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Steering Assist Is Reduced Drive With Care – Meaning, Cause and Fix

In contemporary vehicles, advanced electrical systems and sensors enhance the driving experience by displaying dashboard lights and messages. While many messages aim to simplify the driving process, certain warnings alert drivers to potential malfunctions in the car’s systems.

One such message, “steering assist is reduced, drive with care,” may initially cause concern. However, there’s no need to panic. In this situation, exercise increased caution with the steering wheel and drive attentively. This guide will provide further clarification, as our team delves into the significance behind this seemingly unusual warning.

What Is Steering Assist?

Steering assist is a functionality enabling easy vehicle steering through the use of a knob. It leverages the car’s engine and brakes to provide assistance in steering and stopping.

To activate steering assist, press the button on the steering wheel or program it through the car’s radio. This system is operational only if your vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS).

Equipped with sensors, steering assist systems identify specific scenarios like loss of traction or oversteer. In response, the system automatically aids in steering by applying gentle pressure to the steering wheel.

Primarily designed for emergency situations, steering assist proves invaluable when a vehicle is at risk of flipping over or descending a slope. Additionally, it enhances accessibility for drivers with limited mobility or disabilities.

What Does Steering Assist Reduced Message Mean?

When this warning message illuminates on your dashboard or infotainment center, it signals an issue with the Steering Assist program. This means you cannot rely on Steering Assist to activate when required.

Consequently, the warning advises you to “Drive With Care.” In such instances, you must take responsibility for maintaining the appropriate torque on the steering wheel without the usual additional support. 

While it may not initially seem significant, those accustomed to this backup protection will notice its absence and the increased reliance on manual steering.

Top Cause and Fixes

The “Steering Assist Reduced” message illuminates to signal a problem with your power steering system. Potential causes include a malfunctioning power steering rack, abnormal tire pressure, or sensor issues on your vehicle.

If you encounter this problem, it is crucial to have your car inspected by a certified mechanic promptly. They will assess the issue with your vehicle and address it accordingly.

1. Battery Issue

A defective or discharged battery in a vehicle can have a profound impact on its electrical systems. The battery serves as the source of electric power for all the car’s electrical components. 

One crucial system affected by a faulty battery is the power steering system, which depends on electrical assistance for smooth and controlled vehicle maneuvering. If the battery is not functioning properly, the steering assist may be diminished or compromised.

It is imperative to promptly resolve any battery issues to maintain optimal and safe driving conditions.

2. Tire Pressure Incorrect

Incorrect tire pressure, whether too low or too high, can lead to steering system issues. Inadequate traction on the road during driving or sharp turns is a consequence of improper tire pressure. 

Low tire pressure, in particular, can impede the vehicle’s steering accuracy. To ensure a safe driving experience in both emergency situations and normal conditions, it is crucial to consistently maintain the correct tire pressure levels.

3. Power Steering Pump Malfunction

The power steering pump in your car plays a crucial role in circulating power steering fluid throughout the system. Its absence can disrupt the flow of fluid from the reservoir to the power steering system, potentially triggering the steering assist warning.

If you observe an unusually stiff steering wheel accompanied by squealing noises when turning the key in the ignition, it indicates a problem with the pump. This issue is more serious than it may appear, as it compromises the ability to receive a prompt response from the steering wheel, posing potential safety concerns.

4. Broken Temperature Sensor

When considering engine temperature, it’s essential to inspect the temperature sensor. This sensor plays a crucial role in determining the engine’s temperature, signaling whether it is hot or cold. 

If the sensor consistently reads high when the engine is running for a considerable duration, indicating excessive heat, or vice versa, there may be a mechanical failure, as previously mentioned, or a potential issue with the sensor. 

In cases where the sensor is broken or providing inaccurate data to the Engine Control Module (ECM), it can lead to malfunctions in the Steering Assist system.

5. Low Power Steering Fluid Level

The steering fluid reservoir, situated beneath the car’s hood, plays a crucial role in ensuring smooth vehicle operation. It is imperative to maintain an adequate fluid level to prevent errors or the potential disablement of the steering assist system. 

Regularly inspect the steering fluid reservoir and ensure it contains the correct type and amount of fluid according to the manufacturer’s specifications. 

Additionally, check for any signs of leakage in the fluid hose that could result in premature fluid drainage. Addressing these aspects contributes to the optimal functioning of the steering system.

6. Overheated Brakes

If the warning light illuminates without an accompanying engine fault message, it is probable that the brakes are overheating, triggering the display of this fault code. This situation may arise when brake pads lack sufficient friction, leading to excessive heat and potential overheating or complete melting.

To identify the root cause of this problem, it is advisable to have your vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic. It is crucial to refrain from driving until the issue is appropriately resolved. Prioritize resolving this concern for the safety and optimal performance of your vehicle.

7. Failed Cooling Fan

A malfunctioning engine cooling fan can lead to continuous high-speed operation, causing the engine to become excessively cold. In such cases, the ECM grease within the engine stiffens significantly. This condition triggers the display of a reduced steering assist warning message, emphasizing the need for caution while driving.

It is imperative to address this cooling fan issue promptly to prevent further complications and ensure the optimal performance of your vehicle. Swift resolution will contribute to maintaining the proper functioning of the engine and associated systems, promoting a safe and reliable driving experience.


1. What causes the “Steering Assist is Reduced” warning?

Several factors, including issues with the power steering pump, low power steering fluid, sensor malfunctions, or electrical system problems, can trigger this warning.

2. Is it safe to continue driving when the warning is displayed?

While the vehicle can still be driven with the warning, it is recommended to exercise caution as the steering may not respond as usual. It is advisable to seek professional inspection and address the underlying issue promptly.

3. How can I troubleshoot the “Steering Assist is Reduced” warning?

Checking power steering fluid levels, inspecting for leaks, and ensuring the power steering pump is functioning can be initial troubleshooting steps. However, professional diagnosis is recommended for an accurate assessment.

4. Can low battery voltage affect the steering assist system?

Yes, low battery voltage or electrical system issues can impact the steering assist system, leading to the warning message. It is essential to address any battery-related issues promptly.

5. What should I do if the warning persists after troubleshooting?

If the warning persists, it is advisable to consult with a certified mechanic for a comprehensive diagnosis and necessary repairs. Ignoring the warning may lead to further complications.

Final Thought

The “Steering Assist is Reduced, Drive With Care” warning indicates potential issues with the power steering system. Drivers should exercise caution, as steering assistance may be compromised. Prompt professional inspection and resolution of the underlying problem are recommended to ensure safe and optimal vehicle operation.

Tom Brady
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