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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
34,692 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.

2011 BMW X3 steering problems

steering problem

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2011 BMW X3 Owner Comments

problem #16

Jun 142018


  • 84,000 miles


While driving, the steering failed suddenly where I was unable to steer. It became locked. It said I had a chassis stabilization malfunction. The steering wheel also appeared. I pulled over and turned the car off. After a few minutes the system reset and I was able to drive again. It became very frequent where it was difficult to drive. This has happened driving on local streets and on a highway. When I brought it into the repair shop, I was told that the steering module and steering rack was malfunctioning. They said that bmwna did not have a recall or fix on this issue. My repair shop said I would need to pay the thousands of dollars to have it repaired. I have read that many others are having this same problem. I have had this code cleared from the repair shop a number of times now.

- Vero Beach, FL, USA

problem #15

Apr 242018


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 BMW X3. While attempting to make a U turn, the steering wheel seized. In addition, the vehicle experienced a complete loss of power. The failure occurred without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer (BMW of las vegas, 6900 w sahara ave, las vegas, nv) for diagnostic testing, but the cause of the failure was unable to be determined. The dealer stated that the VIN was not included in any recalls pertaining to the failure. The manufacturer was notified and informed the contact of NHTSA campaign number: 11V341000 (steering), but the VIN was excluded. The failure mileage was approximately 100,000.

- North Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #14

Dec 222017


  • 50,049 miles
After the engine was turned on, the vehicle's steering wheel was locked with an warning message of "chassis stability/steering. Chassis stability malfunction. Traction reduced. A change in steering behavior or steering wheel angle is possible. Continued driving is possible. Drive moderately. Have the system checked by the nearest BMW center." Restarted the car multiple times at which point, the steering system felt fine again. After driving it for less than 10 miles on city streets, the vehicle's power steering stopped working in the midst of driving on the road. The car was extremely difficult to steer and had to come to a stop on a busy road. Tried restarting the car multiple time but kept getting the error message "steering response affected! drive moderately. Have the system checked by the nearest BMW center." It had to be towed on a flatbed to a shop at this point. The car just barely hit 50K (50,0049) miles and had been keeping up with the maintenance regularly in the past.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #13

Jan 012016


  • miles


Steering is "sticky" and off center for my 2011 BMW X3 35I--especially at high speeds during highway driving when the steering wheel is turned from its current static position, higher than normal resistance to turning is felt. Once the initial resistance is overcome, the resistance lessens, resulting in a tendency to turn the wheel further than was intended. This makes it difficult to smoothly steer the car on its intended path and results in the car wandering from side to side which makes it dangerous to drive and very stressful, I had brand new tires installed and had numerous alignments done which did not improve the driving at all, this leads me to believe the steering system is faulty and should be recalled.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #12

Mar 252016


  • 98,257 miles
The contact owns a 2011 BMW X3. While driving various speeds, the steering wheel failed to turn left or right intermittently and the check engine and chassis malfunction warning indicator illuminated. The contact pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road. The contact turned off and restarted the engine, and the vehicle returned to normal. The vehicle was taken to the dealer (BMW of North haven (located at 610 Washington ave, North haven, ct 06473; (203) 239-7272) where it was diagnosed that the battery and the zgm module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The contact stated that the failure recurred several other times. The vehicle was taken to the same dealer two other times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The vehicle was taken to another dealer (european car - Bosch car service located at 274 albany turnpike, canton, ct 06019; (860) 693-6383). The dealer stated that there was an open NHTSA campaign number: 11V341000 (steering) for the same failure. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was contacted at 800-525-7417 and advised the contact to call NHTSA to have the vehicle added to the recall. The approximate failure mileage was 98,257.

- Avon, CT, USA

problem #11

Dec 282016


  • 51,493 miles
The contact owns a 2011 BMW X3. While driving various speeds, the steering became difficult to maneuver without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the automatic transmission steering box needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 11V341000 (steering). The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 51,493.

