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2010 Ford Fusion "Service Power Steering Now"

First, I should say that my Fusion has an EPAS (Electronic Power Assist Steering) which means that there is no hydraulic pump but rather an electric motor which provides the assistance to the steering system.

In January I had the “Service Power Steering Now” indication on the IPC (Instrument Panel Cluster) as well and an AdvanTrac (Ford’s traction control system) light. Also, the power steering was not operational even after restarting the car and disconnecting the battery. I did some reading online and found that corrosion on the battery cable can cause this issue. It turns out that my battery cable had actually cracked in one place from excessive corrosion and was beyond repair. So, I ordered a new harness and changed the entire cable. Even after the cable was replaced the fault didn’t clear and the power steering was not available which makes driving quite the workout.

I took the car to the Ford dealership to have the computer reset. The first several mechanics didn’t know what to do. Eventually, someone pulled an old grey bearded man resembling Santa Claus from the back who was able to hook up a laptop and reset the computer. When I restarted the car the faults were gone and the power steering worked!

It is now August. Yesterday the exact same thing happened, loss of power steering the the above faults returned. I took a peak at the battery terminal and it is corroded over again! This time it didn’t crack, so a good cleaning should suffice. I spent several hours cleaning the terminals with battery cleaner and a wire brush mounted on a Dremel tool. I took the car back to the Ford dealership and got a lot of disbelief from the guys at the shop. Of course, Santa had gone back north for the winter not to return for several weeks. After much debate, I agreed to leave the car for diagnostics ($85).

Ford called back and wants to replace the entire steering gear which has the EPAS motor mounted to it for $1800. I’m pretty sure that they just need to reset the computer (a 3 minute job) so I’m having a hard time agreeing to drop that kind of cash. So, the questions are as follows:

  1. Was my initial fix a good fix?
  2. Why don’t these faults clear automatically when the problem is cleared (assuming my battery fix was correct)?
  3. How do I go about getting my computer reset?
    -Do shops other than the dealership have the ability to do this?
    -How much does the equipment cost to do this myself/what would I need?

If you’re still on the original battery, it’s probably about 5 years old by now

I’d consider getting a new one, then make sure the charging system is fine

Why are you so sure that the steering gear isn’t faulty?

Why are you so sure their diagnosis is wrong?

There is no such thing as a 3 minute job . . . you spend a few minutes talking to the service writer. He writes up a repair order. It goes to the dispatcher. Then the mechanic gets it. He has to find the car in back lot. He does his thing (whatever that may be), then he submits the repair order, so that it can be closed. He parks the car in the back. The porter washes the car. The cashier calls you over, so that you can pay. Another porter drives the car to the service drive

Witth the battery terminals coroding so fast, I’d think that the battery is off gassing much more than normal. With the age of the car, I’d replace the battery and have the charging system checked to be sure it is not overcharging.


The rapid corrosion can be caused by a bad seal at the battery post or even a cracked battery case near the post…But I don’t think that’s causing the power-steering problem…

The laptop Santa used was probably a service tool used to update and reprogram the E-prom in your cars computer (the BCM) That trick may have worked once but it’s not likely to work again…The fact is, todays electronic marvel cars can be a nightmare for repair technicians. Automotive technology is advancing so fast, nobody knows how to fix them anymore…They are trained to isolate the defective part and replace that part… they can deny and lie, but the lawyers are coming!

Thank you all for your comments. I’d like to continue the conversation by answering some questions and asking some of my own.

First, I will definitely be getting a new battery. I certainly agree that it is the cause of the quick corrosion.

Obviously, I can’t be 100% sure that the steering gear isn’t faulty and I won’t completely rule out the possibility till the problem is fixed. The issue is that I had the same symptoms (no power-steering and associated indication on the IPC) and the same broken part (corroded battery terminal). Good troubleshooting practice would indicate that if that if the symptom is the same and the same broken part is found, it’s very likely the same problem with the same fix.

The other reason I have doubts is that the first time I went in to the shop none of the mechanics even knew how to do the reset. Santa had to come out and even he, with all his experience, didn’t really know what to do. We went through the faults together (the list extended well beyond power steering which would indicate that more than just the power steering gear is bad… like there is a power problem) and I had to coach him to do a reset. So, I don’t have much confidence in the shop.

I don’t really have much experience with these computer scan tools which they are using on my car since I obviously don’t own one. Caddyman indicated that it’s not likely to work a second time. Why is that? What is being reset? Is it a main computer that holds the codes, or is it pulling codes from multiple components? Also, does anyone know where I can get/use one of these tools?

Thank you again for your comments and suggestions.

Car talk community,

I have an update and a fix! I went in to the dealership to pickup my car and the mechanic had downloaded and RESET the faults. The problem is gone! Power steering works an the indications on the IPC are gone. I had the service rep hook up the computer and it isn’t showing any faults.

I will post again if it comes back but I think if I change the battery and keep that battery terminal clean I should be good-to-go.

It would seem the Electronic Power Steering uses, among other parts, an Electronic Control Unit . The service tech must have accessed THIS unit, a stand alone control box, and reset it. Before this, it must have been in some sort of failure mode triggering your dash light and shutting the system down. Ford probably figures it’s better to shut the system down then allow it to operate if the system detects some sort of failure…

Did the bad battery connection ever prevent your car from starting? Any other electrical problems? A long shot…A bad diode (rectifier) in the alternator can allow A/C ripple into the electrical system and THIS can cause ALL KINDS of problems with electronic components…A/C ripple is easy to test for, an alternator test will spot it instantly…I hope this “reset” results in a permanent fix…

I tink your problem will be back, in which case I would replace the battery and terminals if not the whole cable, then find Santa to reset it again for you.

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It’s been two weeks with no problems.

Over a month with no problem.

I’m glad your problem is fixed. The NTSB is now investigating this problem. You are lucky they fixed it. Most of the time Ford and the dealers are saying they know nothing about the problem.

I am having the exact same problem with my 2010 fusion. Had to jump the battery the other day. And as soon as I stopped it and restarted it…steering assist fault and the traction control error came on and no power steering at all. Don’t have the cash for big repairs either.

Replacing a dead battery isn’t a big repair.

This happened to us this morning…we took it to the Ford shop immediately…there is a recall on power steering and waiting for them to get back with us regarding this recall. I will update as soon as I hear back from dealership.

This happened to my 2010 Fusion today. Have you heard anything regarding a recall? Thanks

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I haven’t heard anything about a recall.

My 2013 Ford fusion hybrid had this happen to me yesterday. No other issues. No warnings.

Coming up on 4-years later and still haven’t had any problems… I’m going to say it was a good fix.

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Mine is now doing the same thing all they had to do was clear codes?