Many more of new cars and trucks today are using a new kind of power steering system. This system is all electric. That is, there is no hydraulic power steering pump that is driven by the engine drive belt. No fluid to build pressure to operate the rack and pinion. No power assist of any kind from fluid. There is not fluid reservoir to check and fill, and thus no chance of it ever having a fluid leak. Conventional power steering uses a belt driven pump to direct high pressure to the rack and pinion or gearbox. The force you put on the steering wheel is enhanced by this pressure to allow for easy turning of the wheel, even when the vehicle is not moving. When the vehicle is moving, it is easier to steer, even without any power assist from hydraulics or an electric motor.
All of the power assist for the electronic steering is generated by an electric motor. This motor is under the dash on most vehicles. It connects the steering wheel and column to what is called the intermediate steering shaft. This shaft is driven by the electric steering motor, then sends steering assist to the rack and pinion. This is all controlled by a module or computer. Here is a pic of a typical steering motor…
General Motors had a few problems in this new system a few years ago. What would happen is that your car would loose power assist. Your car would not lose steering, just the power assist portion. So that would make the steering wheel hard to turn. Similar to what happens if you ever had a belt break or had very low fluid on your vehicle in the past. Many people complained they lost steering, could not turn the car, and almost crashed. I do understand that a sudden loss of power assist can be very disconcerting, but you do still have control of your vehicle. You just need to use a little more effort to turn it.
There has been a lot of chatter on the web about this problem. Many forum posts have people talking about how they fixed it by replacing the fuse. Well, if the fuse was not blown, then replacing it would do nothing to help and did not fix the problem except for a short time. Removing the fuse basically takes power away from the control module. This has the effect of resetting the system. Just as if you unplug your computer, then turn it back on. The steering problem will just return soon enough.
There have been problems with the system in other cars as well. Toyota, BMW and Lexus, among others have all had some problems ranging from bad steering motors to control modules. This is actually a common thing to happen as a new technology enters the market and gets real life testing from the consumer.
The auto manufacturers all do extensive research and testing before putting a new technology in their vehicles. The problem here is that no matter how much testing and simulating is done, it still does not compare to real world driving by the every day person. So problems do arise.
Another thing that effects this sort of thing is mass manufacturing. A product is tested on a small sample of the different parts to a certain system, but until the factory that builds the parts starts producing millions at a time, you never know what may happen. Anything from a bad batch of steel or plastic, to a programming glitch or a factory that just plain had a bad day with it’s machines. Auto parts are made by machines, which in turn were made by people or other machines.
If you have a newer vehicle with electric power steering and a warning light comes on the dash, be sure to get it to the dealer for repairs as soon as possible. Most small local repair shops do not have the knowledge or diagnostic tools to diagnose a problem correctly, and you may end up spending a lot of extra money on parts replacing, or best guesses. Many times that local shop will replace what they think is most likely the problem, then after you pay hundreds of dollars you are told to “Take it to the Dealer” even after you have paid them. Now when you go to the new car dealer and the repair is more money, you get mad at the dealer for charging so much. When in reality if you went there first, you would have saved all the money you threw away at the local repair shop !
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42 Comments on "Electric Power Steering – Problems And Repairs"
Hi, i recently purchased a 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport; have had it aligned twice & still has steering issues; have been researching the electric steering & wondering if that’s the problem..constantly having to correct the steering; pulls to the right..any input on what to do? Is there a way to adjust the electric steering so it isn’t so touchy? Thanks, Cindi Christenson
Bought a used 2009 Mercury Mariner Premier. It had a software update during the 2014 recall, which was for electronic power steering assist going out in many vehicles. Apparently the repair they made back then was based on a “pinpoint testing” result, which determined which of the 3 repair options available, were performed. But here I am – power steering out and they claim it has nothing to do with all the recall issues, which I think is crap. Anywho – I’ve noticed that the power steering only goes it when it’s hot outside. The last 2 days have been much cooler and I’ve had no issues. I also have 2 console knobs that act up. They can be on and bright – on and dull – flickering – or off. Clearly the vehicle has an electrical issue. My question is, could my power steering be affected by the weather because of an electrical problem and not because the entire steering column needs replacing because one part is bad inside it? Heat causes expansion. Colds causes contraction. I bought the car in the winter and didn’t start having issues until it started getting warmer. It started going out intermittently at first, but then got worse until it finally went out.
