Like other modern cars, the Chevy Malibu has electric power steering, which provides steering assistance.
This feature helps the driver control the car by making it easier to turn the wheel, especially at low speeds or in tight spaces.
Many Chevy Malibu drivers complain about power steering issues.
One of the most common issues is the “Steering Assist Reduced Drive with Care” on the dashboard.
Most of the time, the warning message means that there is a problem with the electric power steering system.
It alerts the driver that the steering system is malfunctioning.
Chevy Malibu Steering Assist Reduced Meaning
The warning message on your instrument cluster means there is a problem with the steering system.
The power steering system is designed to make it easier for the driver to turn the steering wheel and move the car.
When the “Steering Assist is Reduced” message comes up, it means the steering assist isn’t working fully, and the driver is getting less help than usual.
As a result, the driver needs to use more effort to turn the steering wheel, and the vehicle is more difficult to handle, especially at low speeds.
Therefore, “Drive Carefully” reminds drivers to be careful and avoid making sharp or sudden turns at low speeds.
Steering Assist is Reduced Drive with Care Chevy Malibu [9 Causes]
9 common causes trigger the Reduced Engine Power Mode on your Chevy Malibu, including power steering motor failure, low power steering fluid, ECM malfunction, Battery problem, steering rack failure, damaged wiring, a faulty sensor, steering column malfunction, and electrical issues.
1. Power Steering Motor Failure
Steering motor failure is a common cause of the warning message on your Chevy Malibu.
The electric steering system shuts down when the motor fails, reducing driver assistance.
The steering motor is an electric motor that provides power to the steering system.
When the motor fails, the steering system operates with reduced power assistance, resulting in a warning message.
Driving with a failed power steering motor is difficult and potentially dangerous, as the driver needs more effort to turn the steering wheel.
Sometimes, the steering system shuts down completely, making it extremely difficult to steer the vehicle.
Power steering motor failure can be caused by wear and tear, electrical problems, or damage from road debris, among other things.
2. Low Power Steering Fluid
Low fluid levels in the steering trigger the warning message to appear.
The power steering fluid is a hydraulic fluid that transfers power from the steering pump to the steering rack.
It assists the driver in turning the steering wheel.
If the fluid level is low, there will not be enough hydraulic pressure to assist the driver, resulting in reduced steering assistance from the steering wheel.
Power steering system leaks or wear and tear are the leading causes of low power steering fluid levels.
Over time, the fluid becomes contaminated with debris and loses its effectiveness.
3. ECM Malfunction
The Electronic Control Module (ECM) malfunction is another common cause of the “steering assist reduced” warning on the Chevrolet Malibu.
The ECM controls the steering system, among other systems in the vehicle.
If the ECM fails to function fully, the steering assist won’t work or will work with less power.
Electrical issues, software glitches, or physical damage may cause the ECM to malfunction.
4. Battery Problems
The steering assist relies on the car’s battery and charging system to operate correctly.
If the battery or charging system from the alternator doesn’t work properly, it causes the steering system to fail and triggers the message.
The battery may weaken because it has reached the end of its expected life expectancy, the charging system is wrong, or the temperature is too high.
When the battery doesn’t function fully and fails to supply the right voltage and ampere, it affects the car’s performance, including the power steering assistance.
It’s crucial to address battery issues promptly to avoid potential safety risks while driving.
5. Steering Rack Failure
The steering rack is a key component of the steering system that helps transfer power from the steering wheel to the car’s wheels.
If the steering rack fails or becomes damaged, it causes the steering system to malfunction, resulting in reduced steering power assistance and a warning message.
6. Damaged Wiring
The steering assist has several wiring connections that may be damaged.
Damaged wiring causes the system to malfunction and trigger a warning message.
7. Faulty Sensor
The steering assist sensor is made to last the lifetime of the car.
But sometimes, the steering assist sensor becomes faulty and causes reduced steering assist mode.
8. Steering Column Malfunction
The steering system fails due to a malfunction in the steering column.
A faulty steering column motor or wiring issue causes the malfunction.
9. Electrical Issues
Several electrical problems, such as blown fuses, bad wiring, and other electrical problems, trigger the reduced steering assist mode.
Solution to Chevy Malibu Steering Assist Reduced Warning Message
Here is a 5-step guide to resolving Malibu’s “steering assist is reduced” warning sign.
Step 01: Find Out the Root Cause of the Problem
The first step to solving the problem is finding out what triggers the warning message.
The warning message may come up for several reasons.
So, it’s important to identify the underlying problem.
Use an OBD-II scanner to diagnose and find what is causing the warning message.
You will get a code when you connect the scanner to the ECU.
Read the owner’s manual to understand the meaning of the code.
Watch this video to learn how to use the OBD-II scanner to find the problem.
Step 02: Fix the Problem
If you want the error message to disappear from your instrument cluster, you need to fix the problem.
Replace the faulty parts if necessary.
Step 03: Check the Steering Fluid
Take a look at the steering fluid.
If the fluid level is low, add more fluid.
Adding more fluid will make the warning message disappear.
Step 04: Test the Steering Wheel
Now test your steering wheel by moving it to the right and left.
Ensure that it is working properly.
Make the necessary adjustments if required.
Step 05: Restart Your Chevy Malibu
After resolving the underlying issue, the message may still appear.
To remove the message, restart your car after completing all these steps.
It will disappear on its own when you restart the car.
If you find it difficult to fix the problem, consult an experienced automotive mechanic.
How to Prevent Future “Steering Assist is Reduced Drive with Care” Message from Reappearing
To prevent this issue from happening again, do this 4 maintenance.
1. Regular Maintenance
Regular maintenance of your vehicle is key to keeping it in good condition.
Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, including routine inspections and part replacement as necessary.
2. Keep the Steering Fluid Levels up to the Mark
Check your steering fluid levels regularly.
Add more fluid if the fluid levels are low.
You always have to maintain the steering fluid level.
3. Keep the Battery Charged
Low battery charge also causes steering assist to malfunction.
So keeping your battery charged by driving your car regularly is important.
4. Avoid Rough Driving
Avoid driving roughly, like hitting potholes or over rough terrain, because this can damage parts of the steering system and make the steering function improperly.
If you see the “steering assist reduced” warning message on your Malibu dashboard, fix the problem as soon as possible.
But if you can’t fix the problem yourself, take your car to the dealership or to an auto mechanic.
Always remember regular maintenance and proper care will prevent the problem from happening in the future.