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Investigation expands: 60,000 Mini Coopers may have power steering problems

Consumer Reports News: May 09, 2011 03:23 PM

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced a deeper probe into the power steering on Mini Coopers. Expanding on an investigation from last fall, the agency now believes that as many as 60,000 Minis from the 2004 and 2005 model years may have steering issues that could lead to fires and collisions.

The federal safety agency began looking into Mini steering problems in September. But an additional 519 consumer complaints to the agency and BMW, makers of the Mini Cooper, prompted a more detailed engineering analysis by the NHTSA.

According to NHTSA, BMW believes a malfunctioning cooling fan or an undervoltage condition in the Cooper's electric power steering may be causing a temporary loss of steering control. More serious faults in the internal electronics may be the cause for the permanent loss of steering assist that some Cooper owners have complained about.

NHTSA says five minor collisions and three electrical fires are believed to be linked to the power steering issue with the Mini Cooper. But so far, there have been no reported deaths or injuries.

Investigation Upgraded to 60,000 Mini Coopers for Power-Steering Loss [NY Times]
Feds upgrade probe into 60,000 BMW Mini Cooper vehicles [Detroit News]
US upgrades BMW Mini probe over steering complaints [Reuters]

Paul Eng

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