever buy another one. 

    • RO

      I’ve had some problems with my 2004 MC.  Most were minor and the serious one (fuel injectors (all) defective) was under warranty  What I’m now finding 7 1/2 yrs later and 49,900 miles is the more expensive things are starting to pop up – electric power steering, control arm bushings.  I too have my doubt’s on whether I’ll buying another MINI, not because of the few problems I’ve had with mine, but because of everything I’ve read on various MINI blogs and boards on problems with the R56 (death rattle, high oil consumption, etc).

      While MINI’s handling and cornering are fantastic and over great feel, other Car Mfg. are starting to improve on their Sub-compacts.

      • Robredm

        your complaining  about car thats now 8 years old, control arm bushings are a wear and tear item, electric powersteering pump also,  I just did control arm bushing on my 03 325It wagon.. at 54,000 miles… really wow…

  • Anibean

    My mini has had issues throughout its short time with me.  I am currently trying to trade it in to a dealership.  The reality is not pretty.  I will be call mini today to try and find out what the issue is with this water pump.  So disapointing.

    • Kimburlee76

      My thermostat went out at 7,000 miles in my 2011 MINI Cooper S. Bluetooth never did work in that no one I called could ever hear me. “That’s just the way it is.” was the response.  Rough idle at start when weather was cold. I traded it in on a 2012 Honda Civic Coupe EX and haven’t once looked back. 

      • Hoover

        Funny.  On my 2007 Civic EX, the engine block cracked, the suspension failed, and random dash lights inside stopped working.  I traded it in on a stripped 2010 Cooper and haven’t once looked back. But then again, I purposely chose the most basic of MINIs to avoid issues.  That tactic seems to be working…although I have a little rattle in my center stack now.  Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

  • Hemisedan

    I’ve noticed a couple of times a strange smell coming from the firewall/ under-dash area, that was all. My car falls into the recall area as it is a 2011 JCW hardtop. Am I concerned about resale? Why should I be? Has it affected Honda or Toyota/Lexus cars? Nope! By the way, in the year ann a half, I have had ZERO problems, other than a Sirius problem yesterday. Three hours later it was working again. No rattles, no problems with construction, quality control, I would say “excellent”.

  • Wildnight

    What about I got my used car not from dealer?

    • JonPD

      Product recalls do not matter who or where you picked up the car. If your car manufactured by MINI its covered. I would make sure you touch bases with your local dealership if you have not taken the car to them yet so they are aware of your car.

      • BMW13

        Our Clubman S is 26 months old with 23,000 miles and this is the first car I’ve owned with zero problems. Had an oil change (actually two) and absolutely no problems.

        • Frank Granados

          Just wait when it hits 50K miles. Then we’ll talk…

  • Jim W.

    Just read the BBC story which claims 235,000 MINIs worldwide, “including the Cooper S and John Cooper Works models, built between March 2006 and January 2011”

    Not saying which is correct, but since my R53 falls in that time, I would like to know…

    Jim W.

    • db

      This ONLY affects cars with the turbo charged engine, not super charged. If you have an R53, you are ok.

    • The very first R56 production started in March 2006. However customer cars didn’t start to roll off the line until summer for markets outside the US. I’m sure the BBC reporter just asked a plant spokesperson when they started the manufacturer of the car and they answered correctly by saying March – not knowing that they were giving out incorrect information given the situation. 

      US sales didn’t start until December of that year.

      • Jim W.

         Thanks Gabe and db, your deduction is sound.  Worry not I now.

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  • scotteast

    It’s not truly a British car unless a few of them burst into flames.

    • dj

      EXCELLENT COMMENT, must be by a british car buff like myself!!!

  • Bob Hayhurst

    Get letter; make appointment; get recalled gizmo replaced.  It’s happened a million times with EVERY auto maker.  Not making excuses for MINI here but recalls are a fact of life especially those related to the auto industry.  They are expensive for the manufacturer and inconvenient to the consumer. Given this recall involves a potential fire hazard, I’m paying attention to what was said about parking outdoors.  Other then that, I agree with scotteast…

  • Tingclarence

    We have an end 2010 R56 MCS registered in December… Some term it the LCI model which carries the N18 engine.

    Our distributor confirmed today that we are affected and have booked a replacement.

    Clarence from Singapore.

  • TheOfficeMaven

    Ha! I just received a call from the NHTSA today in reference to a complaint I filed last July about the electric power steering pump failure in my R53. The agent told me that they have hundreds of complaints and are looking to get the manufacturer to “do the right thing” on this one. Looks like BMW/MINI might have another big recall on their hands as well. I say it’s about time as the damn thing nearly killed me when it failed!

  • Rm910

    How about the JCW WC50? Are those affected as well. I was thinking getting one of those…

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    Rajamane Industries Pvt Ltd is a leading manufacturer of Oil skimmer, coolant pump in India. Company has grown in the past decade with its various diversifications in the field of auto-electricals, Oil skimmer, BLDC Motor, Motor rewinding manufacturers and Special electrical mortars

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  • Aspensnowbunny

     Hi there…well I gotta let you know this is an issue on the 2005 MINI Cooper S version as well.  I was driving my car and have not had issues with the car at all when BAM…i started smelling a sweet smell coming from the car then I heard a noise then I looked at my gauges and WHAM! the needed buried itself as high as it could go and the red light for thermostat came on.  I immediately pulled over read the owners manual and said to let the engine cool.  Needless to say i towed it to a mechanic friend of mine and said the water pump is not circulating the coolant at all…he said it is the water pump and the thermostat.

    I have to now have my MINI towed to the MINI Dealer in Orlando and I am hopeful that they will fix the pump, because through my research I have discovered that the water pump and circuit board are the same in my 2005 as all the models recalled…not sure why it was not included. 

    My MINI only has 80,000 miles on it and it is all cross country driving….it is in top shape and I would prefer to keep it that way so they best fix my waterpump, circuit board etc…

  • Seth Simko

    Anyone know if this has caused the engine itself to overheat and cause more damage than just the water pump?