Hello there and welcome to the BMW Car Club of America.

If you are a BMW CCA member, please log in and introduce yourself in our Member Introductions section.

Stiff steering

Discussion in 'E39 (1997-2003)' started by JAMAICAN TWIN TURBO, May 30, 2009.


    Post Count: 167
    Likes Received:0
    My 530i seems a little stiff while turning, like while taking a slow turn in a parking lot, or taking a slow corner. I've noticed in a 325xi, the wheel turned alot easier and smoother, and the turn could easily be done with one hand. My 530i just seems stiffer with the turns and sometimes needs a two-hands approach to get the same turn that the 325xi got with only one hand. Is the 530i's steering just stiffer? I haven't driven another 530i too compare steering but the 3 series I have driven seems alot smoother in steering. Please help. Thanks.


    bricas guest

    Post Count: 5
    Likes Received:0
    I have had a similar issue with my 540. When turning into a space it was as if the power steering stopped working. I checked my power steering fluid (ATF fluid) and it was low. Topping it off seemed to eliminate the issue. It came back, and turned out that my power steering fluid reservoir was slowly leaking at the hose attachment. I got rid of the leak and filled the reservoir to the full line on the dip stick and no more issue. Hope that helps. Not sure if it is the exact issue I had but could be a start. My guess is either fluid level or something with the power steering pump. It should be easy and smooth to turn at all speeds.


    Post Count: 167
    Likes Received:0
    I appreciate it very much! Thanks for the info.
    • Member


    Post Count: 17
    Likes Received:0
    What tires?

    It could be a PS issue but first be aware of what tires you have on.

    The high performance types that have higher traction ratings also require extra effort for steering. The difference can be very obvious when switching tire types.

    Jim Cash
    • Member


    Post Count: 1
    Likes Received:0
    Steering Column - lower (univeral) joint

    If it feels like it is always in the same place (amount the wheel is turned), have the U joint at the lower end of the steering linkage, where is attaches to the rack & pinion, checked.
    After a four wheel alignment my 530i turned stiff. Over time (2 weeks) it got worst only to find that one axis of the u joint froze up. Of course the BMW dealer said it was not related to the alignment, but .....

    catbert guest

    Post Count: 10
    Likes Received:0
    BMW is well known to have the power steering lines begin to "weep" as they age. The system may be slowly losing fluid due to the line degradation. I had the lines on my 530 replaced this April at 45K miles. Next time you have the chance to have someone put it up on the hoist, ask them to carefully inspect the power steering lines.

    Good luck-


    (oOO \ (||||)(||||) / OOo)

    Mine: 2003 530i
    Mrs. Catbert: 2003 325xit
    Iowa - The Great State of Excitement

    ViolinARC guest

    Post Count: 178
    Likes Received:1
    Well, I hope you're aware that we have speed sensitive steering so it should require less effort at low speeds (more power steering involved) and a bit more effort at higher speeds (less power steering involved). In doing this, BMW engineers have attempted to make oversteer at higher speeds "idiot proof" but have made seasoned driver's feel as if the steering response is "sluggish" at higher speeds while being super sensitive at lower speeds. You seem to be experiencing the opposite effect, which in essence would indicate a low fluid situation or a failing component within the system IMO.

    The simple thing to do is to check the fluid level first and if low, top it off, clean the area throughly and check for leakage at the cap or hoses (common leak due to weak hose clamps). I had a leak at the cap, which appeared to be coming from the hoses. I resituated the o-ring at the cap and the leak has stopped. Of course, I'll be replacing it asap but as long as the leak is in check, I'm a happy camper. ;)

Share This Page