BMW Z4

Steering Problems for BMW Z4 in the U.S.

NTHSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) is about to force BMW to recall a large number of Z4 units. The reason for this possible recall is that steering problems may appear.

2003 BMW Z4

We talk about a pretty large recall, in this recall being involved more than 300.000 BMW Z4 units. This recall affects just the units produced for the U.S. and also the risky models are made between 2003 and 2005.

In this regard, Tom Kowalesky, a spokesman for BMW U.S. said that the BMW customers and the Z4 owners will receive all the necessary information about this recall. Mazda officials were greedy in details, they have not said anything even this recall affects also the Mazda 3 units manufactured between 2007 and 2009, the problem is the same as the BMW Z4. 140 complaints related to this steering problem were received by people at BMW that are currently watching on this problem in order to resolve it as fast as possible.

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111 Comments

  1. Unfortunately, I have a lot of problems with the steering wheel of my 2005 BMW Z4. It is completely unstable. For instance:

    1)It keeps pulling to the left, or to the right. It requires constant adjustments so that I could keep the car aligned, or centered.

    2)I experience sudden jerks to the left, or to the right when the road surface is slightingly uneven. I can never predict which way the car pulls me. I struggle a lot to keep the steering centered when stopping at any red lights.

    3) Sometimes, the steering feels like it is stuck.

    4) I took the car to the dealer two years ago when I still had the warranty, and then they replaced the steering column. However, the symptoms did not go away at all. I took the car to another dealer, I was told it is just find and may requires alignment. If there was an alignment problem, the car should pull either to the left, or to the right, not to the both directions.

    5) I believe if any elderly person tries to drive this car with such problems will end up having a catastrophic crash. Mainly because of the fact that the driver must pay lots of attention to keep the car centered. Otherwise, at any second you may find yourself somewhere off the road, or under a truck.

    6) I have been reading over the internet that many Z4 owners have been experiencing similar problems that I do.

  2. Ken Sternfeld says:

    I have a 2005 Z4. The above could have been written by me. I have anothe appoint with my dealer tomorrow, one of many since last summer and will bring a copy of this with me. I have also had the steering column replaced in the interim as well as having rplaced all of the tires. Please e-mail me if you have had any success or if you want to know my latest results.

  3. BMW Girl says:

    I bought a 2004 Z4 in December, 2010. On the drive from Virginia back to Atlanta, I noticed the steering would “stick” and I had to use force to get it back aligned with the road.

    I didn’t drive the car much but now that the weather here in Atlanta is getting warmer, I was taking the car out more. In the morning, it is fine. It is after it has been sitting in the sun or I drive it a lot that the steering wheel starts to stick.

    I filed a complaint with the NHSTA that is probably going to recall these cars. I advise anyone who hasn’t filed, please do. The more, the better chance at recall. I also filed a complaint with BMW North America.

    BMW North America set up an appointment with an engineer to look at my car. I got the call that they found a problem with the steering and will be replacing the EPS system… at no cost to me.

    I understand that it is the 2003, 2004 and 2005 models that have this problem.

  4. BMW Z4 is a very fine car for you, Did you solved the problem anyway?

  5. Albert Gomez says:

    I just bought a used ’04 Z4 last week, and the exact same thing started happening with mine. It was fine in the test drive but I had the same problems the second I drove it off the lot. How would I go about filing the necessary complaints to get this recall going?

  6. amen!!! My wifes z4 sometimes drives like a snake. I wont allow her to drive on any narrow street. It dives for oncoming traffic then to the ditch. It’s only a matter of time and someone is going to seriously get hurt. And I know who’s responsible.

  7. Bob Larson says:

    Yet ANOTHER Z4 E85 owner with an accident waiting to happen. Just drove newly acquired 2005 Z4 first time above 85F. VERY Disappointed. VERY dangerous. When the class action suit comes around for BMW’s reckless endangerment of vehicle owners, I’ll sign-up. Hundreds of complaints, a few accidents and no recall. Not even a TSA ????

  8. Mike Swenson says:

    Same problem here with my 2005 Z4 very mad at dealer (they said..of course they couldn’t duplicate the problem!).

    This problem is all over the internet and if BMW doesn’t get it together they will have one ugly PR problem with matching lawsuit on their hands.

  9. John McBeth says:

    Same problem here. 2005 BMW Z4 with only 11,700 miles. Dealer is replacing the steering column as we speak for $3,300! This car is driven by my wife, so it’s 11,000 very easy miles. The car has never seen rain or wet roads. Unbelievable. I think we need to take serious action here.

  10. Clay Foster says:

    I have the same problem with the sticking steering…. I thought it was just mine until I finally started looking into the problem. What a disappointment! 26K miles on a 2005 and it drive like crap! And has driven like that since I got it 4 years ago. This is Definitely NOT “The Ultimate Driving Machine”. The BMW dealers do everything they can to avoid dealing with the problem. They never seem to be able to replicate the problem. Another load of crap! Undoubtedly the worst service of any vehicle manufacturer I have ever owned. I agree with Mike, BMW is going to have a Huge PR problem if they don’t step up to the plate and fix this dangerous problem. Car darts everywhere and the “sticking” requires a sharp turn of the wheel to the right or left to get it to center back up in the lane and hope like hell you don’t take out a retaining wall while doing that, unbelievable. I can’t understand how the Toyota Camry “has a sticky acceleration problem” and the government is all over Toyota. Recalls were forced across the country and I mean quickly. For what these Z4’s cost you can buy 3 Camay’s. Where is the “Government” now?? This should not be happening to a “quality” performance automobile of this caliber. I am so disappointed in BMW! If the dealer and BMW America don’t “man up” I can guarantee that it will be my last from them!

  11. I understand this big steering problem with the BMW Z4s manufactured between 2003-2005 and BMW should begin to recall in service these cars. We cannot help you with anything, we just try to talk to BMW about this problem. I am sorry that it happens in a large number of people who own this model made ​​between 2003 and 2005, very sad. We hope to reach a recall of all Z4 with this problem and that you should continue to be pleased with BMW and their services …
    Stay connected on BMWCoop for more details regarding this problem,
    I wish you luck!

