BMW Steering Wheel Adjustment Problem: Analyzing Causes and Solutions

Overview of BMW Steering Wheel Adjustment

BMW is known for its cutting-edge technology and engineering that provides comfort and convenience for drivers. One such feature is the BMW steering wheel adjustment system, which allows drivers to personalize their driving experience by setting the steering wheel’s height and angle according to their preference.

The steering wheel adjustment in BMW models is typically controlled by the PM-SM module, which ensures the electrical harness is securely in place source. This module allows for a seamless adjustment, letting drivers easily change the position of the wheel while keeping their focus on the road. Moreover, the steering wheel features multi-functional buttons that offer convenience and control during the drive. These buttons can be used to adjust the speed, activate voice commands, and manage entertainment settings, among other things source.

Adjusting the BMW steering wheel is a straightforward process that begins by locating the adjustment lever below the steering column. Applying gentle pressure on the tabs of the lever, the driver folds it down, and a clicking sound is heard. The steering wheel can then be moved to the desired height and angle, and once the perfect position is achieved, the lever is folded back up to lock the adjustments in place source.

Although the BMW steering wheel adjustment system is designed for optimum comfort and user experience, occasionally, drivers may face some issues with it. Common problems include a loose electrical harness or a damaged neck connecting the module with the steering wheel. These issues may cause intermittent or unresponsive steering wheel adjustments, warranting proper diagnosis and maintenance to ensure a smooth driving experience.

Overall, the BMW steering wheel adjustment system greatly enhances the driving experience by providing a customizable and user-friendly solution, ensuring driver comfort, and promoting safe driving habits.

Common Problems

Glitch Issues

Occasionally, BMW steering wheel adjustment may face glitch issues that result in the steering wheel controls ceasing to function properly. These glitches can stem from software problems and may generally be resolved by restarting the vehicle. In some cases, a steering column replacement has been necessary to fix the issue, as reported by BIMMERPOST forum users. It is important to diagnose the specific problem to determine the appropriate solution.

Switch Problems

Another common problem with BMW steering wheel adjustment is related to the switches and control mechanisms. Worn buttons or broken wires can lead to the steering wheel adjustment controls not working as intended. A faulty clockspring is one of the most prevalent causes of nonfunctional steering wheel controls in the 4 Series. In addition, there have been instances where power seat connections behind the driver seat panel are known to break, affecting both the steering wheel and driver seat adjustments, as mentioned in a BimmerFest BMW Forum. To troubleshoot and resolve these switch problems, it is crucial to inspect the various components, check the fuse box, and repair or replace the necessary parts.

Specific Model Concerns

Issues in X5

The BMW X5 has experienced some issues with steering wheel adjustment. In certain cases, the steering wheel may not move into position after starting the car. A potential cause for this problem could be a broken wire connecting rod to the controlling motor. It is advisable for X5 owners experiencing this issue to find the affected motor, remove it, and then replace the slotted rod that is received into the motor1.

Concerns in E46

E46 BMW models have also had their share of steering wheel adjustment complaints. Since the E46 model is older than the X5, it’s essential to consider factors such as wear and tear or possible electrical issues in these vehicles. The E46 might require the replacement of components like the adjustment motor or the steering wheel mechanism itself. Keeping an eye on these issues and promptly addressing them can help E46 owners maintain optimal steering performance.

Problems in E39

The E39 BMW model may face steering wheel adjustment problems as well. As with the X5 and E46, issues may arise from the controlling motor, wiring, or mechanical components. It is essential for E39 owners to regularly inspect the connections and make necessary repairs to prevent further complications. However, due to the age of the E39, some replacement parts might be harder to find. Checking the vehicle’s VIN and getting in touch with BMW dealers can help locate the correct parts needed to address the steering wheel adjustment problems in E39 models.

Steering Wheel Column & Telescoping

BMW vehicles, like many other cars, feature adjustable steering wheel columns to provide a more comfortable and ergonomic driving position. The steering wheel column is a crucial component of the car, as it houses both the telescoping and tilting mechanisms.

Telescoping refers to the ability of the steering wheel to move closer or further away from the driver, allowing for a more customized fit. This feature is particularly helpful for drivers with different arm lengths or who switch between various driving positions.

