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 7 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #219

Sep 242013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


Eps(electric power steering), does not function properly. The steering binds intermittently, and attempts to correct can throw the vehicle into another lane or into a dangerous situation on a curve.

- Dutton, AL, USA

problem #218

Jun 032013


  • 69,265 miles
2004 BMW Z4 purchased used in 2011 with just over 60K miles on the odometer. At just under 70K miles the driver noticed steering seemed stiff and when entering a curve the steering wheel would freeze in locked position until manually corrected upon which time it would feel as if the front wheels were on a patch of black ice momentarily! outside temperature was above 80 degrees. Did a search on this vehicle no accidents. However it was discovered many complaints (242) on this or similar steering problems. I called BMW of North America and spoke to a public relations rep. Who informed me that BMW was unaware of any such problems with this year model steering. I replied that this seems odd since I had just looked at 17 pages of such problems on-line? I scheduled an appointment with my local dealership and asked to speak with an experienced technician concerning the problem. The service manager checked with one of their technicians! he confirmed that he had seen this before and the steering column would have to be replaced. When I purchased this car I also transferred over an extended warranty at a cost of $1,000. So I will only be out my $100 deductible. Parts and labor will be in excess of $4,000K if a dealership tech is aware of such problems with a particular make or model you would surely think that BMW of North America would also be aware of the same such findings! something smells and its not german chocolate cake!

- North Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #217

Aug 252013


  • 39,700 miles
Steering was sticking and feeling funny. Seemed to take more force to turn the wheel. It felt magnetic in the center or ribbed like. Then it would suddenly go when turning. Had to be very careful. After doing research I find that the BMW Z4's have had problems with steering columns in the 2003, 2004, 2005 and some 2006 year cars. Has to do with the metal worm gear clearance in the nylon cog gear being a poor design. On hot days the clearance goes to zero making the gears to tight. Also nylon absorbs moisture after a while which would cause the nylon gear to increase in size decreasing the clearance even more. I just purchased this car and now am somewhat afraid to drive it or let my family drive it. BMW has replaced many of these. I hope mine can be replaced as right now I'm not sure what my recourse may be.

- Moorefield, WV, USA

problem #216

Jun 152012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 23,000 miles


I have a 2004 BMW Z4 with 32,000 miles on it. I have an issue with what I will call sticky steering. When hot, the steering wheel will bind and require extra effort to move, resulting in over steering in order to correct the sticking. At all speeds this can be dangerous and at highway speeds this can be particularly dangerous.

- Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #215

Oct 292012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 45,650 miles
Immediately after purchasing this vehicle we noticed difficulty steering the car. The steering is very sticky and erratic. It is actually scary to drive. Has a tendency to veer off and possibly wreck. I just hope it does not take X number of accidents/deaths for the manufacture (who is aware of the problem) to fix this unacceptable steering problem. My personal research has revealed that there are many many owners of this make and model vehicle have complained to the manufacturer about this exact same problem. If any information is needed or if you wish for me to elaborate, please feel free to email or call me. Thank you.

- Greeneville, TN, USA

problem #214

Aug 172013

Z4 6-cyl

  • miles
The steering wheel sticks and it's very hard to keep the car centered. I am told it will need a new steering column and this was an issue BMW had for a couple years on these models.

- Garner, NC, USA

problem #213

Jun 242013

Z4 4-cyl

  • 29,300 miles


Once the car had warmed up I noticed the steering would "stick"and I had to use force to get it to stay aligned with the road.

- Hagerstown, MD, USA

problem #212

Jul 222013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
The steering is the only problem but your web site insists on my selecting at least 3 affected parts. In any case, the steering recently became jerky and notchy while driving. After several days of this, I took it my local foreign car repair specialist and they diagnosed a problem with the electronic power steering. Ultimately, they replaced the entire steering column at a cost to me of $4100. This was a very unsafe condition making my control of steering tenuous at best and one that you have received numerous complaints about.

- Allison Park, PA, USA

problem #211

Jun 102013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 62,500 miles
The steering becomes "notchy" or "magnetic" during hot weather. It gets stuck in a position and requites force to move it from that position. This often happens turning the vehicle at low or high speeds when turning the wheel to change lanes, follow a curve, or make a turn. It is dangerous and can result in an accident.

- Bartlett, IL, USA

problem #210

Jul 152013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Driving down the highway steering became very sticky, wheel would just jerk back and forth whenever I tried to switch lanes. Brought it to the dealer the next day who said, oh yeah that's just stiff steering. When I explained it more, he fessed up that oh yeah he had heard of that too and it was a power steering issue and not a good thing and dangerous to drive. He said that the whole steering column would have to be replaced, the quoted was $4100 to fix it! after doing some research on line I'm flabbergasted by how many people have had this issue and how many people will have this problem as this is a recreational vehicle for most people and they probably haven't driven it enough yet to find out this will occur. This should be a recall no company should get away with putting out a defective product and making the owners pay for it later.