  12. I have the same problem with my 2004 BMW Z4. It is the way you all described. I am not sure how to file my complaint.

    Please note the first post above where he has problems of the car pulling left or right on rutted pavement is an issue of the high performance tires and not a steering issue. Get big soft cushy tires and that problem will go away.

    The steering issue when the weather is hot is an engineering problem. This case will prove that BMW does not have the best engineering and that BMW is not the “ultimate driving machine” unless they step up to the plate and solve this steering problem.

  13. I used to love driving my Z4 untill this problem became the dominating part of the driving experience. Now I will leave the Z in the garage and take my pickup because it is not longer FUN to drive when the weather is hot. I have to fight the steering wheel every minute it is moving.

  14. 95 Degrees outside today. Drove my 2005 Z4 to the office in the morning, handled fine. Left the office around 5, and the steering was extremely stiff. Swerved my way home at slower that normal speed because I was afraid of the car’s steering. I have experienced this before, but not as stiff as today. Tonight I thought I’d check the internet to see if other owners were experiencing similar problems. Wow, what an eye opener! The steering stiffness was probably more noticeable this evening because the car sat in the sun all day, and it got really warm under the hood. My car is garage kept. I do not drive it very often. The odometer has less that 20k miles and its 6-1/2 yr old.

  15. TEMPORARY FIX – UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM
    I wrote a comment on July 28 and want to amend my comments. I took my Z4 to an independent mechanic who specializes in BMW. He looked at it and now it drives like it did when i purchased it.

    First a description of the problem: My steering column turns similar to the fan control switch on the Z4 – from detent to detent and not smoothly like a volume control on a radio. If you reach forward to the fan control console and turn it you will note that it does not turn smoothly it goes from stop to stop to stop about every 5 degrees. Each stop is called a detent. So as you turn the knob it starts in a detent then as you turn it clicks into the next detent and stops then you have to twist a bit harder till it clicks into the next detent. That is how my steering column acts when it is hot outside. It clicks into one detent and that position may not keep you driving straight down the road. You try to correct it and it will not turn unless you push exra hard then it goes past the point that would keep you going straight downt he road into the next detent and you are progressively headed off the other side of the road. As you try to correct it by turning back, it will not smoothly turn back, it resists till you push extra hard then it goes past the point that would keep you going straight and stops in the next detent and now you are headed off the road in the other direction.

    It should feel more like volums control turning smoothly to any direction as needed and would keep you going straight.

    THIS IS NOT THE STEERING PULL THAT IS CHARACTERISTIC OF HIGH PERFORMANCE LOW PROFILE TIRES TRYING TO RIDE TO THE TOP OF THE RUTS ON AN UNEVEN ROAD. Some of the desriptions above are clearly HiPerformance (HP) tires/rut problems. This problem is not a BMW problem there is nothing that BMW can do to solve that problem. Any HP tire will ride to the top of ruts. If you want a HP vehicle then you have to live with “rut pull”. If you do not want to deal with “rut pull” then don’t drive a HP car with low profile HP tires. Or put some of those big cushy tires on your vehicle. It will not pull near as hard and you can lumber down he road in comfort not fighting rutpull.

    Richard Behn in Pensacola, took my steering column apart and discovered a lousy BMW design. There is a bearing on the steering column that is not sealed. It is open and exposed and not lubricateable at least not easy to lubricate. The column must be removed and to clean and lubricate it. Which is what he did for me. Further it is not replaceable short of replacing the entire steering column ($3500). BMW will not sell just the bearing. Apparently BMW cannot sell just the bearing because the inner bearing race is the column itself. In my opinion the design is flawed. If should include a bearing that is sealed or replaceable. Richard cleaned the bearing and put in new lubricant ($250) and now my steering is like it was when it was new. It is smooth, no more “detent” characteristics. It is fun to drive again. I still have the “rut-pull” but that is the price to pay for high performance.

    Richard told me this problem is not fixed. The lubricant will run out of the bearing and it will dry and the bearing will again begin to wear quickly. The problem will return and the steering will get lousty and even dangerous. For now I am enjoying the driving again.

  16. Hello Rush,

    Thank you for explaining the problem and how to solve it, it should help all BMW Z4 owners with this steering problem. Keep reading this article for other discussion. Also, if you are a BMWCoop fan, the please like our BMWCoop’s facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/BMWCoop/

    Have a great day!

  17. Me too. Just drove home from a top motor replacement (another poor design – leaves covering the drain hole allowing the compartment to fill with water). Very harrowing 60 mile drive in hot weather. Almost scary. This has been happening to me since 25k (now at 52k). Dealer dismissed it when it was still under warranty. Very irritating.

  18. Ok Rush, If lubing that bearing your talking about was a temporary fix what about the owners that had a brand new steering column put in with new bearing and fresh lube and still has the same problem. You must of had a bearing defect in yours.

  19. J’ai un z4 2005 3.0 et j’ai aussi le même probleme avec la colonne de direction…..que faire…

  20. To Rush, thanks for the temp fix on the bearing, one question, which bearing is it that needs the lube, the one in the lower steering box or the one that holds the column in the firewall area ??

  21. We purchased a Z4 from a dealer through the auction and when we tried to get it fixed we called them up to ask if they knew of any “common problems” with the Z4’s steering. The service advisor actually told me that “it was rare”. !!!!! Can you believe that???!!! I was just searching online to find a cheap steering column to have put in and found ALL THIS! Either he was flat out lying or needs to be flat out fired for being such an idiot! I won’t name the dealership, but it was in Orlando. Thanks Rush for a possible solution!

  22. Phillip Bowen says:

    I found my 05 Z4 on autotrader.com and drove from alabama to pennsylvania to buy my car that had 50,000 miles. It drove perfectly on my test drive and i thought that i had read up on this car enough to determine that there were no major problems with them. On my 900 mile drive back home i realized that i had the sticky steering problem that many of you have described. We must band together and make BMW recall and fix this obvious “DEFECT”. It’s a shame that they have not realized that they have a serious problem and made things right for the thousands of Z4 owners like us. I am not gonna just go away! I love my car but this problem has to be fixed! Let’s stand together people and demand action!!!!