How to fill fluid leak from electric power steering rack
You would have to replace the rack assembly. There is nowhere to fill fluid.
69 firebird using 2014 camaro roadster shop chassis all dash all elect from camaro only problem so far is elect steering rack to big need smaller one to work with camaro computer watts out there
I have a 2010 Mec Milan with 98,000 miles and my power steering is frozen. Happened on and off for this past year. I would turn it off for 10 secs n it would be ok. Not this time!
So what is the real fix for the Electric steering on a 2010 Ford Fusion ?
Hi Norb. I recently took my used Ford Fusion to the Ford dealership and they told me it would cost 3,400 for everything. How much did you have to pay to repair yours if you don’t mind me asking? I have now 130k miles on my car. I bought it last August 2018 with 118k.
A little effort??bull 💩 you do lose 97% of steering my grandma dam sure wouldn’t be able to steer..
I took my car to the dealer because the power steering light us on and to fix it they have to replace the module with a price tag of $4,000…does that seem right? $3200 for the part… worth a quarter of the value of the car!
I m asking my car mks 3.5 ltr steering won’t move what could be possible problem?
Hi,l am Davie i have pleo subaru,2012, power steering light iz out on dash when ever speed exceed 100 ,when i stop and cut off the car and restart ,the power steering worning light goes away then the journey continues unless the speed exceed 100 again
What the he’ll are you doing going 100?!
I have a 2006 Malibu Maxx Chevy, the problem starts with the steering it gets hard to turn then the abs lights turns on then it loses power them all of the lights turn at the same time and my car dies draining the battery! I have gone through one semi brand new battery plus four brand new batteries! Anyone have an idea of what’s wrong here? I should note, this started happening after I took it to the dealership for a recall on the electronic power steering
check your charging system—-
2015 Civic, drove my car for 30 minutes just fine, parked it, went to go home about 7 hours later and when I turned it on my notification to check my power steering system came on and my wheel would not budge. Had to ha e it towed to the dealer and waiting for a response.
My electric Power Steering went in my 2011 Ford Fusion.
Itook it to my mechanic, who does commuter Diagnostics. Its going to cost me $1000.00, and I trust him.
Told him to fix it, because he knows what he is doing. He knows about the newer cars and Trucks.
Hes not a smalk town repair shop either. So you can take it to the dealership, but they will do the same kind of work that my mechanic is dping.
The dealership will charge you more because they are a dealership.
Hey my power steering is a bit stiff on my Ford Fusion what exactly did the mechanic say it is?
Have been test driving 2017 cars for sale. Thecsteering is stiff since they changed to electronic steering. Makes driving much less pleasant than in years past.
HI MY NAME IS RICK I HAVE A 2016 CHEVY SS AND MY POWER STEERING LIGHT ON DASH ILLUMINATES AND I LOOSE POWER IN STEERING WHEEL AND IF I CUT CAR OFF FOR FEW MINUTES IT WILL BE FINE DOES ANY ONE THINK OR HAVE AN IDEA IF THIS COULD BE POWER STEERING ELECTIC MOTOR OR IF IT IS EQUIPPED THANKS..
Rick, This is a fairly common issue with the Chevy SS (Holden Commodore) and GM are in the process of issuing a recall for electronic power steering failure. GM started replacing the steering racks on the Chevy Caprice PPV first and are now moving to the Chevy SS. The new racks feature a gold plated connector to overcome a fretting corrosion issue in the connector that momentarily interrupts electrical power or signal to/from the rack. For more information, see the various related threads on SSForums.com and talk to your local GM dealer service department to schedule a rack replacement (under warranty).
