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D-man
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39 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My power steering pump went out this past Sunday. I am at 43,000 miles and only 3 months over my warranty. According to other posts on MINI2 and other sites, this seems to be a common problem and MINI will not deny that - they also won't help you out either.

This is a $950 repair for parts and labor. Thankfully my dealer replaced the pump for free due to my knowledge of posts (mostly in England) from MINI2 and the premature nature of the failure. I did have to pay $200 for labor to install the pump.

I felt that MINI USA should cover the $200 labor charge due to the common and known nature of the failure. They would have nothing to do with me. I was surprised that, in my experience, a car dealer was more accommodating than the manufacturer.

I told MINI that I would post their email responses to me and they are as follows:

ME:
I believe that the power steering pump on my 2004 MINI Cooper has failed, as noticed by an absence of whine from the engine compartment and steering has become extremely heavy. I believe that this failure makes the car dangerous to drive. I enjoy the car and am distressed that I am unable to enjoy MINI ownership. The car is only recently out of warranty (2 months) and given that it is a low-mileage vehicle (43,000 miles), I believe this component has failed prematurely. I am a member of several MINI Enthusiast Communities and am aware that this is a common problem with the MINI. MINI2.com has reports of around 1 in 4 vehicles having this pump fail prematurely. Please let me know if MINI Division of BMW of North America, LLC would be able to aid in the remedy of this potentially dangerous and premature failure of the power steering pump. Thank you in advance.

MINI:
Thanks for writing MINI regarding the problems you are having with your vehicle. I apologize for the issues and inconvenience you have experienced with this MINI.

The actual length of life of any given vehicle part is dependent on a number of factors including care, maintenance, use, and climate. During the life of a vehicle, it is natural to expect that some parts may have to be replaced due to mechanical failures, or normal wear and tear.

The warranty for your vehicle provided coverage up to four years or 50,000 miles. Although we empathize with your situation, because your vehicle has exceeded the warranty parameters, MINI USA cannot offer warranty assistance. I would suggest speaking directly with the service manager at your local MINI dealer. They are in the best position to assist you and address your concerns.

If there are further questions I can assist with, please feel free to drop me an e-mail. I would be happy to lend a hand.

LET'S MOTOR.
Jase Gammon
MINI Customer Relations and Services
Representative
866.ASK.MINI (866.275.6464)

ME:
Jase,

If your company can tell me (in writing) that this power steering failure at around 43,000 miles is an unknown problem to MINI and that it is not affecting about 20 to 25 percent of MINI vehicles around this millage, then I will not pursue anything further and will post MINI's response on MINI2.com.

However, my dealership has already replaced the power steering pump for free based on its premature failure and my knowledge (based on MINI community forums) that this is a common problem. The dealership did not deny that this was a common problem and only charged me $200 for the labor to install the pump.

Unless your company can assert in writing (for view on all MINI forums) that this is not a known problem, then it would only be reasonable for MINI to cover the remaining $200 that I had to pay in labor costs to have the power steering pump replaced.

Thank you for your time and I await your response.

MINI:
Please be assured that the quality of our vehicles receives our constant attention. We work on a continual basis to improve our vehicles and rest assured, we have been working diligently to ensure that our new MINIs are the best they can be.

MINI is committed to automotive excellence and superior service. We appreciate our customers' input regarding problems they have encountered, and we use it to improve our future models. We want your motoring experience to be a happy one. Therefore, if you were to experience any problems, the warranty is quite extensive.

As previously stated, the actual length of life of any given vehicle part is dependent on a number of factors including care, maintenance, use, and climate. During the life of a vehicle, it is natural to expect that some parts may have to be replaced due to mechanical failures, or normal wear and tear.

The warranty for your vehicle provided coverage up to four years or 50,000 miles. Although we empathize with your situation, because your vehicle has exceeded the warranty parameters, MINI USA cannot offer warranty assistance. I am happy however, to hear your MINI dealer was able to provide you with a goodwill gesture and assist you with the repair.

