Imagine that you are enjoying your drive to work or having a road trip, and suddenly you see the message “steering assist reduced” on your dashboard. Instantly, any driver will have a sense of concern, not knowing if you should keep driving the vehicle or not. You may also have questions such as what does the message mean? Should I be worried? And much more.
Seeing the message steering assist reduced means there is a problem with your power steering system. Other reasons could be sensor failures that communicate the steering input. Because of such, you will start to experience other symptoms, such as the steering becoming harder to steer.
It may not be an emergency, but you should have looked at this as soon as possible. The last thing you need is to have a vehicle you cannot control effectively.
We help you understand more about steering assist, the various types available, and why you should care for the steering assist system.
Role Of Steering Assist
You have the steering assist system on the vehicle to provide additional assistance in steering the vehicle. It makes steering easier, more responsive, and smoother. In the end, you should be more comfortable driving and safe if you need to make sudden maneuvers.
You will come across multiple types of steering assist systems in different vehicles. The most common include;
- Hydraulic power steering
- Electronic power steering
- Electro-hydraulic power steering
- Active front steering
- Variable assist power steering
- Steering-by-wire system
Understanding the Message “Steering Assist Reduced”
The moment you see this message, it means there is a temporary reduction in the steering assist system’s performance. This means the steering may not be as smooth as before. Below are some possible causes for having reduced steering assist.
1. Sensor Issues
The steering assist system sensor can fail or malfunction over the years of using the vehicles. When this happens, the system cannot detect the various steering parameters; thus, it does not work as it should.
The sensor monitors parameters such as the steering angle, road conditions, and vehicle speed. When this information is not available, the system would not know how best to respond to various driving conditions.
2. Power Supply Problems
A stable power supply is vital for the steering assist system to work effectively. Sometimes you may have low battery power or loose connections.
When such happens, the vehicle will have steering assist reduced so that the remaining power can be used for other core applications.
3. Mechanical failure
The steering assist system works well only if all the components of the system are also in good condition. However, mechanical component failure means the system can no longer function correctly.
Some of the mechanical components that might fail include steering racks, linkages, and power steering pumps. When such components are broken, the steering assist functionality is greatly reduced or completely disabled.
This video gives you an idea of how a bad power steering pump might sound like
Why Take The Warning Seriously
You might be wondering, if you can still drive the vehicle, why take the warning seriously?
Driving with this system compromised might lead to poor vehicle handling and your safety. This is especially in situations when you need to make sudden maneuvers. So, the moment you see the warning, have the vehicle diagnosed to determine the issue.
Also, at times it can be a simple and quick fix. It is better to handle it when the issue is still small rather than wait for more things to break.
What To Do Next
It is possible that seeing the message “steering assist reduced” will leave some drivers panicking. However, that is the best way.
We recommend that you stay calm. Becoming anxious or panicking will hinder the ability to make sound decisions. Proceed to reduce the speed of the vehicle. Only drive at a speed you are able to comfortably control the card.
Find a parking spot if you hear loud noises from the steering system. Something is broken, and further investigation is necessary.
Also, diagnosing the vehicle is vital to know what needs repairing to clear the message. Here is what to do.
Check the Sensors
The first thing to inspect is the sensors to see if there are any visible signs of damage. Look for loose connections, sensor malfunctions, or damaged wiring important for vehicle running.
You may also plug in an OBD-II scanner to see what it can get from the ECU. If it is a specific sensor malfunctioning, you should easily identify it.
Read the Owner’s Manual
You may also want to refer to the owner’s manual to discover the problem. The manual would have more details on what could be the common causes for the steering assist reduced and potential solutions.
Consult a Professional
There are some things you may not be able to repair or replace. A good example is a steering rack. Without the necessary tools, it is not easy to get it done. That is why we recommend visiting a professional mechanic to diagnose and make the necessary repairs.
Here is a quick video on how to replace a steering rack
Can you drive with a steering assist fault?
Keeping driving the vehicle with the steering assist reduced fault is possible. However, it is not something to do for a long time. This is because, without proper repair, it gets worse. It may make the vehicle undrivable.
Can I fix the steering assist reduced myself?
It largely depends on the cause of the fault leading to the message showing on the dashboard. If you have knowledge or expertise in repairing vehicles, then it is possible to repair yourself. We recommend taking the vehicle to a specialist if you are unsure what to do.
What are the maintenance tips for a steering assist system?
We recommend regular maintenance of the various components of the steering systems. Ensure the sensors are cleaned; there are no loose connections; the belts are in good condition, and so much more. Also, once you see the warning light, it is best not to ignore it.
The steering assist system is vital for providing the additional assistance the driver needs to steer the vehicle better. When this system is not functioning as expected, you may have a few issues. Most of the time, you may experience hardened steering, which you are not used to. We advise that when you see the message “steering assist reduced,” get the vehicle to a professional mechanic for diagnosis and proper repair.