If you are driving your BMW and suddenly feel like your steering wheel is harder to turn, followed by the “Increased steering effort. Drive moderately” warning message on your dashboard, this article is for you.
Whether you drive a BMW 1 series, 2 series, 3 series, 4 series, 5 series, 7 series, X3, or X5, the cause of this problem tends to be the same for all these models.
In this article, I will explain the common leading causes of this problem and how to fix it. Let’s get to it.
What Does ” Drive Moderately Increased Steering Effort” Mean on a BMW?
The “Increased Steering Effort. Drive Moderately” warning message on your BMW dashboard or multifunction display can be confusing.
What does it mean exactly? In short, the increased steering effort is basically just an indicator that there is some type of problem with your steering system and that the EPS (Electronic Power Steering) is not working.
As soon as this warning comes up, you will notice that the steering becomes much harder to turn, and making small turns becomes much more difficult.
This is because the EPS is not working, and you turn the steering wheel by hand.
What Causes the BMW “Increased Steering Effort” Warning Light to Come On?
Now, let’s look at the leading causes of this problem.
Technically many things could cause this warning, but based on my experience as a mechanic and my research on the issue.
I have narrowed down the list of possible causes to four.
These include a bad battery, faulty EPS sensor, damaged steering rack, and a loose EPS electric harness. Let’s go into more detail
1. Bad Battery:
The most common cause of this warning light is a bad battery. If the battery cannot hold its charge or is old (3-5 years), it will cause all sorts of electrical problems with your BMW.
The EPS system uses a lot of power when activated, so if that power source is not working correctly, it can cause the Electric power steering not to work as it should.
The PCM will pick this up and display an “Increased steering effort, drive moderately” message to alert you.
In most cases, getting a new battery should solve this issue. If your car has been sitting for a while and the battery is still relatively new, then driving the car around for a time should help to get the battery charged.
90-95% of the time, the problem is caused by a bad battery.
2. EPS Loose Wiring Harness
The EPS Loose Wiring Harness is the second most common problem with BMW steering systems.
The EPS system consists of several wiring connectors that communicate with each other and send information back to the PCM so that it can control and activate the steering assist.
Sometimes the connections inside these connectors will break or become loose. The “increased steering effort” warning will be triggered if this happens.
Check the connectors and make sure they are all securely attached. If you find that one of the connections has become loose, simply reattach it using some electrical tape or a wire connector.
3. Faulty EPS sensor
Another common cause of this problem is a Faulty Electric power steering sensor(s).
Your BMW steering system consists of sensors that detect the steering wheel’s position and send this information to the computer.
When one of these sensors is faulty, it can cause problems with how much effort is needed to turn your wheel and make driving more difficult.
If there is a fault with the sensor, it will not be able to properly communicate with the PCM and tell it how much pressure you put on the wheel.
If one or more steering wheel sensors are bad, then you will need to have it replaced by your BMW dealer or any qualified mechanic.
4. Damaged Steering Rack
The final possible cause of this problem is a damaged steering rack. This is the component that connects your car’s wheels to its axles and allows them to turn when you turn the wheel.
If this component is damaged, then it can cause abnormal resistance in your steering wheel, making it difficult to turn without putting more effort into it than expected and triggering the warning message.
The steering rack on BMWs rarely fails. However, if you recently hit a large pothole or curb, then it could have been damaged.
If this is the case, you must have your steering rack replaced by your BMW dealer or any qualified mechanic.