  23. Gordon O'Connor says:

    I have a 2004 Z$ with under 20,000 miles. I started having this same sticking steering issue a few years ago. I had BMW look at it they said they could find nothing, but still charged me to look. I have since had another garage look at it and they have concluded it is the electronic steering Column and that it needs to be replaced ( cost would be approx $ 4000 ). This garage/ dealership feels the car is unsafe to drive. Obviously BMW know this, and is just hoping with few enough complaints it just goes away. Everyone with this issue should report it on-line, it takes seconds. Hopefully this might make them accountable to fix what they know is a problem. I can’t believe a recall has not already been issued.

  24. Ron Overton says:

    Hey I thought I was crazy. My 04 with 52k now, has the issue. My steering jerks to the left and sticks randomly. I thought it was just because of weather since it’s RWD with the rain pouring. Yet, it happened with the great weather as well. I hope they recall the damn thing lol. I feel for us all, not fear. I am going to make a complaint just so we can get this fixed. One day. Where exactly do we report this?

  25. Rodney Lemonier says:

    Just purchased a 2003 Bmw Z4 the previous owner never mentioned this issue but i have found a service invoice in the car with this complaint. Now i am afraid for my wife or me to drive the car. Is Rush’s solution (above) the definitive fix for this problem?? Is the new steering columns being installed by BMW redesigned with new type bearings??

  26. Jill Soniker says:

    If you do have this problem, please file a problem report with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/index.xhtml this is what will force BMW to order a recall if enough complaints are filed and the NHTSA forces them to fix it!

  27. Bought a 2004 Z4 with 40,000 miles in June 2011. On one of my trips to Atlanta ( 200 miles each way) the car started to not want to correct to the right. Conditions were 68 F and expressway. The condition occurred on the the way home after driving 3 hours to Atlanta and 1 1/2 hours home. Car will not correct to the right and then when enough pressure is applied to the steering wheel the car leaps to the right. Reported the problem to the NHTSA. If this had been a Chevrolet the media would have been all over it and GM would have done the right thing and fixed it. The problem has manifested itself on other occassions under similar conditions. Talked to dealer and was told that the steering column needed to be replaced at about $3500. Any american car with a steering defect that manifested itself while under 45K miles would have been the subject of a media outrage. The problem does not seem to show up during around town driving at temperatures above 70F.

  28. Phillip Bowen says:

    Update on my steering problem. I recieved a call from BMW corporate 3 weeks ago wanting me to take my Z4 in to Tom Williams BMW in birmingham for a diagnosis. BMW paid for the diagnosis(a start) and as suspected the only fix is replacement of the steering column at a price of $3180.00! We have to get something done and i am writing more letters to BMW and forwarding to the NHTSA for their review. I feel if we all stick together and keep the heat on both of them, a recall is in our future. Contact me at pcbowen1@aol.com if you have ideas or want to know what i have found out! Our day is coming!!

  29. I have a 2005 Z4 and thought it was my not being used to the car’s handling ability.. I have a US car that was imported to Canada and I hope that BMW will make good this issue..

  30. charlie byrd says:

    i see i am not alone. have a 05 z4 with sticking steering. we need a recall.

  31. I have a Z4 2005, I have the same problem with my steering, now I am scared to drive my car, where can we file for a complaint

  32. We can work together for a official complaint regarding this problem. All owners of Z4s having these steering problems please write here your complaint.

  33. Just bought a 2005 Z4 with 100K miles. No problems on the test drive. The sticky steering seems to occur when the car sits outdoors in temperatures above 75F. Thought maybe it was a steering box issue til I read all these posts! I filed with NHTSA and spoke to BMW North America. BMW wants me to take the car and pay the dealer to diagnose it. They say they have no recalls or tech bulletins. Not sure what my next move is. It sounds like an obvious product defect with so many having the problem.

  34. does this problem happen only when its hot?? … i dove my z4 this weekend for the first time this yr and it was in mid 90s and its the first time i felt the steering stick.
    wish like all of you that BMW would recall this car

  35. Same sticky steering problems as all of the you on my 2004 Z4 36k miles. I’ve been driving around with the problem for several months now, but seems no one has had much luck getting anything done other than the $3k plus fix. In the meantime I filed a complaint at the safecar.gov site, hope we can get something done about this before someone gets hurt!

  36. Reid Kearl says:

    Same sticky steering problems as all of the you on my 2004 Z4 83k miles. I’ve been driving around with the problembut I am getting nervous. I filed a complaint at the safecar.gov site, hope we can get something done about this before someone gets hurt! This is my second BMW but my confidence is being eroded fast.

  37. Phillip Bowen says:

    UPDATE!!! I got BMW of NA to pay for the steering column to fix my 05 Z4! You have to go thru the proper channels and have given a few people the heads up on what i did. It cost me 300$ labor to get the 3100$ defective steering column replaced and now it drives like a dream. Plus if there is a recall i will get the 300 back! Please don’t give up. BMW knows that there is a problem. The mechanic had problems getting the column out because it was “rusted in”.Hang in there and let’s keep fighting for our rights! The squeeky wheel gets the grease and i am proof of that. Contact me if i can help at pcbowen1@aol.com.

  38. sam ancitano says:

    I bought my 2004 Z4 3.0i in Oct. of 2011 with 19,500 mi. I did not have garage to house the car at that time,so the car was outside til winter weather set in. I live outside Pittsburgh, the steering sticking problem started from the start on warm and sunny days. The sticking correction varies from annoying to OH!!!! I do not let my wife drive this car. COME ON BMW FESS UP TO YOUR POOR ENGINEERING OF THIS STEERING COLUMN !!

  39. Well it’s good to know I’m not alone. I have a 2004 Z4 with 72k miles that I imported to Canada from Florida in 2010. When I say “imported” I mean I flew down and drove I back! It was a blast and still is, except for the weird steering I began noticing last summer. Seems to be only in very warm weather. The car almost has to be forced to steer. I have a good local mechanic who specializes on Volvo but does work on BMW also. I am letting him have a look at the car to see if he can find out what the problem is. Ive copied Rush’s notes on the bearing for him to look at too. I will post if he finds a solution. I do agree that it’s time BMW stepped up to the plate and offered a factory fix.

