Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Power Steering Control Unit

power steering control unit

The power steering control unit uses electric power assisted steering to support you in driving the vehicle. Power steering control units are found on electronically controlled power steering systems as opposed to the older hydraulically controlled systems. The control unit applies torque through the motor, which connects to the steering column or the steering gear. This allows assistance to be applied to the vehicle, depending on certain driving conditions and demand. There are a few symptoms to watch out for when your power steering control unit starts to go bad or is failing:

Warning light comes on

As soon as your power steering control unit starts to fail, a warning light will illuminate on the dashboard. This may be a Power Steering Light, or a Check Engine Light. This is a sign you should contact a professional mechanic as soon as possible to have your power steering control unit looked at and replaced if need be. They will be able to diagnose the problem correctly and have you safely back on the road.

Lose all power steering

Since the power steering control unit uses an electric power assist, you will still be able to steer your vehicle but it will be very difficult. It is best to pull over to the side of the road and evaluate the problem. From there, call for assistance. Do not drive the vehicle if it does not have any steering, or if the power steering is completely out.

Preventing problems

There are a few things you can do as a driver to prevent the power steering control unit from going bad. Do not crank the wheel, or hold the steering for a long period of time while you are driving or while at a stop. This will cause the power steering control unit to go into reduced steering assist to prevent damage to the steering components. If this happens, it may be difficult to steer. A mechanic can read the codes on the computer to see if there is a problem, or if there is an error with the computer.

YourMechanic makes getting repairs to your power steering control unit easy by coming to your home or office to diagnose or fix issues. You can book a service online 24/7. YourMechanic’s qualified technicians are also available for any questions that may arise.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...

Related questions

Q: Power steering hard to turn

It sounds like your power steering may be running low on fluid and may have a leak or possibly the power steering pump is going bad. I would recommend having a technician, such as one from YourMechanic, come out and...

Q: Power steering doesn't work

The power steering in your car is electric. There is computer and an electric motor bolted to the steering column. If there is any malfunction, the computer will need to be scanned for codes to begin the diagnostics. There is...

Q: Power steering gets stuck and heavy but hasn't stopped working

Normally, it's the rack and pinion. But, the first thing you'd want to do is try my video "fixing binding power steering." It shows how you can flush it - power flush cleaning. A lot of times, that will clean...