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I have 2015 Ford Focus 4dr sedan with 4cyl with electric steering. I'm from Upstate Ny, Syracuse, and all of a sudden this year, when it got below freezing, my steering will not work until car is warmed up. I've had it at Ford, they can't figure out why and have never heard of such a thing. I literally have to let my car warmup for about 45 minutes to get the steering to come back. Has anyone else had that issue? Any ideas? it is not throwing any codes either.
 

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So, I put a battery charger on my battery, because i was told with the cold weather, which the last few days its only been a high of 15 degrees, the battery will drop volts and amps, therefore wont send enough power to the rack, and that didn't do anything unfortunately. Does anyone have any ideas? Someone, somewhere, had to have had the same issue. This is so frustrating.
 

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The issue sounds like the power steering fluid is not flowing through the power steering pump when cold. This could be because of a very low power steering fluid level, or something odd getting in the power steering fluid to thicken it excessively, or maybe water getting in there and causing it to freeze, or ...

I don't know if there is a screen in the power steering system which could have become partially clogged, making the effective hole size too small for cold fluid? (Cold fluid has an increased viscosity compared to warm fluid, so it won't effectively flow through a very fine screen.)

I would be inclined to check the power steering fluid level (add more if low) and check the fluid condition (if weird, replace with new). If both of those seem okay, take to a Ford dealer. If the dealer to which you took it can't find anything wrong, take it to a different Ford dealer.
 

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The issue sounds like the power steering fluid is not flowing through the power steering pump when cold. This could be because of a very low power steering fluid level, or something odd getting in the power steering fluid to thicken it excessively, or maybe water getting in there and causing it to freeze, or ...

I don't know if there is a screen in the power steering system which could have become partially clogged, making the effective hole size too small for cold fluid? (Cold fluid has an increased viscosity compared to warm fluid, so it won't effectively flow through a very fine screen.)

I would be inclined to check the power steering fluid level (add more if low) and check the fluid condition (if weird, replace with new). If both of those seem okay, take to a Ford dealer. If the dealer to which you took it can't find anything wrong, take it to a different Ford dealer.
Unfortunately, it is electric steering in it. There is no fluid. I have taken it to 2 of my local ford dealers and they can't seem to figure it out. They just want to throw parts at it in hopes it fixes it. I've already got $1500 into finding this issue with no results.
 

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Don't have a reasonable answer for the symptoms.

Electrical connection TO the rack is the most common suspect point for issues, other than total failure even WITH that checked when the rack itself is suspect.
 

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Don't have a reasonable answer for the symptoms.

Electrical connection TO the rack is the most common suspect point for issues, other than total failure even WITH that checked when the rack itself is suspect.
That's what Ford keeps saying as well. It literally only happens when its below freezing and the car has sat for a few hours or more. I've never had an issue while driving, like i see people having all the time on here. Last night i put a trickle charger on the battery, to see if it was a voltage issue, but it didn't help. What i did notice today, its still in the teens here, but i parked my car in the sun here at work, so the inside of car got somewhat warm, at least above freezing inside, and it sat for about 4 hours. When I came out to go to lunch, with it being warm inside, it didn't have the problem. Im almost wondering if its an issue on my steering column itself. Does anyone know of any sensors on the column that would make this happen? I know it has nothing to do with ignition, cause i can put the car in gear at all times.
 

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Unfortunately, it is electric steering in it. There is no fluid. I have taken it to 2 of my local ford dealers and they can't seem to figure it out. They just want to throw parts at it in hopes it fixes it. I've already got $1500 into finding this issue with no results.
One would think I would have known that -- I have a 2012 Focus, which also has the Electronic Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) - but I've never had any trouble with it, regardless of temperature -- which has included plenty of days with the 2012 Focus starting up just fine at below 0F and immediately driving off with no power steering issues.

I'm stymied on this one. For $1500 of work so far, though, one would think that the dealer would have been able to provide an explanation and a fix!
 

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Column DOES have sensors that are involved, but again it's a case of 'never seen THAT before'.

The whole car CAN be warmed quite a bit by the Sun, but with your latest suspicion I'd be tempted to drive it until warm then find some shade and open the doors until the inside is COLD and see what happens.
 

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Does it not steer at all, or do you just not have electrical assist?

The columns in these cars are relatively simple. The steering angle stuff won't effect assist in the EPS and that's all that's in the column. If it's not mechanical (binding for example), then I'd start looking at the electrical connectors. Checking fuses (the EPS has a SLOW burn fuse) so it might be open when it's REALLY REALLY cold if the fuse is close to death.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Does it not steer at all, or do you just not have electrical assist?

The columns in these cars are relatively simple. The steering angle stuff won't effect assist in the EPS and that's all that's in the column. If it's not mechanical (binding for example), then I'd start looking at the electrical connectors. Checking fuses (the EPS has a SLOW burn fuse) so it might be open when it's REALLY REALLY cold if the fuse is close to death.
I have no steering at all. The steering wheel wont budge. I can't even tough it. I'm a big guy and I can't even move it. I mean, its not locked up, like lets say if the key isn't in, there is about a half inch of play to the left and right, but does not move the wheels and I can get it to move any more than that.
 

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I have no steering at all. The steering wheel wont budge. I can't even tough it. I'm a big guy and I can't even move it. I mean, its not locked up, like lets say if the key isn't in, there is about a half inch of play to the left and right, but does not move the wheels and I can get it to move any more than that.
Does it bind like this with the wheels in the air? That's how you determine mechanical binding. If the wheels won't move with no friction on them.

If you do have mechanical binding then I'm guessing you actually have a torn boot. The reason I say that is once water gets into the gear it does two things. One it can cause binding on the pinion (due to debris displacing the grease), Two you can rust out the ball nut making it nearly impossible to move without power assist. Finally, water could freeze but that's very unlikely.

So what I would do is have the dealer remove the boots, and check the integrity of the rack. If there is water that comes out of the rack then that is for sure the problem.

Software wise, there should be an algorithm which detects excessive friction and should notify you of this and demand a gear replacement.

To isolate the rack from the column, you can disconnect the I-shaft from the rack and see if you can turn the wheel. If the column won't turn with the I-shaft disconnected then its a column problem, but it's unlikely.
 

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I have no steering at all. The steering wheel wont budge. I can't even tough it. I'm a big guy and I can't even move it. I mean, its not locked up, like lets say if the key isn't in, there is about a half inch of play to the left and right, but does not move the wheels and I can get it to move any more than that.
Hello, just came across your message. I am having the identical issue with a 2012 Titanium hatchback. It just started the last few weeks in the first cold days of winter. Did you have any luck resolving your issue? Thank you for any help you can offer.
 
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