  40. I just purchased a 2003 Z4 with only 9500 miles. An awesome car with one exception – the steering. I am having the same problems as described above. I have to constantly “fight” the car to keep it straight, especially at higher speeds. The performance is just not acceptable or safe! What will it take for a recall? Please file all complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Below is the link to file a complaint. We have to stick together on this one!!!

    NHTSA Contact Information
    Click Here to Send Email to NHTSA
    http://www.nhtsa.gov/Contact

  41. I have a 2004 Z4 I bought new while stationed in Germany. It has under 12000 miles and has same problem. I ask the dealer to look at the issue several times but they never found anything wrong. Seems there is no problem driving around the parking lot. Last time I ask to go with and when we got out on the road above 30 MPH bingo I have a problem but out of warranty now. How ever for $3200 they can fix it. Filed a complant with NTSB. Everyone needs to go to the NTSB web site and file. That is the only hammer that might make BMW recall these or at least soft recall where they pay some of the cost.

  42. I have a 2004 Z4 with “sticky” steering issues also. Bought the car 6 months ago and still trying to get the problem resolved. I have filed 2 complaints with the NHTSA, called 3 dealers and BMW NA. It’s going back to another dealer today, for the second time, to try and replicate the problem, so I can get a diagnosis for this “rare” problem, as I’m told by the service manager. What a bunch of BS!!!

  43. sue m high point nc says:

    well here it is june 2012 and i see how old some of these posts are. my 2005 z5 has the steering sickness too. especially when the weather is warm, i’ve only owned it for 6 mos. i put 4 brand new tires on it.(the used car dealer sold it to me with 4 different tires on there) (shall i mention peters auto mall)high point nc??? the radio was intermittent had i not told them and harassed them to say it only works after i go over a bump? they finally agreed to put a pioneer in there and not a stock bmw radio. i just finished driving back from myrtle beach and i thought i was gonna kill somebody with this outa wack steering thing i was so self conscious, i felt like a drunk driver trying to overcompensate for pulling to the left and then pulling to the right.. i’ve seen people texting and driving that steered better than i did. i was a nervous wreck and it drove me nuts. what do i have to do sell the darn thing and pass the problem on? no that aint’ right. this steering problem isn’t right. what the heck do i do? i just took it to my local mechanic and they suggested i take it to the dealer. NOT. not taking it back to where i bought it they gave me a 30day warranty. hello. goodbye, we got your mustang on the trade in see ya is how they pretty much handle it. how much more money am i to put into this car? or are we going to wait until theres another accident? death? or multi deaths? come on Tom Kowalesky spokesperson for BMD and NHSTA what are you waiting for? ? ? ? ? ? i’m waiting.

  44. Hi from the UK!

    This problem also affects Zeds over here quite a bit, including my late’06 facelift car.

    If you are diagnosing the problem, like Sonja above, remember that the power assistance falls off the faster you go…so at low speeds it will easily overcome any resistance and the problem won’t be evident at all. The ‘stickiness’ you feel at speed is because there is resistance in the column somewhere and so the power steering kicks in with a bit of extra oomph, making it feel like its come unstuck.

    Its seriously, good luck with your endeavours all of you! I just wish BMW would be honest for once and explain exactly what the problem is.

  45. I have a 2005 Z4 which I bought in 2008. I have felt the sticky steering for some time but it seems to go away. I never really noticed if it was during hot weather or not. Today I am in Montreal Canada and it is only 26C, not sure what that is in farenheight, and the steering is a bit sticky but what is worse now it that I get a amber waring light in the dash with a steering Icon. Don’t like this one. Again it seems to just flash on then goes away. Will call the dealer next week and see what they say. I have 104,000 kilometers on the clock. Just over 60,000 miles. This should not be happening to the ultimate machine….I have had cars with double this milage and never a steering problem… hope BMW does something about it…

  46. Took my 2005 Z4 to BMW of Santa Maria, CA last week. The steering was very sticky by the time I arrived. It was in the 80’s. The tech new right away it was the steering column. I had been in contact with BMWNA and filed a complaint with NHSTA. BMWNA agreed to pay half the cost (my car has a little over 100k on it) of the steering column. Installed it cost me about $1650.. It now drives like “the ultimate driving machine”. A product defect is exactly that and as I am glad to have the column replaced (with the updated column)I believe BMW should recall these cars or at a very minimum should fix them as they become aware.

  47. I have a 2004 Z4 with 29,000 miles. I purchased it 2 years ago from a local BMW dealership with 24,500 miles on it. I have hardly driven it because I don’t feel in control with the steering. I have taken it back to the dealership several times complaining of this issue & they just say “oh, this car has a different feel than you are used too etc.” I finally took it to an independant but certified BMW service center and they drove it and felt it immediately. They did some research and diagnosed the steering column issue immediately. Said they felt it is very unsafe to drive. I’m taking it back to my dealership tomorrow! Wish me luck! They won,t be blowing me off this time!

  48. I have a 2003 z4 with 73K miles and the steering column issue appears to have happened to it too! While driving into work this morning, the ABS, brake, column failure and airbag light all came on at the same time…the ac shutdown, lost all of my guage lights and the power steering became stiff! All at 70mph on I-20! I managed to get the car off the interstate and was only a few miles from my home…got the car home, it sat for about 30 mins, went out to start investigating, car started up as normal with everything running properly….began turning the steering and the same warning lights began showing up! What to do next?? Afraid to drive it to a dealership as the closest one is 40 miles away! Any help or suggestions are appreciated..

  49. I have posted a couple of times on this site regarding my 2005 Z4 steering issue. Posted last week that I had the steering column replaced. A friend of a friend is a product defect attorney and we had a conversation regarding these steering column issues with our Z4’s. His firm is interested in researching these cases further so if any of you are interested in contacting them with your experiences here is the contact info. Kenneth King, Esq. kkinghk@sbcglobal.net, and Ronald Hartman, constructiondefects@sbcglobal.net Maybe this type of action could help get a recall!

