really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,771 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 7 of 15)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #176

Jul 312006

Z4 6-cyl

  • 3,700 miles


I bought this car brand new. It currently has only 39K miles on it right now (2012) so one can easily see that I drive the car only for leisure/pleasure. I live in upstate NY so can only drive the car seasonally. I initially thought the sticking/notching was due to the poor run-flat tires (which always seemed to set off the dashboard sensor that there was not enough air in them and then perhaps an alignment issue. This is my first BMW, so I thought that it might be attributed to being more difficult to control (even at lower speeds like 35-40mph) because it was a performance car. I complained to the dealer but they claimed they had "never heard of such a problem, " and it "wasn't happening" for them. So yet another year would pass and the car would be stored for the winter. With such limited time to drive the car, I overlooked the "notching" of the steering.... until this year when there were no more possible excuses! I replaced all 4 run flat tires with all-season radials, had the car completely aligned, convinced that this would solve my problem. I was very wrong! I was and am shocked that BMW would allow 14+ pages of complaints dating back to 2005 without doing a recall on this matter!! does a life or lives have to be destroyed due to something catastrophic happening with the steering before BMW takes action? this is the supposed "ultimate driving machine" that I dreamed of having for decades. I'm outraged to learn that the prestigious BMW company does not seem to care much about its customers safety and well being. I would like to be contacted by NHTSA as well as BMW and will continue to pursue this matter until I and all of us that are experiencing these problems are given the recall and resolution to the mechanical problem that we deserve.

- Webster, NY, USA

problem #175

Oct 262011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
Ever since I bought my 04 BMW Z4 at 42,000 miles the steering I notchy, and sticky took back to dealer and they dont admit there is a problem. Have looked up on internet and it seems to be a common well known problem with the car.

- Morristown , TN, USA

problem #174

Sep 012012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 62,375 miles
As I backed out of parking space, power assisted steering failed. I managed to drive vehicle with much increased steering effort. It is doubtful that my wife could have managed to drive. Vehicle was towed to dealer where the steering column is being replaced.

- Orange Beach, AL, USA

problem #173

Jun 152012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 36,000 miles


Steering sticks in the afternoon, when outside is hot around 90F. I noticed this condition this summer when drove the car after work. The car had about 38000mi. On it. The steering wheel literately feels stuck in a position and takes abnormal amount of effort to turn/change direction then it's like it just suddenly releases and causes you to over-steer the car it feels unsafe driving especially in traffic or driving close to a hwy barrier/construction zone etc.. I had to force to change direction and the car would dart due to having to overcompensate for the stuck condition. I know there is problem with the steering, but not sure what particular causing the problem, my best guess is the eps system. I have been reading the forums and blogs and there are many people experiencing the same problems with 2003-2005 BMW Z4's so I am adding mine to the list. Since this is a safety (safety! safety!) issue, I believe/wish BMW should step up and recall or take care of this apparent design flaw within the steering system. These cars become unsafe to drive when this condition arises. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #172

Jul 182012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 52,185 miles
Steering sticks when outside temperatures are hot 90deg+. I noticed this condition last year in the summer months every time I drove the car in the heat (N. Texas summer) the car had about 39000mi. On it. The steering wheel literately feels stuck in a position and takes abnormal amount of effort to turn/change direction then it's like it just suddenly releases and causes you to over-steer the car it feels unsafe driving especially in traffic or driving close to a hwy barrier/construction zone etc.. my wife started driving the car today and said the steering felt like it was sticking, and that she had to use considerable force to change direction and the car would dart due to having to overcompensate for the stuck condition, she said it scared her. Best description I can give is to compare the steering to an electrical switch e.g. (fan blower switch) that has a detente or click between the speeds and how it takes additional effort to change from one speed to another. I have been reading the forums and blogs and there are many people experiencing the same problems with 2003-2005 BMW Z4's so I am adding mine to the list. Since this is a safety issue I believe BMW should step up and recall or take care of this apparent design flaw within the steering system. These cars become unsafe to drive when this condition arises.

- Allen, TX, USA

problem #171

Jul 012011


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW Z4. The contact stated that the steering wheel did not automatically return to the straight position after completing turns. The contact had to manually turn the steering wheel straight after turning at all speeds. The failure only occurred when the weather conditions produced temperatures of at least seventy five degrees. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 10,000.

