really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,222 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 12 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #119

Jul 012008

Z4 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles


Several years ago, I noticed that my 2004 BMW Z4 lost its otherwise smooth steering after being parked in the sun on hot days. The steering would become sticky and required extra and inconsistent effort to make low-speed as well higher-speed turns. This occurred most frequently during the initial part of the turn rather than well into it. These events were infrequent as I rarely park out in the sun, but very disconcerting. When I had the car in for regular service to the dealer I complained about the phenomenon but always got the "can?T reproduce the problem? and ?it?S normal? response. This spring, however, I have had the ?sticky? problem on several of the hotter days even though I park in a garage which has me very concerned that the problem has gotten worse. Internet research has revealed that NHTSA has an active investigation into this issue and various forums report similar or more severe experiences. I read that BMW has responded to NHTSA that this is primarily a ?comfort? issue, but I strongly disagree. Driving is highly instinctual, developed through experience " having your steering wheel suddenly hit a sticky point in mid-turn can easily trigger an adverse reaction such as forcing over-steering resulting in leaving the roadbed. Although I have been fortunate to not experience that, I must be much more diligent, alert and on-edge.

- Oakton, VA, USA

problem #118

Apr 282011


  • 67,000 miles
Sticky steering problem making it difficult to drive.

- Texarkana, TX, USA

problem #117

May 172011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 81,896 miles
I have an '04 BMW Z4 and am having problems with the steering. I've been reading online that many other Z4 owners are experiencing the same problems that I am which include; difficulty keeping the wheel straight, having to use a lot of force to make steering adjustments, and constant pulling to the right/left while driving. These problems occur every time I drive my vehicle. I recently took it to a local mechanic, who said the problem was pretty bad. I am waiting to hear his exact diagnosis and should hear from him on Monday 5/23/11 as I dropped it off fri 5/20/11. I have not wrecked the vehicle due to these problems however I have had some close calls. Fortunately I am a very attentive driver otherwise there may very well been an accident.

- Corpus Christi , TX, USA

problem #116

May 042011


  • 28,200 miles


Pushed brakes hard for a near emergency stop and the vehicle careened to the right and almost ran off the road. This vehicle has had many instances of attempting to drive itself off the road, the terminology for groups with this type of car is "tramlining". I thought it odd that so many people could have the same problem that a term would be applied to the problem. I feel that this defect has the potential to cause a serious and possibly fatal accident.

- Euclid, OH, USA

problem #115

May 052011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
BMW Z4 2004 vehicle exhibits sticky and notchy steering at high (85 or 90deg F +) outside temperature. Steering becomes extremely difficult and dangerous. The issue only effects owners in locations with high temperatures and during the summer months and therefore the occurrence of the issue is intermittent and difficult to diagnose. This issue needs to become a recall as it is a very dangerous situation even if it is only happening to a minority of Z4 owners.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #114

May 152010


  • 40,000 miles
Beginning early in 2010, we began to notice that the steering, particularly at speed, was 'sticky'; eg, it would take more force to turn the wheel and then it would break free of the sticky and turn. It behaves as though it sticks when the wheel isn't being turned, but then moves freely once it turns. The result is erratic steering, particularly in a highway situation where small corrections are needed. In traffic, on a multilane highway, this behavior causes the car to be hard to keep smoothly in lane; there were several times that the rumble strip was encountered due to overcorrecting the steering. Warmer temperatures tend to make the problem worse. I have read on numerous BMW forums of others having very similar problems with this with this vintage of Z4; apparently the only solution is to replace a $2500 steering unit if the dealer can be convinced there actually is a problem. I have jacked the vehicle up and 'felt' the steering with the car 'off', but the switch on to release the wheel lock, and that stiction (my physics background is showing) was somewhat evident (to a much smaller level than experienced in normal driving on a warm day) even with no load on the steering and at a normal room temperature. This is a very serious safety issue and I hesitate to drive the vehicle in this condition.

- Underhill, VT, USA

problem #113

Mar 152011


  • 39,500 miles


The contact owns a 2004 BMW Z4. The contact stated he would have difficulty steering the vehicle while driving at speeds of approximately 55 mph. The vehicle would respond slowly when the steering wheel was turned. The contact also stated the failure recurred more often when the air conditioning unit was being operated. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where they were unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 39,500 and the current mileage was 39,878. Updated 06/06/11 updated 01/24/2012

- Osburn, ID, USA

problem #112

Apr 272011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 57,300 miles
My 2004 BMW Z4 steering sticks special Y when driving at high speeds on the highway. I have to exert excessive pressure to correct it. It's no longer a pleasure driving my car that I love so much.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #111

May 012011


  • miles
My Z4 is a 2004 3.0I with 22120 miles... out of nowhere my steering became less fluid and smooth. Sometimes I think I don't have power steering. Almost couldn't avoid being cut off by a taxi in manhattan I'm afraid I may die while driving or possibly harm others. This is my only car and I can't just wait for a recall.

