really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
65,735 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 BMW Z4 Owner Comments

problem #12

Mar 272016


  • 143,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 BMW Z4. The contact stated that while driving at 20 mph, various warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel and the vehicle began to accelerate independently without the accelerator pedal being depressed. The vehicle began to veer side to side and as a result, an oncoming vehicle on the left lane crashed into the contact's rear driver side. The air bags failed to deploy. A police report was filed. The contact did not sustain any injuries. The vehicle was towed to a junkyard. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 143,000. The VIN was not available.

- Myrtle Beach, SC, USA

problem #11

Jan 012010


  • 30,000 miles
Passenger door lock will not unlock with the key fob or the interior switch. All other locks respond appropriately. The door will open manually with the interior handle. I replaced the lock actuator with no improvement. I am now trying to replace the electrical relay. The date below is approximate. I am the original purchaser. I have not been happy with BMW service department.

- Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #10

Jul 032015


  • 71,565 miles
The central locking system does not work correctly. It operates the glove box, passenger and driver doors as well as gas cap door. It does not respond properly to fob or by key. At times all locks are frozen to the point where you can not open to get in or gas. Right now passenger door has been locked for 30+ days. Cannot open at all. Took to a mechanic who ordered a new actuater from BMW dealer, first one did not work. Second one installed and the problem is not solved. ($240). Mechanic tells me that something is burning and I must take to dealership. I can smell the burning and I am afraid and will not drive. Looked up on internet, there are 100S of consumers with the same issue. This car only has 71,000 miles on it.

- Westerville, OH, USA

problem #9

Nov 212012


  • 55,000 miles


Air bag warning light has been on for three years. Have had 3 tests incl lieth BMW test that verifies it is the passenger side occupancy sensor mat. This defect is a known problem in many BMW models. BMW refuses to fix it yet requires me to do these diagnosis (for a fee) over and over. Not only that - they have drastically raised the price to repair to >$1400. I seriously question the safety of the car and feel BMW uses the issue as an opportunity to make high profits off the safety concerns of its customers.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #8

Nov 252013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
When steering sharply or turning the wheel frequently like to parallel park for example, the electrical suddenly completely shuts down in my car. The car's power completely dies and I lose ability to steer. Sometimes this is while making a quick turn with oncoming traffic approaching quickly. I must stop turning, wait for the power to turn back on, and resume driving as soon as possible. This is very dangerous and I am scared to drive my car.

- Newbury Park, CA, USA

problem #7

Jul 042012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
The problem is that the steering wheel does not return to center without considerable assistance. The problem is definitely worse when car is "warmed up" and is also worsened by increased outdoor temperature. This is a real safety concern. My dealer charged me $104 for diagnostics and told me to keep the battery charged. This has had ne effect on the problem.

- Moneta, VA, USA

problem #6

Oct 072011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 65,250 miles


All sensors lit up and will not go off: Tire pressure, traction control, brake, air pressure, airbag, etc. Sensors.

- Winston-Salem, NC, USA

problem #5

Jan 032012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
The power steering assist has failed on the car making it very difficult to steer. Luckily it failed while on a straight part of an interstate as my daughter was driving the car and this severely frightened her. She did not overreact and we took appropriate measures to get the vehicle home. Online research indicates that this issue was being investigated by NHTSA in 2010 but can not find any indication that an actual recall is in place. This is a very dangerous thing to happen, especially in a state with a lot of winding roads (Tennessee). I purchased the car used last year and also had a water pump failure that resulted in a blown engine. I wish this issue had been investigated also as I understand that it is a common failure with this particular engine. There is also a problem with the speedometer and fuel gauges reading incorrectly. I read that one owner was contacted by BMW North America after they filed a complaint regarding the power steering with NHTSA and BMW voluntarily fixed the problem for the owner. I hope I have the same luck after posting this complaint. Thank you.

- Greenbrier, TN, USA

problem #4

Oct 062011


  • 71,000 miles
My steering wheel light goes on then the car handling becomes very difficult to control. The problem started one day on the highway. The wheel was suddenly hard. This problem happens several times a day: When I start the car and at any random time while I'm driving. I have to restart the car in order to get the power steering back (before the next failure). This is very dangerous since nothing is telling me when the next issue is going to happen. I'm always scared to make a turn or to change lanes.

- Coral Gables, FL, USA

problem #3

Jul 202009


  • 35,000 miles
My 2003 BMW Z4 has sticky and/or binding electric power assisted steering control when the temperatures are 75 degrees or warmer, making the car difficult and dangerous to steer. Because of this, oversteering results, which causes the vehicle to lunge into the next lane or onto the shoulder. This becomes a serious safety issue when changing lanes or making minor steering corrections. The problem goes away overnight when cooler temperatures prevail and the power steering unit has had a chance to cool down.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #2

Jan 152009


  • 70,000 miles
Passenger seat air bag light is on. Dealership says it's failed seat sensor and requires replacement of entire seat.

- Winter Garden, FL, USA

problem #1

Jan 162004

Z4 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 18,000 miles
My car stalled on the road going fifty miles an hour on university city blvd. In charlotte North Carolina. I was almost rear ended by another vehicle but luckily the driver was able to avoid me. I have never been that scared in my life. This was the third time the car had broken down in nine months. The first time being May 27, 2003. The second being October 25, 2003. And the third time being January 16, 2004 (this is the time it stalled going 50 miles on the road). The dealership, BMW roadside assistance, and the managers at hendrick imports were all aware that my car had stalled on the road! being that my life was at issue I was upset and they assured me that it would never happen again. I even let them keep the car an extra few days to make it sure the porblem was corrected. This is why I did not take any previous action. Now on March 5, 2004 about six weeks later the car broke down again with the same problems as the first three times. This time it stalled while driving in my apartment which is not a big deal because there is no traffic!! what if I was on the interstate and it stalled again, I would not be writing this letter to you I would be in the ground! they just want to fix it and put me on the road again, but I know the car is unsafe but they do not seem to care. I just wanted to let the NHTSA know about this safety issue!! thank god I am still alive to write this letter to you!

- Cornelius, NC, USA

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