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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 2 of 14)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #241

Jun 122013


  • 115,000 miles


Steering wheel rotation inhibited, would not turn smoothly, extra force needed to overcome resistance in steering wheel rotation, very heavy center detent. Car swerves violently when extra force on wheel is used to overcome resistance in steering wheel rotation. Unable to make common minor adjustments, resultant oversteering causes erratic movements. Car nearly gone off road several times. Heat related. Happens when car cabin temperature elevated by sunshine or extended drives/use. >=2.5hrs. Car is unsafe. BMW acknowledges cause related to steering column/gears but refuses to recall/fix. Please help before more are killed.

- Bedford, IN, USA

problem #240

Oct 032005


  • 10,000 miles
This issue has been ongoing since I purchased the car used in October of 2005. I reported to dealer and several mechanics since then, that the steering sticks when car is hot or on a hot day after driving a short distance. They all indicated there was nothing wrong with the vehicle after inspection. This continues to plague my vehicle and causes me to keep the car under wraps on hot days (which is almost impossible in Florida) because if I start to adjust steering as I drive, the wheel appears to lock and continue in that direction. I have to force it to keep it straight. It's a nuisance and a safety hazard and should have been fixed when I initially reported the issue because it's clear that BMW is well aware of this issue. Shame on them. I have owned 4 BMW's and the Z4 is the only one with that particular issue. I love the vehicles but am saddened that I can't take my Z out for a nice summer drive for fear of getting into an accident.

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #239

May 042015


  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW Z4. The contact stated that the steering on the vehicle experienced issues once the engine had been running awhile. The steering became very stiff and it was difficult to turn. The contact stated that there were no leaks, noises, or warning lights coming from the vehicle when the failure occurred. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was 45,000. MA 10/14

- Urbandale, IA, USA

problem #238

Aug 012008


  • 35,000 miles


On hot days(>75 F) the steering is very sticky. I feel unsafe to drive, especially on highway, because I'm afraid the car will lock on me. Replacing the entire column is bit too expensive so I limit my driving to colder days only, which doesn't make sense when you have convertible. It seems like many owners of 2003 BMW Z4 have similar issue. I've been hoping for years that BMW will have recall for this problem. This is such a nice car, and at the same time huge disappointment if it comes to performance and lack of response from the BMW to fix the problem.

- Stoughton, MA, USA

problem #237

May 132015


  • 50,500 miles
On warm days the steering seems to be sticky. Its not a fluid as it is when car is in cooler weather. After some research there appears to be multiple issues with 2003-2005 model BMW Z4 with electric power steering. After multiple complaints I see this was never recalled.

- Cynthiana, KY, USA

problem #236

May 222015


  • 101,000 miles
Power steering disengaged while driving with eps light illuminating.

- Bristol, TN, USA

problem #235

Jan 032015

Z4 6-cyl

  • 57,300 miles


Steering wheel will stick in the center position when hot outside. This causes an over correction when trying to turn the vehicle which could lead to a loss of control of the vehicle.

- Yorba Linda, CA, USA

problem #234

May 182014


  • 41,021 miles
The power steering quit I lost the power steering at approximately 40 mph it was more difficult to steer. When it was taken to the dealer I was informed they had been replacing them free of charge on a case by case basis, but I was out of luck because I was not the original owner. The girl I spoke with said she would talk to her supervisor and see if they could help. I was never contacted back. If my wife had been driving the car at the time the pump failed it definitely could have been a possible accident.

- Tunkhannock, PA, USA

problem #233

Jan 072015

Z4 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
While driving at highway speeds on a hot day, the steering wheel sticks in the straight ahead position. When you notice this and use the steering wheel to correct it feels a locked. This is very disconcerting at highway speeds due to the fact that in inordinate amount of pressure is required to get the steering wheel to respond. When it does respond, because of the amount of force being used, it causes a change of course that could take you into another lane. Researching this problem has led me to find that not only does BMW know of the problem they refuse any action and put the $3500 bill squarely on the owner. In my mind this is clearly a safety issue that needs to be addressed with the recall.

- Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA

problem #232

Dec 242014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 94,024 miles
Steering locks up.. if shut off and restarted several times it releases.. went to get gas.. shut off.. started.. same thing with addition of air bag light going on.. shut off several more times to get going but air bag light stayed on.