- Ozone Park, NY, USA

problem #110

Apr 242011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
My 2004 BMW Z4 steering sticks when temperature is above 85F. so far it has not caused an accident, but it seems to be more frequent and happening at lower temperatures than last summer. The car has 58,000 miles.

- Lebanon, PA, USA

problem #109

Sep 152010


  • 65,000 miles


I have experienced the same problems described in your investigation PE10020. On numerous occasions the steering wheel of my 2004 Z4, sticks and I am required to exert excessive pressure to correct it or to turn the wheel. Speed does not seem to be a factor, it happens at both slow and faster speeds, but it is more pronouced at higher speeds because the car travels much further before I can correct the problem. This only happens in the summer when it is very hot in tallahassee, Florida. This has been occurring for the past two summers. I saw the investigation on your website and decided to wait until there was a recall before taking it to the dealer. However, summer is approaching again, so I thought I would add my complaint to the others in hopes of expediting a re-call. This can be a dangerous condition and if it recurs when the weather gets hotter, I will have to get it repaired, recall or not.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #108

Feb 272011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
The steering mechanism in my car "sticks" when driving. It happens when the car gets warmed up. When I go to work, no problem. When I leave in the afternoon and I am driving home, I have a hard time keeping the car in the lane because the steering wheel seems to "stick." I mean, I am literally having to fight with the car to keep it from going into another lane. Tires are new so that is not the problem. Plus, I see that this has been a problem with a lot of these cars. I bought the car December, 2010 with 79,442 miles on it. I now have a little over 81,000 miles. I do not drive the car much... mostly weekends, but what a major problem it is to drive and have the car not steer properly.

- Ga, GA, USA

problem #107

Apr 172011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
After driving the car for 20 or so minutes, when it starts to warm up, the steering wheel starts to stick. It takes a little more pressure to turn the wheel causing me to over steer and swerve a little bit. It gets worse the longer distance I have to drive.

- Corbin, KY, USA

problem #106

Apr 102011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 43,750 miles
Reading BMW forums I read that other owners are experiencing the same problem as me.. I have a BMW 2004 Z4 with 43K miles and the steering notches or sticks a lot as I drive. There seems to be a steering problem that could cause a serious wreck. Are there any recalls on the problem?

- Cypress, TX, USA

problem #105

Apr 122011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 59,072 miles
My 2004 BMW Z4 experiences "stickiness" in steering. It has 59,000 miles and the problem has been gradually increasing. I have not noticed any differences in the steering response with increased ambient heat, but it does seem to be worse when at higher speeds.

- Springfield, OR, USA

problem #104

Apr 112011


  • 45,000 miles
When you turn the steering wheel right or left it sticks when you try to turn back to center and requires extra effort to move the wheel. The problem seems to get worse when temperatures get warmer (75 degrees or higher). I'm concerned that I may not be able to turn the wheel if this problem gets worse and I'm not sure if the car is safe enough to drive, especially at higher speeds.

- North Collins, NY, USA

problem #103

Apr 092011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
Steering extremely sticky when car temperature is hot. Steering will not self center.

- Summerville, SC, USA

problem #102

Mar 282011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
I have read reports that nhsta has received numerous reports of 2003-2004 BMW Z4's with powersteering issues. My 2004 Z4 has this issue as well. The steering seems to bind and the severity is increased as speed increases. While driving on the freeway on a recent trip I had to exert a good amount of force to stay out of the other lanes. I am 5'10 - 200 lbs. My concern is that slighter persons may not be able to handle the steering problems. I fear someone might be injured if the issue is not fixed immediately. Hopefully a recall can be generated before casualties occour.

- Kapolei, HI, USA

problem #101

Mar 192011


  • 64,000 miles
Driving the car on a relatively warm day (70 degrees) with top down, the power steering became very stiff and steering the car became difficult. A noise was also heard when trying to steer the car. 20 minutes after this the check tire pressure warning light came on. I stopped at a service station to check tire pressure but it was fine. Stopped, started the car several times without any help. Next morning, the problem disappeared completely. I manually reset the tire pressure warning light and since then the problem hasn't come back.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #100

Jan 302011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
Sticky steering when temperature is elevated. When the car is parked in the sun and warms up, the steering wheel becomes sticky leading to an increased effort to move the wheel and makes it easy to overcorrect.

- Los Gatos, CA, USA

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