Power Steering Assist Fault (Meaning, Causes & Fixes)

Did you see the power steering assist fault message on your vehicle and you are wondering what it means, what caused it and how to fix it? if yes, you are on the right page.

Owing to the development of the power steering tech, driving has become easier. It enhances maneuverability and vehicle control. A power steering system is either electric or hydraulic.

Anytime the power steering assist becomes faulty, you are mandated to find out how to repair the power steering assist fault.

In our article, you will learn about the power steering assist faults, and how to fix them.

What Is Power Steering Assist?

In the old days, we only had one way of steering a vehicle. You place your two hands on your steering wheel and give it all you have.

1951 marked the introduction of the first power steering, a hydraulic type. It was also our famous Chrysler Imperial of 1951. The technology lasted relevantly for about fifty (50) more years.

Now, we have the EPAS. This means electric power-assisted steering. It still possesses the hydraulic pump, then functions with the aid of the hydraulic fluid.

However, rather than collecting energy given by an engine, it makes use of the electric pump in pressurizing fluid to aid steering.

Types Of Power Steering Assist Systems

Power Steering Assist Fault

Based on your vehicle type, your power steering will be either of these three kinds:

  • Total Electric Power Steering
  • Electric Power-Hydraulic Steering
  • Hydraulic Power Steering

The hydraulic system makes use of hydraulic pressure coming from the power steering pump. The pump, always driven by your engine’s drive belt, presents pressurized power steering fluid to your steering gear.

Electric power steering systems, make use of motors rather than hydraulic pumps. In a system that is completely electric power steering, your electronic control component takes charge of the entire steering dynamics.

The electric hydraulic system makes use of hydraulic pumps that are electrically driven, rather than the ones that are engine driven, on systems that are conventional hydraulic.

Also Read: Whining Noise When Accelerating (Causes & Solutions)

How Does the Power Steering Assist System Work?

Performing with hydraulic or electric, your steering accuracy will be regulated by several large and small components.

The fluid stored in your reservoir is pumped when the steering is taken in one direction. Hydraulic fluid then multiplies and transfers force from your steering wheel to your road wheels.

Previously, the engine powered the pump. Then the connection was from a belt, then to your engine. This harnesses the power running from an engine, then to the pump. Now, the visible electric pump, is what produces sufficient energy for your pump.

The additional belt linked to your engine draws huge energy from it. It will remain connected, without minding whether or not you are steering the extra belt. This is what ensures the inefficiency of the whole system. Introducing the electric pump will solve the problem.

The electric pump gets energy from your battery at the needed time, ensuring the whole system’s efficiency.

The power steering assist system simply refers to the power steering Assist. Previously, we used to have a system that was run with power from the engine, and hydraulic fluid. Now, you will normally see the hybrid system using an electric pump.

Electronic power steering assist is another part of power steering. It does not rely on a hydraulic system. It is recently becoming a growing tech feature.

Numerous components found in a vehicle, like parallel parking assist, lane assist, and pertaining features are gotten from the electric power-assisted steering system.

What Causes the Power Steering Assist Fault Message?

Based on the kind of Power-Assisted Steering System in your vehicle, there will be a difference in the components. The issues that will be further discussed, don’t apply to every Power-Assisted Steering System.

There is a single way of controlling your car’s motion, and it is by making use of its steering. Your brakes and engines aid in propelling your vehicle forward, and at a halt when needed.

Note that the steering keeps the vehicle under control. Hence, it needs proper maintenance and special attention.

Below are common causes of the power steering assist fault message:

1. Loss of the Power Steering Fluid

A reduction in the fluid level of a power steering shows a leakage somewhere in your system. Examine the hydraulic pump, hoses, and seals to know if there is a sign of leakage, and avoid letting the fluid drain.

A power steering fluid cap with the warning label suddenly closed up.

A reduction in the fluid level of the power steering shows that there is a leak in the vehicle.

