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A power steering failure in the past often times was a result of the system being low on fluid. In fact, the lack of fluid in an electronic steering system is one of the major benefits. With traditional hydraulic power steering systems, a potential failure was often foresighted by noticing drips coming from under the vehicle indicating the fluid was leaking, and the power steering system would soon start to fail. When the hydraulic power steering system would fail, the vehicle would just lose hydraulic assist and the steering system would still work but would require increased effort. But, what happens if electric power steering fails?


Electric power steering systems work using a number of different designs. While the designs may vary based on the manufacturer, they all work by taking drivers input, in conjunction with readings from different sensors on the vehicle to determine how much assist to give and how rapidly that assist should be given. For example, in a parking lot at low speeds the system generates much more assist than what will be required at highway speeds. The reason for this is that at highway speeds it takes much less effort to maneuver the vehicle than at slower speeds. One thing that remains constant between current electric steering systems and traditional steering systems is the required input from the driver. Even with today's modern systems failure can still happen and that is why the design of electric steering is still based around driver input and a failsafe of manual steering is still present. This means that if the electronic steering system were to fail in any capacity the driver will still be able to control the vehicle. What would happen if electronic steering were to fail is that all of the luxuries that come with it would be disabled. Things like lane keeping assist or autonomous parking would no longer work until the system was repaired. We hope this helps you to understand more about what happens if your power steering system fails.


If you have more questions on power steering, check out some of our other articles or post a question in our Ask the Experts forum.

Power Steering Q & A > What Is? > What Happens If Your Electric Power Steering Fails?

What Happens If Your Electric Power Steering Fails

Most of the vehicles being manufactured today come with electronic power steering. Some models may offer it as an add on feature but will still come stock with traditional hydraulic power steering. You’re probably wondering what happens if your electric power steering fails. Diagnosing issues with electronic steering is completely different from diagnosing issues in traditional hydraulic power steering systems. Instead of searching for leaks you will often be looking for wiring issues, or communication problems.

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