really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,643 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.

2004 BMW Z4 steering problems

steering problem

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2004 BMW Z4 Owner Comments (Page 10 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #152

Dec 162011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 42,000 miles


Vehicle bought July 2011 with 40000 miles. In December, 2011 on the return trip (200 miles each way), after a 5 hr layover, the steering on the car started to stick in the straight ahead position. When the car drifted to the left and steering needed to be corrected to the right, the steering wheel would not move until a lot of force was applied and then the car would over correct to the right, some times going on the shoulder of the road. It did not seem to be as prevalent when corrections to the left were needed. Since then it has occurred on at least two other occasions, always on expressways and at speeds in excess of 50 mph. And when the temperature is above 70 degrees F.

- Augusta, GA, USA

problem #151

Jan 062012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
The steering binds at almost any speed. I noticed it when driving straight forward. When a correction in direction is made the wheel binds until greater pressure is applied. It seems the problem is requiring even more pressure for the correction. I called bmwna and they told me they have heard nothing about this problem. I am in fear for my safety as well as others around BMW's Z-4 2004.

- Staugustine, FL, USA

problem #150

Jan 052012


  • 32,750 miles
The steering becomes stuck. Under highway driving conditions may cause erratic control and ultimately an accident. The steering seems to bind and needs greater pressure to free the steering itself.

- St Augustine , FL, USA

problem #149

Nov 182010

Z4 6-cyl

  • 55,300 miles


I just recently purchased a 2004 BMW Z4. I noticed that while driving on the highway that the steering is malfunctioning. While traveling in a straight path, the steering gets "stuck" and you need to jerk the steering wheel to make a turn to the right or left, or even to change lanes. This is a very dangerous action and could cause a serious accident. I have notified BMW North America and indy wholesale direct, the dealer that I purchased this car from. Neither one seems to want to help in this situation and both have ignored my complaints. This is the second complaint I have filed with the NHTSA. I did not get a response from my original complaint a couple of weeks ago.

- Camdenton, MO, USA

problem #148

Nov 182011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 55,300 miles
Driving on a 70 degree fall day on interstate 70, near St. Louis, the steering became locked in a center position. I was traveling around 65 to 70 mph when this occurred. I had to jerk the steering wheel to get it off center to make a turn. This happened a few times before I got to my destination. Jerking a steering wheel at a high rate of speed on a crowded highway is a harrowing experience and, to say the least, very unsafe and dangerous. I just purchased this car and I am truly nervous about driving this vehicle or letting my wife drive this vehicle. I have contacted the dealer and am waiting to hear back.

- Camdenton, MO, USA

problem #147

Jul 042010

Z4 6-cyl

  • 19,400 miles
Power steering sticks on hot days typically above 80 degrees. Problem usually occurs on the highway at speeds above 50 mph but has happened at lower speeds as well. It takes excessive force to release the sticking which results in overcorrection. This has created a dangerous situation on several occasions. After much research it appears that this is a significant issue in 2004 Z4's. I don't understand why BMW hasn't voluntarily had a recall or why NHTSA hasn't demanded one. This is a dangerous situation identified by many Z4 owners.

- North Andover, MA, USA

problem #146

Sep 192011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 91,500 miles


When I was driving home from work today my car experienced a power steering issue where the steering wheel would "freeze" or "stick" in one place. I had to exert a lot of force on the wheel to get the steering wheel to move but when it "broke free" it turned a lot with the help of the power steering pump because I was putting so much force on the wheel to get it to move. I had a hard time keeping the car in my lane. The power steering was doing this the entire drive home of 20 miles. The car was very unsafe to drive and this issue needs to be fixed since it is a hazard. If the power steering was just not working at all, it would be okay because then at least the steering wheel would be hard to move all of the time so I could control how much I turned the steering wheel accurately. Since the power steering works "intermittently" but only after I apply a lot of force on the wheel to get the wheel to break free, the car veers violently when the power steering actually does work. This problem is very common per the website and should be recalled. This failure is reported to the NHTSA on cars ranging from 15,000 miles up to over 100,000 miles. The problem from what I was reading, is more evident in cold or hot temperatures. It was 102F outside today in phoenix on my drive home. The passenger air bag seat sensor was flashing on and off when there was a passenger. The air bag malfunction light turned on after this. I do not know if the airbag will inflate if there is a passenger in the car or not. BMW states my car is not covered under the recall according to the VIN but the car fits the model, make, and year of the present recall. How can my car have the same problems as the recall describes, be the same make/model/year, but not be covered under the recall? thanks for your time! [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #145

Aug 272010

Z4 6-cyl

  • miles
On hot days the steering will catch and require unusually higher force to steer right or left. Later at night when the car is cooler the steering will be normal.