- Struthers, OH, USA

problem #170

Oct 222010

Z4 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles


The steering wheel stuck in one position and needed unusual effort to continue to steer the car in the proper direction. This steering problem occurs when the weather is warm and sunny and the car is parked outside. This is an ongoing problem. I understand that this condition is peculiar to BMW Z4's manufactured and sold between 2003 and 2005. Obviously BMW rectified the problem on the 2006 models. The steering is electric steering. My problem is serious, I will not allow my wife to drive this car. Summer is upon us and problem will again manifest itself because of summer temps. BMW knows of this malfunction but stone walls efforts to get this dangerous condition corrected. Thank you

- Greensburg, PA, USA

problem #169

Apr 052010

Z4 6-cyl

  • 24,000 miles
Steering seems to lock in a position. Takes effort to move wheel to a neutral position. Happens when the vehicle has been warmed. Does not occur when first driven.

- Haddonfield, NJ, USA

problem #168

Apr 022012


  • 87,000 miles
The steering wheel does not self center properly. You have to apply turning pressure to the wheel and when the pressure overcomes the stickiness the wheel turns but not smoothly. Then you have to do the same thing the other direction. So if you are attempting to drive in a straight line you are forced to constantly correct because the previous stickiness cause you to over correct. The internet is full of complaints, some are even afraid to drive the car. Mine is not yet that severe but I fear that at any time it may stick harder and. Or cause an accident. Please advise me what is being done about this problem and the time frame. I do not want to get killed first.

- Mead, WA, USA

problem #167

May 012012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
The car steering "sticks" at highway speeds. It becomes a pain for keeping the car in the lane. It is as if the power steering for fine adjustment turning quit working. The car may be tracking straight, all is fine until a slight drift right or left. To adjust the car takes considerable effort making fine steering nearly impossible. When alert and no other cars on the road, not a problem. With moderately heavy beltway traffic moving at high speed and must stay in lane, it can get frightening. The problem is worse when it is warm out, but appears intermittent. When severe, it is highly dangerous. It requires a lot of concentration, any lapse in concentration could be disastrous. There is no indication of a problem from the power steering warning indication light. I had a 4 wheel alignment, balancing and tire rotation performed at 105,000 miles. The car seemed to run true then, but it may have first happened as early as 112,000 miles, but barely noticeable. It has become pronounced enough at 115,000 miles to make a complaint. I checked the websites and found many other owners experiencing the same issue and nothing anyone can find anything wrong to fix it. Realignments don't fix the problem. Ultimately, extremely expensive repair suggestions like "replace the entire steering column for $3000" are made. This is totally unacceptable. To be honest, it feels more like an issue with the power steering fine steering ability to me and shouldn't require replacement of all steering linkage components. It is a safety issue and BMW should issue a recall to fix all cars with this problem.

- Olney, MD, USA

problem #166

Apr 012011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles


The steering wheel sometimes sticks while driving. I need to use more force than normal to turn the wheel, and when it does turn it often overshoots causing the car to swerve from my intended direction. Many others are experiencing this same problem with the BMW Z4's from 2003-2005. This sticky stearing could lead to a major accident.

- North Valley Stream, NY, USA

problem #165

May 172012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 16,000 miles
After the car had set out in the sun on a hot day, steering was very stiff. I could not steer fluidly. If I tried to slightly adjust the wheel to the right, the wheel would not move. I would apply more and more pressure until it would finally move. But since I was applying so much force it would jump passed the desired point. This would cause me to have to correct to the left where the cycle begins again. Keeping the car in the lane is now very difficult.

- Elkridge, MD, USA

problem #164

May 012012


  • 9,017 miles
Steering binding when moving steering to left or right from the center position

- Texarkana, TX, USA

problem #163

Jul 012008

Z4 6-cyl

  • 10,700 miles
Steering has a "notched" or "sticky" feel to it when traveling on highways at speeds around 50mph and higher. When the need to turn arises and the steering wheel "sticks" in the 'notch", it requires extra effort to get the wheel out of the notch, causing "over steer" with difficult recovery. I won't let my wife drive the Z-4 as I feel this is a dangerous characteristic that could result in an accident. My dealer was notified of the situation but was "unable to duplicate" the fault; (prior to my warranty running out). On the following service, with my renewed complaint, the dealer was able to duplicate and identify the problem. My BMW warranty was expired, but I had purchased an "extended warranty", however the "steering" problem was not covered under the new warranty. The cost for repair was in excess of $3000! I have parked the car except for local slow speed, cool day rides. I understand that the NHTSA has looked into the problem. I have not heard anything from my BMW dealer yet. "?" a computerized "brake sensor" light has been on for many years and has been unable to be remedied. The dealer checked the brakes and they are fine, just can't get the "sensor light" to stay out.

