The other day I was driving down the expressway with my pops in my Silverado and a few miles down the road something felt quite wrong.
The steering wheel felt so hard to turn. It was like I was driving one of the 1940’s semi-trucks with manual steering.
If you’ve ever experienced anything like me, you already know how hard it is to drive without power steering.
Fortunately, modern cars are computerized and will always notify you when something goes haywire.
Most car will display on their dashboard a notification that says, “Steering Assist is Reduced Drive with Care!”
But what exactly does this it mean?
Steering assist is reduced results from an invalid coolant temperature signal from the car’s ECM. The steering module searches for a correct coolant temperature to account for cold and thick grease. If the temperature is low, the grease thickens, and it gets harder with time, thus causing a heavier than usual steering feel.
What is Steering Assist?
Steering assist or the power steering control module (PSCM) is a safety feature installed in modern vehicles.
Steering assist is connected to the vehicle’s Engine Control Module (ECM), which reads and regulates the temperature of the coolant.
Any fault in the coolant reduces the temperature of the engine.
When the temperature reduces, it results to the hardening of the grease in the steering wheel system making it hard for driver to negotiate turns.
When this happens, the steering assist is activated to provide more power to the steering wheel.
The provision of power is easier when your car’s temperature sensors provide accurate readings.
Steering Assist is Reduced Meaning
When the temperature of the coolant falls, the ECM of the car will start producing inaccurate readings.
This displays a warning message on your dashboard, “Steering Assist is Reduced, Drive with Care.”
This warning makes you aware of the situation with your steering system.
Note that the steering assist is reduced warning does not necessarily imply physical defects on your car, but it arises calibration errors.
Therefore, it is crucial to know how to clear the message without having to change any car parts.
Some common reasons why this warning may appear on your dashboard include:
Unplugging components in your car: The steering assist reduced warning can occur when you unplug wires from the steering wheel circuitry and do not plug them back on.
Steering assist functions with the aid of an electric motor, so any malfunctions in the electric supply in the vehicle will cause the alert.
Rigidity in electric power steering: The automatic system in cars keeps the power system in check to ensure proper functioning. If the electric power steering system becomes rigid, the system detects the issue and stops the steering assist.
When the steering assist is stopped, you will get an alert on your dashboard.
Leakage of steering fluid: The power steering wheel uses a special fluid that may leak or drip from time to time. The leakage interferes with the lubrication in the steering wheel, making it hard to move.
This causes an alert that indicates a fault in the steering system.
Lack of servicing: Using steering assist for prolonged periods without checking can result in the “steering assist is reduced” warning.
Leaving the steering assist on when the car is idle for long periods can also do the same.
Faulty ECM: As I discussed earlier, the ECM controls the temperature of the coolant. However, when the engine’s temperature goes low, it affects its ability to function.
When this happens, the ECM sensors cannot detect accurate temperature readings. The steering assist then detects the problem, which pops up as a message on the dashboard.
Other reasons why you may be seeing the steering assist is reduced message are:
- When the engine-cooling fan is fixed at high speed
- A faulty air conditioner
- driving with faulty temperature gauge
- changing the battery
Rather than guessing, I would highly recommend visiting a mechanic to help in troubleshooting and diagnosis.
Steering Assist is Reduced Quick Fixes
I have given some reasons why you may be getting this warning message on your dashboard.
It is worth noting that the message can pop up without necessarily indicating a mechanical issue with your vehicle.
Sometimes, the warning may persist even after you have fixed the issue.
One quick way to fix ‘steering assist reduced’ is by switching off the engine and restarting it two to three times.
If this does not fix the issue, you should seek assistance from a mechanic to diagnose the problem and fix it.
Fixing this issue is mainly based on proper calibration. You may have to conduct industry-standard diagnostic procedures to determine the problem.
Following all the requirements stated in the procedures increases your chances of getting an accurate diagnosis.
You should record information from all the modules for reference.
Remove any errors that you have seen during the diagnosis.
If the errors do not resolve, your car has a problem that requires professional assistance.
Another quick fix is to update the power steering control modules to get the latest features.
Is It Bad To Drive without a Power Steering
Even though it is possible to drive your car without a power steering wheel, it does not mean that you should do it because it could compromise your safety on the road.
It is unsafe to drive your car without power steering because it can damage your vehicle.
In some states, driving a car without power steering is illegal because it poses a threat to you and other drivers on the road.
As I explained before, the wheel becomes way harder to turn when the power steering is off. This means that you have to apply more force to move the steering wheel to control the vehicle.
This also means you will have little control over obstructions, and you cannot react quickly during emergencies.
Contact your mechanic and negotiate a price for these repairs to fix this problem fast. They may charge you about $100 to $250, but you can negotiate to get a better deal.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can You Drive A Car Without Steering Assist?
Yes, you can drive without power steering, but it does not mean that you should. As much as your steering will still be working, you will notice how hard it is to turn, and you will use a lot of energy when driving.
Driving without steering assist can also lead to accidents because it is harder to control the car without it.
What Is A Steering Assist Chevy?
Digital Steering Assist has got to be one of the best inventions in the automobile industry.
A controller is connected to the steering gear and is engineered to measure car speed, the position of the steering wheel, and the gear pressure.
It can also adjust the effort that the driver needs to put on. It is flexible in that the input depends on the situation at hand.
How Do I Reset My Steering Assist?
The simplest way to reset the steering assist is by restarting your vehicle. Ensure that your vehicle is turned off, and then turn it on. Restarting automatically resets all the electrical elements of your car.
If you restart the vehicle two to three times, it will eliminate the faulty steering assist warning.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Car’s EPS
Repairing a power steering pump can cost you between $100 and $350, depending on the rates of your repair shop.
However, if the mechanic replaces it with a new part, it can cost $400 and $800. The price depends on the model of your car.
Is There A Fuse For Power Steering?
When the systems that keep the electronic power steering running fail, the power steering may stop functioning. Electronic failure may result from a faulty fuse, and you may need to replace it.
Hi I’m Marshall based in 1478 Doctors Drive Santa Monica, CA. I’m your DIY Car Repairman with more than 5 years experience in automobile repair, a skill I learned from my old man.
I started this blog to share my experience on both simple and technical aspects of your car.