really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,909 miles

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« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

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

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