If there are further questions I can assist with, please feel free to drop me an e-mail. I will be happy to lend a hand.

LET’S MOTOR.
Jase Gammon
MINI Customer Relations and Services
Representative
866.ASK.MINI (275-6464)

ME:
I am very disappointed with the position that MINI has taken on this issue. The power steering pump failure is a common premature problem and you have not denied this. MINI cannot expect to ignore this problem when approached by an owner and still retain a happy owner. I am unsatisfied that MINI will not cover a known defect, regardless of warranty. I appreciate what my dealer has done up to now, and hold them in high regard, but MINI needs to finish the goodwill gesture by covering the labor costs.

If your position is still to ignore the problem I will be contacting the NHTSA to file a complaint regarding the failure and danger of the power steering problem; I will post my story and all email correspondence on all MINI forums; and will tell my story on YouTube.

MINI:
We have completed a final and thorough review of the facts, and our original decision remains in effect. Since we have no further information to share with you on this matter we are closing the file.

If there are further questions I can assist with, please feel free to drop me an e-mail. I would be happy to lend a hand.

LET'S MOTOR.
Jase Gammon
MINI Customer Relations and Services
Representative
866.ASK.MINI (866.275.6464)
 

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D-man
Joined
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39 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
One more thing... I urge anyone who has a power steering failure on their MINI to file a complaint with the NHTSA at:

IVOQ - File a Complaint

Maybe MINI will change their position on helping their owners if the NHTSA starts looking into this all too common power steering pump failure. (USA only).
 

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MMC Member
Joined
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14,017 Posts
43000 miles on a pump without knowing driving conditions of the vehicle? I can't blame them for denying it to be honest. Once out of warranty, you are no longer covered and to think that MINI should step up and cover your costs is over the top in my opinion. Now, kudos do go to your dealer for covering the part which they will pawn back off to MINI as a defect and only charging you for labor. I think you got a great deal....
 

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PowerSteeringPumpActivist
Joined
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8,410 Posts
You should be praising your dealership!

I think your dealership was pretty fair in replacing the pump and asking you to cover labour costs. Paying $200 is approximately £110ish at the moment - this is consistent with the best possible outcome from our experiences here in the UK where:
  1. MINI UK provides a power steering pump
  2. MINI UK / Dealership (delete as appropriate) covers 50% of labour costs
  3. You, the customer, covers 50% of labour costs and receives a 2-year guarantee on the new power steering pump. This usually works out to anywhere between about £40 - £110 ($75-$200), with approximately £70 ($130) being 'normal'.
:hmph: A dealership is, ultimately, a business and not a charity - it's a bit unreasonable of you to demand that all your costs are covered outside of warranty. :redface:

For additional reference (and reassurance that you've received a good deal) please see my power steering pump advice post:
Yes, BMW are in discussions with the VOSA (the UK equivalent of NHTSA) but this will not result in a recall. The current 'fix' for the premature failure is deemed acceptable enough not only by BMW and its dealership network but by the customers as well. Perhaps you were a little on the lower end of the goodwill gestures - but at least you still received one! ;)

Try not to lose perspective on the matter - you've been well looked after by your dealership. It's good to make sure that other MINI users are aware of potential problems and potential solutions for them... but perhaps flaming the BMW/MINI advisor you were dealing with on enthusiast websites and on YouTube is not entirely justified following the goodwill gesture from your MINI dealer. That seems an overreaction at best.

My advice to you from here: put it behind you, get back behind the wheel, and enjoy life. :D

All the best,
Andrew.
 

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D-man
Joined
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39 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I hear you and it may be a bit much, but MINI knows that this is a problem and is afraid to admit it. None of us should even be having to deal with this problem, let alone pay $1000 (for the less informed) to have MINI's mistake fixed.

I actually am very happy to get $750 off from my dealer and I thank them for that, but MINI USA's tone by email to me (right after I had just gotten the car fixed) made me angry again. Don't tell me that this is normal wear and tear when you know that I know it's not.

