Steering Assist Is Reduced Drive With Care: Meaning, Causes, and How To Fix

Modern automotive technologies have significantly enhanced safety measures, revolutionizing the driving experience. Among these advancements is the inclusion of the Steering Assist program in the latest vehicle models. But it is essential to acknowledge that this system is not infallible. When the warning message “Steering Assist is Reduced Drive with Care” appears, immediate action must be taken to avert potential hazards. This article explains the steering assist is reduced drive with car message meaning, causes, and how to fix it.

What Does the Steering Assist Is Reduced Drive with Care Message Mean?

The warning message “Steering Assist Is Reduced Drive With Care” serves as an indication that there is a potential issue with the pressure within the power steering system or steering fluid levels. As a result, relying on the Steering Assist feature for assistance may not be possible when required.

Steering Assist Is Reduced Drive with Care Message

Consequently, this warning light indicates that you should drive carefully. It becomes your responsibility to apply the necessary torque on the steering wheel without the added support. Although this may appear insignificant at first glance, the absence of this backup protection can be noticeably missed if you have become accustomed to relying on it.

What is Steering Assist?

Steering Assist is a highly advanced safety feature found in modern vehicles equipped with power steering systems. It is widely regarded as one of the latest safety devices available in the latest automotive industry. While some vehicles come with Steering Assist pre-installed, others offer it as an optional addition within a comprehensive safety package.

Steering Assist

As the Steering Assist system is activated, it engages an electric motor that draws power from your car’s electrical system. This motor assists the driver in steering when necessary. Multiple sensors monitor the force or input exerted by the driver on the steering wheel. If additional assistance is required, the Steering Assist system provides increased support.

It’s important to note that the Steering Assist program has its limitations. It does not enable complete automation, and drivers cannot rely on it to drive the vehicle independently or nap while in operation. This system still necessitates driver involvement. Moreover, in most vehicles, drivers have the option to deactivate the Steering Assist feature when it is unnecessary or undesired.

Causes of Steering Assist Is Reduced Drive With Care Message

Your vehicle’s control module triggers the Steering Assist is Reduced Drive with Care warning message due to one or more of the below-given causes:

  • Bad Car Battery
  • Old Trouble Code Stored
  • Faulty Temperature Sensor
  • Stuck Open Thermostat
  • Faulty Steering Assist Module
  • Faulty Alternator
  • Faulty Power Steering Pump
  • Leaking Power Steering Hose

1) Bad Car Battery

A dead car battery or low battery voltage is one of the major causes of Steering Assist is Reduced Drive with Care warning message. If the electrical supply is interrupted, the Steering Assist system may experience malfunctions. These advanced systems rely on a multi-faceted power supply setup.

dead car Battery

The vehicle’s battery serves as the primary power source, and if it is disconnected or running low on charge, various safety systems, including Steering Assist, may encounter issues.

Similarly, loose or corroded wires or connections can also lead to similar problems. Interestingly, the most common reason for the “Steering Assist Is Reduced Drive With Care” message is a drop in battery voltage. In such cases, a trouble code is stored in the steering assist control module.

2) Old Trouble Code Stored

Whenever the car’s voltage drops significantly or if there is an electrical failure, an error code is saved in the steering assist control module. As the error code is stored in the control module, the warning message Steering Assist is Reduced Drive With Care appears on your car dashboard.

Fortunately, if the issue was merely temporary, such as a momentary low voltage or another electrical problem, it can often be fixed by just clearing the error codes stored in the control module.

3) Faulty Temperature Sensor

The engine temperature sensor is also one of the major causes of the Steering Assists is Reduced Drive with Care message. This sensor has the responsibility of detecting the engine’s temperature, indicating whether it is cold or hot.

Coolant Temperature Sensor, causes of steering assist reduced warning message

If the temperature sensor readings are consistently high, indicating excessive heat, or vice versa, it can signify a malfunctioning sensor.

