Steering Assist Malfunction in Ford Focus (Causes + Solutions)

steering assist malfunction ford focus

The Ford Focus has been a popular vehicle for more than 20 years, providing drivers with excellent quality, an impressive interior, and appealing aesthetics.

Among its numerous features, the latest Ford Focus models boast Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS) and the SYNC 4 infotainment system, both known for their user-friendly layout.

However, as with any vehicle, problems may arise, and in this case, we will discuss the steering assist malfunction issue in Ford Focus models, its causes, potential solutions, and how to prevent such problems in the future.

Overview of Ford Focus Steering Systems

Before diving into the issues related to steering assist malfunctions, it’s crucial to understand the evolution of steering systems in Ford Focus models.

From the Mk1 to the Mk4, the progression of the Ford Focus spans over four generations, each featuring different steering systems.

Hydraulic Power Steering System

Until the introduction of the hydraulic power steering system in 1951, drivers had to exert significant physical effort to control their vehicles’ steering.

This hydraulic power steering was a significant improvement, but it had its drawbacks, such as requiring power from the engine, which led to the development of a more efficient alternative.

Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS)

EPAS uses hydraulic fluid and a pump, like its predecessor. However, instead of relying on the engine, it employs an electric pump powered by the car’s battery to pressurize the fluid and assist with steering.

This system is more energy-efficient and provides a lighter, more responsive steering experience for the driver. The latest Ford Focus models, specifically those released after 2010, utilize EPAS technology.

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Common Steering Issues in Ford Focus Models

Despite the advancements in technology, Ford Focus models may still experience steering problems due to a variety of reasons. Some of these issues might be related to the vehicle’s size, as smaller cars with smaller tires, wheels, and lighter suspension are more susceptible to potholes and bumps than larger vehicles. Here are some common steering problems that Ford Focus owners might encounter:

Heavy or Stiff Steering

Ford Focus models older than 2010 utilize a hydraulic power steering system, so if the steering feels heavy or stiff, it could be due to insufficient steering fluid or a more severe steering rack issue.

In contrast, newer Ford Focus models with EPAS might experience heavy or stiff steering due to electrical problems.

These issues are often linked to malfunctioning sensors, but they could be indicative of more significant problems. In such cases, it’s essential to consult a professional mechanic or visit your nearest Ford dealer.

Pulling to the Right When Accelerating

If your Ford Focus pulls to the right when accelerating, it might be experiencing a torque steer issue. This problem is common in cars with after-market power add-ons, and owners might have to accept it as an inevitable consequence of having a high-performance vehicle.

However, if your car has not been modified, a torque steer issue might be due to:

  • Alignment problems
  • Unevenly inflated tires or wear
  • Worn-out or loose steering rack, bearings, or linkage components
  • After-market wheels

To fix a torque steer issue, start by inspecting your tire pressure and suspension or consult a professional mechanic.

Unpredictable Jumping in a Direction After Hitting a Bump

Bump steer problems can cause a car to move randomly after encountering a bump. This issue might be related to suspension modifications or damaged suspension components.

To address this problem, examine your car’s undercarriage for any damage caused by road debris or consult a mechanic.

It’s crucial to address this issue promptly, as a bent tie rod, for example, could cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

Ford Focus Power Steering Malfunction: Expected Mileage

A Ford Focus’s life expectancy is typically between 200,000 and 250,000 miles under average conditions. However, transmission issues might arise before 100,000 miles.

Power steering malfunctions commonly occur when a vehicle’s mileage approaches 80,000 miles.

Causes of Steering Malfunction

Several factors can contribute to steering malfunctions in Ford Focus models, including manufacturing flaws, design issues, lack of vehicle maintenance, pump malfunctions, fluid levels, blocked hoses, contaminated power steering fluids, or worn power steering belts. Identifying the specific cause of the malfunction is critical to address the issue effectively.

Preventing Steering Malfunctions

To prevent power steering malfunctions in your Ford Focus, consider the following:

  • Use a good quality power steering pump
  • Ensure clear passageways for fluid flow
  • Maintain proper engine belt condition
  • Regularly check and maintain appropriate power steering fluid levels and cleanliness

It’s essential to pay attention to any warning signs of potential steering issues, such as looseness or vibrations in the steering or tightness when turning the wheel.

Addressing these issues promptly can save you significant repair costs and prevent potential accidents.

Fixing Steering Malfunctions

To fix a power steering malfunction, start by identifying the specific problem and the faulty component within the steering system.

If it’s a mechanical issue, you might attempt to fix it yourself. However, if it’s an electrical problem, it’s best to consult a professional mechanic or the manufacturer.

Repair Costs

The average cost of repairing power steering ranges between $800 and $1,200, which includes power steering control module replacement.

Labor costs typically fall between $100 and $300, whereas parts are priced at approximately $700. These figures do not include tax and fees and may vary depending on your location and specific vehicle model.

Customer Reviews on Power Steering in Ford Focus Models

According to customer reviews, one of the most common problems faced by power steering systems is leaks due to the high-pressure nature of the system and the soft hoses carrying the fluid.


Steve P.

Steve is an automotive technician, technical writer, and Managing Editor. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in cars like the Buick Riviera. Steve is based in Boise, Idaho.

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