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 8 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #199

Jun 052013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 87,568 miles


The steering would take a "set" meaning it would take effort to move the wheel. The temp that day was above 80 degrees (this has been ongoing with this vehicle). No smooth motion to compensate for steering adjustment. Continual compensation with both hands as not to over correct. This is a dangerous situation and BMW needs to address it asap.

- Moon Township, PA, USA

problem #198

Aug 012007

Z4 6-cyl

  • 29,228 miles
Driving at highway speeds when the temperature was above ninety degrees the steering became 'catchy' meaning when I tried to do normal corrections it would 'stick' like it was stuck in some kind of groove, requiring me 'force' it past the sticking point, which would result in an over correction, which in turn would require me to correct in the other direction - resulting in a weaving in the lane. The issue continued and on occasion, seemingly related to temperature, was bad enough to force me off the highway and on to surface roads where the speed was less. I mentioned it to the dealer and he said he cold not repeat the problem. This occurs every year when it gets hot and the last time I was at the dealer he said the electronic assist steering in the steering column needed to be replaced at a cost of $4,000. I researched this problem on the internet and it seems there are quite a few other people who have the same issue with the steering with this car and other Z4's from 2003 on, some with mileage less than the 29,000 miles I had on my vehicle when it first occurred. I find it interesting that the dealer discovered what the issue was after my vehicle was out of warranty.

- Austin , TX, USA

problem #197

May 012013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 60,255 miles
My wife was passing through a toll booth when the steering suddenly pulled to one side, she was able to correct and avoid hitting the concrete barrier. This issue has happened on multiple occasions and is always the same. Car will pull to one side or the other and you have no control over the situation. It has happened on various road surface types from smooth to grooved. We have the factory tires on the car and no modifications to the car. Front end alignment is correct. We purchased the car used from a dealer with 58,789 miles in Mar 2013.

- Moyock, NC, USA

problem #196

May 282013

Z4 4-cyl

  • 72,114 miles


When temperature reaches above 75 degrees, the steering sticks when driving. It sticks to which it makes it hard to steer the wheel left and right. Almost had two accidents on the way home.

- Frankfort , IL, USA

problem #195

May 182013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 32,527 miles
Your question about the incident date only allows for one date. The knotchy, sticking steering wheel happens all the time when outside temperatures hit 75 degrees. This steering malfunction has been documented many times online in BMW Z4 forums. All you have to do is pull up Z4 steering online to read a multitude of concerns and examples of BMW stonewalling. This steering issue on 2004 Z4S is very serious!!! the correction needed when this happens calls for a quick jerk of the steering wheel to stay straight. Unusual effort is needed to keep the car in it's lane.

- Greensburg, PA, USA

problem #194

May 132009

Z4 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW Z4. The contact stated while driving 40 mph the power steering failed and the vehicle became difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and the steering column was replaced. Six months after the vehicle was repaired the failure recurred. The recent failure was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 48,000. Updated 6/25/13 updated 7/1/13 the consumer stated the steering would not return to center by itself. Updated

- Kelso, WA, USA

problem #193

May 092013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


The steering is very sticky and jolts left and right. I have found through some research to be a common problem among 2003-2005 BMW Z4 owners. It is not safe to be cruising down the highway jolting back and forth.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #192

Mar 152013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 51,500 miles
Steering has a rubbing and scraping noise when car is barely moving, such as in driveway or parking lot. At speed, steering becomes sticky and jerky. I just bought the car in March 2013 and it has 50,000 miles on it. Does not seem to be caused or affected by temperature. I am too concerned about this issue to let my wife or daughter drive the car. I have had the steering shaft lubricated, but that did not help anything.

- Fort Mill, SC, USA

problem #191

May 032013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 58,800 miles
Steering became somewhat unresponsive while driving at highway speeds. It was as it the steering wheel was sticking. Reducing speed did not seem to help, temp outside was 71 degrees and sunny. Checking web forums, this is a problem with this car. Bought this used approx 4 weeks ago, concerned that if steering continues to function this way, could cause an accident as you try to over compensate for sticking issue.

- Wallkill, NY, USA

problem #190

Aug 112010

Z4 6-cyl

  • 17,000 miles
While driving on the freeway, it became difficult to make small adjustments to the steering wheel. Once this abnormally high resistance was overcome, the intended adjustment would become excessive and require immediate correction. This correction would in turn be excessive, resulting in zigzagging while simply trying to maintain a straight line. Also, the steering wheel would remain in its rotated position upon release when exiting a turn, rather than naturally returning to center, thus requiring deliberate effort to bring the car straight again. This behavior is unnerving under ordinary conditions and could be quite dangerous, particularly in situations involving skids or emergency manoeuvers. Soon after the initiation of the 2010 NHTSA investigation into this issue, I brought the car to a local BMW dealer who claimed to know nothing about this prevalent issue and who was reportedly unable to replicate the issue. Since then I figured out it can replicated simply by setting the heater to full blast and leaving the windows rolled up for 20-30 minutes to allow the heat to soak into the electric-assist steering column: This issue occurs if the steering column gets warm by any means: Park in direct sun on a hot day, park in shade on a very hot day, run the heater on high for a while, etc. I took the car to a different BMW dealer on a moderate day in March 2013 and replicated it using the heater while their service foreman drove it; he was astonished by its perverse handling characteristics and immediately made the diagnosis: Faulty steering column requiring complete replacement. BMW North America has declined to cover any of the cost to resolve this factory defec because the 4yr/50K mi warranty is expired. My Z4 still has under 40,000 miles and it is abundantly clear that this issue is not caused by "wear and tear".

