GMC Acadia Steering Assist is Reduced Drive with Care | 7 Causes and Fixes

‘The steering assist is reduced’ is a common warning in GMC Acadia.

GMC Acadia ECM (Engine Control Module) uses it to indicate steering maneuver problems.

It includes steering fluid level low, steering module malfunction, or electric connection issues.

‘Steering assist is reduced drive with care’ warning contains minor to severe issues that adversely affect your vehicle and driving safety.

Therefore, you should take the warning message seriously and figure out the cause and solution before things get worse.

This article will discuss the warning message’s meaning, reasons, and solutions.

What Does Steering Assist is Reduced Drive with Care Mean GMC Acadia?

Basically, it’s a warning message that warns you to drive carefully, or you’ll get into an accident.

When the ECM (Electronic Control Module) transmits incorrect data about coolant temperature to the steering module, this warning message pops up on the screen.

Using an accurate coolant temperature provided by the ECM, the steering module balances cold and thick grease.

As a result of an incorrect coolant temperature, the grease becomes thicker and colder, causing the steering hard to move.

In that case, you will see the message “steering assist is reduced, drive with care” on the dashboard.

The message appears if the steering wheel fluid level is low or if there is any problem with the electric connections.

Thus, it can be said GMC Acadia steering assist is reduced drive with care, meaning “there is low fluid in the steering wheel, or there is an electrical fault in the steering module or the electric supply system is damaged.

Avoid driving at high speeds when the message appears and drive very carefully.

GMC Acadia Steering Assist is Reduced Drive with Care [7 Causes and Solutions]

There are 7 reasons for this problem, including low steering fluid, steering fluid leaks, malfunctioning steering module, faulty battery, cooling fan malfunctions, incorrect tire pressure, and electric connection issues.

Let’s discuss these 7 causes elaborately.

1. Battery Issue

Battery Issue

A vehicle’s battery affects its electrical systems if it is faulty.

A vehicle’s battery supplies electric power to all its electrical components.

The power steering system is an electrical system that can be affected by a faulty or dead battery.

Your dashboard may display a reduced power steering assist message if your battery is damaged or dead.

Sometimes, unplugged cables reduce steering assist.

The steering assist is also reduced when you replace the car battery but adjust connections incorrectly.

In general, a GMC Acadia battery lasts 3 to 5 years, but this depends on usage and weather conditions.

After this period, you should replace the battery.

2. Thermostat Needs to be Replaced

Thermostat Needs to be Replaced

A thermostat is located between the radiator and the engine.

It’s around 5 cm in diameter.

A thermostat’s only function is to block the coolant flow to the radiator until the engine warms up to a minimum operating temperature.

Thermostat failure symptoms include engine overheating, coolant leaking, and abnormal changes in engine temperature.

If you scan your vehicle with an OBD-II scanner you may find the P0128 code, which indicates steering assist is reduced issues.

You will get a P0128 code if you scan your vehicle with an OBD-II scanner.

This code indicates that the thermostat temperature is lower than the regulated temperature.

The thermostat must be replaced if it is faulty.

Because a faulty thermostat leads to engine overheating, which damages other parts of the vehicle.

Replacing a GMC Acadia thermostat costs around $200 to $250, including part price and labor costs.

3. Temperature Sending Unit

Some people confuse temperature-sending units with thermostats.

Although both are located in the same place, they are not the same things.

After the steering assist is reduced, the air conditioner error message appears on the dashboard, and the air conditioner stops functioning.

A temperature-sending unit is also known as an engine coolant temperature sensor (ECTS).

It determines the coolant temperature of the engine.

Coolant temperature is monitored by this unit, and if it fails, the steering module receives invalid signals, resulting in a warning to drive with care.

You will experience 5 symptoms when the temperature-sending unit or coolant temperature sensor is faulty:

  1. Inappropriate temperature reading
  2. Reduced fuel economy
  3. Excessive black smoke
  4. Overheating engine
  5. Check engine light illuminating, etc.