Some BMW owners have experienced issues with their steering wheel columns, specifically the telescoping functions. One common problem is a high-pitched noise emitted when the key is inserted in the ignition or removed, causing the steering wheel to move to its stored or rest position as noted in this Bimmerfest Forum discussion. This issue seems to be temperature-related, as some users report it occurs more frequently in colder climates.

Other BMW owners have experienced issues with the telescoping feature not working altogether. In this Bimmerpost thread, a user mentioned their steering wheel stopped extending and retracting at 5100 miles. The dealership resolved this issue by replacing the entire steering wheel.

If you encounter problems with the steering wheel column or telescoping feature in your BMW, it is advisable to consult a certified BMW technician or schedule a service appointment with your local dealership. They can diagnose the issue and determine if any components, such as the telescopic tilting motor, need replacement.

Overall, the steering wheel column and telescoping functions are crucial components of a BMW’s driving experience. While some owners may experience issues, proper maintenance and prompt attention by professionals can ensure the continued comfort and functionality of your vehicle.

How to Check and Adjust Wheel Alignment

Proper wheel alignment is essential for maintaining vehicle stability, steering control, and tire longevity. Occasionally, a BMW’s steering wheel may need adjustment if the alignment is off. To check and adjust your BMW’s wheel alignment, follow these steps:

First, determine whether your vehicle’s steering wheel is off-center. Drive on a straight, level road and ensure that your steering wheel is level when driving straight. If your steering wheel is noticeably off-center, it’s time to take a closer look at the alignment. Also, listen for any unusual sounds or vibrations that might indicate an issue with the steering column or suspension.

Next, consider taking your vehicle to a professional mechanic or service center that specializes in BMWs for a comprehensive four-wheel alignment. This type of alignment will ensure that all four wheels are properly aligned and the steering response is accurate. A professional mechanic can also inspect the steering column and other suspension components for signs of wear or damage.

If you own a BMW-specific scan tool, you can attempt to calibrate the steering angle sensor at home. To do this, follow the instructions provided by the scan tool manufacturer, which typically involves turning on the ignition, selecting your BMW model, and following the prompts to calibrate the steering angle sensor.

In some cases, the steering wheel itself may be off-center after an alignment. In this scenario, loosening the steering wheel and repositioning it may solve the issue. However, repositioning the steering wheel can potentially disrupt the turn signal canceling function and is not recommended for inexperienced mechanics.

Remember, maintaining proper wheel alignment and taking care of your BMW’s steering column will ultimately ensure better vehicle performance and contribute to a safer driving experience. Always consult professional assistance if you are unsure about any steps or processes when dealing with steering wheel alignment issues.

Role of Dealerships and Support

Dealerships play a crucial role in resolving BMW steering wheel adjustment problems. As authorized service centers, they possess the necessary equipment, tools, and trained personnel to diagnose and repair issues related to steering wheel adjustment. When a customer faces such a problem, the dealership is often their first point of contact for assistance.

In some cases, the steering wheel adjustment issue may only require a minor fix. For instance, low power steering fluid levels may be causing the problem, and refilling the fluid can rectify the situation. However, other times, the issue may involve a more complex repair, like a malfunctioning steering angle sensor or a fault in the control module. In these instances, the dealership’s technical support becomes invaluable.

Dealerships ensure that the services they provide are in line with the high standards set by the BMW brand. They follow BMW guidelines for repairs and use genuine BMW parts to maintain the quality and performance of the vehicle. This includes replacing faulty components, such as the steering column or angle sensor, with original BMW parts.

Moreover, dealerships also play a vital role in handling any warranty claims related to steering wheel adjustment problems. In case a customer’s vehicle is still under warranty, the dealership may be responsible for providing a free repair or replacement of the faulty part. This not only guarantees customer satisfaction but also upholds the prestigious reputation associated with the BMW logo.

In summary, dealerships and support services are essential in addressing BMW steering wheel adjustment problems. Their adherence to BMW guidelines, use of genuine parts, and commitment to customer satisfaction make them an indispensable resource for BMW drivers experiencing such issues.

Relevant Trademarks and Copyright

BMW North America (BMW NA) and BMW AG are globally recognized companies dedicated to producing luxury automobiles. Both entities have established their brand reputation through quality engineering and innovative designs, which include their unique steering wheel adjustment systems.