2. Damaged Hydraulic Pump

Loss of power steering fluid causes damage to your hydraulic pump, as well as the steering. What will happen when the pump of your power steering comes off?

When it is a recent damage, you will start hearing noises. This happens in line with the reduction in performance, going from a smooth state to a tough-to-steer operation. As the pump becomes faulty, you will have no steering assist.

The leaking power steering pump causes fluid to reduce very fast, leading to noise and subsequent loss of the steering assist.

A leaking power steering pump causes a quick reduction of fluid.

3. Slipping or Snapped Serpentine Belt

The hydraulic pump which is engine-driven spins because of the belt that is driven by a crankshaft pulley. If it is slipping or is snapped, the belt leaves the pump without power; therefore, it will lose the ability to supply hydraulic fluid to the system.

4. Worn-Out Electronic Components

Just as has been said, steering systems of electric power on the steering torque sensor, dedicated module, and electric motor that is given power through wiring and fuses, if the components or wiring fails, a complete or partial loss of your steering assist occurs.

5. Rough When Turning

One may notice the grinding sound, as they try to turn the steering wheel. It requires little repair because the issue is not major. But most times, the sound is scary and unpleasant.

Issues normally come up, because of a belt drive. First, examine the pump pulley of the power steering.

Therefore, if you require to first inspect whether there is a grinding noise, although grinding noises may not show any immediate side effects, it shows that there is a problem that you will encounter subsequently.

The fixing steps are quite simple. First, ask a friend to help, then jack up the car, and the friend will turn the wheel based on your command. As your friend turns your steering, go under and examine the belt. If it is loose, adjust and tighten it properly.

6. Fluid Leaks

When fluid leaks from the power steering, it will lead to the failure of the power steering assist. Fluid Leaking from the power steering creates a puddle of oil in the driveway. We have so many other things you should be concerned about, not just the mess created by the leak.

Fluid leaks of the power steering, affect the productivity of your power steering system in a few minutes. It can occur as one drive. You may be left with a low level of fluid mid-drive.

Being abreast with PAS when it gets lost while driving, you will need a while to get used to the situation. If you are unable to fully steer your vehicle with total control, the drive becomes a safety hazard for everyone, and you using the road.

Normally the steering fluid comes in pink or red. The color is the same as the transmission fluid.

To make a distinction between a leak from the steering fluid, one can check the place where the leak is coming from. A leak from the steering fluid creates a puddle underneath the engine.

Contrarily, the leak from transmission fluid comes close to your vehicle’s middle.

Also Read: Gas Leaking From Bottom of Car (Causes & Solutions)

How to Solve Power Steering Fluid Leaks?

If there is a leak, try finding out the issue. There could be numerous reasons why the steering fluid leaks, but you can suspect some things.

Examine the hose which carries the steering fluid. It can be damaged, worn out, or cracked. Another thing could be the seals or loose screws and clamps.

If there is a leak, go to your fluid pump. First, examine the essential rack; most of the time, the pump is the issue.

Power Steering Assist Fault

What to Do When You See the Power Steering Assist Fault Message?

One can easily know when a power steering wheel starts failing, as your steering wheel becomes hard to turn.

Most times, failure of the power steering occurs subsequently, whereas other times, failure spontaneously occurs. It can even happen when you are driving and happen by surprise to the driver.

Many of the stated safety tips are very obvious, but most drivers do not know how to act in situations like this. Some overreact.

When it happens, do not panic; follow these things listed when your power steering system fails while driving:

1. Signal the Other Drivers Using Your Lights

The hazard lights alert other road users and drivers, that your car has an issue. Doing so gives them room to drive past and practice caution, as you tail the car.

Turning on the hazard lights, lets other road users and drivers be aware that your car has a problem.

Calmly drive to the roadside and park.

Check the road for emerging cars, then calmly turn the steering wheel to point your vehicle to the shoulder. This requires you to put in extra force; it is dependent on the extent of damage in the power steering system.

