really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,948 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 16 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

Jul 312009


  • 16,000 miles


2004 BMW Z4 steering wheel binds while driving after the auto has sat in direct sunlight for several hours or the ambient temperature is above 85 degrees. Once the car is allowed to cool in the shade or through extended driving, the steering will return to normal. This condition causes the car to be unsafe at highway speeds. I have reported this condition several times to my local BMW dealership. They told me it could be the tires 'sticking┐ to the road. This condition warrants a recall. The steering is not safe when it is hot.

- Atkinson, NH, USA

problem #19

Jan 012008

Z4 6-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW Z4. Since 2008, the contact noticed that the steering was difficult to turn and would lock up. The failure has since worsened due to the hot weather. The manufacturer stated that there was no recall and advised him to take the vehicle to the dealer to be diagnosed. The failure mileage was 32,000 and current mileage was 39,000. Updated 9/1/09 updated 09/09/09

- Fruitland Park , FL, USA

problem #18

Jul 182009


  • 27,105 miles
When driving the power steering gets hard like it will going lock up when driving.

- Bayamon, PR, USA

problem #17

Jul 122009


  • miles


2004 BMW Z4-steering sticks or catches at center when turning wheel while car is in motion. Causes vehicle to swerve. Problem is intermittent.

- Martinsville, VA, USA

problem #16

May 012009


  • 105,000 miles
Steering issues.

- Wrightstown, NJ, USA

problem #15

Jun 072009


  • 80,600 miles
While driving the car on a sunny, summer day, the steering wheel has "tension" and "stickiness" while trying to rotate it. This causes abrupt and imprecise steering corrections due to the stickiness causing jerky steering. This defect makes it difficult to retain a straight driving path, and makes it difficult to stay within a lane on the local roads and highways. The steering alignment also becomes out of a straight line, thus coming out of "center", and further making it more difficult to maintain a safe driving course.

- Duluth, GA, USA

problem #14

May 312009


  • 53,000 miles


My car was parked in an an area that was not in the shade lot for several hours. The air temp. Was about 80. When I drove off I could feel that the steering was not reacting to my input as it had in the cool morning. The steering was jerky and would not track as I turned the steering wheel, but lagged a few moments. I had an 80 mile drive where I had to turn the wheel in a zig-zag manner to keep the car tracking in the direction I wanted to go. When the car cooled off overnight the steering returned to normal. This is not the first time this has happened. It does not feel safe.

- Liberty, NC, USA

problem #13

Mar 062009


  • 28,000 miles
After winter storage I took my 2004 BMW Z4 out of storage to find the steering sticks. After cornering, I must jerk the steering wheel back to center. This caused me to run off the road for a brief moment while I gathered control of the car. There were no injuries, but that is just by luck. The problem persists despite having the car and tires checked out. The problem is worse at higher ambient temps.

- Newport News , VA, USA

problem #12

Aug 132008


  • 60,915 miles
2004 Z4 - I have experienced on several occasions in warm weather 70 degrees or more were my car steering loses "tension". in other words the steering will become loose. When turning steer left or right, the car hesitate to react for approx. 2 to 3 seconds. It continues straight until seconds later it will "engage".

- Snow Hill, MD, USA

problem #11

Aug 012008


  • 21,000 miles
2004 BMW Z-4, steering problem. Feels like steering locks up or binds at highway speeds. Force must be applied to overcome lock-up. Impossible to drive car smoothly, change lanes, pass other cars. I purchased the car used with only 21,000 miles, but warranty was up in 6/2008, purchased in 8/2008. Tom bush BMW of jacksonville says car needs a steering column assembly replacement at a cost of $2575.08 cost to me. I feel problem has been on the car since purchased new. Car came from off lease in Ohio and driven only limited amount. Steering lockup more noticeable on warm to hot days, which is when we drive the car here in Florida. Please offer assistance. Car seems unsafe to drive.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #10

Aug 012008


  • 53,000 miles


Steering system is somewhat non-responsive when weather is hot.