- The Villages, FL, USA

problem #144

Aug 232011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 46,000 miles
Upon starting up the BMW Z4 there was noticeable play in the steering. The play in the steering is enough to so that when turning the steering wheel it is at least 4 inches from engagement right to engagement left. In addition, once there is engagement it engages with what may be described as a sticky spot after which it is necessary to keep turning the steering wheel or the steering again disengages and there is the 4 inches of play before it re-engages. While traveling down the highway it is very dangerous because when steering straight ahead the steering has the 4 inches of play making the car weave to the right or to the left and when correcting this weave the steering jerks through the sticky spot at the beginning of steering engagement and by the time the wheel is turned just enough to stay on the road in the right direction the play makes the car veer in the opposite direction. In order to drive this car on a nice highway it is necessary to constantly rapidly mover the steering wheel back and forth through the four inches of play or the car would go into on coming traffic or off the road. I would feel safer if I knew it would go off the road but the problem is play in the middle and it could go either into on coming traffic or off the road. It is quite dangerous to drive. We asked the dealership about it and were told this was a $3000 plus repair. I do not think that this manufactures defect should be a chargeable repair. I guess we will just need to wait for a crash or a recall.

- Newport News, VA, USA

problem #143

Jun 012010


  • 29,000 miles
The steering sticks while driving. Very scary so I don't drive the car for more than 4 or 5 mile trips. Won't take it on a highway anymore, since I have no confidence in the steering. I was told that the tires had broken bands and that might have been what I was feeling, so I replaced all four tires but the problem continued. I wouldn't be able to afford to replace the steering column and whatever else might be necessary. The tires were a huge expense. I can't very well sell the car, since I don't feel it is safe. Please help. Too many people have the same complaint, for this to be expected and acceptable.

- Zelienople, PA, USA

problem #142

Aug 232011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 6,000 miles


2004 BMW Z4 3.0. steering gets very loose and one can not steer the car accurately at times. Very scary when this happens and one loses all confidence N the car.

- Webster Groves, MO, USA

problem #141

Aug 142011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 27,000 miles
My 2004 BMW Z4 3.0I has difficulty with steering when the temperatures exceed 95 degrees. The car steering is "sticky" for lack of a better description. It is scary to drive home from work after it has been sitting in the sun. From what I have read, this is a failure of the steering column.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #140

Aug 062011


  • 33,900 miles
Steering is sticky not allowing steering wheel to return to center. Takes constant pressure to steer and keep centered. Very difficult to keep in center of lane at highway speeds.

- Eden Prairie, MN, USA

problem #139

Aug 042011


  • 23,500 miles
Writes: I have the same problem. 2004 BMW Z4 with 23,500 miles! dealer iwill replace the steering column for a cost of $3,700! where can I find help in fixing this problem being a senior citizen on limited income the $3,700 repair bill is a problem is there a number to call BMW to issue a complaint thanks 2004 BMW Z4 roadster VIN the problem occurs when the outside temp get into the 90's. information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #138

Jun 092011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 56,000 miles
After the car sits outside on a hot day when driving home on the highway between 55-60, the steering pulls to either the right or left and feels like it isn't going to unstick. It takes a lot of effort to correct the pull. It is very scary and definitely feels like something is terribly wrong with the steering. Three different days after sitting in the parking lot it did this when I was driving home. Never does it while driving to work in the morning from the garage and has never done it while driving in the evening or at night. We just bought the car from a different owner and of course she did not mention any problems. I am afraid to drive it to work now because it feels like it will get permanently locked up and I'll end up in the ditch.

- Middleton, WI, USA

problem #137

Jun 182011

Z4 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,500 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW Z4. The contact stated was driving 25 mph when the steering column began sticking. The contact stated that the failure was intermittent. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who advised that the steering column would need replacing. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 12,500. Updated 8/30/11 updated 09/27/11

- North Canton, OH, USA

problem #136

Jul 192011


  • 11,000 miles
Normal drivng. Clunking sound in 2004 BMW Z4 steering column. 11500 miles. Nothing done to date.

- Eden Prairie, MN, USA

problem #135

Jul 102011


  • miles
Lack of steering control.

- Paw Paw, MI, USA

problem #134

Jul 102011

Z4 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,000 miles
BMW Z4 roadster 23000 miles steering column sticks which has the possibility of causing a crash with oncoming traffic.

- Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #133

Jun 302011


  • 2,927 miles
The steering has a loud popping sound when turned to the left or right. Steering has become stiff. A mechanic is doing a thorough inspection and we are awaiting his final analysis of this problem. This vehicle has less than 3,000 miles but because it is a 2004, BMW will not cover this defect. Please notify me if further information is needed. I do not know if the vehicle is safe to drive at this time.

- Butler, TN, USA

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