Do not rush, and carefully switch lanes. Know that you might not be able to counter-steer instantly, in such a bad time.

2. Slow Down Until You Reach a Full Stop

As you park at the roadside, gently step on the brake and ensure that there is no fast-approaching car before you reduce speed.

As you are in the shoulder lane, gradually apply brakes till you come to a final halt. As you have pulled over to a roadside, gently step on your brake pedals.

3. Assess the Severity of the Issue

As you have safely parked the vehicle, check the seriousness of the issue by turning your wheel right and left – see how difficult it is before it turns. This is when you assess whether your vehicle can be driven to a mechanic or towed.

If your steering wheel’s weight remains manageable, drive the vehicle to the closest mechanic.

Ensure that you drive slowly, and avoid outer lanes to reduce steering inputs. Be overly aware of the things around you, and practice defensive driving the entire time.

4. Call for a Tow Truck if in Doubt

If clouded with the uncertainty of whether you can steer the car properly, contact the tow truck dealers. Ensure that the car is positioned safely in the shoulder lane, because it may take some time before the tow truck comes.

How to Reset Power Steering Assist Fault Code?

When you see the power steering assist fault issue as a message in the dash, never ignore this. If you do not want to drive that way, reset it by taking the steps below.

The simplest way of resetting the alert is by restarting the vehicle. It then resets the electrical units in your vehicle. Do the process two or three times, to eliminate the fault on your power steering assist.

The power steering system is an important component of a driver’s safety. When there is a failure, it shows to be an important safety problem. Therefore, when one receives an alert about its steering system, one is not to ignore it. Check it as soon as you can.

Code reset does not solve the problem. The power steering assist fault alert is a new warning system. It shows that your power steering system may spoil. To maintain your driving safety, do not ignore or reset the code.

The alert appears if you cannot act on it the first time. As you reset that earring whenever it comes up, be ready to lose the power steering system by surprise and with no warning.

Power Steering Assist Fault

What Is The Cost of Repairing A Hydraulic Power Steering Assist Fault?

It is dependent on the faulty unit. If the issue arose from low fluids or dirt, the repairs would not be expensive; it would be about $120.

Although, the price will be a bit higher when the issue is based on an electrical fault. Here you will spend about $300 or even more. It depends on the electrical unit that got spoiled.

Worst of all is when your pump becomes faulty, because the fluid pumps of steering cost about $1000, for a couple of models.

Frequently Asked Questions – Power Steering Assist Fault

If your steering’s power assist fails, what happens?

As the power steering becomes faulty, you can still have the ability to steer the car, though you will need extra effort and strength. If the failure comes with a faulty power brake, you will need to push it down hard on your brake pedal, for it to slow your car.

Is it possible to drive with a malfunctioning power steering system?

Cars designed using the power steering pump should be used as power steering remains operational. If a power steering becomes faulty, desist from using the car until you change the pump.

What does power steering assist fault mean in a Ford Explorer?

As of 2014, Ford got the model year 2011- 2013. Ford enthusiasts think that the cars are likely to experience intermittent connections, in their electric power steering gear, which can lead to loss of motor position sensor sign, resulting in the power steering assist shutting down.

What does it mean when my car says power steering assist fault?

That light alerts you that there is a problem with the power steering system, and you need to look at it. The cause varies depending on the power type used by your vehicle. For hydraulic power steering systems, a leak can cause a low fluid level and is a very common issue.

How do you fix the power steering assist fault?

The simplest way is to start the car again, then the alert resets. Turn it on and then off the car. It resets the car’s electrical components. Do the process two or three more times, to stop the fault warning that keeps coming up.

Is it possible to drive without a power steering assist?

Of course, you can drive a car with no power steering, but you should not do so. You may see that the steering is still functioning, but eventually, you will regret it, because the wheel will become too hard to be turned.

Final Words

You must have understood how the power steering assist works, the issue surrounding it, how to solve them, etc. Ensure that you use this particular art well, and also pick up measures to maintain your car properly.

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