many statistics have helped demonstrate the prevalence of traffic accidents throughout the world and over the years. WHO data project that most accidents occur in low- and middle-income countries, and the prevalence of traffic accidents has also been found to have decreased over the years.
We can learn from this that strictly enforced traffic laws and safe cars contribute to the reduction of accidents. The role of safe vehicles cannot be overstated; today, we have vehicles that are equipped with various warning signs and safety devices designed to keep the car intact and let drivers know when to spot trouble. These safety devices include steering assistance.
this is what can cause the error message
The most common cause of the “steering assist reduction” warning is the failure of the engine control module to provide false coolant temperature readings. By not accurately reading the coolant temperature, the ECM will not be able to regulate its temperature. as a result, the grease on the steering rack will become thicker or thinner, resulting in this error message.
However, there are times when the culprit may be a stuck open thermostat, a broken temperature gauge, or a stuck engine cooling fan running at high speed.
These are the approximate costs to fix the problem, but remember that prices will vary depending on your location and car model.
what is power steering?
Power steering is a part of the car’s power steering system. Typically, this system comes in two parts; a hydraulic power steering system and a power steering assist system. Before the advent of this technology, the car’s steering maneuverability was affected at best; the only way to control the car was to put all efforts behind the movement of the steering wheel.
this was not very efficient and there needed to be an innovation that would improve maneuverability. power steering technology came along and provided that through a hydraulic pump to exert pressure on the hydraulic fluid, which in turn facilitates steering movement for a smooth ride.
Hydraulic fluid does this by pumping when the steering is moved and then increasing the pressure of the steering movement and transferring the energy to the car’s tires.
To troubleshoot these problems properly, it helps to know the probable causes. while it is true that several things can contribute to this, the main reason has to do with the ecm and its responsibility for errors and failures.
01. ecm and its responsibility for error and fault
The power steering system is interfaced to the ECM (Electrical Control Module), which is like the brain box for all of the car’s electrical functions. the ecm, having this function, is responsible for the evaluation and measurement of the level and temperature of the coolant.
You are also responsible for adjusting these as appropriate. This is a critical function because defects in the coolant can lead to car problems, the most obvious being fluctuating car engine temperatures.
When the coolant temperature drops, the steering module fluid hardens due to this drop in temperature. unsurprisingly, this would make the steering wheel stiffer, providing the conditions for the steering wheel to assist in the work.
The power steering receives this message from the ecm, which transmits it after reading the coolant temperature. When the ECM provides inaccurate readings, this overrides the message to the power steering and affects the steering module’s ability to provide accurate responses to ground conditions.
This is when the error code becomes visible on the dash and tells the driver that the power steering is reduced so as not to respond to inaccurate conditions, which would upset the balance of the steering wheel.
for more information on this, you can refer to service bulletin 17-na-390.
02. engine thermostat is stuck open
Engine thermostats are the part of the engine that regulates and controls the flow of coolant to the radiator. through this, it helps to stabilize the temperature of the engine.
When the thermostat is stuck open, a large amount of fluid will rush out, keeping the engine unnecessarily cold. It is expected that through this, the power steering will not work properly and the error code will appear.
03. engine cooling fan is stuck at high speed
This is another direct consequence of an overly cold engine. when an engine fan stalls at high speed, it rapidly cools the engine and hardens the grease in the steering module. this is another cause of this error message.
04. broken temperature gauge
The temperature gauge reads the temperature level of the car’s engine. when the indicator goes down, it means that the car engine is cold. If the car has been running for a while and the gauge still shows cold, then it means the gauge is most likely broken and you can’t tell when the engine is cold. this spells bad luck for steering wheel assistance.
Contrary to popular opinion, it is not true that a bad thermostat is related to a malfunctioning car air conditioner. however, a malfunctioning ca can cause the “reduced address assist” code to turn on.
How can you identify the cause of the error?
The first step you should take when a warning message appears on your dashboard is to stop the car for a couple of minutes and restart it. if there was an incorrect coolant temperature reading by the ecm, you might get lucky and the message will go away.
if the message is still there, you can try and connect a code reader to see what code errors you get. remove the code errors and check if the message is still there.
If the warning persists, then it’s time to try each of the parts mentioned above and see what’s causing the problem.
To test an ecm, connect it to a diagnostic scanner and run a diagnostic test. The test results will tell you if the ECM is working properly. If the ECM is not working properly, it will need to be repaired or replaced. if the ecm is not at fault, you may want to test the thermostat next.
To check if the engine thermostat is stuck, simply start the engine and let it idle for a few minutes. then feel the radiator hose. if it’s cool to the touch, the thermostat is most likely stuck. You should replace your thermostat as soon as possible to prevent further engine damage. If the thermostat passes the test, you may want to check the engine cooling fan.
If the engine cooling fan is stuck at high speed, you may need to test the engine fan relay. To do this, first, disconnect the battery. Next, locate the engine fan relay and remove it from the fuse box. finally test the relay by applying power to the terminals and ground to see if the fan turns on. If the fan does not turn on, the relay may be faulty and need to be replaced.
If everything appears to be working fine, it is recommended that you have the car inspected by a professional mechanic.
how much does it cost to fix it?
The cost to fix the problem will vary depending on the cause of the problem. If the message disappears after restarting the car, you have fixed it for free. however, if you’re still reading, the message most likely reappeared or didn’t disappear in the first place.
The cost to replace a malfunctioning ecm will be around $1000 for parts and labor, while replacing a stuck open thermostat will cost around $300.
Replacing a blower motor relay will cost about $100, while repairing a faulty temperature gauge will cost $50 more.
All costs are estimates and work is assumed to be performed by a mechanic. As always, doing the work yourself will save you a lot of money.
It is worth noting that the warning message that appears may not indicate any significant problem and may be a simple electrical problem. to make sure this is not the case. the best thing to do is run diagnostics on the engine looking for problems. the diagnostic fee is around $180.
by running the diagnostics you should be able to determine what exactly is wrong with the car. If the diagnostic errors ultimately don’t go away, you’ll need to take your vehicle to a mechanic.
You can reset the fault code simply by restarting your car if the problem is minor. restarting the car signals all the electrical components and puts them into reset mode. if the problems run deeper, you need to replace the thermostat entirely.
the cost of this is around $250 to $300. It also helps to change the power steering fluid regularly. a reasonable mandate is to change it every four years or at least every 50,000 miles. this is only $120 at most places.