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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,570 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 BMW Z4 steering problems

steering problem

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2003 BMW Z4 Owner Comments (Page 12 of 14)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #41

Jul 012010


  • 21,768 miles


Steering wheel would stick & when it would finally move it would over correct. Nearly had an accident it was very scary.

- Peoria, IL, USA

problem #40

Jun 282010


  • 99,000 miles
My 2003 BMW Z4 has a major steering problem. There is noise in the steering column area and the steering becomes very stiff and non-responsive at highway speeds. Its like driving a car with a power steering pump that is about to fail. The problem is much worse on hot days or after the car has been driven a lot. I took it to the only BMW dealership around here in indianapolis. They told me they couldn't duplicate the problem in the shop but it sounded like a defective steering column. The cost on a new column is $3500 plus many man-hours of labor charges to install it! I went on line and found out that this is a common problem with Z4S. So, here I sit with a $13,000 car that I can't afford to fix and I'm afraid to drive more than a few miles from home because the steering is so tight/questionable. This is a safety issue and BMW should be made to recall this issue!

- Bloomfield, IN, USA

problem #39

Jun 012010


  • 15,000 miles
Purchased a "like new" 2003 BMW Z4 3.0I with 15,000 miles with 1 owner last fall from a dealership in va and almost immediately put the car in storage. Upon removal from storage this month, steering sticks dangerously at all speeds. Steering wheel refuses to return to center. When rounding a corner, steering wheel will maintain the turn and not naturally straighten. This creates a highly dangerous situation of oversteer as you over compensate the steering. On a two lane road, it is easy to cross centerline. Many, many complaints have been submitted for 2003, 2004, 2005, and some 2006 models. Repair seems to be to replace steering column at owner's cost of $3900. However, some owner's have paid for replacement and still experiencing the same issue.

- Fairview, PA, USA

problem #38

Jun 152010


  • 71,000 miles


2003 BMW Z4 2.5I. Steering feels sticky on warm afternoons. Feels like a "dead spot" in the steering gear.

- Luzerne, PA, USA

problem #37

May 012010


  • miles
BMW Z4 power steering fails when outside temp is above 80 degrees. BMW acknowledges the problem, but will not recall for this issue updated 05/14/10.

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #36

Apr 062010


  • 27,000 miles
Steering wheel is "sticky" and difficult to handle on warm days (above 75 degrees).

- Williamston, MI, USA

problem #35

Apr 012010


  • miles


My 2003 BMW Z4 2.5I has a sticky steering wheel problem in all temperatures. The steering does not self correct while turning and needs to be forcefully returned back to center. This "stickiness" has a dangerous element in changing lanes or going around corners because smooth operation is not possible. I must overcome the sticky stuck sensation and as a result oversteer back in the direction of travel. This is very disconcerting and a dangerous.

- Silver Creek, NY, USA

problem #34

Mar 092010


  • 40,000 miles
2003 BMW Z4: We have noticed a steering issue that occurs in the warmer months of the year. The steering tends to feel 'sticky' or 'gummy' when driving in a straight path. In order to free the sticky steering, one must quickly jerk the wheel to the left or right direction to loosen and free up the steering feel. There have been no accidents as of yet, but the sudden jerk of the wheel and results in an unsafe lane change and/or nearing a side swipe situation when driving in traffic. After a bit of online research, it appears that many other have experienced this unsafe condition. BMW most likely knows about this safety issue since the installation of the updated steering shaft fixes the problem. Many of us are out of warranty and the steering defect is not under a current recall, therefore BMW will not cover the fix. Many of us consumers cannot afford the $3000 fix, per the BMW service estimate and have to continue to drive unsafely.

- Saint Augustine, FL, USA

problem #33

Feb 202010


  • 25,000 miles
I have a BMW Z4 which the steering sticks causing a significant decrease in control of the vehicle. I have nearly collided with other vehicles on the freeway at highway speeds.

- Folsom, CA, USA

problem #32

Jul 222009


  • 42,000 miles
I own a 2003 BMW Z4 during warm weather at highway speeds the steering becomes stuck on center. In July of 09 I attempted to swerve to avoid an obstacle on the highway and had the yank the wheel so hard to get it out of the "stuck on center" issue. I then ran off the road and into the ditch and caused about $1500 dollars worth of damage to the vehicle. Fortunately there were no other vehicles in the way.

- Richmond , VA, USA

problem #31

Feb 192010


  • 67,900 miles


Details: Steering problem at 45+mph with vehicle, steering is very sticky going straight, constant corrections cause over steering, steering wheel does not return to neutral position on curves leading to dangerous conditions, tested to 75 + mph, gets worse at higher speeds of freeway driving. Just took possession of used vehicle. I think its just luck no body has been killed from running off the road or hitting someone. Please look at all the complaints with the same trouble.

