9 Common MINI Countryman Problems (Explained)

The MINI Cooper Countryman was introduced in 2011 as the bigger SUV version of the popular MINI Cooper. 

Besides its larger body and four doors, the Countryman also offers all-wheel drive, enabling it to handle winter conditions with ease. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the common issues and problems MINI Countryman owners have had for the last two generations.

1. Engine Mount Failure

The second generation Mini Countryman, also known as the F60 model, suffers from early engine mount failures. 

Upper engine mount failures are also common among many F-Series generation Minis. Some last only 30,000 miles while others get over 70,000 miles out of a set. At higher mileages, the lower mounts will also wear out.

Symptoms include:

  • Leaks
  • Clunking and popping noises from front
  • Excessive vibrations
  • Engine shaking too much

Here’s how one owner on the NorthAmericanMotoring.com forum described their experience:

“Got 2018 Countryman S with only 38K on it. Took it in for its scheduled service (still under extended warranty) and they found the top motor mount was cracked and leaking. They wanted $1500.”

You can find the Countryman’s upper engine mounts online for around $200 and have a mechanic install it if you want to save some money.

Aside from these engine mount issues, the second gen Countryman’s engines have a better reliability record over the first generation models. It uses the same platform and drivetrain as the second gen BMW X1 which has also been quite reliable.

2. PCV Issues

Many owners of the first generation MINI Countryman have had to deal with PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) issues.

The most commonly reported issue is the PCV diaphragm going bad which often results in strange noises and leaks.

Common symptoms include: 

  • Whining or hissing noise 
  • Misfire trouble codes
  • Check engine light
  • Oil consumption issues
  • Oil leaks
  • Exhaust or oil smell
  • Rough idle

Replacing the PCV diaphragm usually gets rid of the engine issues and leaks. But there are times when you’ll also need to replace the valve cover, which can significantly increase the repair costs.

Here’s how one owner described their experience:

“I have a 2012 MCS Countryman, which has the N18 engine. I have replaced the integrated PCV valve diaphragm twice, after the original diaphragm started leaking oil due to a tear. The issue I am having is that the valve is still leaking fumes that smell very strongly of gas, which end up getting sucked into the fresh air intake of the climate control system.”

3. Turbo Failure

The first generation Mini Countryman’s N18 1.6-liter turbocharged engine had lots of reports of early turbo failures.

This affects Countryman S and JCW models from 2011 to 2016. MINI did extend the warranty for the turbos to 10 years or 120,000 miles.

The most common issue is the turbo wastegates stop fully closing which results in less boost and reduced power. Diverter valves, also known as the blowoff valve, also fail fairly often.

Common symptoms include:

  • Half engine light on the dash 
  • Smoke from exhaust
  • Oil line leaks
  • Limp mode 
  • Reduced power
  • Whining noise from turbo
  • Turbo wastegate rattles on cold start

Here is how one owner described their experience:

“My 2012 Mini Countryman with under 80k miles reported an engine fault, which was diagnosed by the dealer as a failing turbo, with a cost of $5700 to repair.”

The OEM turbo on its own can cost around $1,000. Labor will be much cheaper at an independent BMW or MINI specialist. Some mechanically inclined enthusiasts also go the DIY route to save even more money on the repairs.

4. Timing Chain Issues

Many first generation Mini Countryman owners have had timing chain problems with their cars.

Early models of the Countryman had plastic timing chain guides that easily wore out and broke apart. 

When it broke, it could sometimes send debris into the oil pan and cause severe engine damage. A loose timing chain will also cause the combustion process to go out of sync and allow the valves to hit the pistons.

Common symptoms include: 

  • Death rattle sound
  • Makes more noise when revving
  • Misfires
  • Check engine light
  • Won’t start

Here’s one owner’s complaint on the NHTSA website:

I purchased the used 2012 Mini Cooper Countryman. I drove it for 84 days, and while I was driving the car the engine suddenly went dead on the road and stopped working. I took the car to the dealer where I bought it from; after two weeks they said the timing chain broke and caused it to destroy the engine. Now I have to pay for the new engine.”

