03 Oct How to tell if you have variable assist power steering?
The variable-assist power steering in a car assists the driver when initially turning the steering wheel. When the steering wheel is released, power assist reduces, allowing the driver to maintain control of the vehicle over rough road surfaces. Variable assist power steering in cars has been offered as an option on several makes and models by General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation, DaimlerChrysler, Volkswagen, Audi AG and Nissan.
How to tell if you have variable assist power steering?
Follow the steps to know if you have variable-assist power steering in the car:
1. If your car is equipped with variable-assist power steering, you should feel a ‘clunk’ or vibration under initial cornering loads. Depending on the design diagnosis will determine if the cause of this ‘clunk’ or vibration is due to normal operation or not.
2. Check for sound when turning the steering wheel while the car is standing still.
3. If you have variable-assist power steering, your car should normally not be difficult to steer as the ‘clunk’ or vibration will normally hold back initial effort from 10 mph and up. After this speed, it’s normal for power assistance to reduce, allowing easy directional control of the vehicle. At low speeds, a maximum effort from the driver should be required to turn the steering wheel. Read also: How to find the obd2 port no power problem and fix them?
Adjust power steering
1. Before you start, make sure that the engine is at normal operating temperature and a full tank of gas is in your car.
2. With variable-assist power steering, it takes about eight seconds for maximum assistance to develop or about four seconds for minimum assistance to develop.
3. For maximum power assist, turn the steering wheel all the way in one direction until it stops and then turns it back until you feel the power assist release (about 4-5 turns).
4. Turn off the engine and wait a couple of minutes before restarting.
5. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you obtain the maximum power assist during turning.
6. For minimum power assist, turn the steering wheel all the way in the opposite direction from what it stopped in during maximum assistance (about 4-5 turns).
7. Turn off the engine and wait a couple of minutes before restarting.
8. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you obtain the minimum power assist during turning.
9. With a manual steering gearbox, apply a few turns of the opposite lock after performing either maximum or minimum adjustment to maintain this setting for the remainder of your testing. This is not applicable if your car has an automatic steering gearbox.
10. With power steering, avoid making large adjustments in the opposite direction of travel (overcorrecting). This can cause the power assist to disengage and may cause damage to the system.
11. After completing steps 1 through 10, test your car for road conditions that require maximum or minimum assistance while turning on low speed turns on smooth road surfaces. If your car is more difficult to steer at the extreme settings, turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction of travel until it stops. Attempt to move the steering wheel back toward the center while slowly increasing pressure on the steering wheel. When you feel the power assist return, release pressure on the steering wheel and transfer to normal road conditions. Repeat this process for maximum assistance and minimum assistance.
Variable assist power steering in the car is a common feature on many makes and models that helps avoid driver fatigue by reducing the amount of effort required to turn the steering wheel when cornering. This article outlines steps to vary your car’s power assistance from maximum assistance to minimum assistance during low speed turns on smooth surfaces.