Power Steering Assist Fault Ford Fusion: Causes and Fixes

What does it mean when your Ford Fusion shows a power steering assist error message? It is straightforward! There is a fault, and the system is deactivated.

The power steering assist is a system that makes the car easily maneuverable and offers a better degree of control. Driving your vehicle with this system, such as Ford Fusion, is effortless. However, you can still steer your car without it, but it will be a strenuous job.

The power steering system can fail if it is poorly maintained. When that happens, your Ford Fusion alerts you by showing the error message on the dashboard. Read on for more details about the possible causes and what it means when the system fails.

What Does It Mean When Your Ford Fusion Says Power Steering Assist Fault?

The above statement is self-explanatory. It means the power steering system, also known as the Electronic power assist steering (EPAS), has developed a problem and has been deactivated. 

EPAS makes turning the steering wheel easy and gives you better control of the vehicle. If you see this error message, the system has detected a fault and is deactivated. The power steering assist system comprises the steering wheel, steering column, steering couple, power steering hoses, power steering pump, and steering gear. The warning message appears on the dashboard if there is a problem with any listed components.

Power Steering Assist Fault Ford Fusion

The most common sign of a failed power steering system is difficulty turning the steering wheel. You need more effort to control the car. That can be tiresome even for a short trip if you are already used to power steering assist.

Related content: Steering Assist Is Reduced Drive With Care – Explained

What Are the Causes of Power Steering Assist Failure?

The power steering system consists of many components, meaning the causes are also many and vary from one car model to the next. But the most common ones include the following:

01. Low Power Steering Fluid

Hydraulic fluid is the lifeblood of power steering systems. The small force applied on the steering wheel is amplified and transmitted through the fluid to help turn our car in the desired direction. If there is not enough, turning the steering wheel becomes more challenging. 

The power steering fluid rarely needs replacement and maintains its level in the hoses for a long time. However, any leaks will result in hydraulic fluid loss. If a wheel-shaped light appears on the dashboard of your Ford Fusion, the steering fluid level may have dropped below the recommended level.

Check the power steering fluid level and top it up if necessary. But before doing that, check for leaks and seal any holes. 

You should stop hydraulic fluid leaks as soon as possible because they can damage other components.  

02. Leaking Hydraulic Fluid

As mentioned, the power steering system requires hydraulic fluid to function as intended. Leaks can drain all that hydraulic fluid, leading to power steering failure. 

Check the power steering fluid when the EPAS fault message or warning light appears on the dashboard. It might have leaked if it is not there or the fluid level is low. Identify what caused the leak and fix it before refilling the power steering fluid. 

03. Contaminated Fluid

Power steering fluid can get contaminated due to holes through the hoses and worn-out seals that allow foreign materials into the system. These cause more friction between parts and may clog the power steering system. In severe cases, contaminated hydraulic fluids may lead to power steering pump failure.

It is not easy to identify impurities in the power steering fluid. Therefore, regular system maintenance is necessary to keep it in good working condition. You should replace the hydraulic fluid at recommended intervals or according to your owner manual.

04. Blown Fuse

mechanic changing blown fuse

Various power steering components are interconnected with wires that transfer electrical signals. The system is further protected with a fuse. This system ceases to function if there are shorts, opens, or a blown-out fuse. You will be notified on the dashboard about the problem.

Check the fuse box for the specific fuse for this system and replace it if blown out. Next, inspect the wiring and fix worn-out or disconnected wires to complete the circuit. 

05. Faulty Speed Sensor

Power steering assist depends on the data from the wheel speed sensor to know how fast the wheels are turning and determine the amount of steering assist needed. That means a faulty wheel speed sensor may cause the warning message you see on your Ford Fusion dashboard.

Using an OBD2 scanner to ascertain that the wheel speed sensor is the culprit. It will save you time trying to check the power steering components. Solve the problem by replacing the problematic wheel speed sensor. It is a straightforward process if you already have the replacement part.

06. Faulty Steering Motor Sensor

The steering motor or steering angle sensor is located in the steering column. Its purpose is to determine where you want to steer, which allows the power steering assist in aligning the steering wheel with the vehicle’s wheels. 

A faulty steering angle sensor transmits erroneous data to the control module. That makes the car’s computer turn off the power steering assist. 