You should replace the coolant temperature sensor if it is faulty.

The cost of replacing a coolant temperature sensor is $200 to $430.

The following video will help you in replacing the coolant temperature sensor:

4. Fluid Leaks Or Fluid Level Low

There is a specific amount of fluid contained in the steering wheel.

The fluid helps the steering wheel to move smoothly.

Sometimes fluid leakage from the steering makes the steering hard to move.

Fluid leakage reduces the fluid level, which reduces steering assist.

Driving with low power steering fluid is dangerous.

So, avoid driving if your power steering fluid level is low or contaminated.

5. Cooling Fan Malfunction

The engine cooling fan may constantly run at high speeds if it becomes faulty.

This issue will cause the engine to be very cold when it occurs.

Cold engine causes ECM grease to stiffen a lot, and a “steering assist is reduced drive with care” warning message appears.

6. Incorrect Tire Pressure

Incorrect tire pressure triggers the steering assist is reduced warning message.

Incorrect tire pressure can affect vehicle braking, cornering, and stability.

Sometimes too low or high tire pressure causes tire failure.

That’s why you must maintain correct tire pressure in all tires to avoid ‘steering assist is reduced drive with care’ warning message.

7. Malfunctioning Electronic Steering Wheel

ECU signals are sometimes not properly received by the electronic steering wheel.

As a result, the steering wheel does not function properly and your vehicle instrument cluster triggers the warning message. You might face difficulty in turning your vehicle in this case.

A problem in power steering assist also causes the steering assist is reduced drive with care message.

A low fluid level or contaminated fluid can cause problems with the steering wheel and power steering assist. So, make sure you’re using right steering fluid and that the fluid level is right.

How to Resolve “The Steering Assist is Reduced Drive with Care” Warning Message

You can resolve the steering assist issue by restarting the vehicle a few times or by scanning with an OBD-II scanner. A brief discussion is as follows:

Resetting by restarting the vehicle:

Restarting your vehicle one, two, or three times is the simplest way to reset the warning message.

Turn off your car for some time and let it rest for a few minutes. Try to turn on the headlights or use the horns a few times. It will drain all the electric charges and reset the ECM.

OBD-II scanning:

If the message is still illuminating on your GMC Acadia dashboard, then the possible causes of this problem are any of the seven problems mentioned above.

Use an OBD-II scanner to diagnose the fault. You will find the connection port on the driver’s side under the dashboard. Possible error codes are:

P0128: It means there are issues with the thermostat. The engine cooling temperature is not right and the problem may be with a faulty thermostat or sensor.

U0100: It means the scanner lost connection with the control module. Generally, dead batteries or electrical issues are responsible for that. But bad ECM can also cause problems too.

Identify the faulty parts, then repair or replace them to fix the issue.

I suggest replacing the faulty part instead of repairing it.

Diagnosis of Faulty Parts for Steering Assist Issues

  • Diagnosis of battery: Check the battery connection and clamps for a good connection. Measure the battery voltage and capacity. Use a battery tester to diagnose the battery and solve the U0100 error code.
  • ECM diagnosis: Use the OBD-II scanner to diagnose the DCM. P0606 means the ECM has failed. P0607 means the ECM has performance issues. Sometimes the ECM will show a disconnected message if it fails.
  • Testing cooling fan: You can test the radiator fan by disconnecting the battery connectors and connecting the fan to a power source. Bad cooling fans will produce noise, malfunction, spin slowly, work intermittently or not spin at all.
  • Thermostat diagnosis: P0128 is the error code for a bad thermostat. You can check the thermostat by starting the vehicle and touching the outer pipes. If they are cool, the thermostat is good. Otherwise, it may have been clogged or malfunctioned.
  • Checking thermal sensor: You can use a multimeter and instruction manual to test your thermal sensor. Set the multimeter in resistance mode and check the reading. Compare the reading with the manual to get a result.
  • Power steering test: Check the power steering module and the power steering system. Diagnose the module for resistance reading and power steering system pressure. Try to solve the P0551 error code to solve the issue.