I have a 2006 hhr Chevrolet I had a wreck. I took it to the shop and when they fixed it and I got my car back my radio would not work. I let them try to fix it the took my radio apart . The next day my auto theft light came on then my car would not crank unless I got a boost. Now my electric power steering is go out or something cause it’s hard to turn what can I do or what’s wrong with my car.
Did you ever get this problem fixed Im having the same. Problem
I have a 2006 Chevy Malibu and my steering wheel is shaking bad while its in park and when i start driving then it get hard for me to turn so could you tell me whats the problem.
Hello, my wife has a 2006 Saturn Ion and has had recent electric power steering issues even after taking it to the dealership during the so called recall. Now GM did fix the issue. However, the problem has come back after 3 yrs. Not sure on what they did or how they did, I just need to get it corrected. According to some of these comments you can still steer the car, but then again it would be difficult for a 5.2 110 pd woman. Any help would be awesome!!
Thanks for pointing out that new power steering systems are electric and do not have a hydraulic power steering pump in them. More specifically, you mention that these new power steering systems do not have any power assist from any kind of fluid at all. It’s a good idea to have a professional do repairs on your power steering because of how expensive that part can be, and you want a warranty of the part when the repairs are done.
I have a 2016 Chev Colorado and it seems I need to manage the steering a lot more than I had in previous vehicles–drifts in the lane otherwise. Is this a problem with the electric assist? It only has 14,000 miles, so I don’t think it should be an alignment problem and this has been consistent since new.
2015 model KIA RIO is having electric power steering problem of stiffness when driving. what is the solution?
I drive a chrysler 300 s 5.7 liter v8 and out of nowhere the service power steering light came on……help could it be a fuse?
Hi My car steering is tilt towards right when i switch on the car, and similarly it happen while driving car moves to slight left when I hold off the steering, I disconnected the motor connection the tilting problem resolved but steering become heavy please guide how the get it centered again Thanks
Alignment problem maybe????
On a kia soul if the electronic power steering light comes on and goes off after engine starts is it not working?
That’s normal. It’s just testing the light.
2012 nissan rogue power steering went out an PS light is on
EPS light blinking 3 times. EPS not working.
2014 Lexus IS 250 F Sports
Steering Wheel is Hard to turn and wont turn back to normal position by itself.
when parked, it seems much easier to turn than driving on the highway.
i have to manually turn back when i turn to right or left.
no lights are on dash board. usually there are lights for error or problems in the car.
i am not sure what to do.
cant take it to Dealership because it is Rebuilt Title.
My truck does the same thing did you get a answer to the proplem
im having steering problems also i have 2005 chevy cobalt went to the dealer and they told me that its not on the recall list but i obviously have a problem other 2005 chevy cobalts are recalled but not mine hmm weird so now wt?? not impressed
Electric power steering went out on my 2007 Malibu 3 days ago. Unfortunately it is not on the recall list. It’s still a safety issue no matter what caused it. My daughter was driving and she almost hit a car. She was given no warning and it was very hard to steer. I am getting it checked out before I contact GM. Maybe they should go back to the other type of power steering.
Why does everyone say take it to the dealer when asking about electric power steering problems? If that’s my only recourse, its a design defect…
Because most average repair shops do not have the equipment or knowledge to repair the electric power steering system. Most shops don’t even have a computer scanner to read the codes. They just can read engine codes, and sometimes those mechanics will say “No codes are stored”. Well, that may be true for the engine computer, but since their scanner can’t read the steering module, they assume there are no codes stored.
Many local garages will take a guess and sell you an expensive part, hoping to fix the problem, then if it does not, they will also say- take it to the dealer, then you are angry the dealer is going to charge you too much money in your eyes, when you just wasted time and money at the local garage, but had no problems paying them to make a repair that did not work, when you could have had it fixed the first time and saved a bunch.