Understanding and Addressing Power Steering Assist Faults in Modern Vehicles

Power steering is a crucial component of modern vehicles that enhances maneuverability and ease of steering. It significantly reduces the effort required to turn the steering wheel, making driving more comfortable and safer. In this article, we will delve into the world of power steering systems, focusing on the importance of these systems in modern vehicles and the issues associated with power steering assist faults.

Understanding Power Steering Assist Systems

Power steering systems come in two main types: hydraulic and electric. Hydraulic systems use a pump to pressurize steering fluid, which assists in turning the wheels. Electric systems, on the other hand, rely on an electric motor to provide the necessary assistance. Both systems play a pivotal role in ensuring smooth and effortless steering, enhancing the overall driving experience.

What is a Power Steering Assist Fault?

A power steering assist fault is a malfunction in the power steering system that hinders its ability to provide the necessary assistance to the driver. This fault can manifest in various ways, such as increased steering effort, erratic steering behavior, or unusual noises when turning the wheel. Ignoring these warning signs can lead to dangerous situations on the road, making it imperative to address the issue promptly.

Common Causes of Power Steering Assist Fault

Power steering assist faults can occur in both hydraulic and electric systems. Some common causes include:

  1. Low or contaminated power steering fluid: In hydraulic systems, low or dirty fluid can lead to reduced performance.
  2. Leaking hoses or connections: Damaged or loose hoses and connections can result in fluid loss and decreased power steering assistance.
  3. Faulty power steering pump: A malfunctioning pump can fail to pressurize the steering fluid adequately.
  4. Control valve issues: Problems with the control valve can disrupt the flow of steering fluid.
  5. Electric motor failure: In electric systems, a malfunctioning motor can result in a lack of power assistance.
  6. Torque sensor problems: Faulty torque sensors can lead to inaccurate power steering assistance.
  7. Electrical malfunctions: Wiring or sensor issues can cause electrical faults in electric power steering systems.
  8. ECU (Electronic Control Unit) issues: A malfunctioning ECU can disrupt the entire power steering system.
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How to Fix Power Steering Assist Fault

If you encounter a power steering assist fault, it’s essential to address it promptly. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to fix the issue:

  1. Checking and topping off or replacing power steering fluid: In hydraulic systems, ensure the fluid level is adequate and replace it if it’s old or contaminated.
  2. Repairing or replacing leaking hoses or connections: Identify and fix any damaged hoses or connections.
  3. Replacing the power steering pump: If the pump is faulty, it should be replaced to restore proper fluid pressure.
  4. Fixing or replacing the control valve: Address issues with the control valve to ensure proper fluid flow.
  5. Replacing the electric motor: In electric systems, a malfunctioning motor should be replaced.
  6. Replacing the torque sensor: Install a new torque sensor if it’s the source of the fault.
  7. Addressing electrical malfunctions: Identify and repair any electrical issues within the system.
  8. Replacing or reprogramming the ECU: If the ECU is at fault, consider replacing it or reprogramming it to restore proper operation.


Power steering assist faults can compromise the safety and comfort of your driving experience. Promptly addressing these issues is essential to ensure smooth and effortless steering. If you encounter a power steering assist fault that you are unable to fix yourself, it is strongly recommended to seek professional help from a qualified mechanic or technician. Remember, maintaining a properly functioning power steering system is crucial for your safety on the road.

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