I've recently purchases a manual transmission 1.5 Honda Mobilio. Which claimed to be a drive by wire vehicle and I assume it really is (don't know how to tell if a car is drive by wire). I am a new driver and on my observation, when I take the key out, the steering is ultra hard to turn at all compared to me turning the key to II or ON.

The user manual also says, steering may be disabled when car is off or hard to control when the car is off, warning me about free wheeling down a hill with the car off.

My question is: Is the main reason for the disabled steering the drive-by-wire system or is it because of the power steering system not present when off?

1 Answer 1


Drive by wire systems have no mechanical connection between the input decive (like a throttle/gas pedal) and the output device (like the engine). They use only electrical signals. To my knowledge there aren't any cars that use this system for steering.

Your steering wheel is mechanically connected to the front wheels but is assisted by an electric motor. The motor helps you turn the steering left or right and is known as EPAS, or electrical power assisted steering. With the key in the off position, the motor will not be powered and you will have no 'power assistance'.

  • Actually there are cars that use this system. Though I consider it to be kind of dangerous, unless they have some kind of a fail-safe. Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 10:00
  • Electric steering (as opposed to servo-assisted steering) is now offered in production vehicles. The Ford Focus ST, Porsche 991 are a couple that spring to mind.
    – Zaid
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 16:22
  • Pretty much every new car will have electrically assisted steering now. It's reckoned that not having a hydraulic pump on the engine can increase overall efficiency by a percent or two.
    – Sam
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 16:25
  • I'll try testing a turn again with the engine off, and see if it does let it move even for just a little bit. When the car is off, it's extremely hard to turn it at all! Compared to old vehicles like a jeep that don't have any electronics for steering. Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 4:18
  • 2
    @sam the new Infiniti Q50 is steer by wire but TTBOMK it's the only one. Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 22:50

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