The best way to diagnose this error is by using an OBD2 scanner. Without it, you will have to disassemble the steering column and test the steering angle sensor, which may not be faulty. The scanning tool pinpoints the problem, making you sure of what you will be doing.

Replace the faulty steering motor sensor with an appropriate part. The work may be challenging. So, consider contacting an experienced auto technician for help.

07. Faulty Power Steering Pump

The power steering pump is one of the crucial components of the power steering system. It keeps the hydraulic fluid pressurized to help you turn the steering wheel effortlessly. 

The pump can wear out over time, leading to failure. A failing power steering pump signs include leaks, strange noises, and decreased steering assistance. That is gradual. An immediate loss of power steering assist is often caused by a broken drive belt or abrupt loss of hydraulic fluid. 

You can rely on the signs mentioned to know if your power steering pump is faulty or not. But using an OBD2 scanner is the most appropriate way to handle it. You may need to repair or replace the entire pump unit if it is the culprit. 

08. Incorrect Wheel Alignment

Bad wheel alignment can trick the vehicle’s computer into believing that the steering angle sensor is faulty. That will cause the power steering assist error message to appear.

Signs of your being out of alignment include the following:

  • Uneven or premature tire wear
  • Car pulling to one side
  • Squealing tires
  • The steering wheel feels loose
  • Steering wheel vibrations

Before you check the steering angle sensor, confirm that the wheels are correctly aligned. 

09. Failing Serpentine Belt

Some power steering systems get power from the engine through the serpentine belt. But that belt is known for causing issues that can halt the entire system. Just check if the belt is worn-out or needs replacement.

Common Error Codes Associated with This Error

As with any warning message, there will be related trouble codes associated with this warning. Here are some of the most common ones:

Error CodeFault
P1550Power Steering Pressure Sensor out of Self-Test Range
P1650Power Steering Pressure Sensor out of Self-Test Range
P1651Power Steering Pressure Switch Input fault
P0552Power Steering Pressure Sensor Circuit Low Input
U0420Invalid Data Received From Power Steering Control Module
B1D23Power Steering Overheat Sensor
U0131Lost Communication With Power Steering Control Module
C102DHigh Friction Inside Power Steering
C2792Power Steering Motor Circuit Short To Battery
B2277Electric Power Steering Motor Malfunction
C2793Power Steering Motor Circuit Short To Ground

Can You Drive with A Power Steering Fault Error?

Yes, your car is still safe to drive with the power steering fault error. It tells you that the power steering assist is turned off, meaning your steering system can still operate manually. However, you will realize that much more effort is needed to turn the steering wheel. That can be difficult if you are already used to power steering and almost impossible for long trips.

You should take your vehicle to an auto repair shop for the problem to be diagnosed and fixed as soon as possible. It may prevent further damage to the power steering system, especially if hydraulic fluid leaks.

How To Reset Power Steering Assist Fault?

You should first find the cause of the power steering problem on your Ford Fusion and fix it before you reset the fault. Any methods described below will not permanently reset it if the issue still exists. Remember, the car system performs checks at start-up.

The first method is an OBD2 diagnostic tool to scan and erase the code. It is the fastest and most reliable method. Alternatively, you can switch the car off and back on to allow it to perform a system scan. You may have to repeat this manual procedure twice or more to erase the code. 

Is there Any Recall/TSB from Ford?

The power steering assist fault is a widespread problem on the Ford Fusion that forced the automaker to recall some model years to correct the problem. These included the following:

  • 2014-16 Ford Fusion, built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant from August 21, 2013, to June 14, 2015.
  • 2013-16 Ford Fusion, built at Hermosillo Assembly Plant from August 14, 2012, to June 28, 2015. (Source)

The identified problem was caused by a bolt that secured the power steering gear motor that did not get proper waxing to prevent corrosion. That potentially caused premature failure, leading to the detachment of the motor assembly from the housing and consequent loss of power steering assist.

You can check if your Ford Fusion is affected by visiting Ford’s recall database website. If your vehicle is listed, book an appointment with a local Ford dealer for the problem to be fixed. It usually takes a day to perform the repair, but depending on how busy it is, you might have to wait a couple of weeks before bringing the car in.