- Reading, MA, USA

problem #10

Oct 032016


  • 51,000 miles


While coming to a stop the car jerks violently forward with no warning, while moving slow it does the same, to the point where it now hurts to drive it. I get an error that says transmission malfunction, and without warning the car shifts to a lower gear, I have to stop, then turn the car off, when it is turned back the error goes away, then it reappears once again a day or two later. While driving, the steering wheel does not correct in time, and it slides on turns for a second, then over corrects, I have brought it in to BMW dealership, they have replicated the issue, but do not want to cover it under warranty, this has happened at highway speeds as well which is very scary, I am not sure where to turn at this point, so I hope that the NHTSA does an investigation, as I've seen other users have the same issues, and it just one death away from a recall, thank you.

- Palm Springs, CA, USA

problem #9

Sep 032015


  • 88,863 miles
While driving on an interstate road, exiting a tunnel, the X-3 suddenly, without any warning or indicators, lost the power steering and power brakes. The engine lost power and the dash board lite up with a myriad of warnings that made no sense. Then, just as suddenly the entire dash board went dark. The vehicle was extremely difficult to steer and stop. Since I was in fast moving traffic, the situation was scary to say the least. I found a place to pull off and did so. I turned the X-3 off. At restart it seemed ok, but the problem re-occurred again. I was able to finally get to my house. Stopping and re-starting several times. Losing all power, brakes, steering, etc at each instance. Vehicle was placed on a flat bed and taken to sewickley BMW the following day. After almost a week, the car was returned to me. I was told it was an electrical issue. Exactly 2 weeks later the same problems re-occurred. Again I was on an interstate and the lose of control at a high rate of speed could have been a catastrophe if an inexperience driver was behind the wheel. The car was repaired again and this time more work was done. The dealer said that they found a bulletin from BMW that explained this possibility. I saw the BMW info and it understated what actually could or would occur should their systems fail. In my opinion, my life was in severe jeopardy when the failures occurred and had I not been an experienced driver with calm reactions, a fatality is not out of the question. My wife will no longer ride in the vehicle and I have been told to get rid of it asap. I reported these incidents to BMW and quite frankly they were totally indifferent to the problem, only saying that the vehicle is out of warranty and they have no obligation to do anything for me. In my opinion, this is a major problem waiting to explode. BMW is ignoring the issue and someone will die

- Bridgeville, PA, USA

problem #8

Jun 042013


  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 BMW X3. The contact stated that while traveling 25 mph, the steering control malfunction light illuminated and the power steering assist failed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where unknown repairs were performed. The contact mentioned that the failure was experienced multiple times. The manufacturer was not contacted. The approximate failure mileage was 25,000.

- Dix Hill , NY, USA

problem #7

Jun 252012

X3 6-cyl

  • miles
My vehicle suddenly lost power steering control and a yellow warning symbol appeared on the instrument panel. I experienced the problem the first time while I maneuvered a corner. I was coming out of the turn and accelerating when the steering locked up, and the loss of steering control almost caused me to crash. I took the car immediately to murray motors (in denver, co) and was advised that there was simply a computer programming "glitch" that came from the factory; the service center advised they downloaded new software and the problem was solved. Some weeks later, I again lost power steering suddenly while driving straight. I took the car into murray motors again and stressed the enormity of my concern over this frightening problem. After some days, murray motors advised me that the electronic power steering assist unit had failed. They represented they replaced the power steering rack, the electric motor mounted on the rack, and the eps module. I researched BMW recalls thereafter and found that a recall had been issued for this problem on several BMW models already. I called BMW's customer relations number (1-800-525-7417) and was informed that my vehicle VIN number fell outside the scope of the current recall, and I was therefore never notified. I am writing the NHTSA to report that BMW's recall is not broad enough as defects in the eps module and related parts exist in vehicles beyond the immediate recall. I also want the NHTSA to know that murray motors allowed me to drive this vehicle out of their service center after the first (inadequate) repair, even though the steering complaints I reported to their service technicians were identical the description of the steering problem listed in BMW's recall letter for the X3 posted on their website. Murray motors claims to have no knowledge of this defect in any X3.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #6

Jan 102012

X3 6-cyl

  • miles


Safety recall campaign 11V-341: Electric power steering (eps) assist the above recall covered vehicles manufactured between Feb 25, 2011 and June 8, 2011. My X3 was manufactured on June 4, 2011. Yet I was not notified of the recall and have had the power assist fail 3 times.