I really don't care about the $200 bucks. I just really hate the attitude by MINI (or the person I was dealing with) that this is completely my problem.

Actually this is MINI's problem and now they REALLY know that I think it's their problem.

Thanks for the words of perspective. I am back behind the wheel (that I can turn again) and enjoying life. I just had to get that out of my system. I hope all is well in Scotland (beautiful country).

Take care,
Derek
 

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Registered
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286 Posts
The warranty is a deal between the owner and Mini to do certain things. One the warranty is up for a certain item, that's it, you are on your own. To expect more is not the deal. I am amused at the expectations of people that think they are special and deserve more than the agreed upon services and whine insistently about it. Believe me, if these type of people were the sellers instead of the buyers, they would give out no freebies to anybody, ever.
 

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D-man
Joined
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39 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Well I guess when your pump goes, you should pay the full $950. Defect or not, I guess that is only the right thing to do.
 

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D-man
Joined
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39 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
The dealer DID do right by me. I have NO problem with the dealer. I love my dealer (please actually read what I wrote). It's MINI USA's position on this issue that made me mad.

Think about it, why would a dealer give out power steering pumps for free? Because they already know that this is a problem with the MINI's.

For MINI to claim that the pump failure is normal wear and tear is insulting.
 

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MMC Member
Joined
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14,017 Posts
For MINI to claim that the pump failure is normal wear and tear is insulting.
I don't think that you will find any company that will ever admit they have a problem. Even recalls take forever to get done as it is costly to the company and damaging to reputations. Your claim is that MINI knows there is a known problem. However, if you take the amount of complaints on the forums and compare it to the number of MINI sales, I am willing to bet that it is not that many overall. Your dealer may have given you a break not because it was "known" but rather for them to keep you as a customer. This is what I would have done as a business.

MINI nor the dealer shoulder any responsibility in any of this as the vehicle is out of warranty. My 06 is right outside and if the pump fails, it is on me as I am out of warranty.... Will I be upset? Nope, because it is my responsibility at this point not MINI's.
 

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PowerSteeringPumpActivist
Joined
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8,410 Posts
[
OLY,

I'm from the US and had the same problem. You should be able to at least have your dealer cover the cost of the pump, but you may have to pay about $200 for labor.

Note: the pump alone is $750 and only available from a MINI dealer.

Look at my thread... where I seem to be getting bashed for be angry at MINI over this issue.

http://www.mini2.com/forum/faults-fixes/158121-mini-usa-wont-help-power-steering-problem.html
I apologise if this comes across as a bashing - it is not intended that way. :frown: I had rather hoped it would come across as a friendly and philosophical debate. :redface:
The dealer DID do right by me. I have NO problem with the dealer. I love my dealer (please actually read what I wrote). It's MINI USA's position on this issue that made me mad.

Think about it, why would a dealer give out power steering pumps for free? Because they already know that this is a problem with the MINI's.

For MINI to claim that the pump failure is normal wear and tear is insulting.
Admittedly, I would also find it irritating if the representatives of the manufacturer pretended that this was the first they'd ever heard of the power steering pump failing - as it does seem to be a 'problem'. I've advised individual members not to be put off by the manufacturer claiming blissful ignorance and refusing to help at all... but you have to understand I don't advise pressurizing them to accept blame.

From the manufacturer's point of view, if they go public to announce that there is a problem with the power steering pump, then this will not only affect their reputation and future sales, but leave them open to legal proceedings in this litigation-happy world we live in. And where does that stop? Covering all costs to replace the pump on all cars that are long out of warranty, irrespective of mileage? Covering a courtesy car for the day for all those owners? Reimbursing loss of earnings for the hour at the start and end of the day when dropping you car off? Compensation for the emotional trauma at having something go wrong?

And finally, a public announcement would directly impact upon the resale value of your MINI.

