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 9 of 14)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #104

May 102011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 45,300 miles


Driving my 2003 BMW Z4 on a warm day and the steering locked up like it was sticky. Almost hit someone it occurs on any warm temp days and any speed I paid to have the software updated and it didn't help. My BMW repair shop thinks it the steering column. Has heard of this problem before.

- Clarkston , MI, USA

problem #103

Apr 272011


  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW Z4. The contact was driving 45 mph when the steering wheel became stiff and locked abnormally. The contact would have to allow the vehicle to cool off before the steering would reset itself. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis ut the technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 38,000.

- Sherman, CT, USA

problem #102

May 062011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 70,415 miles
Sticky steering and difficulty maintaining steering when the vehicle has been sitting in the sun parked for several hours. This happens every time these conditions occur ie. Afternoon commute. The feeling is unnerving makes you afraid you will hit someone or something if you do not fight back against the wheel.

- Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #101

May 022011


  • miles


Steering becomes sticky or unresponsive while driving. This especially occurs when the outside temperatures are hot (+75' F). When the condition occurs extra effort is required to correct the problem.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #100

May 092011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 9,000 miles
Power steering on 2003 BMW Z4 3.01I is "twitchy" / non-responsive at center point causing handling problems for the car. This non-responsive power steering on 2003 BMW Z4 contributed to a failure to steer around road debris which damaged the vehicle.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #99

Apr 272011


  • 56,370 miles
The steering binds making it very difficult to make minor corrections to keep the vehicle on course and requiring extra effort to initiate a turn. When the "bind" releases, over-correction occurs, causing the vehicle to swerve. This is my wife's car, and being a rather petite woman, the problem pose an increased safety hazard for her. I first noticed this problem in August, 2010, while on a long highway drive. The car has not been driven over the winter. When I took it out on April 27, 2011, it was a very warm day and the problem seemed worse than I remembered. At one point I swerved into an opposite lane; fortunately there was no oncoming traffic.

- Stoughton, MA, USA

problem #98

Apr 282011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles


Power steering intermittently goes out while driving the car. Car becomes very difficult to steer safely.

- Wa, WA, USA

problem #97

May 192010


  • 19,881 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW Z4. While the vehicle was being serviced by an authorized dealer for routine maintenance, the contact was advised that the air bag warning light would illuminate sporadically. The vehicle was not repaired for the failure nor was a diagnostic performed. The failure recurred sporadically for approximately one year. Later, while driving approximately 45 mph, the steering wheel became stuck and difficult to turn. The failure was intermittent and the vehicle was not taken to the dealer for the failure. The manufacturer was not contacted regarding the failure. The failure mileage was 19,881 and the approximate current mileage was 22,000.

- Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #96

Apr 032011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 62,581 miles
2003 BMW Z4 steering issues, while on the highway I expereience issues with the steering locking up and intensity to change the wheel is greater, resulting in oversteering when it 'breaks free'. dangerous.

- Burnsville, MN, USA

problem #95

Mar 272011


  • 118,000 miles
Driving in a 70 degreee temperature on the highway, the steering will tend to have a sticky feel to it and tend to push to the right. When you pull back you feel a clicking sensation from the steering wheel. And the cycle start again. The dealer is saying that it is the run flat tires, but I replaed it with a non- run flat tire - same steering issues. They reboot the computer to get rid of this issue, but it is still here. Very nervous to drive the car on the highway. The issue seems more apparent when it is warm.

- Elk Grove, CA, USA

problem #94

Mar 192011


  • 28,500 miles


Partial loss of steering while driving the interstate. Vehicle started to cross lanes and steering would not lock into center when corrected. Thankful that I am an experienced driver. If my daughter would have been driving she would have over corrected and crashed.