- Hopkinton, MA, USA

problem #209

Aug 032013


  • 35,475 miles


My 2004 BMW Z4 steering is choppy and sticks even when driving in a straight line. Making normal driving maneuvers to maintain control of the car awkward. Note, this car has less than 36000 miles. I took the car to the BMW dealership and without even taking it into the shop to look under the hood, the maintenance crew told me exactly what was wrong. The upper power steering mechanism is faulty, which BMW has a recalled for certain vins but not ours. Its pretty clear that this is an across the board BMW problem and such a prestigious automobile manufacturer should not have to be coaxed into doing the right thing. So I go on the web to this site and I find 233 complaints for the same problem in just this year alone. What's it going to take for BMW to do a recall and fix the problem.

- Hephzibah, GA, USA

problem #208

Aug 032009

Z4 4-cyl

  • miles
Vehicle becomes difficult to steer. Steering becomes sticky at temperatures above 75 degrees F., and is jerky and difficult to steer. BMW dealership state it was the tires. I have replaced the tires and there was no change.

- Ripon, WI, USA

problem #207

Jun 292008

Z4 6-cyl

  • 38,230 miles
First noticed the issue in 2009 after a long drive on a very warm summer day in New York. Started noticing a "sticky/choppy" reaction to the automatic steering which became pronounced while on a curve, and required quick action to "right" the wheels to avoid a crossover to the opposite lane. I became more and more aware of the problem as it seem to relate to long drives on hot days. Since this vehicle is only driven in the summer time, I can not testify to this steering problem in the colder winter months. However, I am constantly vigilant to this issue now. Contacted bmwna to check for recalls, but received no response or acknowledgement that the steering was faulty. This could be a dangerous situation, and I ask for your support in contacting them. Thankyou

- Watertown, NY, USA

problem #206

Jul 212013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 36,086 miles
The steering on the car becomes notchy and twitchy, especially at higher speeds and in warm weather. The steering wheel hangs up like there is a flat spot somewhere in the system. It takes extra physical effort to move the steering off that flat spot. The steering wheel will intermittently stop responding to driver input for a short range. Then suddenly start working again after extra applied pressure on the wheel. When the steering is in the notchy/twitchy condition it will pull to one side. This is not a safe situation because you are constantly correcting the steering to gain control of the car. I have been advised the problem is grease on a bearing in the steering column. The bearing is not sealed and the grease is exposed to hot temperatures. The problem can be repaired by replacing the bearing with a new improved version, BMW does not offer the bearing on it's part list, but does recommend replacing the steering column at a cost of $4000.

- Clarence, NY, USA

problem #205

Jul 202013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 101,900 miles
Steering is sticking pulls to the left then to the right very difficult to keep car straight on the road sudden jerking of car when turning the steering wheel turns but car doesn't turn with the turn you have to force the turn and then you get pulled in other direction very very unsafe! feels like you're going to be pulled into a crash! these steering columns need recalled and fast!

- Brick, NJ, USA

problem #204

Oct 152012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
I have a sticky steering problem on my '04 Z4. I took my Z4 to an independent mechanic who specializes in BMW's, I asked him to look at the steering problem. He took the steering column apart and found a bearing that is anything but good engineering. There is a bearing in the middle of the steering column that is not sealed. With time and with heat the lubricant gets dry and cakes up. He told me this is what is making the steering sticky. He cleaned out the bearing and put in new lubricant and my Z is fun to drive again. Now for the bad news: He told me it is a temporary fix, the result of lousing engineering/design. The bearing is in the middle of the steering column. It is not a sealed bearing. The bearing is not replaceable. BMW does not list it as a part - you have to buy the entire steering column assembly (parts and labor over $3500). I have read hundreds of blogs on this subject in which other Z-4 owners are having the same exact problem. Several things that I noticed while reading these blogs: Anyone that contacted the dealership were told that they have never heard of the problem before. It is funny that each blog stated the exact same statement from the dealerships. The second thing was that they recommended that the steering column be replaced. If they have never heard of this problem before then how can they assume that replacing the steering column is the correct repair for the problem, BMW should step up and take responsibility for this problem and recall all Z-4?S before someone gets killed, or seriously injured. BMW cannot deny the existence of this problem.

- North Chesterfield, VA, USA

problem #203

Jun 102013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
The steering on the car becomes 'notchy' and 'twitchy' especially at higher speeds and warm weather. The steering wheel will intermittently stop responding to input for a short range of input, then suddenly start working after a limited range. While driving at high speeds in a straight line, the steering will suddenly pull to one side requiring that the steering wheel is held straight very firm or the car will lunge to the side. The issue was diagnosed by two different BMW repair shops. Both concluded the electronic power steering is failing and the entire steering column needs to be replaced. Estimated repair cost is just under $4,000.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #202

Jul 032013


  • 64,240 miles
The vehicle tugs on uneven road or when turning N highways at high speed. It is difficult to keep the car steering straight. Just bought this as a used vehicle with no crash history.

- Newton, MA, USA

problem #201

Apr 012013


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW Z4. The contact stated that the steering wheel seized and the steering wheel could not be turned. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who stated that the steering column needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure was reported to the manufacturer. The VIN was not available.the failure mileage was 60,000. The current mileage was 62,000.

- Wellington , FL, USA

problem #200

Jun 082011


  • 37,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW Z4. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, the vehicle would pull from side to side. The contact stated that the failure would only occur during extremely high temperatures. The dealer advised that the entire steering column needed to be replaced. The contact did not take the vehicle to a dealer for a full diagnostic test. The failure mileage was 37,000. Updated 7/26/13

- New Hampton, NY, USA

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