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 4 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #279

Jul 242015


  • 45,000 miles


When the weather gets warm say around 80 degrees driving down the road say 45 mph the steering sticks very bad to the point you can kill yourself.

- Pittsfield, MA, USA

problem #278

Feb 292016


  • 78,000 miles
Steering wheel binds and is difficult to turn while driving at any speed. It happens mostly when the car is warm from the sun or after it warms up from driving. The steering wheel has to be forced to turn to overcome the notchy lockup condition. The car then veers off track. The steering never returns to center so the car continuously wanders back and forth. Internet searches produce many vehicles with this issue, but no recall has been performed. This is a gross safety issue and should be corrected by the manufacturer prior to deaths caused by this safety issue.

- Grants Pass, OR, USA

problem #277

Jun 092015


  • 75,000 miles
With less than 75000 miles the power steering is completely gone and the dealer says over 5000 dollars to repair.

- Iola, TX, USA

problem #276

Feb 102016

Z4 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


I have a 2004 BMW Z4 2.51 VIN number [xxx] - the electronic steering eps has completely failed, and is inoperable. This is a known issue, on many many cars, and after contacting BMW North America, they said the only solution is to have a BMW dealer replace the entire steering column (their engineering problem) at a cost of $4000. I told them this was unacceptable. I have been to many mechanics and they have no answers for this problem other then going to BMW it is failed 90% of the time, and impossible to steer at times my odb2 reader reads the system information as sw-V5.2 SS200381 part number 6763764 coding index 03 diagnosis index 04E1 variant index 474A hardware number 01 date dd.mm.yyyy 10.12.2003 error 610feeprom, no risk information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Maple Valley, WA, USA

problem #275

Feb 102016


  • 33,000 miles
Steering wheel binds and is difficult to turn while driving at any speed. It happens mostly when the car is warm from the sun or after it warms up from driving. The steering wheel has to be forced to turn to overcome the notchy lockup condition. The car then veers off track. The steering never returns to center so the car continuously wanders back and forth. Internet searches produce many vehicles with this issue, but no recall has been performed. This is a gross safety issue and should be corrected by the manufacturer prior to deaths caused by this safety issue.

- Factoryville, PA, USA

problem #274

Apr 152015


  • 36,000 miles
Steering sticks normally in a straight line driving situation. One has to apply force to unstick steering.

- Kinston, NC, USA

problem #273

Dec 182015

Z4 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 BMW Z4. While driving 10 mph, the eps light illuminated and the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 88,000. Updated 02/26/16 updated 02/29/16.

- Kensett, AR, USA

problem #272

Oct 252015


  • 52,000 miles
The car has a dangerous sticky steering problem. Very notchy steering, difficult to keep on the road. Many complaints have been filed.

- Cromwell, CT, USA

problem #271

May 012014


  • 28,000 miles
For about the last five thousand miles, my steering has developed the dangerous steering condition( described by literally hundreds of owners in blogs and various postings-just do a search for "Z4 steering problem") that exists in 2003-2005 BMW Z4 roadsters. At first, the problem occurred only on very hot days (as described my many others). Now, it affects all aspects of driving, making the vehicle very difficult to control. Steering requires constant correction from left to right and does not return to center. I have replaced tires twice and had several alignments with no effect. If ever there was a safety issue that would warrant a recall this is it. The dead steering described is most evident at highway speeds (50-70mph)

- Moyock, NC, USA

problem #270

Nov 062015


  • 13,992 miles
Reported this problem to you in 2006--ODI 10496814- sticky steering-which can cause the driver to jerk the wheel hard and lose control of the vehicle- I have read there are well over 100 complaints on this problem- BMW has, some at my cost, replaced the steering column twice and now what to do the 3rd time, at my cost. This would make four columns, counting the original one, and this car only has 14,000 miles. There a big problem with there engineering on this problem. My understanding, there is a unsealed bearing inside the column that fails. You cannot replace the bearing-BMW does not list this as a part. It is about time that NHTSA find a fix for this problem before somebody is hurt or killed. In 2010 the usa reported over 107 complaints and one crash.

- Osceola, IN, USA

problem #269

Mar 052015


  • 73,000 miles


The steering system (eps) is making the steering very "notchy" "sticking" and makes the car very dangerous to drive. I've read forums that say the problem years are from 2003 - 2005 but BMW will not admit there is a problem therefore no recalls were made. Now I can't even sell the car because of this problem

- Mount Juliet, TN, USA

problem #268

Sep 102015


  • 49,250 miles
Steering sticks and almost cause accident. Car is like new and it a shame I cant enjoy car because steering issue with BMW Z4 steering. I cant afford the dealer price to fix a car defect.

- Jersey City, NJ, USA

problem #267

Jun 012015


  • 47,000 miles
The steering has become sticky or notchy and over time has gotten worse. It is extremely dangerous, and as a result I was forced to either sell the car on to an unsuspecting buyer, or fix it. I chose the later as I didn't want to put somebody else's family in danger. The car was not drivable in heat over 80 degree's as the steering was tight, and would stick in position causing excess force to move it, and cause severe oversteer situations. After having to complain to BMW for weeks, they directed me to have it diagnosed (for $180) and then decided they would pay half of the cost to repair their engineering issue. While I found their willingness to admit a mistake and cover half the repair a step in the right direction, I just don't think its enough. A new steering column was quoted at $3750, and I paid almost $1800 plus diagnostics fees. I wasn't going to bother with this complaint, as the NHTSA has shown it is not interested in holding BMW accountable for this wide spread issue (unlike Toyota's sticky gas pedals), but an incident on the freeway this week changed my mind. I was traveling in the left lane crossing a major river, and the car in front of me suddenly swerved toward the guard barrier. I had milliseconds to react to the steel garbage can set in the center of the left lane, with a 18 wheeler to my right. I swerved as the car in front of me did, toward the guard barrier into the breakdown lane and safely negotiated the can. Thank god I had the steering fixed, as it stuck worse turning right, and I am certain my life would have ended on the bridge as I would have oversteered, lost control, and went under the 18 wheeler. Fix this issue before its too late for us citizens who are stuck riding in, and around these vehicles. I certainly hope if you do, people who have been forced to pay for BMW's mistakes have an opportunity to be reimbursed.