- Wynne, AR, USA

problem #30

Dec 192009

Z4 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles
1. for about 2 years I have noticed that something has been wrong with my 2003 BMW Z4's steering. The onset was very insidious. I first noticed a feeling that the steering would stick and require slight extra force to make minor adjustments. This seemed to occur after the car had been out sitting in the sun. At that time it was more of an annoyance than a problem. The steering would soon return to normal. I remember having the steering complaint more often over the 2 year period but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I knew that this was an issue I needed to resolve. 2. I was making a 250 mile drive back to orlando on the turnpike when the steering problem returned. It was worse than ever. There was a dangerous "locked on center" feeling at highway speed. Minor adjustments required force such that the steering jerked and then required another forceful jerk to correct. The problem is dangerous in that it takes much effort to keep the car in the lane at highway speed. When I exited and drove at low speed the steering returned to normal. I researched this phenomena and found many other Z4 owners with the same steering problem. Apparently there is a problem with the electronic power steering system on the Z4. My problems reflected those of other owners. The "locked on center" feeling is worse on hot days and at high speeds. The problem occurs every time I drive on the highway and I have since stopped driving that vehicle. I don't feel safe driving it on the highway both for my safety and that of other drivers on the road. 3. the car has yet to be repaired. The other Z4 owners suggested I file this complaint, as they have had much trouble convincing their BMW dealerships of the design flaw/failure of the eps system. Updated 01/25/10 updated 01/26/10

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #29

Jul 012008


  • 19,000 miles
2003 Z4 3.0I BMW steering locks up while driving in hot weather. Problem does not exist in cool weather. My vehicle first experienced the problem in the summer of 2009 with 19,000 miles. The car is unsafe to drive in temperatures above 80 degrees.

- Brookhaven, NY, USA

problem #28

Sep 102009


  • 54,009 miles
The steering sticks on my 2003 BMW Z4, and when I try to compensate, it sometimes causes oversteering to correct. This on 2-occasions almost put me into a head-on collision with an oncoming car. The dealer says this would require an expensive steering column replacement at my cost.

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #27

Aug 172009


  • 65,000 miles
Sticking steering.

- Fernandina Beach, FL, USA

problem #26

Jul 152006


  • 60,000 miles
Warm temperatures, over 80%, steering on 2003 Z 4 sticks and causes under and oversteer.

- Winter Garden, FL, USA

problem #25

Aug 012009


  • 31,000 miles
This complaint involves the steering of the 2003 BMW Z4(built 03/03). It seems in hot weather (high 80's and above) the steering becomes very stiff and difficult to make minor adjustments. It feels like it locks in place and when adjustments are attempted to correct the steering, you actually over adjust because it sticks and you have a difficult time remaining in your lane. This occurs when the temperature is 80's or above, and becomes stiffer the hotter the temperature becomes. We contacted BMW and they informed us that there was nothing they could do for us. We feel that this is definitely a safety problem that should be addressed by BMW, as well as repaired for free by them. Another problem that we have encountered is the airbag lights (both in the dash and on the console) were on. We found recalls for 2004-2005 BMW's for this problem, but they would not address our vehicle since it is a 2003, and not covered in the recall. It is the exact same problem that the recall was for which was the passenger sensor mat part #66-77-6-927-893 and the control unit airbag part #65-77-6-965-146. We had to pay out of pocket for the diagnostic, repairs and parts, totaling $1226.20. Again we felt that this was a safety issue since we purchased this car because it had side, front and knee airbags for safety. With the airbag lights on, we didn't know if they would or would not work in an accident. We requested the old parts be returned to us, but they were not. After doing much research on the internet, both of these items seem to be very common problems with these vehicles and we feel that BMW should address them both and make the vehicles safe to drive.

- Pollocksville, NC, USA

problem #24

Aug 072009


  • miles
2003 BMW Z4 has a glitch in the steering that our dealership does not know what is causing. On hot days especially the steering becomes so jerky it is hard to drive the car. You can turn the steering wheel and there will be a pause before the steering catches and turns the car. We took the car into the BMW dealership and they had two other cars, same model and year with the same complaint. If you google it, you receive many pages of people having the problem so BMW is definitely aware of it but to this point has done nothing. These cars have low mileage, 15,000 to 20,000 range so it is not something that has worn out; it is design flaw that has caused on going problems that BMW has chosen to ignore to this point. We have not been in any accident, we have quit driving in hot weather, but, I am sure the steering has caused some accidents for others. I assume BMW figures it is cheaper to pay the law suits since there are not that many Z4S made than to have a recall and fix the problem. It is an ongoing problem that affects not only the drivers of the cars involved but everyone sharing the road with a car with steering problems.

- Grain Valley, MO, USA

problem #23

Jul 012008


  • 29,000 miles
I have finally decided to file my complaint after experiencing this problem for two consecutive summers. I have put off filing a complaint in hopes that the numerous complaints on this very same issue by other Z4 owners would result in some remedial action on the part of BMW. This does not appear to be happening. When the outdoor temps hit the high 80's the steering in my 03 Z4 begins to "stick" under normal driving conditions. This has caused me to come close to over-correcting on several occasions when turning the steering wheel to "unstick" il. It is extremely dangerous on interstate highways where there is little margin for error. This sticking problem is not only unsafe but it detracts from what otherwise is a beautiful piece of machinery. The vehicle is out of warranty and I can't see where Z4 owners should be responsible for covering the cost of repairing a manufacturing defect which, surprisingly, has not resulted in any fatalities.

- Chambersburg, PA, USA

problem #22

Jul 292009


  • 31,350 miles
When the weather gets hot or the car gets hot just sitting in the sun the steering gets sticky and difficult to turn. It feels like there is a notch in the steering on both sides of dead center and it is difficult to steer to the right or the left. This is not a new problem with these cars as documented in puma case number 5387507 and others.

- Bellingham, WA, USA

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