WASHINGTON - The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration said it has opened an investigation to determine whether MY 2004-2005 BMW Mini Coopers have any defects that can cause the power steering to fail. 

The probe, launched in response to consumer complaints filed with the agency, will determine whether any safety recall of the vehicle is at all warranted. An estimated 80,000 vehicles are subject to the investigation. 

NHTSA in July opened a similar investigation into the MY 2003-2005 BMW Z4's power steering.