How to Fix Power Steering Assist Fault on Ford Fusion (2023)

The Ford Fusion is a nice and affordable daily commuter. This has put it in the hands of millions of users over the years. Despite its popularity, it has known problems. One of the most prominent issues is the power steering system.

The Power Steering Assist fault message is a common issue for Ford Fusions and has led to multiple recalls.

What Happens if the Power Assist in Your Steering Fails?

Since power steering assist is a system that uses hydraulic or electric power to add torque to the steering rack when you turn the wheel, it makes it easier to steer, especially at low speeds.

It is why modern vehicle steering feels so light, and you can easily turn it with a single hand – or even a finger.

When the system fails, you remain with just the physical linkage to the steering rack. You must use your arm strength to move the wheels without the extra boost.

The vehicle’s weight and friction between the wheels and the surface make it very hard to turn the wheel. You will need both hands and some grunt, especially when turning at low speed.

(Video) ford fusion service power steering assist

The top things you will not when there’s power-assisted steering failure include:

  • It will be harder to turn the wheel when doing parking maneuvres
  • The steering wheel will feel more weighted and less vague when driving at a reasonable speed
  • A groaning or creaking sound every time you turn the wheel

What Causes Steering Assist Fault in a Ford Fusion?

Before digging deep into Ford Fusion problems, we will look into common power steering system faults that also apply to the Ford. This will vary depending on whether your Ford Fusion uses electric or hydraulic power steering.

Electrical Failures

Both electric and hydraulic power steering systems have some electronics controlling the overall operation of the system.

Any failure in the wiring, actuators, sensors and even blown fuses could grind the power assist to a halt.

  • A failed electric power steering motor won’t turn. Hence there will be no assistive torque to inject into the system
  • In some hydraulic systems, an electrical pump might fail to lead to insufficient pressure in the power steering assist fluid

Luckily, electrical failures always trigger an error code. They will always trigger the power steering assist fault warning and an accompanying OBDII error code.

You Are Running Low on Fluids

Hydraulic power steering systems or hybrid systems need some fluid to work. Low fluid levels will leave the system with less medium to transmit, leading to a slightly or significantly harder wheel to turn.

(Video) 2013 Fusion steering assist fault. Encoder cable

Luckily, checking your power steering fluid levels is easy as it sits in a labeled clear reservoir under the hood. Note that some vehicles with a hybrid system share hydraulic fluid between the brake system and the power steering system.

If the levels drop significantly, chances are there’s a leak somewhere. Inspect your vehicle’s undercarriage and where you park for leaks.

Normally, your power steering fluid levels shouldn’t drop significantly overnight. Have a professional look into the system if this happens as soon as you top up or notice a puddle of red or pink fluid under the vehicle.

A Snapped or Slipped Belt

If your Ford Fusion has a mechanical pump driven by a belt from an engine pulley, it will lose all power the moment that belt goes missing.

Inspect your engine bay, looking for any belt that seems to have slipped or is missing. You could also look for slipping belts. In most cases, a slipping belt will make a screeching or squealing noise as it slips over the pulleys.

Ford Specific Power Steering System Failures

The Ford Fusion has, over the years, had quirky failures in its power steering system. These are errors specific to its design, and most have seen the company issue a recall to remedy the situation and stay compliant.

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Faulty Steering Motor Sensor

Ford Fusions, in the model year 2012, had a potentially faulty steering motor sensor that could send wrong readings to the controller leading to a shut down of the entire power steering assist.

The problem could be detected by polling the Power Steering Control Module (PSCM) for diagnostic trouble codes. Any errors will have the entire steering gear and sensor replaced and software updated. You will still get a software update if your sensor wasn’t faulty and there were no error codes.

Rusty Power Steering Assist Fault

The 2013 to 2016 Ford Fusions had the power assist motor attached to its housing with bolts that didn’t have a proper rust protection coating.

Over time, the bolts corrode and detach, leaving the motor loose or detached from the housing. The problem was especially common in snowy places with road salt application or in towns next to the sea.

In the US, the recall applied to vehicles made at the Salk Lake, Oakville, and Hermosillo assembly plants.

General Electronic Power Assisted Steering Failure

Apart from the sensor failure, the third-generation units’ EPAS (electronic power-assisted steering) system is known to have multiple malfunctions. Even though Ford hasn’t issued a recall for these, consumer reports show multiple complaints on various parts of the system.

(Video) Fixing a car with no electric power steering

The unit is designed with a reasonable failure procedure, meaning it is hard to lose control when driving at speed. It mostly fails noticeably when driving under 20 MPH.

