Steering wheel malfunctions in BMW vehicles can be a frustrating and potentially dangerous issue. A malfunctioning steering wheel may become unresponsive, cause difficulty when turning, or even result in a complete loss of steering control. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the most common causes of steering wheel malfunctions in BMW vehicles and provide solutions for resolving these issues.
1. Overview of BMW Active Steering System
BMW’s Active Steering system is designed to improve handling and maneuverability by adapting the steering response based on the vehicle’s speed. It makes steering easier at low speeds and more stable at highway speeds.
The system adjusts the steering ratio based on the vehicle’s speed, making it easier to turn the wheel when parking or turning at low speeds. However, when the system encounters a malfunction or becomes inactive, it can negatively impact the driving experience.
2. Common Symptoms of BMW Steering Wheel Malfunction
When the Active Steering system or one of its components fails, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Malfunction message on iDrive CCC/CIC screen, such as “Active steering inactive” or “Steering behavior altered”
- No response from the AL control unit
- Steering wheel light on the dashboard
- Yellow steering wheel with an exclamation mark in the dash
- Extremely hard to turn the wheel
- Hard to turn the wheel
In some cases, the active steering fault light may come on after wheel alignment when performed by mechanics unfamiliar with BMWs.
3. Causes of Steering Wheel Malfunction in BMW Vehicles
Several factors can lead to steering wheel malfunctions in BMW vehicles. Some common causes include:
- Active Steering Control Module issues
- Low power steering fluid levels
- Weak or faulty battery
- Steering angle sensor failure
- Accident-related damage
- Bad active steering rack
- Issues with the DSC module, yaw sensor, or steering angle sensor
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4. Troubleshooting BMW Steering Wheel Malfunction
If you are experiencing steering wheel malfunction in your BMW, follow these steps to troubleshoot the issue:
- Turn off the vehicle.
- Check the power steering fluid level and add the recommended fluid if the level is low. Most BMWs use CHF 11S hydraulic fluid.
- Re-initialize the steering angle sensor by starting the vehicle, turning the steering wheel to the left, then to the right, and finally, back to the center.
- Check the battery for any issues. Many auto parts stores perform battery testing free of charge. If the battery needs to be replaced, follow the appropriate guide on replacing and programming a BMW battery.
- If the message remains, read fault codes using a BMW scanner to read Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) from the active steering module.
5. Resetting BMW Active Steering Fault Codes
To reset active steering fault codes on a BMW, follow these steps:
- Plugin an OBD-II scanner into the diagnostic port under the dashboard.
- Turn on the ignition, but don’t start the engine.
- Turn on the scanner and select your BMW chassis. Next, select the Control Units menu.
- Select “Chassis,” then “AL Active Steering Module.”
- Once you enter the Active Steering module, you can read and clear codes, and perform adaptations, activations, and tests.
6. Diagnosing and Repairing Active Steering Control Module Issues
The active steering module on many BMWs is mounted on the floor (under carpet) on the passenger side. Water from clogged.
BMW Active Steering inactive > Check out the video below: