What Does the Power Steering System Warning Light Mean?

Anyone who’s driven a car with manual steering knows it can be quite a workout. To make driving a little bit easier, auto manufacturers have been using power assisted steering systems for a few decades now. The original power steering systems use a hydraulic pump to move fluid into chambers in your steering system. When you turn the steering wheel with the engine running, the pump will fill one of the chambers to help you turn the wheels.

Electric power steering systems have started to take over as the technology has become less expensive over the years. Electric power steering systems don’t require any fluid and are generally quieter; so, more and more vehicle manufacturers are starting to use them. A warning light on the dash will let you know when a fault has been detected with the steering system.

What the power steering system warning light means

This warning light tends to be in the shape of a steering wheel, sometimes with an exclamation mark. For cars with electric power steering, the light may say EPS, for electric power steering. Either way, the warning light will be yellow or red in color.

Hydraulic Power Steering Systems: A common reason for the warning light to illuminate is low power steering fluid. You should pull over if you see this light turn on and check the fluid level immediately. Top it off with the correct fluid type and the light should turn off.

Keep in mind that low fluid means a leak is present that needs to be remedied at the earliest. Adding fluid will only be a temporary fix until there is no more leakage. If the fluid level isn’t the issue, you’ll need to have the problem diagnosed further by a certified technician and repairs will likely be necessary. With the light illuminated, you won’t have power assist to help you steer. You will still be able to drive, but the steering wheel will be very difficult to turn, so you will need to be extra careful when driving.

Electric Power Steering Systems: The warning light won’t come on for fluid levels as there is no fluid being used. In fact, simply restarting the engine can sometimes turn the light off. Like your computer at home, small errors can occur that cause the computer to think there is an actual issue. A quick reset and the computer will see that everything is working as intended. If this warning light doesn’t turn off after restarting, then the issue needs to be diagnosed further. Like hydraulic systems, the power assist will be disabled for the time being and steering will be difficult when this warning light goes on.

Is it safe to drive with the steering system warning light on?

No. Without power steering, the vehicle will be very hard to maneuver. You will need to use a lot of caution when driving, so it’s best to not use the vehicle at all if you can avoid it. Otherwise, the lack of steering assist could land you in a collision.

Replacing your power steering fluid at regular intervals will help keep your steering system in top shape. If you have any issues with your power steering system, our certified technicians will be able to help you identify any problems.


Next Step

Schedule Warning Light is on Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Warning Light is on Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

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

Recent Warning Light is on Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(238)

Rating Summary
224
5
4
0
5
224
5
4
0
5

Jason

15 years of experience
344 reviews
Jason
15 years of experience
Nissan Armada V8-5.6L - Warning Light is on - Mineola, New York
Excelente. Jason es todo un profesional con mucho conocimiento en la mecanica, buena persona educado y amigable. Gracias Jason.
Ford Taurus - Warning Light is on - Jamaica, New York
Very Professional definitely takes his time to find out exactly what’s the problem with the car! I was up and running in no time ! Will definitely recommend Him to anyone having issues with cars!!!

Nicholas

11 years of experience
585 reviews
Nicholas
11 years of experience
Chrysler 300 V6-2.7L - Warning Light is on - Durham, North Carolina
Excellent diagnostician. Knowledgeable and caring. Created a desire for him specifically, to do the job. Hope we get him every time!
Honda Accord - Warning Light is on - Garner, North Carolina
I was very happy with Nicholas and his knowledge and expertise about diagnosing the issues with my car. He is honest, reliable and professional. He is now my Mechanic that I will call on for all my car's needs.I will also recommend him to my friends whom have been taken advantage of by other car shops as I have been, and are looking for someone honest , that will not take advantage of them Thank you so much Nicholas for resolving my issue with my car. I feel relieved and happy with the outcome

Tony

40 years of experience
12 reviews
Tony
40 years of experience
Cadillac Escalade EXT V8-6.2L - Warning Light is on - Stockton, California
Good,mechanic helpful ,smooth move but quick, friendly patience and deep experience as a mechanic,as a customer I recommend Tony Crockett if you need a mechanic.

Brent

8 years of experience
56 reviews
Brent
8 years of experience
Jeep Grand Cherokee V6-3.7L - Warning Light is on - Lithonia, Georgia
On time for appointment. Knowledgeable, he explained what he was doing & then explained his findings to me. Later he sent a text with the diagnostic findings,

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.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

What Does the ABS Warning Light Mean?
The ABS light comes on due to anti-lock braking system issues. Causes include low brake fluid, a blown fuse, or abnormal signals from wheel sensors.
What Does the Catalytic Converter Warning Light Mean?
The catalytic converter warning light means the catalytic converter in your engine may not be working properly, possibly due to overheating.
What Does the Distance Warning Light Mean?
The distance warning light turns on when your car is in danger of hitting another car or obstructing object.

Related questions

Installed new rack and pinion,power steering pump and lines worked good for 2 days now no power steering. No leaks
Hi there. The replacement of the power steering components, should of lasted more than 2 days. If, there is a power steering cooler present in the system. It should have been flushed, to prevent contamination of the newly replaced power...
Power steering issues
Hello. Thank you for writing in. The owner'owner's manual should have more information on the power steering system, although you are correct. It should be electric. With that said, major faults with the system will set diagnostic troubleshooting codes. These...
My Nissan Sentra 2014 indicator light is on.
Hi there. The slip indicator light could be on for a numerous items. The main items that is causing your rpm's to fluctuate are the camshaft position sensor (CPS) and the idle air control valve (IAC). The CPS will cause...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com