- San Juan Capistrano, CA, USA

problem #9

Sep 162008


  • 42,000 miles
I have a heat-related steering problem with my car that has been noted on other BMW Z4S. Normally the car handles quite nicely and is very responsive. However, whenever the car has been sitting at a high ambient temperature (high 80S or above), when driven, the steering wheel is very non-responsive-sticky and doesn't track back to center. This is a serious safety concern since so much force is required on such a small car to make what should be minor corrections while driving that several times I've almost ended turning into an adjacent lane on the freeway while trying to drive a straight line. I am very hesitant to drive the vehicle on warm days (which means most days here in the South) due to my concerns about a possible accident due to the defect. Unfortunately I do need to use my car. This problem has been known for several years and has been reported to BMW on several occasions. Despite this, my dealer professes confusion about what could be happening and has told me that when the car has been taken for a test run (not on the freeway and not during a warm day), it's handled fine. Meanwhile, I'm left driving what can only be considered a dangerously defective car that could quite easily cause a serious accident when driven under normal, even careful, conditions.

- Moncure , NC, USA

problem #8

Aug 202008


  • 43,000 miles
When ambient temperatures are high (e.g. >85-90F) (compounded by car being in direct sunlight), the steering becomes difficult to control. Specifically, normal steering wheel input translates into erratic, jerky movements on the road. The steering wheel will not return to center and the car generally is difficult to control (I.e. maintain a straight course, requiring constant and exaggerated steering wheel input). This condition is transient (I.e. steering returns to normal when the ambient temperature drops); however, driving when the steering is compromised as described above is unnerving and without a doubt increases the risk of an accident occurring due to a potential loss of driver control (e.g. on wet roads, multi-lane highway traffic). When this occurred a second time, I immediately took the car to the BMW dealership to report it. The BMW dealership subsequently confirmed the problem as described above and diagnosed a failed steering column unit. BMW na has offered to pay for 50% of the repair with the other 50% being owner's responsibility (car was approx. 2.5 months out of warranty). Judging from the proportion of similar complaints filed with NHTSA on the Z4, this issue doesn't appear to be isolated and warrants further investigation.

- Crozet, VA, USA

problem #7

Aug 092008


  • 50,000 miles
In warm weather about 75 and up steering gets sticky and cannot correct smoothly.

- Menands, NY, USA

problem #6

Jul 162008


  • 16,000 miles
I bought a BMW Z4 used in August 2007 with no noticeable problems. This year (2008), there have been a few heat waves in June and July in NY and I noticed that if the car sits out in the sun for a few hours, the steering becomes sticky, jerky and hard to control. After being in the shade to cool down the steer becomes smooth, controlled and normal. I've started researching this issue and have found many online forums with owner comments complaining about the same problem. There appears to be a fix from BMW but my car is now off warranty and will entail me paying for these repairs out of pocket. This appears to me to be a major safety issue and manufacturers defect which should have been fixed under a recall (either mandatory or voluntary) long before I purchased the car in '07. I hope the NHTSA is aware of this serious problem and can take appropriate action to have it corrected by BMW. Thank you.

- Ossining, NY, USA

problem #5

Sep 102007


  • 49,000 miles
I own a BMW Z4, and it is my second one I own, and it has a sticky steering column that acts up in hot weather, and it creates for very unsafe steering. I have had my entire steering rack replaced in my last Z4, and now my second car is doing the same thing, but BMW of fremont cant duplicate the problem.

- Newark, CA, USA

problem #4

Apr 122008


  • 48,800 miles
Under normal driving conditions at moderate speeds, the steering has a tendency to lock up either towards the right and left causing the car to veer out of the lane spontaneously. There is no return of the steering wheel to center and constant pressure in the opposite direction is required to avoid collision with adjacent vehicles. This occurs on slight curves on the road and occasionally on straight roads under all weather conditions.

- Oakland Gardens, NY, USA

problem #3

May 012008

Z4 6-cyl

  • 40,300 miles
Steering problem at 45+mph with vehicle, steering is very sticky going straight, constant corrections cause over steering, steering wheel does not return to neutral position on curves leading to dangerous conditions, tested to 75 + mph, gets worse at higher speeds of freeway driving. Just took possession of used vehicle under warranty.

- Nine Mile Falls, WA, USA

problem #2

Dec 162007

Z4 6-cyl

  • 42,954 miles
Steering sticks in high temp.

- Camarillo, CA, USA

problem #1

May 232006

Z4 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles
When temperatures are above 80F the steering sticks and requires more input to overcome the resistance. Once it overcomes the resistance it over corrects so that you have a zig zag driving pattern. I was told BMW is aware but there is no fix although online message boards state many have had their cars repaired.

- Flower Mound, TX, USA

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