How to Fix the Power Steering Fault Code

The fixes will always vary depending on your Ford Fusion’s model and what type of power steering system it has. Here are some troubleshooting and fixing steps you can take to sort out the problem

  • Check the fuse box and confirm that none of the fuses related to power steering are missing or blown. Replace any blown fuses and monitor the system. If it blows a fuse again, you need to have the electrical system troubleshot
  • Confirm if your Ford Fusion is part of a recall. If yes, confirm if it was taken for a fix. If it wasn’t, the recall problems have come home to roost. Please take it to a dealership or a credited mechanic for a fix
  • If your steering assist is hydraulic, confirm that you have enough power steering fluid and that the power steering pump has a working belt connecting it to the crankshaft
  • Check or have someone check the different control modules and ECU for power steering-specific error codes that give you an idea of what you should fix

If you are lucky, the warning light will be due to low fluid or a blown fuse. Otherwise, you will need detailed troubleshooting to isolate and fix the problem once and for all.

How to Reset the Power Steering Fault Code

You can use a diagnostic tool to erase the codes via the OBDII port or rest the system by following these steps:

  • Switch the car on and then off to initiate a startup system scan
  • Repeat the process up to four times to get rid of the code

Note that these two steps will only work if you have fixed the problem or the issue is intermittent, and the system runs a check on startup and finds no faults.

Warning: You shouldn’t just reset or erase the fault code without diagnosing and fixing the problem. Your Ford Fusion will still have the steering fault, and the error code will pop up again.

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Can You Keep Driving With the Power Steering Fault Error Message On?

While you can still keep driving with the manual steering power steering, it is a bit more dangerous if you are used to power steering.

You will need more effort to change the vehicle’s direction, and parking will be a nightmare. However, if you consciously anticipate this, you can still manually control a small vehicle like the Ford Fusion.

Note that active safety systems like lane-keeping, collision avoidance, and automated parking that need the computer to issue steering commands will not work if you have faulty power steering.


How much does it cost to fix the power steering assist fault? ›

While the price of this repair can vary, expect to pay between $500 and $800 to get your power steering pump replaced. Depending on your car, the cost could exceed that price, or fall below it.

What does it mean when my car says power steering assist fault? ›

This warning indicates that there is a problem with the power steering system. It could be something as simple as low fluid levels or a more serious issue such as a power steering pump failure.

How do I reset my electric power steering? ›

All you need to do is turn off your engine, then restart it so the light can reset. In most cases, it should come back on, and this only indicates that it may have thought it suspected a problem due to a mistake in the computer system.

How much does it cost to fix power steering Ford Fusion? ›

The average cost for a Ford Fusion Power Steering Pump Replacement is between $282 and $388. Labor costs are estimated between $123 and $155 while parts are priced between $158 and $232.

Are there any recalls on Ford Fusion power steering? ›

Ford Fusion Recall Power Steering

If any of the steering gear motor attachment bolts are broken or missing, a new steering gear will be installed in the vehicle. These repairs will be performed free of charge. The recall is expected to begin October 7, 2019. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332.

Can you drive without power steering assist? ›

While it is technically possible to drive the car with a failing electric power steering system, it is not going to get any better. The vehicle will need to be serviced as soon as possible. The module is still pulling excess power from the battery and robbing the rest of the vehicle.

Can you fix electric power steering problems? ›

This problem can be fixed on your own, but if you're not sure how to fix electric power steering problems, take it to a certified mechanic.

How do you reset the steering sensor? ›

Go into the Wheel Alignment System, select Wheel Alignment, then Reset Memory and you will receive a message: Turn the ignition key off and wait for at least five seconds. After five seconds, step on the brake pedal and start the engine. The step by step instructions will guide you through.

What is a common causes of electric power steering failure? ›

Today's electronic power steering systems may fail due to issues with the mounted electric motor. In particular, excessive heat on the motor is likely to cause the failure modes. Infiltration of the system environment by water, dirt, or other contaminants will also likely lead to EPS failure.

What will happen if the power assisted steering system fails? ›

When that happens, your car's steering system will revert to manual operation (i.e., your muscles do all the work). As a result, the steering wheel will become very difficult to turn. Electric power steering can stop working suddenly and render the vehicle very difficult to drive as well.

What should you do if your power assisted steering fails? ›

If you lose your power steering be prepared to hang on to the wheel with all of your strength to turn it. Stop as soon as possible. If the power steering has failed because the engine has cut out you may need extra pressure on the brakes to stop the car.

How much does it cost to fix Honda power steering? ›

The average cost for a Honda Accord Power Steering Pump Replacement is between $565 and $877. Labor costs are estimated between $85 and $107 while parts are priced between $479 and $769.

How long does it take to fix a power steering issue? ›

It takes two to three hours for a competent mechanic to switch over a power steering pump. Power steering pump replacement costs vary across the country according to each garage and dealership.


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