  50. Our Z4’s 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 only 39000mi. on it. In the cool mornings it feels normal but in the middle of the day or after driving 15-20 minuets 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 but only after you finally apply enough pressure to brake it loose and this causes you to over-steer the car, it feels unsafe to drive especially in traffic or driving close to a hwy barrier/construction zone etc.. the steering also will not return to center in a slight turn it just keeps turning until you have to force it back to center. My wife started driving the car a couple of days ago 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 towards the direction change 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 notch or catch between the speeds and how it takes additional effort to come out of one speed and into another, not a big deal for a fan switch but this condition in a steering system could be catastrophic. this car is in immaculate condition with under 53000mi and has always been garaged sense new. I have reported my car and this condition to the NHTSA and filed a complaint with BMW as well, I suggest all should do the same.

  51. Well sign me up to the BMW list. I just purchased from a private party a very nice 2005 Z4 2.5. The car drove great due to my test drive in the early morning. Couple of days later while driving in late afternoon warm temps the car had a “notchy” feeling when steering wheel is centered. As the tires were somewhat worn I thought they might be the problem and had new tires installed. Guess what? didn’t solve the problem. The car drives nice in cool weather but notchy when it hot. Is there any update as to NHTSA doing something about this. My car only has 32,000 miles on it. I plan filing a complaint even though I’ve not been in to dealer about the problem as it appears all I need to know is here.

  52. I’ve had my 2004 Z4 since it was new. I’ve been experiencing problems with the steering for the last 2 years but attributed them to the lousy run-flat tires which always set off the sensors in the needs air button on the car. I thought the tires were contributing to the poor steering. I am shocked beyond words that the “Ultimate Driving Machine” would have such poor steering and even more shocked that BMW is not standing by this issue. This should be a recall and the entire steering column be replaced. From a safety perspective, what will it take? Someone getting killed?? Shame on you BMW!!

  53. Add me to the list bought my 04 z4 oct of 2011 42,000 miles noticed the notchy steering when weather started getting hot in the 80 degree and above weather. started lubricating the steering arm under hood. I must be hitting the right spot sometimes because it will drive great afterwards but needs it again the next day cooler weather dont need to lube. I have filed a complaint with the NHTSA hoping a recall will be done soon before lubing dont work anymore. I have Owned several BMWs over the years have always found them to be the Ultimate Drive Machine but this issue is very dissapointing.

  54. I have a 2004 z4 2.5. The steering will stick while driving. It only takes a little effort to move it and it seems fine while your turning and using the steering. As you drive for a while and go to turn again it will fill stuck again.

  55. Wolfgang Ortner says:

    I have a 2005 Z4 (U.S.) mfg, with all the same steering issues related above. I now reside in Canada. Are you aware of any attempt by BMW NA to recall these vehicle and fix the steering issue?

  56. I have a 2003 Z4 2.5i. Steering problem just started. Wheel does not feel sticky, but at highway speeds, the car is all over the place (like a drunk driver), the steering feels very loose and less sensitive. If I make any more than the slightest turn, the Dynamic Stability Control kicks in.

    This does not happen at low speed.

  57. I have a 2004 z4 2.5 litre which I bought in the US and imported into Canada,had the car 2 years before anything showed up but now it is scary to drive and hard to stay in a straight line.Hopefully no one is killed or seriously injured before something is done.Not sure if I would be involved in a american recall or a canadian recall if in fact there ever is one.Would like to hear from any other canadian owners on this to see what our course of action may be.

  58. Hi, I have that problem with the steering on my z4 3.0 2004.
    When driving on a warm day, after the car has been parked a while in the sun, the steering is acting strange when correcting slightly the trajectory on a straight lane, moving at normal speed.
    The z4 has a electrical steering assistance, meaning that there is an electrical motor providing assitance to the steering wheel when the effort from turning the wheels is high. The slower you drive, the more you turn, the higher is the effort, and higher the power needed from the assistance to help the driver.
    Normally, when you drive straight the effort to “fine tune” the trajectory does not require assistance, as the effort from the wheels is rather small, but I have the feeling that the system provide anyway an impulse of assistance to the wheels while not needed, therefore it always steers a little bit to much, leading to this impression of “sticky” steering.
    If the system provide an assistance when not needed, it is probably because it receive a wrong info from a sensor, or any electronics component regulating the power to the electrical motor, being too much influenced by the temperature (semiconductor behavior is temperature dependant, and this might change when getting older…).
    It is just a idea….
    Any comment?
    Has someone already been looking if it is possible to change the electrical command module? Or sensors?

  59. To the moderator: why have you dropped my post of yesterday?

  60. Thank you for your comment. Your issue was approved. Please keep in touch here for more information regarding the BMW Z4’s steering problems.

  61. I also have a 2003 Z-4 convertible with only 60,000 miles on it. Upon driving it for three hours thru a very curvy mountain road it began steering very poorly. If the curve went to the right i had to “yank” on it to straighten back up to go straight, same if it went left. When on a straight road it would feel very sticky when moving the wheel. This is very scary as it could at any point not turn and I would be off the road and down the mile canyon to the river. I will be making my complaints known this week. If you hear of a recall please let me know. Thanks! First BMW that this has ever happened to me with. Ultimate Driving Machine????? Not this one right now. It takes work to drive it.

  62. I bought a 2003 BMW two years ago with about 65,000 miles and have had all kinds of problems. I had to replace the power top motor at about $1,500 because of water damage. Discovered many other owners had or have the same problem. Now the steering sticks and the car is all over the road, especially when it’s hot outside. Now all of the sensor lights are on and will not turn off. Discovered this too was a common problem. The car has been garaged since October 2012. Today, March 30, 2013 I drove the car to the store and now there is smoke coming from under the hood. Found this too was a common problem. I have owned BMWs since 1987. After the BMW plant opened in South Carolina, every BMW I have owned has been plagued with problems. I will call the dealership on Monday about these problems. My guess, I will be asked to pay for BMW’s manufacturing defects. If this turns out to be the case, I will never own another BMW in my lifetime. If anyone hears of recalls, please post. I will file a complaint with the NHTSA. Thanks for reading.

