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 5 of 14)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #184

Aug 202012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 12,500 miles


Date listed is an approximation... I bought the vehicle used and during the hot weather the steering felt like it was sticking. Now that I've owned the vehicle for a couple of years I can tell that when the vehicle is left in the hot sun the steering "sticks" which causes it to move erratically. This happens no matter the speed and is very dangerous. Due to the sticking I am very wary driving the car when the weather is hot and the car sits in the sun. I read that there is an investigation into this issue and want to include that my car is experiencing the same issue as listed in the investigation. This is a dangerous defect and the NHTSA should force BMW to fix the problem on the affected vehicles. I should not have to drive a vehicle that enough evidence is available to confirm there is a manufacturer defect.

- Barrington, NH, USA

problem #183

May 092013


  • 36,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW Z4. The contact stated that while driving approximately 45 mph, the steering wheel exhibited a jerking motion when attempting a turn. The contact applied force to the steering wheel in order to continue driving. The failure occurred only in hotter weather temperatures. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 36,000.

- Kennewick , WA, USA

problem #182

May 062012


  • 79,650 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW Z4. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the steering became sticky and impacted the drivers ability to control the vehicle. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis but the technician could not replicate the failure. The vehicle had not been repaired. The VIN was unavailable. The failure and current mileage was 79,650.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #181

Aug 072012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles


At ambient temperatures above 75 deg the steering gets stiff and feels sticky. After making a turn the wheels do not return to the center position on their own but require driver to turn steering wheel back to center. Driving in a straight line requires constant correction because the steering binds and causes the driver to oversteering in order to overcome the stiffness.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #180

Apr 092012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 68,250 miles
Steering wheel sticks (still does as of March 30, 2013) and vehicle becomes hard to steer and control, especially when the weather is hot.

- Winston-Salem, NC, USA

problem #179

Feb 262013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
I have a 2003 BMW Z4 2.5I I recently purchased. I noticed the "sticky" steering for the first time the night I purchased it. After searching the internet I discovered that hundreds of Z4 owners have this serious steering issue. The steering is not so bad in cool weather, but warmer temperatures have an adverse effect on keeping the car on the road. I have had this issue numerous times in the 1 month that I have owned the car. Yesterday I almost lost control going down the highway on a curve driving at the posted speed limit. Z4 owners are afraid to drive the car due to this sticky steering issue. I didn't have to look hard on the internet to find that this issue wide-spread and has been grossly ignored. I was also surprised at the number of affected cars, with no action by BMW or our government. What are the powers at be waiting for" a death because of the steering issue. The car needs a recall for a replacement steering column or a bulletin to simply bring the car to a dealer for a replacement at no cost to the owner. BMW is aware of the faulty steering columns. Why has this not been fixed yet" please do something!

- Milton, FL, USA

problem #178

Jul 112012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 49,000 miles


The steering feels 'sticky'. driving at roadspeed, esp on interstate where you're trying to maintain straight line, when you need to make slight steering adjustments, the steering sticks and when you give it enough effort to 'unstick' it, your car moves erratically. Basically, when it 'unsticks' it causes the driver to over-correct and oversteer. It does this when the car has been sitting in the sun on warm days, I.e outside ambient temps over 80 degrees F.

- Gastonia, NC, USA

problem #177

Feb 082013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
Power steering broke down. I read a lot of complaints online trying to research what kind of experiences other owners had and there are too many issues with steering with these cars to be ignored. Thank god that my power steering stopped working at a low speed, but what would happen if I was traveling at 70 mph? I had "sticky" steering in this car for years but this took it to another level. This issue should have been recalled.

- Phoenixville, PA, USA

problem #176

Apr 012012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 4,500 miles
Steering wheel goes back & forth on its own at highway speeds. Very scary ! not safe! feels like there is no control. I paid a lot of money for the ultimate driving machine that I am afraid to drive.