The timing chain tensioner was updated in 2015 for the 2016 model year, so newer cars should be less prone to issues. In older cars with higher miles, you should preemptively replace the guides and chain, if they haven’t been done already, to avoid future engine problems.  

It’s also important to regularly change your oil every 5,000 miles and check the timing chain for play every once in a while to prevent premature failures.

5. Thermostat Failure

Early thermostat failure is another common weakness of the first generation MINI Countryman.

Since the thermostat housing is made of plastic, it can get brittle and crack over time which causes coolant leaks. There are also cases where the thermostat gets stuck open which makes it hard for the car to reach proper operating temperature.

Most of the Countryman’s cooling system parts such as reservoirs, tanks and pipes are also made of plastic that will eventually crack and leak over time. This is a common issue on all MINIs and BMWs.

The electric water pump is also prone to sudden failure and can cause overheating problems.

Here’s how two owners described their experience with the Countryman’s cooling system:

“I had the thermostat housing, thermostat, water pipe, water pump, starter (which failed due to the leaking housing) and O2 sensor and intake gasket replaced. Expensive, but my R60 had 140K kms and has had a hard life in extreme conditions up in Canada.”

“Temp sensor thermostat is a common problem with both N14 and N18 engines. Ours failed and replaced at 4k, 30k and 48k miles.”

Replacing the thermostat, water pump, and cooling system pipes can be considered normal wear and tear for any vehicle. But they have a tendency to occur more often and much earlier in lots of older MINI Countrymans.

6. Fuel Pump Issues

Early model years of the Mini Cooper Countryman S had lots of cases of early fuel pump failures.

HPFP (High Pressure Fuel Pump) failures typically affect the turbocharged N18 engine in the 2011 and 2012 Countryman S. 

The HPFP was updated the following year which resulted in significantly less failures. The pump can still fail though after 80,000 to 100,000 miles just like in any other vehicle.

The regular Countryman’s naturally aspirated N16 engine can also have low pressure in-tank fuel pump problems, but at a much lower rate.

Common symptoms of fuel pump failure include:

  • Hard starting (on cold starts)
  • Car goes into limp mode
  • Engine dies after starting
  • Stalling
  • Check Engine Light
  • ‘Engine Malfunction, Reduced Power’ error message

Here’s how one owner on the NorthAmericanMotoring.com forum described their experience:

“I’m having some problems with my 2011 Countryman S All4. It has been throwing code P15DF, starting rough in cold weather, missing, then when it gets warm it runs fine. Sometimes it runs on reduced power after throwing the Engine Malfunction – Reduced Power warning.”

MINI updated the HPFP’s warranty in the 2011 to 2012 Countryman S to 10 years or 120,000 miles, which has already expired at this point.

Replacing the high-pressure fuel pump (HPFP) can be expensive, typically costing several hundred dollars at a minimum. The cheapest prices for the HPFP alone are around $300, though some dealers or mechanics may charge significantly more. 

7. Oil Pump Solenoid Leak

Both the Countryman and Countryman S can suffer from oil leaks caused by a broken oil pump solenoid in the oil pan. This issue typically affects the 2011 to 2013 model years. 

Over time, the oil leak can also damage the nearby wiring harness and cause electrical problems with the ECU. 

In some cases, even the ECU, or what MINI calls the DME, had to be replaced due to the damage the oil leak caused.

Here’s how one owner described their experience:

“Went in for the coolant temperature sensor recall and to check a “weeping” oil sump gasket as pointed out by the local independent Mini mechanic at his last oil change.”

“Well in the end it was the oil pump solenoid that had to be replaced and the wiring harness also was replaced due to oil from the leak getting into the connector. The leak was never enough to leave spots (yet) but I’m sure over time it would.”

MINI released a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) for this issue in 2012, but later revisions started including cars made until January 2013.

Newer cars can still suffer from similar oil leaks as the solenoid wears out over time. If you notice any leaks or if the car is losing oil, get it checked early to avoid more expensive problems in the future.

8. Spark Plugs Wear Out Prematurely

Many MINI Countryman owners have had their dealers recommend new spark plugs before the recommended service interval.

