While I was driving home recently in my 2010 Ford Fusion, the steering became very difficult. It seemed like the power steering broke or malfunctioned, and I had a hard time trying to turn the wheels. The steering was a little less smooth prior to the incident, but I could not have predicted this outcome. The car only has 60,000 miles on it. Is this a normal problem for a car this new?
Losing power steering can be a nuisance while maneuvering through a parking lot. It is a much scarier situation should it occur at higher speeds. On the 2010 Fusion, an electronic power steering system (EPAS) was installed to reduce engine load as opposed to the older hydraulic assist systems. While this is great for fuel economy, in the event of a malfunction, all power assist can be lost. While it may seem like 60,000 miles is far too low to have this type of issue, the parts in question have seen thousands of uses in that time. It appears that this particular vehicle has a steering wheel torque sensor (SATS) integrated into the steering rack. This sensor communicates information about what direction, and with how much force, the driver is requesting to turn. If the part should fail, power assist is usually restricted. My advice is to have a qualified technician retrieve any diagnostic codes present in the EPAS system. Should a code be present for the SATS, the technician can diagnose the system further to determine if rack replacement is necessary. Prices for this service vary depending on parts availability, but if rack replacement is necessary, an alignment is almost always required. Your technician will be able to inform you of any necessary repairs.
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