really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,495 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 3 of 14)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

problem #221

Aug 012011


  • 32,000 miles


Approximately three years ago the steering on my Z-4 began sticking when the car was going straight ahead. On the advice of a repair shop I had the steering rack assembly replaced and to got the BMW dealer to check the work and provide a four-wheel alignment. This did not help.. the problem seems to be worsening and is worse during hotter temperatures. For the past three years my BMW dealer had said that they could not find anything wrong with steering. Now last week they told me that I need to replace an eps assembly in the steering system for a cost of approximately $3500. I have been checking several BMW owners chat rooms and discovered numerous other owners having the same problem with 2003 - 2005 Z-4S.

- Annapolis, MD, USA

problem #220

Jul 222014


  • miles
I am filling this complaint do to my car started to fill unsafe will not stay center and continues to pull on both directions its a struggle to keep the car on the road knowing that at any moment will trow you to either side please review my claim.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #219

Jun 082013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 41,150 miles
I bought the 2003 BMW Z4 3.0 L. in September of 2012. I live and drive the car in portland Oregon where the whether is rather moderate in the summer months but when the temperature reaches above 90 F the steering gets so tight that at highway speed especially I have to fight the steering wheel to keep the car on track. Steering gets so tight due to outside temperatures that driving becomes scary and unsafe. When the weather is predicted with temperatures 90 F. and above I choose to drive my old BMW 528 which is the true ultimate driving machine. Safe and reliable. BMW must recognize and admit the engineering flaw built in the Z4 BMW and recall before serious fatal accidents happen! please contact me for additional questions. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Lake Oswego, OR, USA

problem #218

Aug 012004


  • miles


Steering become - notchy/sticky. This makes small steering corrections very difficult during highway driving. The problem seems to be temperature related in my case. With colder the outside temperatures, the behavior is delayed until the a longer driving duration has occurred. This problem was evident within one year of my purchase. I did not notice it very often, since I was only driving to and from my work, low mileage and short times. As I have now been driving the car more often, I have found this problem evident on all trip. I have reported this to the BMW dealership where I purchased the car (new). They informed me that I would need a complete steering column replacement at my expense (approximately $4000). The also suggested that I contact BMW customer service. I did and basically got a null response. The car has always been well maintained, no accidents, parked in a garage and has less than 57000 miles. The warranty of course has expired. I cannot believe that the solution to my problem is due to any type of normal wear and age. I have also found that there are now numerous reports of the same steering issue. The car is drivable, however with extreme caution at highway speeds. The issue is control of the car at highway speeds - when changing lanes or even attempting to maintain a straight path within the lanes. As the temperatures increase in longer drives, the steering difficulty becomes worse. When the problems starts, the smallest control corrections for the steering is more than 5 degrees. This causes a large effect on the cars path and making it nearly impossible to drive in a straight line when attempting to stay in the driving lane. I would like BMW to correct this problem at their expense. In my view, this is a design defect introduced by BMW.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #217

Jul 112008

Z4 6-cyl

  • 4,000 miles
Basically the steering becomes stiff in warm weather. The stiffness occurs in my car after a half an hour or so of driving at temperatures over about 75 to 80 degrees. I believe it's dangerous, especially when changing lanes on the highway at speed during heavy traffic, and am very surprised that there hasn't been a recall so far. It also takes most of the pleasure out of driving in warm weather with the top down, which is the reason I bought the Z4 in the first place.

- Westborough, MA, USA

problem #216

May 052014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
Lost of power steering.

- Bristol, RI, USA

problem #215

May 312010

Z4 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Steering is sticky during warmer weather and sticks on center and is difficult to turn from center.

- Hendersonville, TN, USA

problem #214

Jul 012013


  • 72,000 miles


Steering wheel sometimes is "sticking" while driving making turning a little more labored than normal.

- Ypsilanti, MI, USA

problem #213

Aug 022013


  • 80,000 miles
Same problem as all other 2003 BMW Z4 steering complaints. Vehicle started sticking when making even slight steering adjustments. Always starts this about 5 minutes into a drive. Has continued to this date in March 2014 but now in addition to sticking get a loud squeal when turning wheel while driving.

- Coos Bay, OR, USA

problem #212

Aug 012012


  • 48,000 miles
The problem with this car is "sticky" steering. It occurs mostly at high speeds in hot weather. Many BMW forums out line the same problem with the 2003 Z4. It is extremely dangerous to be traveling at a high rate of speed and have the steering become so stiff you can hardly steer the car. BMW will not acknowledge the problem even though many people have complained. I am sure you have received similar complaints and I hope will do something to force BMW to correct this engineering defect and repair those cars which are affected.

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #211

Jan 022012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Insert this link to read the same problem I am having: www.aboutautomobile.com/complaint/2004/BMW/Z4/steering.

- Petaluma, CA, USA

problem #210

Jan 022012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
My 2003 BMW Z4 is extremely dangerous to drive, while I am on flat surfaces traveling on the freeway the steering wheel all of a sudden will pull to the left and then to the right constantly and I have to correct it every 2 seconds and sometimes it just locks into a left turn position when I am on the freeway and all I am trying to do is keep the car straight going down the freeway. At this point I am afraid an accident will happen sometime in the future and I have been reading thousands of posts on the web with people with this same car. At what point are you guys going to activate a vehicle recall to fix the steering column design, perhaps after I either get into an accident or I or a family member gets killed, enough is enough, I am begging you please issue a recall to fix the flawed design of the steering of this car.....!!!! [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Petaluma, CA, USA

problem #209

Nov 192012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
About a week after I purchased the 2003 BMW Z-4 I noticed the steering wheel sticking, BMW refused to correct the situation or do anything about it. The cost to repair is $3600. It is an extremely hazardous driving condition, that I do not have the extra funds to repair. After research on the web it is apparent that this is an all around issue with the Z4 BMW for years 2003-2005. This should of been recalled and repaired at BMW's expense many years ago and has gone with out the proper recall for far to long. This issue has nearly caused many accidents for me since having the vehicle. I can not afford the repair, I can not consciously sell the vehicle in the condition it is currently in, and I can not afford an accident or worse the loss of life. I am stuck with a non drivable vehicle, making $350 payments for nothing. Please NHTSA help rectify a sticky situation (literally, no pun intended) before all these Z-4's cause many deaths.

- Santa Rosa Beach, FL, USA

problem #208

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 #207

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 #206

Sep 042013


  • miles
I have had my 2003 BMW Z4 for seven years. The steering has a tight place at dead center. It takes extra force to turn left or right until you pass center. It is real tricky on a curved road. I only drive it on special days; but, I noticed it really started sticking bad this summer. I do not have $3200 to fix a dealer related problem. I am making this report on behalf of myself and the additional complaints that I have read about since this problem has become dangerous for me as well as for all Z4 owners. I trust and hope BMW stands up and does something to get this problem fixed. I love my Z4. It use to be fun to drive. It is has become a bit scary to drive and a great worry for me when my wife takes it out I hate filling this form out; but, I feel that it is necessary or nothing will get done. If your having this problem ; also, I pray that you join in and fill out your complaint before someone is killed or seriously hurt thanks, D. in Texas.

- Andrews, TX, USA

problem #205

Jul 012011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
Electric steering motor started malfunctioning.

- Northport, AL, USA

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