To protect their intellectual property, BMW NA and BMW AG have registered several trademarks related to their vehicles and technology. These registered trademarks serve to uphold the brand’s image and safeguard their automotive innovations. In addition to trademarks, BMW also holds copyright for various material, such as manuals and marketing materials, related to their vehicles’ features. is an online community where BMW enthusiasts can share their knowledge and passion for the brand. While it is not directly affiliated with BMW NA or BMW AG, the forum discusses various aspects of BMW vehicles, including potential issues with steering wheel adjustments and other features. Users should be aware that content on is not officially endorsed or approved by BMW, and should be considered as personal opinions of fellow BMW enthusiasts.

Overall, the trademarks and copyright held by BMW NA and BMW AG serve to secure their innovative technologies and unique vehicle features, such as the steering wheel adjustment systems. As a result, the brand is able to maintain a strong and positive reputation in the automotive industry.

Module Concerns and Options

When dealing with BMW steering wheel adjustment problems, it is essential to consider possible module-related issues. The steering angle sensor, located within the SZL unit, plays a critical role in maintaining proper steering functionality. The failure of this sensor can cause switches to malfunction and trigger various warning lights1.

One option to resolve steering wheel adjustment issues is to replace the faulty steering angle sensor. Keep in mind that the effectiveness of this solution depends on the specific model and year of the BMW. Consulting a professional mechanic or BMW specialist is always advised to ensure proper diagnosis and repair.

Low power steering fluid levels can also contribute to the BMW Active Steering Inactive problem2. Thus, checking fluid levels and addressing any leaks or issues with the power steering system is another option for resolving the problem. Additionally, a fault in the control module may affect steering wheel adjustment. In this case, consider having the control module inspected and, if necessary, replaced.

In some instances, the issue might be related to key memory3. Trying a different key or having the key memory reset can help in resolving steering wheel adjustment problems. This solution, however, might not be applicable to all cases and models. Always consult a knowledgeable specialist to determine the best course of action for your specific BMW.

To sum up, there are several options to address BMW steering wheel adjustment problems, ranging from replacing the steering angle sensor to checking power steering fluid levels, inspecting the control module, and resetting key memory. Be sure to consult a professional for accurate diagnosis and repair, and remember to maintain a confident, knowledgeable, neutral, and clear tone while discussing these options in English and using third-person point of view.

Timeline and Regional Differences (GMT -4)

BMW steering wheel adjustment problems have been reported by car owners across various regions, including those within the GMT -4 timezone. These issues may arise due to several reasons, such as malfunctioning electronics, mechanical issues, or sensor failures within the steering system. In this section, we’ll discuss the timeline of these problems and regional differences.

Owners of BMW vehicles have been reporting steering wheel adjustment issues for years. For example, the Bimmerfest BMW Forum features a thread from May 2018 discussing potential causes and solutions for such problems on BMW models. Likewise, the Bimmerforums mentioned similar issues in older E36 models. These discussions indicate a longstanding history of steering wheel adjustment concerns across various models and years.

While steering wheel adjustment problems may not be geographically limited, certain regions in the GMT -4 timezone, including the east coast of the United States and parts of the Caribbean, experience varying climate conditions that could potentially contribute to these issues. Exposure to extreme temperature fluctuations, humidity levels, or corrosive salt air in coastal areas might affect the performance of electrical components and connections, leading to steering wheel adjustment problems.

Vehicle owners in the GMT -4 region should keep in mind the advice provided by BMW enthusiasts on online forums and seek assistance from their local dealerships if they experience steering wheel adjustment issues. In many cases, a simple calibration of the steering angle sensor can resolve these problems. However, if the issue persists or worsens, it’s crucial to have a BMW-certified mechanic diagnose the root cause and provide the appropriate solution.

In conclusion, the timeline of BMW steering wheel adjustment issues spans across various models and years. Despite some regional differences in climate conditions within the GMT -4 timezone, these problems affect BMW owners worldwide. Owners should be aware of potential causes and solutions and consult a BMW-certified mechanic if necessary.


  1. BimmerFest BMW Forum 2

Georg Meier

BMW technician since 1996. I began my automotive journey in 1993 as an apprentice mechanic at Automag, the world's oldest BMW dealership in Munich. With years of experience and dedication, I garnered a wealth of knowledge about the intricacies of BMW and MINI vehicles. The love/hate relationship with the brand led me to found BIMMERIST where I share expertise and insights with fellow enthusiasts.

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