Mini Cooper 2001-2006: How to Open the Hatch with a Dead Battery

A dead battery means that you can't open your Mini's hatch to access the battery. Here's how to get the hatch open with a dead battery, regardless of which 1st gen model you have.

By Brett Foote - June 29, 2016

This article applies to the Mini Cooper (2001-2006).

Modern cars mean modern electronics, and in the Mini Cooper with its electric rear hatch release, that also means that you can't open the hatch with a dead battery. The latest Mini moved the battery under the hood, like most cars, but on the 1st generation Mini Cooper, however, the battery is located in the hatch area, so how do you get to it if it is dead? Thankfully, there are a couple of methods you can use to get the hatch open in the event of a dead battery, regardless of which model you own. These methods may differ, but both will produce the same result and allow you to get your Mini rolling under its own power once again.

Mini Cooper battery location under the floor of the cargo area
Figure 1. Mini Cooper battery location under the floor of the cargo area.
Mini Cooper 2001-2006: How to Open the Hatch with a Dead Battery

Materials Needed

  • Jumper cable
  • Battery charger

Step 1 – Find the hatchback release cable

Most 1st generation Mini's have a hatchback release cable; though, the first year and a few other models are lacking one. To access the hatch release cable, lift up on the bottom cushion of the rear seat on each side until it pops free from the retention clips. Pull the cushion up, and in front of the middle seat belt anchors, you will see a cord with a round loop at the end—this is the manual hatchback release cable. Pull forward on the cable and you'll manually release the hatchback latch, which will allow you to access the battery under the floor of the cargo area. Once you are done with the hatchback and battery, push the seat bottom back into the clips until they lock in place.

  • Figure 2. Pull up on both corners of the rear seat bottom to release it from the retention clips, then lift the seat bottom up.
  • Figure 3. Pull forward on the hatchback release cable to open the hatch manually.

Step 2 – Models without a hatchback release cable

Some 1st generation Mini Cooper models don't have a hatchback release cable, so getting the hatch open requires a different strategy. If you have a battery charger, you can hook it up to the battery via the jumper box under the hood, which will provide enough juice to get it open. If you don't have a battery charger, you can still use the jumper box as well as another car/battery and jumper cables to provide enough juice to start the car, then allow it to run for a while and recharge the battery.

Connect the positive cable to the terminal in the jump box, and the negative to bare metal
Figure 4. Connect the positive cable to the terminal in the jump box, and the negative to bare metal.

Featured Video: Hatchback Release Cable Location

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