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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,578 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.

2004 BMW Z4 steering problems

steering problem

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2004 BMW Z4 Owner Comments (Page 4 of 15)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #233

Oct 302013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 44,000 miles


After driving my Z4 on a hot afternoon I notice the steering feeling very notchy. You had to put in a lot of force to get the wheel back to where you wanted it. The next morning it was fine. But I have notice any time the cabin temp gets above 88 the problem comes back. It produces a real jerky feeling in the wheel and its very unnerving to drive.

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #232

Apr 242014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 25,460 miles
Driving on curvy mountain roads steering sticks requiring extra force to steer resulting in over correction and running off onto shoulder. Without a shoulder in the mountains this is a potential serious accident.

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #231

Dec 012012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
When I am driving at any speed, my steering wheel does not feel as though it is moving smoothly, as I would expect from a precision-engineered BMW. In fact, it sticks to the point that it will not move unless it is jerked forcefully to the left or right. This jerking is not a big problem when I am driving at 20 to 30 miles per hour. However, when I am driving on a highway at 40 or more miles per hour, the sticking of the steering wheel becomes a serious problem because when I jerk the wheel as hard as I have to in order to unstick the steering, the car swerves so dramatically that I could easily lose control of the car and hit another car, especially in rain or other precipitation, and cause property, or worse bodily, damage to others or myself. What I find ridiculous about this is that I am expected to pay $5K to replace the steering column without any guarantee that the replacement part will last any longer than the original part, at which time I will have to pay $5K yet again.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #230

May 302014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 49,281 miles


Have had the car about 8 months. Have driven it 268 miles. Took the car to work 5/30/14. It was fine driving in the morning. After sitting in the sun all day, the steering stuck badly on the way feels like you are riding on a rail.have to keep moving steering wheel to keep car going straight. Feel resistance in steering. I looked online and found this is a common problem for 2003-2005 Z4's. I wish I knew that before I bought the car. It is dangerous.

- Quakertown, PA, USA

problem #229

May 132014

Z4 6-cyl

  • miles
Steering is very sticky and hard to steer in warm weather.

- Chester Srings, PA, USA

problem #228

Jan 042013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
I own a suspected Z4 with a NHTSA reported "sticky steering" issue I can tell you a little more about it. The problem has nothing to do with the boost. 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 over steering issues at high speed unless you are looking for it. Extremely dangerous at highway speeds! BMW knew about it and released multiple pumas (their equivalent of a tsb) and even redesigned the suspect column, but refused to replace the older ones out of warranty. These are $3000 before labor and BMW has flat out told me that they won't cover a single dollar of it. I guess we will see NHTSA forces their hand! I am scared to death to drive the vehicle I had to jerk to out of another lane several times and you must work extremely hard to keep it straight. Please do something before someone gets hurt.

- Hephzibah, GA, USA

problem #227

Apr 092014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 67,926 miles


The steering becomes "sticky" when the weather is warm. When driving straight it resists turning and once turned tries to stay turned and the car tends to veer unintentionally. The steering will not return to center when the wheel is released and it is difficult to steer smoothly on the freeway and requires constant correction. When it is cold it steers fine and travels down the freeway perfectly with no hands on the steering wheel and corrections can be made with only tiny effort. When it is hot and sticky it takes both hands and a fair amount of effort to steer. This is a design flaw resulting in a safety issue that BMW should fix under warranty regardless of age.

- Capitola, CA, USA

problem #226

Mar 012013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
This problem appears when the outdoor temperature gets above 70, or my vehicle sits in the sun all day. There is a problem with the steering at all speeds - the steering wheel feels like it "sticks" in one position and I have to force it back in the opposite direction to correct the course I'm on. Then it "sticks" in that position and I have to be very vigilant with every curve in the road. It scared me last week because it was the worst it had been since it first began doing this last year. I live in the foothills of California and curvy roads are the reason I love driving my Z4. Last week, the steering problem seemed to take more energy and more corrections to force the wheel back in the direction I needed the car to be moving. When the weather is cooler, the steering is precise and effortless. I was shocked to have to deal with correcting the path of the vehicle numerous times for each curve! it was an exhausting ride home; I don't feel safe when the car performs like this.

- Valley Springs, CA, USA

problem #225

Mar 132013


  • 51,000 miles
Steering sticks when vehicle gets hot or sits in the sun.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #224

Jan 032014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
As I began to pull out from parking lot onto roadway, the steering wheel suddenly locked up. I managed to back straight down the hill and read about the issue (it was very early in the morning). I turned the car off and restarted. It worked fine. I've since read about this issue on several blogs and have discovered that is a repeating issue. Thankfully I wasn't in the middle of rush-hour traffic.

- Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #223

Dec 162013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 29,900 miles


Steering becomes dangerously sloppy and twitchy at speeds over 35mph. Correcting the sticky steering causes an over-correction and weaving on the highway making it very difficult to control the vehicle. This is a known problem by thousands of BMW owners, yet nothing seems to be in the works to address.