If your vehicle has been running for a long time, yet the temperature gauge displays abnormally low readings, it may indicate an issue with your sensor. Due to the improper data being transmitted to the Engine Control Module (ECM), the Steering Assist system may experience malfunctions.

4) Stuck Open Thermostat

If your scanner displays the Steering Assist Is Reduced Drive with Care message along with a P0128 trouble code, it suggests a potential issue with your car’s cooling system. Specifically, for Chevrolet, Cadillac, and GMC vehicles, there exists a technical service bulletin addressing this problem.

Bad Thermostat, causes of bad Steering Assist Is Reduced Drive with Care Message

The engine thermostat of your car plays a crucial role in regulating the flow of coolant from the radiator to the engine and vice versa, ensuring that the engine maintains an optimal operating temperature.

If your vehicle’s thermostat becomes stuck in the open position, coolant continuously circulates without proper restriction, resulting in the engine running too cool. This can negatively impact the functioning of the steering assist system, leading to the activation of the warning light and the storage of a trouble code.

Read More: Bad Thermostat Symptoms and Causes

5) Faulty Steering Assist Module

Most vehicle models contain a power steering module or steering assistant that collects information from the vehicle and supervises the steering assist function on behalf of the driver.

Steering Assist

Sometimes, these sensors or modules may become faulty and require replacement. Alternatively, the issue could be related to an outdated or malfunctioning Steering Assist Module. But such problems typically manifest in other associated symptoms as well.

6) Faulty Alternator

A faulty alternator is also one of the major causes of the Steering Assist Is Reduced message.  

bad Alternator

The alternator of your car plays a crucial role in ensuring the proper charging of your battery and supplying power to various components of the car, including the power steering system.

If the alternator is bad, it may fail to provide adequate power to the system. In such cases, it is important to inspect the alternator to determine if it is functioning properly and supplying sufficient power to the power steering system. If necessary, the alternator will need to be addressed and potentially replaced to restore proper power supply to the system.

Read More: Signs of bad Alternator

7) Faulty Power Steering Pump

A malfunctioning power steering pump is another potential reason for power steering failure. The power steering pump is responsible for generating the necessary pressure to enable the proper functioning of the power steering system.

Power Steering Pump

If your car’s pump is not functioning correctly, it will be unable to provide sufficient pressure, resulting in a loss of power steering. To resolve this issue, it will be necessary to replace the malfunctioning power steering pump.

Read More: Low Power Steering Fluid Symptoms and Causes

8) Leaking Power Steering Hose

A leak in the power steering hose may also lead to the failure of the power steering system. This hose links your steering gear to the power steering pump, and when it develops a leak, it may result in a loss of power assist.

Power Steering Hose

To stop the leaks, it is necessary to replace the leaking power steering hose. You may identify the leaks by checking the power steering hose for symptoms of fluid leakage or by utilizing a pressure tester to locate the precise source.

After replacing the damaged or leaky hose, you must also check the other hoses within the power steering system to ensure they are not leaking either.

How to Fix Steering Assist is Reduced Warning

Follow the below-given methods to reset the Steering Assist Is Reduced Drive with Care warning message:

  • Check the Car Battery
  • Read and Clear Trouble Codes
  • Replace Faulty Parts
  • Contact a Mechanic

1) Check the Car Battery

If you notice the Steering Assist Is Reduced Drive with Care warning message, it’s important to first check the condition of your vehicle’s battery. You may utilize a voltmeter or a battery tester to check your battery’s voltage. Additionally, ensure that the alternator is effectively charging the battery while the engine is running.

If any issues arise with the battery or if it is more than five years old, it is advisable to consider replacing it. This preventive measure will help you avoid future problems similar to the steering assist reduction.

2) Read and Clear Trouble Codes

When encountering the Steering Assist warning message, it is highly likely that diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) have been stored in the vehicle’s computer system. To identify the issue, you can rely on a high-quality code scanner capable of reading these advanced systems. It’s important to note that not all code scanners are compatible with such systems, so it’s crucial to ensure that you possess a reliable device.

