Steering assistance is reduced Drive with care + repair or repair costs! (2023)

Different traffic rules, safety devices and warning signs such as "Power steering is limited. Drive carefully."are implemented in order to reduce the frequency of accidents.

Steering assist is a reduced signal that is very common on Cadillac, GMC and some Chevy models like Malibu, Traverse, Cruze, etc. It can be caused by various factors.But most common is when theengine control modulehe can't do his job. Or if it shows incorrect engine coolant temperature readings.

We will cover:

  • What is steering assistance?
  • How to reset it?
  • How to determine the cause of the error message
  • The costs associated with solving a problem

What is steering assistance?

Steering assistance is reduced Drive with care + repair or repair costs! (1)

Cars with power steering usually have power steering. A car's power steering system consists of two main parts. They include:

  • power steering assistance system.
  • hydraulic power steering

Before the development of a power steering system, steering a car was very difficult and required a lot of force to turn the steering.

This was very inefficient and a problem that the power steering system was designed to solve. How do you solve this problem? It just does it in two steps.

The first step

The power steering system consists of two parts, remember? The second part mentioned, i.e. the hydraulic power steering, has aHydraulic pump that pushes the hydraulic fluid.

the second step

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Hydraulic fluid under pressure makes the car's steering smoother and more efficient. In order for the hydraulics to achieve this, pressurized hydraulic oil increases the pressure of the steering movement and transfers it to the car's tires.[1]

Causes of the error message "Limited steering assist".

Steering assistance is reduced Drive with care + repair or repair costs! (2)

As previously mentioned, the most common cause of a reduced steering assist warning is a failure of the engine control unit. This does not mean that this is the only cause of the message. There are others and we would consider them one by one.

Dead or reconnected battery

In most cases the power steering is reduced, the error message can appear due to a discharged or disconnected battery. A dead battery in your car can cause many electrical problems, most notably loss of communication with the engine control unit.

defective engine control unit

Autosteer connects to your car's Engine Control Module (ECM), which acts as the brain box for all of your car's electrical functions. This module also monitors and checks your engine's coolant level and temperature.

It is also responsible for their adaptationtwo factorsand identify problems. This is a very important feature in cars as any problem with the coolant can lead to many problems in the vehicle, the most obvious being engine temperature fluctuations. [2]

As the coolant temperature drops, the steering fluid becomes very hard and makes it very difficult to use the steering wheel, a condition that power steering helps.

The ECM notifies the power steering by transmitting the coolant temperature.

If the information transmitted by the ECM is incorrect, the effectiveness of the power steering will be compromised as it will not have the information it needs to function efficiently.

At this point you have to wait for the error message, the steering assistance is reduced and you have no choice but to drive carefully because the balance of the steering wheel is disturbed.

(Video) Steering Assist is Reduced Drive With Care - Code P0128 - Chevrolet Silverado GMC Sierra GMC Acadia

Open engine thermostat

Another interesting part of your engine that when compromised can lead to power steering is reduced signal inputIsEngine thermostat. The thermostat plays an important role in controlling and regulating the flow of coolant in the engine radiator.

This will turn off the thermostatHelps maintain engine temperature and stability.

There are scenarios where the thermostat is open and cannot be closed again, causing coolant to flow and the temperature dropping to an unnecessarily low level. This can cause the reduced power assist signal to appear as the power assist is definitely affected.3]

Motor cooling fan with constant high speed

This is another reason why the assist steering error message is reduced, but it is also a direct result of a very cold engine.

When your car's engine cooling fan runs at a constant high speed, the engine gets cold, sometimes very cold. When the engine gets that cold, the ECM grease becomes much stiffer and activates the power steering, which in this case can work due to the drop in engine temperature.

This leads to the error message "Steering assistance is reduced".

Temperature display defective

The temperature gauge is responsible for monitoring the engine temperature of your car. If the indicator goes out, the car engine is cold. But if your car engine has been running for a long time and the gauge still shows that the car engine is cold, then it is defective and needs to be repaired. This isn't good for power steering assistance as you can't tell when the car is cold. Therefore, the error message Power steering reduced appears.

How to reset the steering assistance is reduced Drive with Care Error

Steering assistance is reduced Drive with care + repair or repair costs! (3)


One of the easiest ways to reset the power steering to reduce the error message is to restart the vehicle. Turning off the car and turning it on again after a while should work. It works because restarting your car forces all of the electrical parts in your car to turn off and on again.

If you try the first time and it doesn't work, then the second or third try will do the magic. But if none of them work, here's what you might need to do.

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How to identify the cause of the problem

Now that you've seen the possible cause of the Reduced Power Steering error message, how do you know who the actual culprit is when one occurs? We're going to talk about that now, and you'll also see the different tests that can help.

If you get an error message that power assist is reduced, try resetting the error message. If the message clears, the ECM could be reading the engine coolant temperature incorrectly.

However, if the error message persists, you can try using a code reader or OBD scanner or OBD2 scanner to find out the error and what to do next.

Steering assistance is reduced Drive with care + repair or repair costs! (4)

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If you notice the signal after trying to troubleshoot trouble codes, it's time to review and test all the parts discussed.

Tests for car parts responsible for the error message.


  • This is for the engine control unit.
  • Connect the ECM to the OBD scanner and run a test.
  • The test result would show if the ECM is in good condition.
  • If the ECM is defective, repair or replace it.
  • If the problem isn't with the ECM, a small chance, or sometimes a big one, try the car's thermostat.


  • This procedure will help check if the engine thermostat is open.
  • Start your car's engine and let it idle for a few minutes.
  • Touch the radiator hose and check its temperature.
  • When it's cold, the thermostat is open.
  • In this case, replacing the thermostat is the best option. The sooner the better as it can lead to more serious problems with your car.
  • If everything is fine with your thermostat, it's time to check the engine cooling fan.

Test fan

  • With this test you can check whether your engine's fan is running at a consistently high speed.
  • To test the fan, you must test the vehicle's engine fan relay.
  • This happens throughDisconnect car battery, locate the engine fan relay and remove it from the fuse box.
  • Apply power to the fan relay terminals and see if it turns on.
  • If it does not light up, the fan relay is defective and needs to be replaced.
  • If it lights up, you have no chance at that point and you will need the services of a professional auto mechanic to figure out what's wrong with the car.

Cost of fixing steering assist issues

The amount required to fix a power steering problem will depend on the likely cause of the problem. For example, if you try to reset it by turning off your car and turning it on again after a while, it will solve the problem for free.

But if that's not what happened, the table below shows how much it could cost you to fix one of the issues that could lead to a reduced power steering error message.

Probable cause of the error messagerepair or replacement costs
engine control module1.000 $
temperature display$150
engine cooling fan$100
The table of the cost of repairing or replacing the car parts responsible for the power steering is a reduced error message.

Steering assistance is reduced Drive with care + repair or repair costs! (5)

Also read:The steering wheel is not locked, but the key cannot be turned

All of these costs are rough estimates and may include the charges of the mechanic in charge. But making them yourself will surely save you some money. In addition, these prices may vary depending on the location and model or equipment of the car.


Of course, steering assistance with a reduced signal is no cause for concern. Still, there's no harm in running a diagnostic test on your car to identify the problem. It doesn't matter how small.

Continue reading:Squeaking noises while driving but brakes not applied

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When you try to restart your car and it won't turn off. If none of the other methods help, ask a professional auto mechanic to come and check the car.


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