- Brooklyn Hts, OH, USA

problem #175

Apr 012012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 4,500 miles
Steering wheel goes back & forth on its own at highway speeds. Very scary ! not safe! feels like there is no control. I payed a lot of money for the ultimate driving machine that I am afraid to drive.

- Brooklyn Hts, OH, USA

problem #174

Dec 082012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 87,000 miles


Steering wheel sticks then releases causing loss of control.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #173

Sep 252012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 77,825 miles
Driving South on santa barbara attempted to turn right onto davis blvd. As I was turning the steering stuck. That surprised me and almost lost control. It took a heavy effort to correct the direction of the car.this problem seems to occur at high ambient temperatures.

- Naples, FL, USA

problem #172

Jul 152009

Z4 6-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
The power steering becomes dangerous when the car is exposed to heat 80+ degrees/sun. The steering wheel "sticks" in certain spots and is hard to move. It will randomly stop "sticking" giving an unexpected push in any given direction. Looks to be a frequent complaint. Car is unsafe to drive in the heat.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #171

Apr 162012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 93,000 miles
BMW Z4 steering - no power steering, causes difficulty in managing & steering car.

- Mansfield, TX, USA

problem #170

Aug 222012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 57,686 miles
There is a catch or binding feeling in the steering after the car has been driven a while and is at full operating temperature (gets worse when warm). I noticed this after having driven it a few miles; it feels like the car wants to track on its own as if it was following a rut in the road even though it is on smooth pavement and the wheel has to be forced back in the a straight line. It happened to me as I entered an intersection and the steering stuck, turning me into the on-coming lane. I worry that this may happen when my wife is driving and result in an accident if it were to tighten up unexpectedly.

- Mt Pleasant, TN, USA

problem #169

Jul 302012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 28,500 miles
On my drive home from work, after the car had been parked outside, I experienced "sticky steering." Just like the complaints from investigation PE10020 and countless internet posts over the past decade, the steering wheel movement was stuck in place and required extra force, then it would release unexpectedly causing me to over-correct. Worse than just heavy steering is the fact that it needs extra force to get the steering wheel "unstuck" but then the assist kicks in and you're over-compensating which causes zig-zagging. It was almost impossible to maintain my lane on the interstate and at one point I dropped two wheels on the shoulder. I have now contacted BMW corporate and they tell me they're being generous by replacing the known-faulty steering rack -- so long as I pay $1,000+ in labor. I think this is outrageous. It is wrong that this known defect costs the consumer any money to replace. BMW should cover parts and labor. They know this part is faulty, everyone I've talked to says "oh, the Z4, yeah I've seen this steering problem on lots of them" but they're quick to remind me that it was not an official recall so they aren't obligated to do anything. This is a safety issue and should be the basis for a mandatory recall (you know, like the one they are doing on current models with similar power steering failures!).

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #168

Jun 172011


  • 100,000 miles
Sticky steering causes over steering.

- Chiefland, FL, USA

problem #167

Apr 152012


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW Z4. While driving approximately 45 mph, the steering wheel exhibited excessive play which caused the vehicle to travel out of its lane. The failure recurred whenever the vehicle was in operation. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who stated the vehicle operated normally. There was a front end wheel alignment performed and all four tires were balanced. The failure continued after the repair. The contact planned to have the vehicle inspected by a different mechanic. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 54,000.

- West Columbia, SC, USA

problem #166

Jul 022012


  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW Z4. The contact stated that while turning at 5 mph, the steering wheel seized. The steering wheel became stuck in the centered position and made it very difficult to change lanes on the highway. The failure occurred frequently at all speeds. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic that specialized on BMW manufactured vehicles. The mechanic diagnosed the failure and stated that the repairs would be very expensive. The vehicle was not repaired. The dealer was not notified. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 87,000 and the current mileage was 87,300.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #165

Jul 052012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 26,500 miles
Driving 35 mph straight. Lost power steering. Pulled over shut off engine. Restarted engine power steering returned. Lost power steering again within one mile. Returned home.

- Hiawatha, IA, USA

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