Table of Contents
As a car owner, you may have encountered the power steering system warning light on your dashboard. This warning light is an indication that there is an issue with your car’s power steering system, which needs to be addressed to ensure safe driving. In this article, we will discuss the power steering system, what the warning light means, and what steps you can take to fix the problem.
Understanding the Power Steering System
To provide drivers with ease in maneuvering their vehicles, auto manufacturers have developed power steering systems. These systems assist in turning the wheels, making driving a smoother experience. Originally, power steering systems used hydraulic pumps that moved fluid into chambers in the steering system, providing the necessary power assist. However, over the years, electric power steering systems have become more popular due to their cost-effectiveness and quieter operation.
Electric power steering systems do not require fluid and are commonly used in modern vehicles. They function using an electric motor and sensors to assist in turning the wheels. With the advancements in technology, more and more car manufacturers are implementing electric power steering systems in their vehicles.
The Power Steering System Warning Light
The power steering system warning light serves as an indicator that a fault has been detected in the steering system. It is often represented by a steering wheel symbol, sometimes accompanied by an exclamation mark. In cars with electric power steering, the light may say “EPS” for electric power steering. This warning light can be yellow or red in color, depending on the severity of the issue.
Common Reasons for the Power Steering Light to Illuminate
Low Power Steering Fluid: For vehicles with hydraulic power steering systems, one common reason for the warning light to illuminate is low power steering fluid. If you see this light turn on, it is crucial to pull over and check the fluid level immediately. Add the correct fluid type to top it off, and the warning light should turn off. It’s important to note that low fluid levels indicate a possible leak that needs to be addressed promptly.
Faulty Steering Wheel Angle Sensor: Another reason for the power steering warning light to come on is a faulty steering wheel angle sensor. This sensor helps to determine the positioning of the steering wheel, and if it malfunctions, it can trigger the warning light.
Defective Fuse: A defective fuse in the power steering system can also cause the warning light to illuminate. Checking the fuse and replacing it if necessary may resolve the issue.
Is it Safe to Drive with the Steering System Warning Light On?
Driving with the power steering system warning light on is not recommended. Without power assist from the steering system, maneuvering the vehicle will become extremely difficult. It requires extra caution, and there is a higher risk of getting into a collision. If possible, avoid using the vehicle until the issue is fixed.
Steps to Take When the Power Steering Control Warning Light Shows Up
If you encounter the power steering control warning light, here are some steps you can take to diagnose and address the problem:
Check the Power Steering Fluid Level: The first step is to check the level of the power steering fluid. If it is below the acceptable level, top it off with the correct fluid type.
Use an OBD2 Scanner: If the fluid level is adequate, use an advanced OBD2 scanner to check the power steering control unit for trouble codes. This step requires a specialized scanner that can communicate with the car’s onboard computer system.
Check the Steering Wheel Angle Sensor: If no trouble codes are detected, a faulty steering wheel angle sensor could be the cause of the warning light. This sensor’s malfunction can falsely trigger the warning light.
Inspect the Fuse: Lastly, inspect the fuse related to the power steering system. A defective fuse can cause the warning light to illuminate. Replace the fuse if necessary.
When to Seek Professional Help
If the power steering warning light persists even after following the above steps, it is advisable to seek assistance from a certified technician. They will have the expertise and equipment to diagnose the issue accurately. It’s important not to delay any necessary repairs, as continued driving without power steering assistance can lead to further damage.
In conclusion, the power steering system warning light indicates an issue with your car’s power steering system. Whether it’s low fluid levels, a faulty sensor, or a defective fuse, it’s essential to address the problem promptly to ensure safe driving. Remember, driving without power steering assistance can be challenging, so it’s best to seek professional help if necessary. Keep an eye on your dashboard warning lights and take action when needed to maintain the performance and safety of your vehicle.