  63. I got my 2003 z4 in May 2012, 70,000 miles and a deal to boot!!! First, is the top motor, another crapy design. Now starting to get the steering problem . I think we should all get in touch with pc bowen , from above , since he got bmw to pay for his !!! maybe a total bumrush to every dealer on the planet . Has any one tried to get this on tv ? Fox , or a big network , When it goes public. PC Bowen got bmw to pay !!!! ,good for you buddy . Going to file like eveyone else . Does anyone have any Ideas on a fix ? can we put something in the colum to keep the greese from running out ? Since someone else said he was lubing his , can we use heavy dope greese in it where that guy is doing his ? Thanks to you , for that buddy , you are the only one with a fix , even if it is temp . Just wondering since it is exposed . COME ON GUYS, ONE OF US IS A GENOUS, AND CAN COME UP WITH SOMETHING UNTIL WE GET BMW TO DO IT !!! THANKS FOR THE READ . leewitt@ymail.com

  64. As a potential Z4 buyer (I have my eye on a 2003, 3.0L) It makes you wonder if it’s worth trying to cool the EPS unit to see if that affects it (A/C on high in footwell ?

  65. Love my 2004 Z4. Fun car to drive…but the sticky steering is terrible. Hoping BMW would stand behind it. It is worse in warm weather. Being a convertible, that would be the time to drive it. Called Sharpe Dealership in Grand Rapids, they told me it needed a new servo,$$$$. Waiting for a recall.

  66. Norma Bruinsma says:

    My 2004 BMW Z4 has a problem with sticky steering. It feels like it hangs up. I do not dare to drve it on Highways. This happened about 18 months ago. It is worse when it is warm weather. That is the time to drive my convertible. An expensive Sports Car like this should not have problems as such. BMW Sharpe Dealer in Grand Rapids said it is the servo.
    $4000.00 to get it fixed. I am thinking twice about this. Our Cadillacs have never had large issues as this. BMW is not leaving me a happy feeling. It is a fun car to drive but not using it much lately. 30,000 miles and a problem like this. Hopefully a recall will be issued. If not, not another BMW in my garage! HELP!

  67. Bob Baumhoegger says:

    My 2004 Z4 has 56,000 mile on it. I bought it in 2011. Same problem as mentioned in all of the above complaints. I thought it was odd that is was happening more in the warmer weather. I was proud to be a BMW owner but now only disappointed.

  68. I also 2003 bmw z4 cars, I also have turned to instability problems, but my country is located in Taiwan, how do I deal with?

    In Taiwan, there is a bunch of Z4 cars have steering instability has the same problem.

    How do I contact the company with BMW of North America?

    What do reflect the pipeline? MAIL or E-mail address?

  69. Janice Knighton says:

    I have the same problem with the sticking steering wheel…scary! Please advise if there’s a recall….I own a 2003 Z4. JaniceKnighton@comcast.net

  70. We have a 2003 Z4 with 95K miles and steering went out over a year ago… we finally bit the bullet and took it to the dealer. They didn’t admit any known problems with steering and we had it fixed, total steering column replacement and $3,600 bucks. Steering is fine now…. Hope they recall someday.

  71. We have a 2003 that we got in June of 2011 with now 85K. Steering is terrible and feel unsafe. Used to be a fun car to drive-now a wreck waiting to happen. BMW should do the recall.

  72. Day Werts says:

    Just paid $4100 for replacement of my faulty steering column plus alignment of my 2004 Z4 at my local foreign car repair shop. I was experiencing the same “notchy” steering problem described in the comments above and now, after reading these complaints I too will file a letter with the NHTSA and BMW North America. Interestingly, as I was driving home last night from picking up the car, I hit a bump and the steering wheel jerked sharply in my hand…something I don’t recall significantly happening before. One of the blogs above mentioned something similar and now I wonder if my problem is fixed. I need to do some test riding over rough roads to find out.

  73. As you all said this “Ultimate driving machine” is not fin to drive any more, I have the Z4, 2004 and now more than ever have that same issue with the steering I guess they are waiting for some one to get kill in an accident. To issue the e recall tomorrow I go to the dealer here in Montreal to find out about my z4, and keep you updated on what my dealer said

  74. I have a 03 z4 and I started to have a problem at around 20,000 mi. I live in south Fl. and it is hot all the time, so I have a problem all the time, it is hard to stay in a straight line. This problem needs a recall now, not after someone gets killed. Please keep me up to date on a recall or a permanent fix.

  75. David Dowell says:

    Yep… I have all of the same issues. I have a 2004 Z4 3.0L Si bought 2 years ago. It’s excellent is all respects but the steering, especially when it’s over 65F outside. Sticking, failure to keep line, over- and under-steer even on smooth highways. I’ve had four BMWs in the past and this is the worst steering ever. The concentration, strength and correction efforts needed to keep this car pointed safely down the road should have kept this design off the road. Where do I sign to complain and have this as a major recall?

  76. I just bought a 2004 Z4 from a kid last week. He told me it was a sensor with the steering….yup now I am worried!!! BMW complaints here I come!! I will sign for the recall as well!

  77. I bought my 2003 Z4 a few years ago with 23,000 miles and I noticed something wrong with the steering. I had it aligned and it seemed better but would still feel notchy at times. Now the car has 35,000 and the problem is worse. I’m now realizing the guy I bought it from knew about the BMW defect. The car sits in the garage most of the time. My wife is afraid to drive it. I’m not getting why something as dangerous as this hasn’t been recalled??? I will fill out the recall form also.

  78. I bought my 2005 Z4 in 06 only 39000 kms now.Steering is so stiff I don’t drive it and would not sell it to anyone for that reason. I can’t believe that BMW has not addressed this issue. Would appreciate any info on a fix, if there is one.

  79. Lloyd Butler says:

    Well, now I know I am not along with this problem. I bought a 2004 BMW Z4 two months ago with 30,000 miles. It drives like crap and I think the miles were low because the passed owners hated to drive it. Also, both rear drive axles are out of limits with over one inch of free play. It cost me $1371 to to fix but still have steering problems.

