In most modern cars, you will come across a list of safety features integrated, assisting the driver to navigate the vehicle safely. The dashboard occasionally shows messages that notify the drivers of potential issues.
One of these messages often read that your steering assist has been reduced. Now, you might be wondering what this error message means and how serious can the implication be?
In brief, this problem shows up when the steering assistance that you get to enjoy becomes low. It mostly happens when the ECM (Engine Control Module) gives a wrong reading of the coolant temperature.
The responsibility of the ECM is to take the reading of the coolant temperature and, accordingly, regulate it. When this temperature becomes very low, the grease present in the steering module tends to harden. This would hinder the proper position of the steering wheel, and you would encounter difficulties in navigating the vehicle.
What does steering assist mean?
Steering assist refers to a protective mechanism for drivers with automated control. In case your steering wheel needs additional support in case of an emergency, the automated system provides it with additional power.
The PSCM (power steering control module) standardizes the power steering system that comes with most modern cars. When the temperatures remain low, the steering wheel becomes stiffer as a result of the lubricator getting hardened.
Following this issue, the PSCM automatically activates the steering assistant. However, for this to happen, you need to ensure that the temperature sensors read the details accurately.
Steering Assist is Reduced meaning
The message showing that you have reduced steering assistance means that the temperatures of the coolant have dropped too low. In these cases, the sensor’s won’t be taking accurate readings of the temperatures. So, in case you need additional power in your steering, the automated system wouldn’t be able to engage it.
In most of the cases, a calibration issue leads to the display of this error message, even though there’s no physical problem with your car. So, you have to clear the error message, rather than getting any of the car hardware replaced.
Inexperienced car owners tend to panic and rush to get the parts replaced. So, they often spend money unnecessarily on these replacements. This message may also come on your display when you get the battery changed, or unplug any of the components in your vehicle.
Every car has a system that stores the history codes. Sometimes, these codes might surface as current error codes.
Now, even after receiving the warning message, you might find that the steering assist feature is working just fine. So, you should understand that the physical components of your car are perfect. Only, you need to get the error message removed.
However, in some situations, the message might come up on your display to indicate the actual problem. In case you feel awkward while handling the steering, you would be knowing whether or not there’s any issue at all. To eliminate guesswork, it’s imperative to carry out a systematic diagnosis that will help you in troubleshooting the issue.
Why steering assist is reduced message shows us?
Well, behind every mechanical glitch, there should be some technical problem. Below, we have discussed the probable reasons that might lead to the problem.
1. The module cannot detect coolant temperature
The responsibility of the ECM is to detect the coolant temperature and regulate the same. When the coolant temperature in the engine becomes too low, it prevents the module to carry out its prescribed operations.
This makes the censors of the module ineffective, and they fail to detect the reading of the temperature. So, you get a message that the steering assistant feature is not working at the expected level.
2. Overuse of the steering assist feature
Well, the steering assist feature has been a valuable integration in all modern cars. However, if you have been banking on this feature at an unchecked rate, it might lead to a reduction in the actual power.
When you use the feature for extended periods even when the car is stationary, the power of the steering assist tends to decrease. So, you would find your dashboard reflecting the message, instructing you to drive with care as the steering assist has reduced power.
3. Leaking steering fluid
To smoothen the operation of power steering, the manufacturers integrate the system with a special type of fluid. Sometimes, this fluid tends to leak or drip.
This leakage has an adverse impact on the driving experience, since it makes the steering rigid. As a driver, you might encounter challenges in handling the steering wheel.
Also, the fluid present in the electric power steering becomes low in its level. So, you find the dashboard displaying the warning message about the steering assist feature encountering trouble.
Now, you might be wondering why the fluid should leak in the first place. This happens when the hose tends to wear out.
Therefore, it is imperative to carry out an inspection of the power steering wheel pump that would help you find the possible leakage. Besides, there might some loose clamps around the pump of the power steering wheel. This can also lead to leaking steering fluid.
4. Rigidity in the EPS
The automatic system constantly controls the car’s power system. This ensures that it continues to work efficiently. However, the EPS might tend to get rigid for some reasons.
The system can detect this problem and immediately disable the steering assist feature. On disabling the system, it shoots a warning message through the dashboard to the driver. So, you get to know that the steering wheel has reduced power or assistance from the system.
5. Electric supply change in cars
Sometimes, the electric supply in cars changes when you plug or unplug any of the wire components and then leave it as it is. For the power steering to work seamlessly, you need an electric motor that generates the desired amount of energy.
This energy goes a long way in keeping the steering wheel smooth. Therefore, if your car has been facing any issue with the electric supply, it might result in a compromised efficiency of the system.
Particularly, this happens when drivers alter the car’s battery and fail to ensure the necessary electric connection. This prevents the steering assist system from drawing the necessary power.
Also, when you happen to introduce new appliances into the car, it might take a toll on the electric supply even when the connectivity is perfect.
How to fix it?
In the first place, inspect whether or not your steering wheel assist has got any real problem. In case it has, you need to refer the issue to a mechanic.
However, in most of the cases, the warning message appears due to other reasons, as we just explained. In these cases, the message won’t go away automatically.
So, you need to switch the engine of the car off and again restart it around three times. This would probably remove the warning message from your dashboard.
Now, if this process does no good in removing the message, the problem might be beyond your scope of repair. In these circumstances, make sure to seek professional assistance from a certified mechanic to resolve the issue.
Rather than being an actual hardware issue with your car, the ‘steering assist is reduced’ message shows up due to a miscommunication between the involved modules. It primarily comes from the module controlling the power steering.
So, you need to inspect the steering to verify whether or not there’s really any problem. Nevertheless, it pays to be on the safe side by checking the functional power of the steering wheel.