Mini Cooper S (2003)

I've been noticing recently that it's been taking two attempts to get my car to turn over. I twist the key to the third position and nothing. I then try again and it works.

This morning, however, it took about 20 attempts. I got out, locked it, unlocked it etc, all the same.

There is no clicking at the third stage, it's as if the immobiliser is kicking in and stopping the car from turning over.

The battery has been checked (and was fine) and the usual lights etc on the dash are displayed.

Please note I have tried both keys that came with the car too.

I'm guessing it's either the immobiliser or starter motor? Any help?


  • 1
    Ignition switches do go bad as well. Some cars will have a display or beep or something when the immobilizer is blocking the ignition so you know what's up - does yours?
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 13:43
  • No beeps, noises or anything.
    – Ricky
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 13:44

2 Answers 2


If you don't get a click at all, then I'd think that the signal isn't getting to the starter motor, so either an immobiliser problem as you suggest, or a problem with the switch as per JPhi's comment.

If you can get at the starter, you might be able to attach a multimeter probe to the signal wire (the smaller of the two wires going to the starter) to see if it gets any volts - be careful, make sure you don't have any hands/clothing/extremities anywhere near any spinny bits when trying to start it...

You can also test the switch, if you can find a wiring diagram, to see if it is making the correct connections when turned. They can often be a pig to get to though, for security reasons.

Alas, if it is the immobiliser, you'll probably have to take it to a specialist...


I thought I best provide what the "issue" was, but I read online that putting the handbrake on and "rocking" the car from the back may fix the issue due to something being seized in the cold weather.

I thought it was probably rubbish but gave it a go. Whether by fluke or not, I never had the problem again for the next 2 years and am now selling the car.

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