- Lake City, FL, USA

problem #162

Apr 232009


  • 46,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW Z4. While traveling 65 mph, the contact noticed that the steering wheel would continually over steer and would become stuck in position. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the contact was informed that the failure could not be duplicated. The vehicle was not repaired. The current mileage was 94,000, and the failure mileage was 46,000.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #161

May 022005

Z4 6-cyl

  • miles
The Z4 has an power steering problem that seems to have issues at higher speeds and temperatures where there seems to be a loss of power steering where there is a significantly increased effort to turn the steering wheel. I feel extremely unsafe driving the car and don't feel like I have control of the steering and have a lot of trouble keeping the car in the lane. Sometimes the steering feels like it is stuck. I think that the car is very dangerous to drive and I am now afraid to drive the car since I am a woman and may not have the proper upper body strength to control the car!

- Montpelier, VA, USA

problem #160

Mar 212012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 66,000 miles
Brought my car out of storage for the year. While driving it would pull both to the right and to the left depending on lane choice. Steering wheel feels like it is clicking from one position to another. Constant steering input required to keep it in a straight line. Alignment is fine, tires are properly inflated and balanced. It's like the steering wheel is slipping from one position to another without moving it.

- West Bend, WI, USA

problem #159

Mar 202012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
On first hot day of the year (85 degrees F), the car was very difficult to steer at highway speeds. It felt like the steering wheel was "sticking". it took extra effort to move the steering wheel, causing the car to turn more than desired. I feel this is very dangerous.

- Wilder, KY, USA

problem #158

Feb 022012


  • 34,500 miles
After purchasing the vehicle (a 2004 BMW Z4 with only 34500 miles) on the way home I noticed a "sticking" in the steering wheel at highway speeds (approximately 1st week of February 2012). Which of course was very disappointing being that I had only owned the car for about 30 minutes. But considering the mileage and age of the car I hoped it was because the car had been sitting for sometime. I was wrong it is becoming more and more of a problem. After very little research I've found that this is apparently a very common problem with these cars. Apparently it is due to expansion of a gear in the steering column due to heat. I am very disappointed. I felt I had found a good car considering the very low mileage. I've found that many people have had to have their steering columns replaced at a cost of over 3000 dollars! this is unbelievable on a car with only 35,000 miles on it! this is definitely dangerous! for the steering wheel to "stick" and require significantly increased effort to turn is a serious danger! the danger of over correction is undeniable. After a recent short trip down the highway my forearms were very fatigued after trying to keep this car on course for just a few miles.I just wonder how many wrecks have been caused by this defect. I find it very hard to believe that a company of BMW's stature would not be doing everything within its power to correct this dangerous defect immediately. I guess someone will have to get hurt first. Instead of being proactive and preventing such a disaster. Or maybe they're just making too much money selling new steering columns to people who are unaware of the defect. Something has to be done!

- Kernersville, NC, USA

problem #157

Mar 142012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 21,700 miles
I have the "Z4 sticky steering" problem which is widely documented on the internet. Steering is ok when cold or at low speeds and occurs only when temperature is over 75 degrees F and at speeds over 45 mph. The steering wheel firmly resists turning (sticks) and, when enough force is applied, finally releases and turns until another sticky zone creates resistance. This makes slight steering corrections impossible and results in a zig zag rather that straight line path down the road. This is a serious safety issue since the effort level is much too high for driving at highway speed and compromises the ability to predictably control the vehicle. The effort level to overcome the stickiness in the steering wheel rotation is comparable to that required for parallel parking of an old non power steering vehicle. My wife is afraid to drive the car on the highway. I have had other cars recalled for much less significant issues than this.

- Sylvania, OH, USA

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