- Union City , CA, USA

problem #231

Dec 242014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 940,024 miles


Steering locks up.. if shut off and restarted several times it releases.. went to get gas.. shut off.. started.. same thing with addition of air bag light going on.. shut off several more times to get going but air bag light stayed on.

- Union City , CA, USA

problem #230

Oct 072011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 23,545 miles
I would like to add to your 245 complaints about the steering problem in this vehicle. The steering wheel sticks causing you to have to pull the wheel to straighten it and is worse when the vehicle gets up to temperature. It is not an isolated incident, it happens every time. I have not been able to drive the car for two years due to this problem. This is a safety issue and will cause a fatality if it is not corrected. I have read that NHTSA calls this a "nuisance". it is not a nuisance it is a serious safety issue caused by the car manufacturer. I have been a mechanic for 45 years and I have dissected the steering column and the issue is the top bearing in the electric steering column. It is an open bearing and it should have been a sealed bearing. The lower bearing and the medium bearing are fine. The issue is you can't find this bearing anywhere; dealers tell you the fix is to replace the entire electric steering column at a cost of $3,000 to $3,600. Shame on BMW! I join the others who have filed complaints in asking you to please issue a recall for this problem. Thank you.

- Jonesboro, ME, USA

problem #229

Oct 262013


  • 33,000 miles
The steering pulls erratically in both directions and becomes stuck. It requires constant attention to correct the erratic behavior of the steering. It has suddenly pulled in each direction at different times and I have had to pull back hard to avoid crossing into traffic or sideswiping the car next to me. This is not tires or rutted roads causing this. It is an extremely unsafe defect in the steering column of the BMW Z4. Please push for a recall.. the bearing in the column is unsealed and not able to be lubricated so it dries out and causes these issues.

- Carmel, IN, USA

problem #228

Aug 012014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 66,300 miles
Car steering hard to center, steering sticks to the right or the left, when temperature out side is above 80 degrees or when you drive a long ways and the car begins to produce heat.very hard to drive or take a long trip in.very dangerous to drive.

- Westmoreland, TN, USA

problem #227

Jul 082014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 37,980 miles
Steering got tight, hard to steer, but car was controllable. Turned wheel and I needed to turn it back to center, it would not return itself.

- Phoenixville, PA, USA

problem #226

Aug 212014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 27,532 miles
After driving the car for about an hour, with outside temperature around 95, the steering response of the car became very sticky or notchy. If you were to turn the wheel a few degrees as required by exiting off a highway exit ramp the wheel would not return to center. With slight additional force it did. With general driving the wheel required more force to turn to overcome the "sticky or notchy" sensation felt through out the steering wheel. Very unsafe feeling.

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #225

Jun 082014


  • 94,000 miles
During hot temperatures when making turns in the Z4 the steering wheel does not smoothly rotate, it is knotchy and sometimes suddenly pulls towards a certain direction while going into or out of a turn. This behavior is very dangerous and can result in an unwanted maneuver at high speed. Considering this is a sports car people tend to go on spirited drives that are not forgiving to such steering wheel pull in unwanted directions.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #224

Aug 182014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
When the car gets hot (summer hot) the steering gets notchy in that when you put the car in a slight turn, like changing lanes or going around a slight corner, the steering literally sticks in that position causing the driver to apply opposite pressure to "break" the wheel loose from the turn followed by another stick wherever the wheel is brought back to. Problem is that it causes massive oversteering issues at high speed. Extremely dangerous at highway speeds! BMW knows about it and released multiple pumas (one of which is 4515500-06 - equivalent of a tsb) but has not done a recall.

- Naples, FL, USA

problem #223

Mar 012013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
When the car get warm up the steering begins to stick in on place. This makes a pleasure car seem more like a nightmare and it is very unsafe. Their needs to be a recall on this model immediately. I have seen hundreds of complaints on this very same issue on the internet. If they don't do something soon there is going to be a accident and then they'll be dealing with lawsuit at that point.

- Jacksonville, IL, USA

problem #222

Mar 012012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
Steering will go from very tight to very loose while driving. Will pull to the left and then to the right for no apparent reason. Will initially resist and then give way to either direction. Seems to happen in warmer weather conditions. Feels like there is no control in the steering of the car.

- Kissimmee, FL, USA

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