Is it ok to drive with a broken electric power steering control module?

Took my 14 VW Tiguan to the dealership and they ran the codes and it's coming back as the power steering control module being dysfunctional. We are currently about 650 miles from home and I need to know if I can drive it back and get it serviced back home or if it needs to be done ASAP. The car feels the exact same as if you were to drive a car with a faulty power steering pump except it's electric. No shaking steering wheel or beeping or anything.

  • You have to get it fixed either way, why wait? – GdD Sep 29 '17 at 7:54
  • @GdD perhaps it is more expensive in that location compared to the home area... may, of course, be more convenient to have it solved but... – Solar Mike Sep 29 '17 at 9:22
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    I can think of many reasons @SolarMike, few that compelling. Driving a car that's designed for power steering without it is a major pain. – GdD Sep 29 '17 at 10:19
  • I learnt to drive in an old long wheel base landrover at 11 years old - it did not have power steering and I was strong enough to control it.... A friend had his Chevrolet Blazer engine fail and it needed to be towed on a rope as we were students with no money - steered that with no power steering either... If my power steering fails it won't be "a major pain"... – Solar Mike Sep 29 '17 at 11:20
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    I believe that OP's question is not "am I strong enough to steer without assist" but rather "does broken CU just disable power steering or will it act funny, sending me head on oncoming traffic". – Agent_L Sep 29 '17 at 14:57

It should be drivable even if the module has failed... Safety concerns mean that the vehicle has to be controllable even though it is not working. However, will you want to drive that far with no power assistance? If it is motorway or highway probably fine but if it is small twisty roads?

However, when we had cars without power steering, there were more turns lock-to-lock and for some cars you had to be the size of a gorilla to be able to control them at low speed - think parking.

Marketing and customer feedback have "forced" the manufacturers to make the steering lighter and lighter so that now there is almost no feedback when driving.

I like a "good" amount of feel - so I can sense if the wheels are starting to slip - even now i can tell that the wheels are starting to spin before the warning light appears on the dash...

  • The car feels fine driving it, actually not that hard. When it went out on my 85 Diplomat it was much harder to steer than this car. The driving will be 90% straight up I-5 so the turning will be minimal. – AJ Bogdanovic Sep 29 '17 at 6:44

I think "dysfunctional" sounds ambiguous, so you should ask the dealership to explicitly remove or disable it. Yeah, I know that the correct failure mode is to fail safe, but unplugging it will give you peace of mind that it wont's start acting funny at highway speeds.

Even if it suddenly starts working perfectly, the sole fact that wheel feedback changes will be alarming for you, increasing fatigue more than just physical exercise of turning "hard" wheel.

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