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 5 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #240

Oct 122011

Z4 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 BMW Z4. While driving approximately 45 mph, the steering wheel seized without warning. The failure occurred several times. The dealer determined that the vehicle experienced an electrical failure. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 20,000. Updated 10/07/14 updated 3/23/2015

- Chattanoota, TN, USA

problem #239

Jun 012011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
Steering sticks when temperature is warm. When driving have to pull steering back to center when steering either left or right. Usually occurs once temp is above 75 degrees. Difficult to keep car on road, have had multiple instances when almost went off the road. Extremely dangerous and have limited my driving of this vehicle due to the danger.

- Blossvale, NY, USA

problem #238

Jun 052014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
While driving my car I lost control of the power steering and it felt like my steering locked. I was able to pull over to the side of the road. I turned off the car and waited a bit after checking under the hood to see that I had good power steering fluid and the belts were good. I turned on the car again and still had no power steering. Since I was not far from home I carefully drove home fighting my steering all the way. I called my local BMW dealer the following day and they said they were aware of the issue and the repair was extremely costly. I did not realize how aware they were until I further researched the issue on the internet and was totally shocked to see hundreds of complaints concerning the same exact issue. Complaints that have been going on for years. I saw reports of multiple accidents. I can not believe that a recall was never issued on this item. It is absolutely mind boggling that such a defect is left to the consumer to pay when it is clearly a manufacturer's defect. Does a death have to incur for a recall" aren't preventative measures just as important from the NHTSA to help avoid future accidents and possible injuries"

- Manalapan, NJ, USA

problem #237

Jul 142010

Z4 69-cyl

  • 14,000 miles


The steering wheel "sticks" at various and unpredictable times. It will stick and resist going into a curve, then hold the car in the curve and need to be unstuck to bring the car out of the curve. The sticking is not exaggerated or impossible to correct, but some small amount of pressure is required to unstick the wheel from its directional course. Because it happens at unpredictable times it is unsettling and feels very unsafe on curves or when making lane changes. I've brought the problem to the attention of the BMW dealership on several occasions but they claimed they couldn't duplicate the problem on several visits. On the most recent visit the dealership conceded the faulty steering column, but argues that the age of the vehicle makes it ineligible for warranty coverage. I believe that faulty steering columns are a documented problem on Z4 roadsters from 2003 - 2005. The car currently has 22,500 miles on it. Classifying the problem as resulting from age or wear is irresponsible. The steering column was designed or manufactured with this fault, and BMW should correct the problem at its expense before needing to record accidents or injuries.

- Eden Prairie, MN, USA

problem #236

Jul 042010

Z4 6-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
On days over 75 degrees F, during highway driving, if I turn the steering wheel slightly and release it, steering does not return to top dead center. Instead, the Z4 continues to turn on it's own until I steer the car back to a straight line. The steering wheel does not return to the straight-ahead position when I release it. A great deal of strength is required to steer at all when this happens. Power assist does not seem to work over 75F and the steering feel is notchy. On cool days, the steering is fine. This steering failure has been going on for several years, it is getting worse and is no longer safe. The dealer is not helpful. It is a us car and I live in Canada. I thought you would want to know because there is a lot of discussion about this in forums. The cars are not safe to drive on hot days. Interim solution is: Don't drive my Z4 roadster on hot days?! so much for the ultimate driving machine.

- Waterloo On., NY, USA

problem #235

Jul 242013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 71,500 miles
In warm weather has a sticky steering problem as it seems to stick when you try and turn the wheel. And than releases with pressure and than you over steer. Have seen many people having same problem. Only time before this causes and accident.

- Rock Island, IL, USA

problem #234

Jul 032014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 84,200 miles


The vehicle has a serious steering problem. The steering sticks and requires constant adjustment from the driver to correct while driving. The problem is intermittent and may appear at any time. The time it appeared, I was driving on the highway. The condition did not exist at first but suddenly and without warning the steering was stuck as if the steering had a "detent". the vehicle began to drift out of lane and into the lane next to me. This required me to abruptly apply more force to the steering wheel. Eventually the steering broke free and the vehicle over compensated and drifted to the other side lane. I immediately reduced speed to the minimum allowed on the highway and was able to safely get the vehicle back home. I was fortunate that no other vehicles were on either side of me when this occurred, else I would have surely collided with them both.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #233

Oct 302013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 44,000 miles
After driving my Z4 on a hot afternoon I notice the steering feeling very notchy. You had to put in a lot of force to get the wheel back to where you wanted it. The next morning it was fine. But I have notice any time the cabin temp gets above 88 the problem comes back. It produces a real jerky feeling in the wheel and its very unnerving to drive.

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #232

Apr 242014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 25,460 miles
Driving on curvy mountain roads steering sticks requiring extra force to steer resulting in over correction and running off onto shoulder. Without a shoulder in the mountains this is a potential serious accident.