The turbocharged Countryman S needs new spark plugs every 60,000 miles while the JCW model requires a 30,000 mile interval. 

Here’s how a few owners described their experience:

“I was surprised when I took my 2014 CM JCW in for a routine service/oil change and they said the system was calling for new spark plugs. Not sure what system that is but my CM is not even a year old! The MA said it was time and for JCWs it is 30,000 miles it is called — yet I only just hit 24,000. That said, I asked to examine the removed plugs and I did not notice any real carbon build up and I did not notice any odor. It certainly seems peppier now.”

“My plugs were replaced, as well as an ignition coil at 49,300 miles……After the car went into limp mode 180 miles from home.”

“Took my 2011 CM in for an oil change and they told me I needed new spark plugs also. I only have just over 24k on the car so I thought that was odd.”

Symptoms of a worn out spark plug include:

  • Misfires
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Slight reduction in power
  • Fouled spark plugs
  • Check engine light

Faulty ignition coils can also have the same symptoms as a bad spark plugs, so they should also be checked and replaced if necessary.

High quality spark plugs with the right specifications shouldn’t cost more than $50 for all four. You can also get the MINI branded set for around $100. Any mechanic should be able to swap out the spark plugs in under an hour and also check the coils if they need to be replaced. 

9. Clutch Failures

The manual transmission in the first generation MINI Countryman is known to have a weak clutch, especially in the early model years.

The clutch was supposedly updated in 2013, but many newer model years have continued to suffer from similar clutch issues.

Common signs of a worn clutch include:

  • Burnt rubber smell
  • Trouble shifting gears
  • Soft clutch pedal
  • Hesitation or acceleration issues
  • Grinding noise when shifting
  • Groaning noise when stepping on clutch

Here is how a few owners described their experience:

“Brought my new Countryman in to have the clutch looked at. My driveway is quite steep and if I start from a standstill from the bottom, I can get some chatter from the clutch. If I have to stop halfway up, I have to give it a lot of gas to get going and I get a pretty bad burning smell when I reach the top.”

“I just got my clutch replaced in my 2013 MINI CM JCW. I took it in as soon as I felt it slip and groan in 1st gear.”

A new clutch costs around $500 but the labor is usually more expensive because it can take 10 to 15 hours to do the job. Clutches are considered a wear item, but getting a new one every few years can also get expensive in the Countryman. 

MINI Countryman Pros & Cons


  • Retro looks
  • Sporty handling
  • Lots of room for a MINI
  • Premium interior
  • Available in manual
  • All-wheel drive
  • Many personalization options


  • Expensive maintenance
  • Not as practical or spacious as rivals
  • Lacks modern driving aids

What Do The Reviews Say?

“As you would expect, the best part of the Mini Countryman’s driving experience is in the way it handles a twisty road. The steering is accurate and gives you a decent feel of the road. Overall, the Countryman is fun and can easily cruise down a back road quicker than most everything else in the class.”

“The overall layout of the Countryman’s interior has not changed in quite some time. It’s distinctive-looking, including the limited instrumentation and chrome toggle switches.

“Road noise is commendably low, but the Countryman’s near vertical windshield and frameless side windows create noticeable wind noise. Engine and exhaust sounds are nicely subdued and only enter the cabin when you’re driving more aggressively.”

“The Countryman might be the biggest Mini but it’s far from the most practical vehicle in its class. With a modest 17.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity, the Countryman trails competitors such as the Audi Q3 (23.7 cubes) and Mercedes-Benz GLB (22 cubes).

“If you prioritize driving fun and like Mini’s distinctive styling, the Countryman will not disappoint. Even with the Countryman’s extra size and heft, it remains true to the sporty, fun nature of other Minis. The Countryman is always up for a good time, and you’ll likely wind up driving up on-ramps and down good roads a little quicker without even noticing. It might not be the most practical vehicle in this class, but it’s fun and engaging.”

MINI Countryman| Edmunds

What’s the Resale Value of a MINI Countryman?

Here’s a quick look at used car pricing on Edmunds at the time of writing.



  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...