- Wichita Falls, TX, USA

problem #5

Nov 192011

X3 6-cyl

  • 4,000 miles
This complaint is in reference to NHTSA report 11V-341. It concerns a malfunction of a control module in the electronic power steering (eps) unit in 2011 BMW X3 passenger vehicles manufactured from April 27, 2011 through June 8, 2011. One of these 51 vehicles is ours. My concern is that BMW did not notify us of the recall even though the company has known about the malfunction since June 2011.. (BMW reported a safety recall to NHTSA on June 28, 2011, as documented in a letter of July 1, 2011 from NHTSA to BMW, acknowledging the recall.) on Saturday November 19, 2011, the warning, "chassis stabilization malfunction!" appeared on the video display of our X3 following engine startup. At the same time, steering was more difficult than normal. An hour later, during engine re-start, the warning did not recur, and steering was normal. Personnel at our local BMW dealership were not able to explain our observations and told us via telephone to continue using the vehicle. In spite of that, we advised the dealership that we would bring the vehicle to them for evaluation on Monday, Nov 21. Subsequently, I found documentation on-line that confirmed the malfunction and our observations. At present, the vehicle remains at the dealership awaiting a replacement eps unit. I remain concerned that BMW did not contact us concerning the recall, and also that our local BMW dealership had apparently not been told of the issue. That is the reason for my complaint.

- Charlottesville, VA, USA

problem #4

Nov 032011

X3 6-cyl

  • 1,035 miles
Power steering failed. Vehicle reported that steering may be impacted. A current campaign exists though this VIN was not reported under existing campaign # 11V341000.

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #3

Aug 152011

X3 6-cyl

  • 500 miles
Car reports steering malfunction and electrical power steering assist is not provided. Appears similar to issue with power steering system covered by recall 11V341000, however bmwna confirms this vehicle is not impacted by recall 11V341000.

- Santa Monica, CA, USA

problem #2

Feb 232011


  • 193 miles
Car veering to the right, increased on sudden stops; happens at various speeds. The prominent and dangerous condition is lag in acceleration. Sent the following E-mail to dealer& BMW along with 3 service reports from dealer attempts to address: "this X3 3.5I with all it is electronic engine/drive train controls is a nightmare. It"S a huge design flaw that is going to kill someone eventually. Yet again, yesterday, I felt unsafe due to the hesitation. The car didn't move for about a second or two when I tried to make a left turn in an intersection and then again when I was on the highway changing lanes. There were cars heading towards me but the initial distance was quite comfortable and safe. With the hesitation of the X3, I was actually in a panic and stepped really hard on the gas pedal to avoid a potential collision. And since then I have been stepping on the gas pedal much harder, guzzling gas, not to mention rough starts off of a full stop. I have seen countless internet threads of people complaining about the same thing with the X3 model, both versions, however equipped. I would strongly suggest someone look at how this car"S software is failing to function and fix this thing. I will report the problem to the appropriate governmental agencies. The veering is still there and eventually I will come to pass the issue with the low tread life run-flats BMW's 2-23-11 visit, dealer aligned vehicle, kept car one day due to factory specs not yet being loaded on new vehicle model; on 7-13-11, dealer noted car left in Transport mode, removed codes from computer software and car drove ok for 4 days; 7-23-11 took it back for same issue as noted above with lag in acceleration becoming dangerous and still veering, this time dealer noted nothing wrong with car after test drive comparison. Gave car back, still have issues which prompted E-mail.

- Plantation, FL, USA

problem #1

May 132011


  • 680 miles
The contact owns a 2011 BMW X3. The contact stated the vehicle would abnormally veer towards the right while driving at various speeds. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where they were unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was made not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileages were 680. The VIN was unavailable. The consumer stated the dealer was going to replace one tire and two wheels. Updated 06/10/11 the consumer stated the dealer found a belt had shifted and performed a 4-wheel alignment for a second time. In two weeks. Updated 06/15/11

- Oil City, PA, USA

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