- Avon, CT, USA

problem #266

Jul 102015


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW Z4. While driving at various speeds, the steering wheel seized and became very difficult to turn. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 85,000.

- Lake Ronkonkama, NY, USA

problem #265

Aug 102014


  • 90,000 miles
Car has been having sticky steering problems for awhile now. It has gotten worse this summer. When the weather is above 70 or the longer I drive the worse it gets. Problem has gotten so bad that it is not safe to drive any longer. Steering wheel seems to have a flat spot in the middle and causes you to over steer when this happens. Very dangerous. Was told it would be around 3000 dollars to fix?? it is a great car besides that!! to bad it cannot be driven at this time. Just sitting in garage. Would love to have another one but not at the expense of a new steering column.

- Wilton, ME, USA

problem #264

Aug 162014


  • 34,000 miles
The steering column freezes in position and holding the steering it wheel feels like it's being held by a magnet much like a DC motor feels if you try to rotate it. For example after rounding the bend or taking the corner the steering wheel would stay in position and you have to physically turn the steering wheel back to center it's like it's stuck there by magnetic force. I called my BMW dealership and asked the service advisor about this problem. He had no idea what I was talking about then he asked the service forman and was told it's a well known problem and the only fix is to replace the steering column at $3600-4000. If this is a well known problem then why isn't there a recall. And why isn't BMW taking responsibility for a design flaw.

- South Hero , VT, USA

problem #263

Aug 142008


  • 20,000 miles
The day I purchased my used 2004 BMW Z4, I noticed a problem with the steering wheel "sticking". I called the dealer and was told it was normal with that particular car. Over the years, there are days that it drives normally with no steering problems, but for the most part, the steering wheel starts really sticking when the car is going over 20 mph or I should say, it's harder to control the steering wheel at a speed in excess of 20-25 mph. The BMW dealer where I live now told me that it was happening because I don't drive the car often enough. And it's true that I don't drive very often - I just rolled over 50,000 miles and the car is 14 years old. I have many times had to pull off of the highway or drive with my hazard lights on because I wasn't able to stay within my lane due to the steering problem. I get frightened to drive anywhere except the city streets near my home where the speed limit is under 40 mph. I am going to contact the dealer here in ok again and see what they can do to fix this issue once and for all because my car has become unsafe to drive in a normal fashion.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #262

Jun 092015


  • 33,000 miles
I have noticed on warm days the steering becomes sticky as if the power steering is coming on and off. This causes a over controlling of the car and makes it difficult to drive. I felt very unsafe. I took the car to BMW roadshow at memphis and was told the problem was the electric steering unit and will cost $4000 to repair. I researched the internet and was shocked at the number of complaints going back as far as 2009. I called BMW customer service and was told that it was not their problem. Someone is going to get hurt if it has not already happened. BMW knows of this problem and has correct it in later models and they know how it fix the issue. It appears this is an age relate issue, not mileage, and these cars,2003-2005 are out of warranty. In my research I see that NHTSA is aware of this problem but has closed the issue. This is a safety issue and this investigation needs to be reopened.

- Jackson, TN, USA

problem #261

Jun 212013


  • 20,000 miles
This has been a continuous problem. I just had the front struts and other front end work done figuring it would fix the problem, it didn't. in researching the problem and talking with other BMW Z4 owners, this happens on all 2003-2005 BMW Z4. There is a problem in the steering column. It will cause an accident, especially when it happens a high speed. When the car has been running awhile (longer than 1 hour, most likely heat related), the steering becomes very, very stiff and feels like the steering wheel is locked, and to move the steering wheel you must exert an extraordinary force to make it move. The problem continues to happens at all speeds until the car sits awhile (cools off). At high speeds this can make you over correct and force you out of your lane. If I ever come up and an object in my lane (I.e. tire fragment from a truck) and I have to move out the way and there is another vehicle in the next lane, it is very possible I could sideswipe that vehicle and cause an accident. The defect has been corrected in other vehicles by installing a new steering column from earlier year BMW Z4 (2008 or earlier), so it seems that BMW knows of the problem and has corrected the defect. BMW just needs to make it right with all the vehicles effected. I know from research that this has been looked at before (2010 or 2011) by the NHTSA, but no recall was issued. This needs to be reopened and a recall implemented. These are low mileage and well maintained cars, and will still be on the road for a number of years. If this was on any other massed produced car (GM, faulty ignition), there would have definitely been a recall by now. I don't know how to tell you how serious this defect is, but it is dangerous! I will not allow anyone else drive this vehicle. Thank you!

- Richfield, OH, USA

problem #260

Jun 282015


  • 106,321 miles
Steering was noticed to be "notchy" while driving at highway speeds. Seems like steering is caught on something then breaks free. Initially thought is was low power steering fluid, but discovered this vehicle has electrical power steering. Further testing showed it happens at all speeds. The steering can become difficult to move and over-corrections occur when it breaks free. Fortunately no accidents occurred, although it is very possible that it could easily happen.

- Berne, TX, USA

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