What Does It Mean When It Says Service Power Steering

What Does It Mean When It Says “Service Power Steering”?

Power steering is a crucial component in modern vehicles that helps make steering easier and more comfortable for drivers. It utilizes hydraulic or electric power to assist in turning the wheels, allowing for smoother and effortless maneuverability. However, just like any other mechanical system, power steering can sometimes encounter issues that require attention and maintenance. When you see the message “Service Power Steering” on your vehicle’s dashboard, it is an indication that there might be a problem with your power steering system that needs to be addressed.

Understanding Power Steering

Before delving into the meaning behind the “Service Power Steering” message, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of how power steering works. Traditional hydraulic power steering systems use a pump, fluid, and a series of hoses and valves to provide assistance to the steering mechanism. These systems rely on a hydraulic pump driven the engine to provide the necessary pressure for the power steering to function correctly.

On the other hand, electric power steering (EPS) systems utilize an electric motor instead of hydraulic power to assist with steering. EPS systems are generally more fuel-efficient and require less maintenance compared to their hydraulic counterparts.

What Does “Service Power Steering” Mean?

When your vehicle’s dashboard displays the message “Service Power Steering,” it typically suggests that a fault or malfunction has been detected within the power steering system. Several issues can trigger this message, including:

1. Low Power Steering Fluid: A common cause of power steering problems is low or dirty power steering fluid. If the fluid level drops below the recommended level or becomes contaminated, it can affect the system’s performance and trigger the service message.

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2. Malfunctioning Power Steering Pump: The power steering pump is responsible for generating the necessary pressure to assist with steering. If the pump fails or malfunctions, it can lead to a loss of power steering assistance and trigger the service message.

3. Faulty Power Steering Rack: The power steering rack is the component that translates the rotational motion of the steering wheel into linear motion, allowing the wheels to turn. If the rack develops a fault or becomes damaged, it can affect the power steering functionality and prompt the service message.

4. Electrical Issues in EPS Systems: For vehicles equipped with electric power steering, electrical problems such as a faulty motor, wiring issues, or sensor malfunctions can trigger the “Service Power Steering” message.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Power Steering Service

Q: Can I continue driving with the “Service Power Steering” message displayed?

A: While it is possible to drive with the message displayed, it is not recommended. Without proper power steering assistance, steering the vehicle can become significantly more challenging, especially at lower speeds or when making tight turns. It is best to have the issue diagnosed and repaired to restore normal steering functionality.

Q: How much does it cost to service the power steering system?

A: The cost of servicing the power steering system can vary depending on the underlying issue and the make and model of your vehicle. Simple maintenance tasks such as power steering fluid flushes and replacements can range from $100 to $200. However, more complex repairs, such as replacing a faulty power steering pump or rack, can cost several hundred dollars or more.

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Q: Can I service the power steering system myself?

A: While some basic maintenance tasks such as checking and topping up power steering fluid can be done a vehicle owner, diagnosing and repairing complex power steering issues is best left to professional mechanics. Power steering systems can be intricate and require specialized knowledge and tools to ensure proper repair and prevent further damage.

Q: How often should I service the power steering system?

A: Regular maintenance of the power steering system is vital to ensure its longevity and performance. It is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines stated in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. Typically, power steering fluid should be inspected and replaced every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, depending on the vehicle and driving conditions.


The “Service Power Steering” message on your vehicle’s dashboard is an indicator that there might be an issue with your power steering system that needs attention. Whether it’s low fluid levels, a malfunctioning pump, a faulty rack, or electrical problems in EPS systems, it is crucial to have the problem diagnosed and repaired a professional mechanic. Regular maintenance and timely repairs will help keep your power steering system in optimal condition, ensuring safe and comfortable driving experiences.

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