How To Fix Power Steering Warning Light?

How To Fix Power Steering Warning Light?

27th Jun 2024

Have you noticed the power steering warning light on your dashboard? This light can indicate a problem with your car's power steering system, making it more difficult to steer your vehicle safely. Most often, this occurs due to insufficient power steering fluid levels.

Don't worry, fixing this is easier than you might think. In this blog, we'll show you how to check and refill your power steering fluid to get rid of that annoying warning light. We'll also explain how to identify signs of power steering fluid leaks or damage and provide tips to prevent future power steering issues.

Let's get your car running smoothly again with some simple steps.

How Does a Car's Power Steering System Work?

Your car's power steering system can be either hydraulic or electric. Hydraulic systems use a pump driven by the engine to pressurize fluid, helping steer the wheels with less effort. Electric systems, on the other hand, use an electric motor to provide steering assistance.

Electric power steering (EPS) provides variable assistance based on the vehicle's speed, offering more help at lower speeds and less at higher speeds. This adaptability improves overall energy efficiency and enhances driver control by providing appropriate feedback from the road at different speeds. Understanding whether your vehicle uses hydraulic power steering or electric power steering (EPS) is crucial for proper maintenance and troubleshooting.

What Does the Power Steering Warning Light Mean?

The power steering warning light is a crucial indicator of issues within your vehicle's steering system. It alerts you to potential problems that could impact your ability to steer the vehicle safely. Here is what it means in:

Hydraulic Power Steering Systems

When the power steering warning light appears as a red or yellow steering wheel icon with an exclamation mark, it's often due to low hydraulic fluid levels. This can significantly impact steering efficiency. The light is a direct alert to check the hydraulic system, indicating a potential issue that needs immediate attention to ensure safe driving.

  • Common Issue: Low fluid levels are typically due to leaks in the system, which can occur in various components such as the hoses, the pump, or the reservoir itself.
  • Risks: Ignoring this warning can lead to harder steering, increasing the physical effort required to steer the vehicle, which may ultimately compromise the driver's ability to control the car, especially at higher speeds or in critical situations.

Electric Power Steering (EPS) Systems

Diagnosing the EPS warning light can be tricky since there are no fluids involved. The problem often relates to electrical components like the battery or alternator. EPS issues are more complex because they involve electrical systems instead of hydraulic fluids, making traditional diagnostics such as checking fluid levels irrelevant.

  • Common Causes: Faults may be due to issues with the battery, such as a weak charge or failure, alternator problems affecting the charging system, or poor electrical connections that might disrupt the power supply to the steering system.
  • Risks: If not addressed, it leads to sudden failures in steering assistance, which increases the risk of accidents. Moreover, ongoing issues with EPS components like sensors can degrade the overall responsiveness of the steering system, further endangering vehicle safety.

How To Fix Power Steering Warning Light? Step-by-Step DIY Process

Fixing a power steering warning light can be managed with some basic troubleshooting steps at home. Depending on your vehicle's setup, the approach varies slightly between hydraulic and electric power steering systems. Below are the key steps to help you fix power steering warning light:

Step 1: Check the Power Steering Fluid Level (Hydraulic Systems)

If your car has a hydraulic power steering system, start by locating the fluid reservoir under the hood; the vehicle's manual will specify its exact position. Check the fluid level and ensure it aligns with the recommended markings on the reservoir.

Low power steering fluid levels can trigger the warning light. If the fluid level is low, replenish it with the specific type of power steering fluid recommended by your car's manufacturer to ensure proper functioning.

Step 2: Inspect for Leaks

Perform a thorough visual inspection around the power steering pump, hoses, and connections to detect any signs of power steering fluid leaks. Wet or oily areas typically indicate a power steering fluid leak.

It's also crucial to examine the condition of the hoses to ensure they are not cracked, brittle, or showing signs of wear, as these defects can lead to leaks and loss of fluid.

Read More: How To Fix A Power Steering Fluid Leak?

Step 3: Check the Power Steering Belt (Hydraulic Systems)

Inspect the power steering belt for signs of wear, such as cracks or fraying. The power steering belt should be tight and in good condition, as a worn or loose belt can impair the power steering pump's efficiency and trigger the warning light. Proper belt tension is essential for effective operation of the hydraulic pump; adjust or replace the belt if necessary.

Step 4: Test the Electrical Connections (Electric Power Steering Systems)

For cars with electric power steering systems, start by checking the car battery to ensure it is fully charged and functioning properly, as EPS systems rely heavily on a dependable power source.

Inspect all related electrical wiring and connections within the EPS system for looseness, fraying, or corrosion, and make necessary adjustments or replacements to maintain optimal functionality.

Step 5: Reset the System

Sometimes, the solution can be as simple as resetting the system to clear the warning light. Turn off the engine and restart the vehicle to see if the light turns off.

If the warning light persists, use an OBD-II scanner ($31.83) to read the car's diagnostic codes and gain further insight into the underlying issues, facilitating more targeted troubleshooting.

When To Seek Professional Help?

Seek professional assistance if the power steering warning light persists after attempting basic troubleshooting, if you're uncomfortable performing any steps yourself, or if diagnostic codes indicate complex issues. Professionals have specialized tools and expertise to handle intricate repairs safely and effectively.


1. Is it safe to drive with power steering light on?

Driving with the power steering warning light on is not safe, as it indicates a potential malfunction in your steering system. Driving under such conditions can reduce steering ability and increase the risk of accidents. It's best to address the issue promptly to ensure your safety on the road.

2. What does the power steering warning light mean if it turns on after adding fluid?

If the power steering warning light stays on even after adding fluid, it could indicate deeper issues such as air trapped in the hydraulic system, a malfunctioning power steering pump, or ongoing leaks that require professional attention.

3. Can the power steering warning light mean there are issues unrelated to fluid levels?

Yes, the power steering warning light can also signify problems beyond low fluid levels, such as faults in the power steering pump, wear and tear on the drive belts, or electrical issues in the case of electric power steering systems.

Head Over To JB Tools For High-Quality Diagnostic Tools

If you're facing issues with your vehicle's power steering system, having the right diagnostic tools can make all the difference. Head over to JB Tools for a comprehensive selection of high-quality diagnostic equipment that can help you accurately identify and resolve issues with your car's steering system.

JB Tools has got a variety of diagnostic tools that are perfect for both professional mechanics and DIY enthusiasts. From advanced OBD-II scanners to specific power steering diagnostic tools, our products are designed to provide reliable results and help keep your vehicle running smoothly.