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #231

Dec 012012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
When I am driving at any speed, my steering wheel does not feel as though it is moving smoothly, as I would expect from a precision-engineered BMW. In fact, it sticks to the point that it will not move unless it is jerked forcefully to the left or right. This jerking is not a big problem when I am driving at 20 to 30 miles per hour. However, when I am driving on a highway at 40 or more miles per hour, the sticking of the steering wheel becomes a serious problem because when I jerk the wheel as hard as I have to in order to unstick the steering, the car swerves so dramatically that I could easily lose control of the car and hit another car, especially in rain or other precipitation, and cause property, or worse bodily, damage to others or myself. What I find ridiculous about this is that I am expected to pay $5K to replace the steering column without any guarantee that the replacement part will last any longer than the original part, at which time I will have to pay $5K yet again.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #230

May 302014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 49,281 miles


Have had the car about 8 months. Have driven it 268 miles. Took the car to work 5/30/14. It was fine driving in the morning. After sitting in the sun all day, the steering stuck badly on the way home.it feels like you are riding on a rail.have to keep moving steering wheel to keep car going straight. Feel resistance in steering. I looked online and found this is a common problem for 2003-2005 Z4's. I wish I knew that before I bought the car. It is dangerous.

- Quakertown, PA, USA

problem #229

May 132014

Z4 6-cyl

  • miles
Steering is very sticky and hard to steer in warm weather.

- Chester Srings, PA, USA

problem #228

Jan 042013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
I own a suspected Z4 with a NHTSA reported "sticky steering" issue I can tell you a little more about it. The problem has nothing to do with the boost. When the car gets hot (summer hot) the steering gets notchy in that when you put the car in a slight turn, like changing lanes or going around a slight corner, the steering literally sticks in that position causing the driver to apply opposite pressure to "break" the wheel loose from the turn followed by another stick wherever the wheel is brought back to. Problem is that it causes massive over steering issues at high speed unless you are looking for it. Extremely dangerous at highway speeds! BMW knew about it and released multiple pumas (their equivalent of a tsb) and even redesigned the suspect column, but refused to replace the older ones out of warranty. These are $3000 before labor and BMW has flat out told me that they won't cover a single dollar of it. I guess we will see NHTSA forces their hand! I am scared to death to drive the vehicle I had to jerk to out of another lane several times and you must work extremely hard to keep it straight. Please do something before someone gets hurt.

- Hephzibah, GA, USA

problem #227

Apr 092014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 67,926 miles
The steering becomes "sticky" when the weather is warm. When driving straight it resists turning and once turned tries to stay turned and the car tends to veer unintentionally. The steering will not return to center when the wheel is released and it is difficult to steer smoothly on the freeway and requires constant correction. When it is cold it steers fine and travels down the freeway perfectly with no hands on the steering wheel and corrections can be made with only tiny effort. When it is hot and sticky it takes both hands and a fair amount of effort to steer. This is a design flaw resulting in a safety issue that BMW should fix under warranty regardless of age.

- Capitola, CA, USA

problem #226

Mar 012013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
This problem appears when the outdoor temperature gets above 70, or my vehicle sits in the sun all day. There is a problem with the steering at all speeds - the steering wheel feels like it "sticks" in one position and I have to force it back in the opposite direction to correct the course I'm on. Then it "sticks" in that position and I have to be very vigilant with every curve in the road. It scared me last week because it was the worst it had been since it first began doing this last year. I live in the foothills of California and curvy roads are the reason I love driving my Z4. Last week, the steering problem seemed to take more energy and more corrections to force the wheel back in the direction I needed the car to be moving. When the weather is cooler, the steering is precise and effortless. I was shocked to have to deal with correcting the path of the vehicle numerous times for each curve! it was an exhausting ride home; I don't feel safe when the car performs like this.

- Valley Springs, CA, USA

problem #225

Mar 132013


  • 51,000 miles
Steering sticks when vehicle gets hot or sits in the sun.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #224

Jan 032014

Z4 6-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
As I began to pull out from parking lot onto roadway, the steering wheel suddenly locked up. I managed to back straight down the hill and read about the issue (it was very early in the morning). I turned the car off and restarted. It worked fine. I've since read about this issue on several blogs and have discovered that is a repeating issue. Thankfully I wasn't in the middle of rush-hour traffic.

- Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #223

Dec 162013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 29,900 miles
Steering becomes dangerously sloppy and twitchy at speeds over 35mph. Correcting the sticky steering causes an over-correction and weaving on the highway making it very difficult to control the vehicle. This is a known problem by thousands of BMW owners, yet nothing seems to be in the works to address.

- Bradenton, FL, USA

problem #222

Jun 112011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 23,000 miles
As I was driving on the highway when I had to turn due to a curve in the road, the steering would not return to center. I had to force the steering back to center. This almost resulted in a crash with another car. The steering is very jerky, , it sticks in one spot. Until you force it where you need it to be. This same problem has now happened many times and is getting worse. It seems to happen more, the hotter the outside temperature is.

- Lansdale, PA, USA

problem #221

Jul 032013


  • 222,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW Z4. The contact stated that while driving various speeds, the steering wheel seized and became difficult to turn without warning. The vehicle was later taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis. The mechanic informed the contact that the steering wheel would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 222,000.

- Chattanooga, TN, USA

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