Electric power steering (EPS)

Electric Power Steering (EPS) technology has emerged as a game-changer in the automotive industry, offering a multitude of benefits to both vehicles and drivers. From improved fuel efficiency and space-saving design to enhanced integration capabilities and software-driven driving experiences, EPS is revolutionizing the way we steer our cars. However, at the heart of every dependable and efficient EPS system lies a combination of optimized microcontrollers and power semiconductors, working in harmony to deliver superior fuel savings and reduced CO2 emissions. Furthermore, as a safety-critical application, EPS designs demand components that can be trusted to function reliably together.

The Power Behind Power Steering

EPS fundamentally transforms the steering experience by using an electric motor to assist drivers in maneuvering their vehicles. Even in situations where the engine is off or the power steering system faces a malfunction, the vehicle remains drivable, albeit with increased steering effort.

At the core of EPS functionality is the power steering control unit, which constantly monitors the steering wheel’s torque and the vehicle’s speed to command the electric motor. This dynamic control system adjusts the steering effort, making it heavier at higher speeds for added stability and lighter at lower speeds for easier maneuverability.

Symptoms and Diagnostics

While EPS systems offer numerous advantages, they may occasionally exhibit symptoms that warrant attention:

  1. EPS Warning Light: Failure to illuminate the EPS warning light can indicate a system issue.

  2. High Steering Effort: Immediately after ignition, the steering effort may be high as the EPS system performs diagnostics, returning to normal once complete.

  3. Clicking Noise: A clicking noise from the EPS relay during ignition switch operation is normal.

  4. Motor Noise: Motor noise at a standstill or low driving speed is typical.

  5. Safety Shutdown: In cases of system abnormality detection, EPS functions are halted for safety reasons. The instrument panel warning light will activate, and steering control will be temporarily disabled. Vehicle movement should be restricted to a safe area.

  6. Steering Wheel Effort: Continuous steering wheel rotation without vehicle motion can temporarily increase steering effort but should normalize after a few minutes.

Safety First

In situations where the EPS system does not operate normally, an instrument cluster warning light will illuminate, and the steering wheel may become challenging to control or behave erratically. In such instances, it is crucial to have the system inspected by a professional workshop or, ideally, an authorized dealer or service partner.

Additionally, drivers may notice unusual noises when operating the steering wheel in low temperatures. These noises are typically harmless and tend to disappear as the temperature rises. It is essential to recognize that this is a normal condition inherent to EPS systems.

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