Believe me, I understand your frustration and sympathise with you - my pump failed 9 months out of warranty... at about 43,000 miles too (click here for my first post on the matter). Having had a bit more time to reflect on the matter after the problem had been resolved, I've come to the conclusion that cars do not function perfectly indefinitely, and it just seems that the power steering pump is amongst the first susceptible components to inevitable failure. If it wasn't this, then it'd be something else we'd be looking at as the first major failure. At least in this case, there is a procedure whereby MINI shows some goodwill to its customer base and indirectly (via the dealership network) assists with this particular problem outside of warranty. :D

So, if you're receiving help from them (either directly or indirectly) does it really matter if they accept blame or not? :confused: I don't think it does.

All the best,
Andrew.
 

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D-man
Joined
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39 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Ok... Ok... You may be right and maybe I'll even take down the YouTube in awhile. I did get a fair shake by my dealer and I truly had no bad feelings about the issue after the repair. Then MINI (after a week of waiting) came back with an email basically saying tough luck.

I guess I had a short fuse and wanted to let them have it (at least for a little while).

I get it guys, and I was hoping for a little more support, but unlike our idiot President Bush I can admit that maybe this was an over reaction (a bit more emotional than logical).

By the way, Andrew, you're post is what saved me the $750 on the pump in the first place. Thanks for the info.
 

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PowerSteeringPumpActivist
Joined
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8,410 Posts
OI get it guys, and I was hoping for a little more support, but unlike our idiot President Bush I can admit that maybe this was an over reaction (a bit more emotional than logical).
Oh, I'll send plenty of support your way (just ask!), but I'm not a Yes Man and will tell you what I think if I don't agree. :D

:hmph: As for our President (I'm an Anglo-American studying in Scotland) - he'll be back home in Texas in 223 days and the new President will take over. Just make sure you vote on 4th November. ;)
By the way, Andrew, you're post is what saved me the $750 on the pump in the first place. Thanks for the info.
:D I'm glad I could help. :D

All the best,
Andrew.
 

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Registered
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286 Posts
I know I came on strong here. My thinking is that if car manufacturers kept fixing everything forever, costs would go up so much that I could not afford a new car, so freebies handed out beyond the agreed upon time penalize us all. It's the equivalent of the enormous amounts of money paid out by juries for hot coffee spills. I am also not happy with the short life of the pump, but it has a short life. Even engine driven pumps fail and when they do, the symptoms are the same, and I don't remember any recalls on them. I will consider things like this before purchasing another Mini, but that's about all I can do within reason.
 

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D-man
Joined
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39 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Sounds good... and I'll be voting in November for sure! Thanks again and have a wee dram of Scotch on the Royal Mile for me. ;)

:rolleyes: I've got to get back to Scotland someday.

Derek
 

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D-man
Joined
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39 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Agreed, oldmots.

I was mad for a week as well as thankful that I didn't have to drop a grand. I'm getting over it and I appreciate the perspective everyone has thrown my way.
 

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Registered
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32 Posts
Been Away - thanks for the posts!

I've been in Sweden since June 9 - thanks to Dmanmulder for the posts & support.

You were lucky. I called my dealer: no sympathy at all: "It costs $1,500 to fix - have it towed in." No discussion, no questions about symptoms, just an "estimate" $550 more than your total.

The car was used by me since the last time I posted on this subject, and has performed just fine 90% of the time - very occasionally a slight bout of heavy steering. My daughter used the car in my absence with the same mostly lack of problem.

I can't help wondering if it's something much more minor than the whole pump, perhaps a connection or relay.

I did mention that I repaired electro-mechanical systems for about 40 years, so I have some idea about this sort of failure.

Maybe I should try another Mini dealer, there are several in the San Francisco area.

I note that Toyota & Honda have electric power steering: wonder if one of their very likely more reliable pumps could be used?

At any rate, I had a "Classic" Mini in the early '60s - maybe I've had enough "Mini(mum) Reliability", maybe I'll trade it for a Honda Fit.

Very dissatisfied. -Oly
 
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