- Bradenton, FL, USA

problem #222

Jun 112011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 23,000 miles
As I was driving on the highway when I had to turn due to a curve in the road, the steering would not return to center. I had to force the steering back to center. This almost resulted in a crash with another car. The steering is very jerky, , it sticks in one spot. Until you force it where you need it to be. This same problem has now happened many times and is getting worse. It seems to happen more, the hotter the outside temperature is.

- Lansdale, PA, USA

problem #221

Jul 032013


  • 222,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW Z4. The contact stated that while driving various speeds, the steering wheel seized and became difficult to turn without warning. The vehicle was later taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis. The mechanic informed the contact that the steering wheel would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 222,000.

- Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #220

Mar 132013


  • 69,500 miles
Since I purchased my 2004 BMW Z4 on March 13, 2013 I have experience very annoying and more importantly unsafe issues with my vehicles steering especially at high speeds. At first I thought it could have been the alignment but after doing extensive research online and BMW forums it appears this is a common problem for the E85 (2003-2005) BMW Z4 roadsters. "need a new steering column to fix "sticky steering" prob with the eps @ $3,300. My 2004 Z4 is a "pleasure" car with 17,000 miles. Not a pleasure to fight the steering on the road." -taken from one of the forums. Fortunately I have another vehicle I drive daily and don't have to commute daily in this vehicle. However when I do drive it it's definitely noticeable not only by me but my passengers, it's scary even. I purchased my car with 69,500 miles which really is quite low considering the year and I am very disappointed to find something that has cost me so much to obtain gives me an uneasy feeling everytime I drive it. Wish I could afford to have the problem fixed but being a college student I simply don't have an extra $3,000+ to spare to spend towards the repair. Anyways hoping enough grievances will be filed and eventually BMW will own up to the problem and be willing to work with its many unhappy customers who are literally hazards on the road due to this "sticky steering" problems at high speeds. Thank you

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #219

Sep 242013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Eps(electric power steering), does not function properly. The steering binds intermittently, and attempts to correct can throw the vehicle into another lane or into a dangerous situation on a curve.

- Dutton, AL, USA

problem #218

Jun 032013


  • 69,265 miles
2004 BMW Z4 purchased used in 2011 with just over 60K miles on the odometer. At just under 70K miles the driver noticed steering seemed stiff and when entering a curve the steering wheel would freeze in locked position until manually corrected upon which time it would feel as if the front wheels were on a patch of black ice momentarily! outside temperature was above 80 degrees. Did a search on this vehicle no accidents. However it was discovered many complaints (242) on this or similar steering problems. I called BMW of North America and spoke to a public relations rep. Who informed me that BMW was unaware of any such problems with this year model steering. I replied that this seems odd since I had just looked at 17 pages of such problems on-line? I scheduled an appointment with my local dealership and asked to speak with an experienced technician concerning the problem. The service manager checked with one of their technicians! he confirmed that he had seen this before and the steering column would have to be replaced. When I purchased this car I also transferred over an extended warranty at a cost of $1,000. So I will only be out my $100 deductible. Parts and labor will be in excess of $4,000K if a dealership tech is aware of such problems with a particular make or model you would surely think that BMW of North America would also be aware of the same such findings! something smells and its not german chocolate cake!

- North Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #217

Aug 252013


  • 39,700 miles
Steering was sticking and feeling funny. Seemed to take more force to turn the wheel. It felt magnetic in the center or ribbed like. Then it would suddenly go when turning. Had to be very careful. After doing research I find that the BMW Z4's have had problems with steering columns in the 2003, 2004, 2005 and some 2006 year cars. Has to do with the metal worm gear clearance in the nylon cog gear being a poor design. On hot days the clearance goes to zero making the gears to tight. Also nylon absorbs moisture after a while which would cause the nylon gear to increase in size decreasing the clearance even more. I just purchased this car and now am somewhat afraid to drive it or let my family drive it. BMW has replaced many of these. I hope mine can be replaced as right now I'm not sure what my recourse may be.

- Moorefield, WV, USA

problem #216

Jun 152012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 23,000 miles
I have a 2004 BMW Z4 with 32,000 miles on it. I have an issue with what I will call sticky steering. When hot, the steering wheel will bind and require extra effort to move, resulting in over steering in order to correct the sticking. At all speeds this can be dangerous and at highway speeds this can be particularly dangerous.

- Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #215

Oct 292012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 45,650 miles
Immediately after purchasing this vehicle we noticed difficulty steering the car. The steering is very sticky and erratic. It is actually scary to drive. Has a tendency to veer off and possibly wreck. I just hope it does not take X number of accidents/deaths for the manufacture (who is aware of the problem) to fix this unacceptable steering problem. My personal research has revealed that there are many many owners of this make and model vehicle have complained to the manufacturer about this exact same problem. If any information is needed or if you wish for me to elaborate, please feel free to email or call me. Thank you.

- Greeneville, TN, USA

problem #214

Aug 172013

Z4 6-cyl

  • miles
The steering wheel sticks and it's very hard to keep the car centered. I am told it will need a new steering column and this was an issue BMW had for a couple years on these models.

- Garner, NC, USA

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