- South Daytona, FL, USA

problem #93

Jan 012010

Z4 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Power steering column failed in 2003 BMW Z4 3.0I with less than 45,000 miles. Best way to describe the steering was that it became magnetic and twitchy. This would usually happen after driving the car for a period of time at highway speeds. I first experienced this driving back from orlando, fl to jacksonville, fl on I-95. BMW dealer coped the part ($3,000) but made me pay for labor ($600). I was not happy as I truly felt that this was a safety issue. I pushed, but was told that was their best offer so I took it. Car was out of factory BMW warranty.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #92

Jan 302011


  • 63,000 miles
While driving my 2003 Z4 at moderate (above 45mph) and higher speeds the car becomes difficult to steer in a straight line down the road. This does not appear to happen on perfectly smooth roads. This appears in two ways. On bumpy roads, the car will suddenly jerk to either the left or the right and require aggressive corrections to the steering wheel to keep the car from veering out of it's lane. This sudden jerking to the left or the right occurs without warning, so corrections to the steering wheel to keep the car in its lane can not be made until the car has actually jerked one way or the other. On numerous occasions the car has crossed the center line into the oncoming lane or onto the shoulder of the road before I could react. Driving the car at highway speeds (65-70mph) takes constant vigilance and requires slowing down to speeds far below the speed limit (45-50mph) on the roughest of pavement to make me feel I can keep the car under control and in my lane. The second way this car is difficult to steer is when there are rutes worn in the road from heavy traffic. (most highways) when attempting to change lanes, the car will not move to the left or right as input is given to the steering wheel. As more input is given, the car will suddenly jump in the direction of steering input, requiring input in the opposite direction to keep the car from moving over to far and crossing into a lane not intended. This difficulty in steering is detectable when changing lanes is started and the car does not react to the initial steering input. With practice, I have been able to develop the skill to time my corrective input to the steering as the car completes its lane change. Even with my getting used to this condition, lane changes are not smooth, but jerky maneuvers instead. This car takes an extra ordinarily high level of skill and alertness to drive safely at moderate to highway speeds and seems outright dangerous to anyone unaware of this condition.

- Clemson, SC, USA

problem #91

Jul 012010


  • 39,500 miles
The steering mechanism often becomes sticky and jerky, making the car less predictable to drive. It occurs most often with the temperature above 80 degrees F. this condition has occurred intermittently over the last 3 years. The following information regarding this issue was found on a BMW site: NHTSA called me today! they are investigating...BMW has advised them it is due to expansion of a gear in the steering column due to heat. They know about the problem and corrected it in late 2006 models. Not treating this as a serious issue however have repaired "under warranty" those still under warranty and not repairing others with the $2-3,000 repair. NHTSA says probably not going to be successful based on findings to date. There have not been that many complaints to them. This issue is not driver or wear related and should be covered by the manufacturer. To force the car owners to pay retail for parts and labor to fix a design flaw that is dangerous is wrong.

- Westerville, OH, USA

problem #90

Jul 152010

Z4 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
I own a 2003 BMW Z4 3.0. the steering mechanism often becomes sticky and jerky, making the car less predictable to drive. It occurs most often with the temperature above 80 degrees F. this condition has occurred intermittently over the last 3 years.

- Pfafftown, NC, USA

problem #89

Sep 202010

Z4 6-cyl

  • 76,888 miles
Steering sticks or binds when outside air temperature is very warm.

- Toano, VA, USA

problem #88

Jul 012010

Z4 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW Z4. The contact stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle would pull to the left and the vehicle was difficult to turn. The failure was intermittent. The vehicle had not been inspected by the dealer. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 30,000. Updated 02/03/11 updated 03/17/11

- Grottoes, VA, USA

problem #87

Nov 302010

Z4 6-cyl

  • 27,000 miles
I own a 2003 BMW Z4 with 27K miles. Recently the steering has become sticky and difficult to operate. The dealer states that the vehicle needs a new steering column costing $3300. This is a safety issue and should be the responsibility of the manufacture.

- Bonita Springs, FL, USA

problem #86

Jun 082004


  • 7,000 miles
If car is parked outside in the sun and it gets hot (and until you drive it and have the A/C on long enough to cool off the car) the steering sticks. It makes steering jerkey and hard to handle. It does this every time it gets hot.

- Bonifay, FL, USA

problem #85

Aug 122010

Z4 6-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
The steering on a 2003 BMW Z4 2.5I will "stick" and must be manually forced to allow steering to continue. The first time this happened I nearly drove into a wall because I thought I just needed more force to turn the wheel - however once the wheel is no longer in the "sticking spot" steering is normal, which causes oversteer and accident potential.

- Port Charlotte, FL, USA

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