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Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - loopyjen
Hi all, this time asking for my mum.

She has an '03 Fiat Punto 1.2 5million. Last night she was driving home from work when the power steering failed for no apparent reason. She managed to get the car home and when she turned the car off and restarted it the steering came back. She says that it just went when she was driving up quite a main road.

Not long after she got the car the power steering warning light came on, the steering remained though. She took it back to the dealership who said that it was just an electrical fault and not to worry about it.

So basically does anyone know what this could be caused by? She doesn't do much mileage in it, say about 10 miles a day round trip to work. Should she take it back to the dealership, as it is still in warranty (only by another year i think)? Is power steering covered by the waranty? She would much rather take it to our local mechanic who we've used for 15+ years rather than the dealership if she can help it.

Thanks in advance everyone!

Top Reply

Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - carl233
Seen this problem on a number of Punto's including the MK2 and MK3 variants. The electric motor driving the steering overheats and if the car is turned off for a while it will then start to work again. A symptom that may occur is the steering system making a screeching noise just before failure.

Fiat knows about this problem but I am unaware if there is a permanent fix at present. It does seem more prevalent if driving a considerable amount of time using the city button feature. This feature is simply a gimmick that makes the electric motor do double the work. This feature is only designed for parking and occasional use in heavy traffic, as the steering is already very light I am not sure why anyone would use this feature. It can be very scary using this feature at 70mph on the motorway!

All Replies

Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - mjm
If it is still in warranty, take it back to the dealer. At the moment, under warranty, it doesn't matter what the actual fault is, or what it costs to put right, it's their problem.
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - bimmer-driver
Agree with mjm, if its still under warranty you'd be daft to not to take it to a main dealer and get it repaired for free as it'd may be very expensive to pay for yourself at an independant garage. These Puntos have an all electric power steering system and its not unheard of for it to go haywire.
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - Halmer
A lot of people drive these cars with the 'City' button on all the time. You shouldn't do this as I believe it ruins the power steering motor.
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - Aprilia
A lot of people drive these cars with the 'City' button
on all the time. You shouldn't do this as I believe
it ruins the power steering motor.


Hmm. Not a good car for city driving then?
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - loopyjen
I wouldn't mind if that was what she does, I could kind of understand why the steering had gone AWOL in that situation but she has never used the City button. Not once since she bought the car.

She is going to take it to the dealership I think, but we were wondering... Is she entitled to ask them to come and collect it? We live quite a way from the dealership and none of us are happy driving it all the way there with dodgy steering...
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - Big John
Er Indoor's Punto's power steering light came on once complete with heavy steering, On re-starting seemed to be fine. Seemed to be related to electrical load (Power steering, headlights, rear windscreen), it was as if the car's CPU shuts down the power steering if more electricity is used than the alternator generates. It hasnt happened again in two years.
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - loopyjen
When this happened my mum didn't have anything else on except the radio. It was during daylight on a dry day. We're gonna get it looked at just to be on the safe side. We're not happy letting her drive it again in case it happens further away from home.
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - Deryck Tintagel
Could be a number of things: alternator over-volting, low battery voltage, over-use of the steering causing the ECU to shut down, sensor faults.

The steering will be okay to use but you no longer have assistance - there is still the mechanical linkage between the wheel and the rack.
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - loopyjen
Thats what my mum said... She was able to drive it home but it was incredibly difficult and really heavy.

My dad took the car out yesterday and it was fine so as far as I know my mum has gone to work in it today and they are just going to keep an eye on it. No doubt if it does it again it'll be going straight back to the dealership
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - autumnboy
Don't mess about with the problem, get it done.

If you're mother is in traffic and it fails again this could lead to an accident. Then she'll be worse off with no car and will have to pay the excess and lose some NCB.

So why wait for 'it might fail' or 'it might not fail'.

Take it to the Fiat Dealer if its under warranty (nothing to pay), if she uses her faithfull mechanic he is going to charge and probaly be a hit or miss till he finds the fault.

GET IT FIXED!!!
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - loopyjen
My mum took her car to be looked at today and the problem has apparently been fixed.

We've just got to see how it goes now I guess
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - carl233
Seen this problem on a number of Punto's including the MK2 and MK3 variants. The electric motor driving the steering overheats and if the car is turned off for a while it will then start to work again. A symptom that may occur is the steering system making a screeching noise just before failure.

Fiat knows about this problem but I am unaware if there is a permanent fix at present. It does seem more prevalent if driving a considerable amount of time using the city button feature. This feature is simply a gimmick that makes the electric motor do double the work. This feature is only designed for parking and occasional use in heavy traffic, as the steering is already very light I am not sure why anyone would use this feature. It can be very scary using this feature at 70mph on the motorway!
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - autumnboy
The electric power steering is working all the time.
When city setting is selected, it increases the assistance. If its not working you'll soon know about it, when its very heavy, like when the hydraulic power steering fails.
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - loopyjen
I said we'd see how it goes and we have... Its gone back to the garage as yet again the power steering warning light continues to come on even though Fiat assured us the problem was solved the first time.

My mum took the car back to the dealer on Monday night and demanded it be sorted this time. They tried to tell her to hang around and it would be ready straight away. She refused and told them she wanted it to be looked at properly this time and that she would collect it the next day (today).

When she called them after work we've discovered that the ecu is going to be changed and that the steering shaft(?) is faulty and has to be replaced. The part hasnt yet arrived so she's still without a car.

She reported everything to Fiat Aftercare(?) who were appalled at how its had to go back to the dealer twice in a week with the same problem. We also discovered that the registration hasn't been changed (the car originally had an Irish registration which was changed when my mum got it but it appears the appropriate people weren't made aware).

We'll just have to see how it is when she gets the car back, which should be tomorrow but who knows!

Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - Halmer
For the record the City button which lightens the steering only works up to speeds of around 25mph so it wouldn't be operating at 70 mph.
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - Adam {P}
Just out of interest Jen, was there any particular reason you changed (or so you thought) the plate when you got it?
--
Adam
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - loopyjen
As far as I know Adam it was the dealership who insisted on it being changed. We had a big problem with them when mum bought the car as the car she has now wasnt actually the car she wanted. Some how the dealership managed to "sell" the same car twice. The one my mum originally chose had been sold the day before and was then sold to my mum so they had to track down one with the same spec etc and so they got the one she has now... and changed the plate at the same time. Thats as much as I really know...
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - Adam {P}
Ahhh ok. Sorry for being nosey!
--
Adam
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - loopyjen
thats ok Adam... I dont understand it all properly really
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - Adam {P}
Me neither!

I remember when Mum bought a car which had an Irish plate on. A month later they rang back saying they'd sold the plate and wanted it back.

I guess Irish plates are worth something (not much though) as you can't tell the age of the car.

They never got it back though!
--
Adam
Fiat Punto Power Steering Problem - carl233
Just to modify the "record" the city feature does work at higher speeds. At least it does on V,W,X and Y registration examples of the 1.9D & 1.9JTD.
 

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