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #189

Jul 282012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 29,500 miles


My 2004 BMW Z4 exhibits severe steering issues when driven during warm (=> 75 degrees) temperatures. Under these conditions the ability to steer the vehicle can become very unpredictable to downright dangerous. During the summer of 2012 and as recently as this week I've experienced incidents where the inability to effectively steer this vehicle has led to several 'close calls' which nearly resulted in a collision with other vehicle. While this is a known issue that plagues hundreds if not thousands of BMW Z4S produced in the early to mid 2000S, BMW has never issued a recall. It also appears the while the NHTSA has investigated this problem they ruled that a 'safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further use of Agency resources does not appear to be warranted'. how can this be"! how can a manufacturer assume no responsibility for vehicles with a potentially life-threatening issue? has there ever been a more applicable case for a recall?! further, how can the NHTSA, an organization that's supposed to be 'dedicated to achieving the highest standards of excellence in motor vehicle and highway safety' permit this to happen" this very well-known defect has rendered my Z4 unsafe to drive and I feel it's BMW's responsibility to correct the problem so that it no longer exists. I would also urge the NHTSA to reexamine this potentially life threatening issue based on the number of vehicles (and drivers) if effects.

- Dearborn, MI, USA

problem #188

Apr 052011

Z4 6-cyl

  • 49,500 miles
Loss of electrical assisted steering/steering wheel very sluggish.

- Tulare, CA, USA

problem #187

Aug 012012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 27,000 miles
At high ambient temperatures the steering sticks. It sometimes is just a distraction, when it is at its worse I believe it is dangerous, not so much on wide open roads, but very much so on narrow roads. When it is at it's worse the car may dart as much as two feet.

- Evanston, IN, USA

problem #186

Feb 252013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 66,450 miles
Steering wheel / response feels "sticky and notchy" when steering column is hot. Have to fight steering wheel when traveling at high speeds. Does not happen in cooler temps. I have read that this is an internal bearing issue with the steering column. Dangerous!

- Redwood City, CA, USA

problem #185

Jan 252013

Z4 6-cyl

  • 44,000 miles
Bought used 2004 BMW Z4 in Aug 2012, steering seemed fine, it had 39K miles on it. Now at 44K miles the steering has become notchy, wobbly feeling and the car darts around. Had alignment done in Jan 2013 but still a problem. Looking at the number of complaints filed already, I am not alone. I would be happy to pay out a small amount to fix this but it seems to be a 3K-4K fix from what I've read. BMW needs to recall or else come up with a fix that doesn't involve replacing the whole steering column. What do you say BMW?

- Bothell, WA, USA

problem #184

Feb 062006

Z4 6-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
Sticky steering problem, this was replaced in 2006 under warranty by BMW, at about 2000 miles. Now Feb,2013 I have the same problem. I have less than 12000 miles on vehicle. I feel this is unsafe because it will cause you to jerk the wheel think you need to steer hard.

- Osceola, IN, USA

problem #183

Jun 142012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
The steering wheel gets stuck while driving and car doesn't stay in lane infact needs constant significant adjustments to keep it from accidentally getting into another lane. The issue has occurred multiple times and was an inconvenience so I didn't pay a lot of attention but it's more like a safety issue now with controlling the car becoming more and more difficult on freeways. NHTSA has identified this issue PE10020 as not significant and I sincerely hope they investigate it further and take some serious action before it causes irreparable loss. BMW needs to own up to a manufacturing defect as its not wear and tear and fix this.

- Foster City, CA, USA

problem #182

Nov 222012


  • 78,000 miles
While driving the steering light comes on and the steering locks in place. When U try to force it the car stalls out and the steering stays locked.. extremely dangerous!!!

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #181

Nov 142012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 49,125 miles
For some time my BMW Z4 2004 has been having a "notchy" feel to the steering. Today it came to a head as the steering completely locked on me. I was 2 blocks from home after just exiting a main high way I drive every day to and from work. I am so lucky I was already off the main road or a major accident would have happend. No steering, completely locked. I have done many internet searches and aparently I'm one of many that have had this issue. Fix the issue BMW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Watertown , SD, USA

problem #180

Nov 122012

Z4 6-cyl

  • 79,946 miles
I recently bought this car and the dealer talked about a steering issue with the Z4 models where they don't feel like the steering will center. I didn't have a chance to put miles on the car until today where I found out what he was talking about and had time to research it. This is a very well known issue and it looks like you have investigated it previously but it still is a very real problem and makes the car unsafe to drive. While driving after the car is warmed up the steering will feel as though it sticks as you try to drive a straight line. At around 40+mph the car will pull right or left with the steering nearly impossible to adjust to center. You can have the car pulling to one side, say traveling at 60mph, it will pull you to the right at a rate of 2 feet for every second. You have to nudge the steering wheel as it is not fluid (feels like it is stuck) back to the left and then it will pull left at the same rate. It is a battle of constant adjustment to fight in trying to center the car. If you have traffic around you it could be an accident waiting to happen. I request that this issue is re-opened as a safety recall. I have reviewed the information you received from BMW regarding steering warranty claims and with just over 12,000 BMW Z4's produced and nearly 10% (1,1xx) of them having a filed claim regarding steering issues, one would see that this is a major flaw. Warranty work is not always requested, thus why there are still more on the street that need high cost repairs and causing unsafe driving conditions for the driver/passenger as well as surrounding vehicles.

- Morehead City, NC, USA

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