If you have a car and drive it regularly, you are bound to see the phrase “Steering assist is reduced” on your car monitor at least a few times.
The message is a warning signal for preventing accidents. It is generally shown if something is wrong with the electric power steering system.
Under or over-inflated tires, the malfunctioning power steering rack, or even Engine Control Module (ECM) can cause this.
Stay with us till the very end of this post to know the ins and outs of the causes and the possible solutions to them.
“Steering Assist Is Reduced” − An Overview
Modern cars come equipped with steering assist and an automatic safety feature so that during emergencies, it supplies power to the steering wheel.
It is connected to the Engine Control Module (ECM), which monitors and regulates the coolant’s temperature.
Now, if the coolant malfunctions, the car engine’s temperature could drop, and it could thicken the fluid in the steering wheel.
This affects the smoothness of your steering wheel and could be a severe drawback in emergency situations.
Your car is designed to activate your power steering assist, giving the steering wheel greater power and reducing stiffness to prevent road accidents from happening.
So, this power steering system assists in steering, and the drivers don’t have to put in all the physical effort. However, if things go south with the system, it means it won’t be able to aid in the steering.
Therefore, the message “Steering assist is reduced” displays on the car’s dashboard to alert the driver to drive with caution as the steering wheel balance is disrupted.
Reasons Why Your Steering Assist Is Reduced?
Issues with your power steering rack or the ECM are just a few possible reasons the signal could be shown.
There are many other reasons for this phenomenon to happen. Let’s discuss what could lead to the reduction of steering assist.
The ECM (Engine Control Module) operates all the car’s electrical functions. Moreover, the coolant temperature is constantly monitored and regulated by the module.
If these two aspects of the car’s system are compromised, the vehicle could face several problems, such as reducing the steering assist.
The fluid hardens when the temperature decreases, making the steering wheel stiff.
This ECM sends the information to your power steering system. It then activates the steering assist so the driver can control the steering properly.
If there’s anything wrong with the ECM, it fails to send the correct temperature reading to this power steering system.
Faulty Power Steering Rack
The steering rack is considered the core part of your steering wheel system. It enables the side-to-side movement of your wheels as you spin the steering wheel.
If there’s a flaw with this steering rack, your car won’t move as smoothly as it should. This may result in turning and steering issues.
Moreover, if it’s not checked right away, it may potentially leak fluid, which over time might harm other components. This could lead to showing the message on the dashboard.
If the battery in your car is dead or unplugged, it can raise a few electrical challenges in your car, including disconnecting connections with the ECM.
When disconnected, ECM doesn’t give the steering system proper readings, and your card’s dashboard could show the message mentioned.
Steering Fluid Leakage
The steering fluid smoothens the steering wheel and makes it easier to turn. If the fluid leaks, the steering wheel could get stiff and make it difficult to control the wheel.
Generally, the fluid leaks from the worn-out pump hose. Therefore, it should be kept in check so that there’s no leakage.
Defective Temperature Gauge
A high-functioning temperature gauge takes readings of the coolant’s temperature. But if it malfunctions, it won’t be able to take temperature readings.
Thus, your power steering system doesn’t get any temperature updates and doesn’t know when to activate the steering assist.
So, it shows “Steering assist is reduced” only for safety purposes.
Engines Thermostat Is Stuck Open
This is a component of an engine that controls and maintains the coolant flow inside the radiator.
However, a great number of fluid streams through if the engine thermostat is jammed open and could even make the engine’s temperature drop seriously low!
This eventually affects the steering assist and makes this error code pop up.
Constant High Speed of the Engine Cooling Fan
If the engine cooling fan is permanently jammed at high speed, it can also make the engine temperature drop rapidly.
Low engine temperature thickens the steering fluid and makes the steering wheels stiff and hard to control.
This causes the reduction of this steering assist and gives the alert message display on the dashboard.
Electric Power Steering (EPS) Rigidity
EPS assists with steering using an electric motor powered by the car’s electrical system. The car’s automatic transmission system monitors your power steering system for efficiency.
However, the EPS can become rigid for certain reasons, and the steering assist is turned off when the system detects this problem.
This can also be another reason for your dashboard to display the message.
How Do You Fix This Problem?
As you’ve acquainted yourself with the causes of the problem, now it’s time to learn how to fix it.
The “Steering assist is reduced” signal is a crucial indication of the vehicle’s steering condition and should not be avoided.
Reset the Message
If the message is popping up on the dashboard display without any reason, then you can simply reset it. You can do it just by shutting the engine off and restarting it again.
Sometimes there is no mechanical or electrical issue with the system, and the message may still appear.
In such cases, restart the engine at least two to three times if it doesn’t disappear on the first shot.
Check the Steering Wheel Reservoir
If it’s still not gone, there might be another issue with your car that should be checked. Check the steering wheel reservoir to know the level of your steering fluid.
If the level is low, look for leakages in the pump hose. Fix the leakage before refilling the fluid in your car.
Inspect ECM, Temperature Gauge, and Electrical Wires
Ensure that the ECM, power steering rack, temperature gauge, and electric power steering is working properly. Also, check for any abnormality in the thermostat or the engine cooling fan.
The electrical wiring that powers the steering assist should also be examined. If the automobile is run by an electronic system, repeatedly turning the engine on and off may also help.
The “Steering assist is reduced” signal might not seem too serious of a problem. But it shouldn’t be overlooked because it can come in handy in certain situations.
However, if you still face issues identifying the causes associated with it and getting it fixed, you can always take the assistance of an expert to get this done for you.