In case multiple trouble codes are present, it is recommended to reset the codes. This may require driving the car for a short distance until the message reappears. Often, simply changing the car battery and clearing the trouble codes will resolve the issue indicated by the “Steering Assist Is Reduced” message.

3) Replace Faulty Parts

Armed with the diagnostic code and necessary information, you now have a clearer understanding of your next steps. Depending on the nature of the repair required, it might be feasible to carry out the fix in your own garage.

For instance, replacing the battery shouldn’t pose much difficulty, even for those without extensive experience. With some basic tools and a bit of know-how, you may also be able to tackle tasks like replacing the thermostat, cooling fan, or temperature sensor.

4) Contact a Mechanic

However, if your diagnostic efforts have not yielded a solution, it would be advisable to take your car to a professional repair shop. Many shops are equipped with advanced tools that simplify the process of identifying the underlying issue.

Moreover, you may require assistance from a professional shop if you’re unable to handle the repair at home. Certain tasks, such as updating or replacing an ECM (Engine Control Module), often necessitate the expertise available at a dealership or specialized repair facility.

Cost to Repair Steering Assist is Reduced Message

The cost of repairs will vary depending on the specific issue and whether you choose to perform the work yourself or take your vehicle to an auto repair shop. But here are some estimated costs to help you plan your budget: 

  • Battery Replacement: If you need to replace the battery, the cost typically involves only the price of the new battery itself. You can either perform the replacement yourself or have a local auto parts store do it for free when you purchase the battery from them. Battery prices can range from $70 to $360, depending on the type and brand.
  • Electrical System Troubleshooting: If you’re experiencing electrical issues and need to diagnose and fix the problem, the cost can be higher. Locating the exact problem within the electrical system can be time-consuming, and labor costs will be involved.
  • Thermostat or Coolant Temperature Sensor Replacement: Replacing a coolant temperature sensor or thermostat generally incurs a cost of around $140 to $360. The majority of the expense is for the labor involved, as the parts themselves are relatively inexpensive.

Keep in mind that these are general estimates, and the actual costs may vary depending on factors such as your location, the specific make and model of your vehicle, and any additional repairs or parts that may be required.

FAQ Section

What does steering assist reduced mean?

The issue of Steering Assist Reduced is often attributed to a malfunctioning signal from the Engine Control Module (ECM) regarding the coolant temperature. The steering module relies on accurate water temperature information to compensate for the thickening of cold grease. When grease becomes cold, it becomes denser, resulting in increased resistance during steering and a heavier feel.

Can I Reset Power Steering Assist Fault?

Promptly addressing a failure in the Steering Assist software is crucial. Without it, the driver must solely rely on their own steering control. To resolve the issue, it is essential to diagnose and address the underlying problem indicated by the trouble codes. Simply resetting the code without rectifying the malfunction will only result in the reoccurrence of the warning light.

What does Steering Assist mean?

The Steering Assist system plays a crucial role in maintaining vehicle control. It assists drivers in staying within their lane and reduces the effort required to maneuver the car. It applies steering force when necessary, supplementing the driver’s corrections.

What cars have a Steering Assist feature?

The Steering Assist is Reduced Drive with Care warning message is a common problem for vehicles like Toyota, Ford, GMC, Cadillac, and specific Chevrolet models like Cruze, Traverse, Malibu, etc.

Can I drive with a bad power steering assist?

It is important to refrain from driving vehicles equipped with power steering pumps when the power steering functionality is compromised. If the power steering ceases to work, it is advisable to wait until the pump is repaired before operating the car.

Why does steering assist come on?

The warning message “Steering Assist is Reduced Drive with Care” typically appears due to low battery voltage, triggering a trouble code in the steering assist control module. Additionally, this issue could be attributed to a malfunctioning thermostat or a faulty power steering control box.

What causes steering damage?

Common causes of loose or slipping steering wheels include worn steering belts, leaking or defective steering pumps, and worn steering rack mounts. Addressing these problems by replacing them with original equipment-quality components or high-quality upgrades is an effective solution to resolve steering-related issues.

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