  80. I have the same issue with a recently acquired 2004 BMW Z4 with 30K miles. The car is very hard to control at higher speeds and especially if the roads are not perfect. I’ve filed a complaint with the NHTSA.

  81. My 2004 BMW Z4 has (64K) has been jerky for a few months. This morning after backing out of a parking space, when I tried to drive, the power steering light suddenly came on and the car wouldn’t steer at ALL. I looked up the issue on my smart phone, turned off the car and restarted it. Everything returned to ‘normal’ then but I’m freaked out now that I’ve read so many issues. I live in an extremely busy city. If this thing goes out during rush traffic, it’s a definate wreck. I certainly don’t have the 3-4K to put into it. And even if I did, it’s only worth about 10K max. I’ll file a complaint as well. This needs to be a recall ASAP!

  82. I have a 2003 z4 3.i which i purchased 2 years ago and noticed the sticking problem straight away on the drive home.
    tried contacting many people here in Australia but no one seems to know anything, or a way to fix it. so i have now purchased a new Steering Column imported from Germany.
    driving it now it still has this problem but less so i have bench tested the one that was removed and i am sure i have found the problem, it seems to have been set up and adjusted wrong from the factory in all cases, by a simple adjustment the column goes from one of tight and sticky to one of smooth operation. i am sure that i have solved the problem.

  83. Tim Baumsteiger says:

    Experienced this problem for the 1st time last weekend. Drove my 05 (58k mi) to a friends house, where it sat for about 6 hrs in the sun. It’s not my primary car, and is always in the garage.
    Felt as if I was driving drunk on the way home, constantly having to over correct my steering. Very annoying experience. Thought I might have had low air pressure in a tire, but the idiot light would have come on.
    This car is well cared for and treated better than my kids! (Just kidding) There is no abuse to this vehicle.
    Any recourse with BMW?

  84. Bret Wade says:

    I have the very same problem with my 2003 Z4, 61,000 miles. It only seem to get bad on longer drives, not very noticeable on short around town drives. I have read quite a lot of these complaints and haven’t seen any answers on how to fix this problem. Will BMW inform me with a solution if I call? This is annoying as hell and definitely takes the fun out of nice Sunday drive!

  85. Paul Woodman says:

    I just bought a second 2005 Z4. My 2.5 (65000 miles) has never had this problem. The 3.0 I just bought (38000 miles) does seem to have the problem. A long time in the sun and it has ‘sticky’ steering. Almost live the steering assist has turned off. I am going to talk to BMNWNA tomorrow.

  86. Need to report on NHTSA

  87. Duncan Young says:

    We have an ’03 Z4 with 36K miles. The steering used to start sticking when the car was hot inside. Yesterday the steering started sticking at about 65 degrees F, cold, right out of the garage. We only drive in good weather but what’s the use of that if the steering goes bonkers? Another report to NHTSA.

  88. Jeanette Klausing says:

    I have the same problem with my 2005 Z4, 29k miles. VERY DISAPPOINTED with BMW! This issue is a huge safety issue! I just spent thousands of dollars on repairs with no improvement. After reading all the complaints, I’m very upset with my dealer as they suggested repairs/replacement parts that have proven not to work. I will be filling a complaint with NHTSA. Does anyone have any updates on a recall?

  89. I have a 2003 Z4 – 57000 miles and it has exactly the same notchy steering problems as described by the members. It does seem to be temperature affected. Longer drives- it becomes difficult to steering in the same lane. I have contacted BMW customer service — got essentially a null response. I believe that they are aware that this is potentially a safety hazard. I suggest that we all file complaints with the NHTSA to document. Certainly does not comply with my view of the Ultimate Driving Experience.

    RJV

  90. Ken Jordan says:

    When is the NHTSA going to force BMW to do something about this steering problem? It has gone on long enough. Are they waiting for someone to die? Why do we have an agency that
    will not act? Our tax money at work.

  91. Jane Criswell says:

    I also have a 2005 Z4 that I purchased with under 18,000 miles in 2009 that also has the same swerving issues. It pulls to both the left and right; it’s difficult to keep it going in the direction I want it to go in; when I go over a bump, unevenness in the road or even change lanes and go over the lane separators, it really swerves. I’ve never had the steering feel like it was stuck.

    I took the car to my mechanic who changed the bushings. When it still swerved, he suggested an alignment. So I had the alignment checked out. Alignment not needed and when they test drove the car, it swerved for them, too. So, now I know I’m not losing my mind. Had a nail in my tire so got 2 new run-flats on the back. The 2 on the front were still good. That was in March. Still swerving. This week, I went back to my mechanic for another look, 3 of them drove it, could it be run-flats? Back to the tire store today, who checked the tires (all fine) and test drove it. SWERVING. He suggested I call BMW, which I did 2 hours ago. They told me that the 2 re-calls on my car have been completed and there aren’t any pending or new ones. If I take my car to a BMW dealer and they fix the problem, charge me and BMW issues a re-call, I will get my money back. Does anyone think that they will recall a 2005 Z4 in 2015? 10 years later??

    This isn’t just a problem, this is dangerous.

  92. higinio martinez says:

    I have the same problem with my 2003 z4 and I took the car to my mechanic and the dealer they toll me the same need to replace the steering column, the dealer where I got 2 cars and I spend a lot of money with them, I think if it is a problem with so many from 2003 & 2005 why they don’t fit the problem with the recall and keep the BMW z4 customers happy that way we can buy new cars from them, but they toll me that I have to replace the steering column and it cost me $3000.00

    Waooo is very easy to tell people we fits your problem it only cost you $3000.00 don’t worry is like buying a coke from a coke machine for a dollar, I steel have my car with the problem and I don’t know what to do seller or spend the money on it, I love my z4 but $3000.00 is a lot of money on a defect from the manufacturer.

    They need to do something about it fast because can get you on and accident if the steering stop working and the person who is driven don’t have stronger arms is going to be bad situation.

  93. Kurt Fordice says:

    Bought my wife a 2005 Z4 3.0 a few months ago, seemed fine at the time, but now experiencing the “sticky like” issues as described in the previous posts. Any news on a recall? NHTSA complaint coming I think. Wish I would have known about this before I purchased, but being a BMW never thought to check this specific complaint and don’t recall ever seeing in any of the reviews I read before?