How Much Does the Power Steering Assist of GMC Acadia Cost?

A GMC Acadia power steering assist consists of the following components:

  • Steering wheel
  • Steering coupler
  • Steering column
  • Steering gear
  • Power steering pump
  • Power steering hoses

If you want to replace the power steering assist, you may need to replace the whole component.

Then replacing the power steering assist in GMC Acadia will cost you around $2,600 to $3,000.

Replacing faulty parts is better than repairing them.

To avoid the problems, choose GMC Acadia’s best model year.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix the Power Steering Assist Fault?

The cost of fixing a power steering assist problem depends on the part of the vehicle that caused it.

If the problem occurs because of an engine control module, it costs around $800-$1000 to replace or repair the ECM.

Replacing the thermostat costs around $250.

If a temperature gauge causes the power steering problem, it costs you around $140 to $150.

If the engine cooling fan is to blame, it will cost you around $98.

If the problem is in the power steering assist itself, it costs you an average of $700-$900 to fix the problem.

How to Replace GMC Acadia Thermostat

How to Replace GMC Acadia Thermostat

Here are the following steps for replacing the GMC Acadia thermostat-

  1. Ensure the engine is completely cool, and then start the replacement process
  2. Disconnect the negative wire
  3. Pull out the engine cover
  4. Drain the cooling system
  5. Drain the coolant properly
  6. Install the thermostat housing assembly
  7. Reinstall the radiator hose
  8. Install the filter element
  9. Fit the filter housing cover carefully
  10. Connect the mass airflow sensor and refill the cooling system with a specific coolant
  11. Add a new coolant mixture to the radiator
  12. Install the cap and reconnect the negative wire to the battery
  13. Reassemble all the associated parts

You can replace a faulty thermostat with this process.

The video version of the replacement:


What does it mean when your car says power steering drive with care?

There is a protective warning message, which appears if there are any issues with the steering assist.

This warning message indicates that your steering module is malfunctioning, your steering fluid level is low, or your electric supply system is malfunctioning.

What is loss of steering assist?

A false signal from the ECM about the coolant temperature causes the steering to be hard to move.

In this case, a driver can’t operate the steering smoothly and must be extra careful.

The loss of steering assistance is known as steering assist loss.

Is it safe to drive with power steering light on?

No, it is not safe to drive with the power steering light on.

You can drive with power steering light on but it’s not safe to drive.

Power steering light means steering maneuvering will be very difficult, and continuously driving increases the chances of an accident.

How long can you drive with power steering light?

Driving with a power steering light on is not recommended.

Drive if there is an emergency, but stop immediately and take the necessary steps to resolve it.

You can also drive slowly and carefully to a repair shop in order to fix the problem.

Can a low battery cause power steering problems?

Yes. Steering is an electrical system.

It is strongly connected to the vehicle battery.

If the battery is low, it affects the whole electrical system of the vehicle.

This also affects the power steering.

How do I know if my electric power steering is failing?

The following 4 steps indicate that the electric power steering is failing:

  1. Turning the wheel will be difficult
  2. Vibration in the steering
  3. Low fluid level of power steering
  4. Slow response time

Is there a fuse for power steering in GMC Acadia?

Yes, there is a fuse for power steering in GMC Acadia.

GMC Acadia has Cigar Lighter (power outlet) fuses.

They are located under the steering wheel, on the left side of the engine.

Under there is the fuse panel.

Final Words

‘Steering assist is reduced, drive with care is a signal many drivers ignore, but it shouldn’t.

Reduced steering makes your steering difficult and can lead to accidents. So, it should be taken seriously.

When this signal appears, it is important to thoroughly test the parts related to it and replace them.

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