Those who have driven an older car that relied on a manual steering system know for a fact that the power steering system is one of the best inventions ever made. That is because manual steering is actually quite a workout and can easily tire out any person.
As such, power steering makes life easier for drivers all over the world. However, what does it mean when the power steering system warning light is turned on?
Here’s what it means if your power steering system warning light is on
The power steering warning light will turn on when there is a low level of hydraulic fluid in an older hydraulic power steering system. Meanwhile, it will turn on for an electric power steering system if there is an electrical issue that can either be serious or too minor that a quick reset can fix it.
- Here’s what it means if your power steering system warning light is on
- What does the power steering system warning light mean?
- Is it safe to drive with the power steering light on?
- Can I reset my power steering light?
- How much does it cost to fix power steering?
Knowing what the power steering warning light does is important for drivers because of how the power steering will be disabled if the light comes on.
This will make it more difficult for you to drive the car as you are forced to drive without assistance from the power steering system. And a modern vehicle without assistance from the power steering will be very difficult and dangerous to maneuver.
What does the power steering system warning light mean?
One of the most important technologies introduced to modern vehicles is the power steering system. That is because, before the system was introduced, manual steering was the norm for any vehicle. The problem was that manual steering forced you to use quite a bit of strength in your arms to turn the wheels. However, power steering assists you in turning so that it becomes effortless to move the wheels while you are driving.
In relation to the power steering system, you will see a power steering system warning light that is located on your dashboard and may often be seen on the speedometer. Not a lot of people actually know what this light means because they probably haven’t experienced this light turning on.
However, what does it mean when the power steering light turns on?
When talking about the power steering light, there are different meanings that depend on the type of power steering system the vehicle has. We are talking about hydraulic power steering systems and electric power steering systems.
Hydraulic power steering
When power steering was first introduced, it came in the form of hydraulic power steering. What this system did was that it used a hydraulic pump that allowed hydraulic fluid to move into chambers in your steering system. So, when you are turning the steering wheel while the engine is running, the fluid will fill the chambers in the steering system to allow you to turn the wheels easier.
In relation to that, if you have an older car that runs on a hydraulic power steering system, the warning light on the dashboard will turn on if the power steering fluid is low. This is usually the only reason why the hydraulic power steering system warning light will turn on. As such, what you need to do here is to pull over and then fill your car up with the right kind of hydraulic fluid so that the light will turn on.
Electric power steering
As electric systems started to become more affordable, most cars are now using the newer electric power steering system that relies completely on an electrical system that allows you to steer your wheels easier. That means that an electric power steering does not, in any way, use a type of hydraulic fluid for the power steering. Instead, it relies completely on an electrical system.
Because electric power steering systems do not use fluids to work, that means that the reason why the power steering system is turned on is quite different compared to a hydraulic power steering system.
In some cases, the power steering warning light will turn on because there might be small errors that have occurred in the car’s electrical components. This will prompt the computer to think that the power steering system has failed.
However, there are some cases where the issue can be quite serious.
If the problem is not just a mere small electrical issue, there might be something that needs to be diagnosed further by a mechanic. It could be due to a problem with some of the electrical components that are involved in the power steering system. This might be something that you won’t be able to fix or resolve on your own.
Is it safe to drive with the power steering light on?
If the power steering light is on, what will happen is that the power steering system will be disabled for a while. This means that you will be forced to drive without the assistance of your power steering system.
Most modern vehicles are not like the older vehicles that rely on manual steering in the sense that they are more difficult to maneuver with the power steering system. So, even if you are an older driver that lived through the manual steering era, you might still have trouble maneuvering a newer car with the power steering disabled.
The point here is that, for the sake of safety, it is best to avoid driving a car with the power steering disabled when the power steering light comes on. You can still drive the car in the theoretical sense. But that doesn’t mean that you should be driving it because you might put yourself and everyone in danger when you drive on a dangerous road without the assistance of the power steering system.
Can I reset my power steering light?
If you are driving an electrical power steering system, the first thing you need to do when the power steering warning light comes on is to try to reset the electric power steering. This is the best way for you to tell if the issue is merely a minor electrical problem that can be fixed with a simple reset.
To reset the power steering light, turn the ignition switch off and then turn it on again. You will notice the light coming on. Within four seconds after turning the ignition on, turn the steering wheel to the left at a 45-degree angle and then hold the position until the power steering warning light turns off.
In some cases, resetting the power steering light can be as easy as shutting the engine down and then turning it on again to check whether or not the power steering warning light has turned off.
If the power steering warning light is still on, that means that the issue could be something more serious. This is the time when you should have your power steering checked by a mechanic because there might be serious electrical issues that caused the problems with the power steering system.
How much does it cost to fix power steering?
Having your power steering checked and fixed by a mechanic can be quite expensive because the problem might be the entire module, which should warrant a replacement. Then you would have to factor in the labor costs.
Most of the time, module replacements can cost around $630, give or take. Meanwhile, labor expenses can be somewhere between $100 to $120 per hour. This means that the entire job can potentially reach a thousand dollars depending on how long the repair will take on the taxes and fees that apply to it.
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