  94. Kurt Fordice says:

    Complaint filed!

  95. Lisa Whitt says:

    I have a 2005 Z4 that I bought new. It now has less than 30,000 miles on it and a few years ago the sticky steering started. I took it to dealer and they couldn’t find anything wrong. Now it is terrifying to drive car in warm weather since it is so difficult to steer. BMW needs to issue a recall and fix this issue. Someone is going to get killed driving this car with this problem.

  96. Jeff Krueger says:

    I figure its time to jump on board; same issue with my 2003 Z4 with 71k miles. , I caused someone else to react when I was driving this past weekend and made what I attempted as a slight correction to center my Z4 in my lane. Unfortunately, the stiff steering caused me to slighlty over correct which made my car jump toward the center line. I was able to correct it back the other way before crossing but the car in the other lane ( traveling opposite direction-2 lane road) thought I was coming across into their lane. They reacted accordingly, turn away from the car appearing to come head on. I couldn’t watch them in the rear view mirror because I was still attempting to correct my continued over steering due to the stiffness in the steering system. Not sure if they hit the shoulder or not but certain thy did not wreck their car. I took my Z4 to the local BMW dealer today and they ran diagnostics, charged me $130/ hr labor and said I need to replace the steering column. The told me the problem is with the EPS and BMW does not offer any parts other than the position sensor. You have to buy the whole steering plumb as a unit; about $3k for the column and $650 to R&R and program. Why doesn’t BMW offer parts on an assembly like the steering colum? Has anyone had success getting BMW to help in anyway?

  97. Deborah Rowe says:

    I have the same problem. Z4 2004. I feel the car is dangerous!!!!!!!

  98. Ditto the above comments. My wife drives a 2004 Z4 (we live outside Atlanta) and the steering has been sticky for the past year. She keeps it garaged and usually drives it around town. When it gets too hot or she takes it on the highway it scares the mess out of her (and me). I don’t like her driving her car at this point.
    I have seriously considered fixing this myself using the “patch” found on bimmerforums. Search for DIY sticky/clunky steering fix. I don’t want to do this if BMW will step up and do the right thing, although since this post was started in 2010, I am losing hope.

  99. I have the same problem whith my Z4 2004. When they will give Recall? I almost had an accident because I did not know abaut this problem sticky steering.

  100. Maybe we should do a petition?

  101. Well I was like most of the folks above, thought it was the tires. I have 35k on my 2003 but it has really lost the fun since the steering issue raised it’s ugly head. I will file a complaint with NHTSA. Every complaint helps the cause.

  102. I purchased my 2003 Z4 last winter and had no idea about the steering issue until last spring when I began reading the reviews. This summer I experienced all of the same as above. Has anyone taken any legal action or class action against BMW? If not, perhaps it should begin.

  103. Bought a 2008 Z4 with 70k miles. Have same problem as described above. Changed rubber elements in front axle, got allignment, …, still no improvement. Have not checked the steering column yet.

  104. 2004 Z4 3.0i I have the same problem. I filed on NHTSA. I will call BMWNA as well.

  105. Matt Baulier says:

    I just purchased a low mile 27K mile 2003 Z4, recognizing the same two problems. I figured the HP with low profile tires was part of issue with ruts, but, living in Dallas metroplex and driving home at night with eractic steering is very dangerous. Plan on filing with NHTSA, is there any status update on recall as of yet? I have a fairly extensive car warranty with Carmax – Maxcare that came with car, I’m wondering if they will cover this issue? Anyone have any thoughts?

  106. Chris Miles says:

    I too have this issue on a 2003 Z4 I’ve owned for 2 months. It has about 50800 miles. I have put a NHTSA complaint and also called BMW. They suggest I take it to a BMW dealer for diagnostics. I guess I’ll play their little game. I’m hoping to get the same result as Phillip with them replacing the part and only being out the cost of labor.

  107. Bought a 2005 Z4 with 6K miles in 2010. Started noticing the sticky steering problem in 2013 when we moved from Cape Cod (car was garaged and not driven Nov-Mar before we moved) to South Carolina in 2012. Does anybody know about a NHTSA recall that was going to be issued in 2010?

  108. I have a 2004 Z4 with 34,000 miles and have the above problems. Have taken it on road trips and, yes, when it gets hot the problems appear, stiff steering, when the wheel does turn it, I may over correct. I too am filing a complaint with NHTSA and with BMW. I just spent $2800.00 on new tires and struts (dang potholes) and had hoped it would fix the problem, but searching the web I was wrong. This steering can cause dangerous over steering at high speeds and it WILL cause a severe accident. BMW knows of the problem, and like the ignition problem for GM, it may bite them if they don’t start fixing the problem.

  109. I purchased my bmw z4 new august 2005. had car towed to dealer in august 2006 due to spooky steering. repairs were done to ‘coil spring assembly’ in steering column. I was completely unnerved thereafter. two years ago problem returned and I stopped driving it entirely. Monday I decided that it was ridiculous to have a convertible sitting undriven in garage. I had car towed to local service station. the owner called my yesterday to say that the car indeed has a steering problem (rush 8/16/2011 post above is the most apt description of my experiences). serviceman said I should have car towed to original dealer and he suggested I google z4 steering issues. wow! what an eye opener. called dealership and person I spoke to said she had heard of a few vague issues with steering but there’s no recall notice so I’m on the hook to pay for repairs. btw, did I mention my z4 only has 4,400 miles on it due in large part to the steering problem that makes driving it dangerous. you’d thing nhtsa would wise up after the recent embarrassment and negligent airbag debacle. I might send a note to Jason chaffetz and trey gowdy too.

  110. Own a 2005 Z4 with 15000 miles. Same steering problem as mentioned by most others. Car is garage kept and only driven in the summer. Problem seems to be worse in hot weather. Filed a complaint with NHTSA.gov.

  111. filed my complaint with nhtsa today. I included link to this website & reminded it of the repercussions of ignoring the exploding airbags of late & strongly recommended our complaints be acted on quickly.

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