I have a 2004 Mini Cooper with an automatic transmission. I am faced with large repairs to correct the problem. Could you please advise what you would do? THANK YOU! --- See details

David Vardeman

Asked by Jan 02, 2015 at 05:56 PM about the MINI Cooper

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

First, I love my Mini!  It is a 2004 model with an automatic transmission.  It has 85,000 miles on it.  It has never given me one single problem until recently when it sometimes is reluctant to shift gears but eventually does so.  I took my Mini to my regular mechanic.  He referred me to an Amoco Transmission garage.  After driving my Mini, the mechanic told me that I would need a reconditioned transmission and that it would cost between $7 and $8 thousand dollars to replace since the motor would have to be removed to get to the transmission.  I was devastated.
     So, I decided to go to the BMW garage here for their opinion.  After doing their diagnostic job, they told me that my Mini needed a new power steering pump, a new power steering fan, a new thermostat, that the Mini was leaking fuel and a new valve cover gasket needed to be replaced.  They quoted $2,725 to repair.  They said they thought that these problems caused my Mini to want to shut down.  They said they could not guarantee that fixing the above problems would take care of the issue of not shifting properly, but that fixing them might solve the problem.
     Can you give me your opinion?  It would be much appreciated.  I would like to fix my Mini and keep it but I don't want to make a bad decision.
     Thanks so much!
Terry Foster
Portland, Maine

6 Answers


I went shopping for 2004 MINI auto transmissions and they do go for close to $5k for a rebuilt one. Sure don't know why they are that expensive. And to remove and replace an engine would be an easy $1k. So that is a bit high...but not a whole lot. But if it really needs all those other repairs also anyway, do them first and see what happens..

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Don't you just love Aamco's ad? "Half the people that come in don't need a new transmission" Why not "Half the people that come in we stick for a new transmission"...?

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

I would tend to think that the Mini dealer would be the place to go. The mechanics are Mini trained and certified. They know Mini's inside and out. I used to hang out at my Mini dealer and watch the mechanics and talk to them about my car. Most of these guys own Mini's themselves and are very much "into" them. Modding them out is a way of life to them. Trust factor 10 out of 10

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Most importantly, don't trust AMMCO. This is a big corporate chain and they are looking for their best interests, not yours. Hmm, 85,000 miles is not a lot of miles on a 2004 car, yours or any car for that matter. You've got to understand that Mini Coopers are more of a look good than feel good kind of car, and, when your car breaks down and requires constant maintenance which these cars require, it's hard to feel good, especially economically. I've known people who have had these cars and they just have to put up with the idiosyncrasies of having a fun driving, but, pain in the assignment car. If you're OK with that, fix the car and move forward. I couldn't do that. If you want a car with this kind of performance and don't want to be constantly shelling out money, consider a Honda S2000, Toyota FRS, Toyota Solara, or Subaru WRX STI. The Subaru WRX STI is one of the fastest sedans out there and really will give you better service than the Mini. The Subaru boxer engine is in the Toyota FRS as well. These flat Fours are pretty fast and have a unique sound. Good luck.


the oil in the transmission supposed to be changed every 30000 milesfailure to do so damage the belt in the transmission and that's the beginning of the end of your transmission the cheaper way to go they have a replacement belt from China number 901086and you can get it on eBayfor a little over $200

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Yorturt- does the owners manual say to change it or inspect it? There's a lot of "sealed" transmissions these days with no dipstick. On my Subaru, the owners manual says only change it IF you use your car for towing. I do, and I did get it changed at the dealership, VERY expensive, no kidding! Was it worth it? Yes, cheaper than risking transmission failure. My advice is follow the owners manual.

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