The 2013 Honda Accord electric power steering system has been subject to multiple complaints from drivers regarding sudden loss of power steering assist. This has raised concerns over the safety and reliability of the electric power steering (EPS) system equipped on these vehicles. In this article, we will analyze the issues, symptoms, causes and solutions to the 2013 Honda Accord Electric Power Steering Problems.
Symptoms Of 2013 Honda Accord EPS Problems
The most common 2013 Honda Accord EPS problems reported are:
- Sudden loss of power steering assist – Steering wheel becomes very heavy and difficult to turn. Happens randomly, especially at low speeds.
- EPS warning light – Illuminates on the instrument panel if a fault is detected.
- EPS noise – Motor or gears produce whining, clicking or humming sounds.
- Pulling in one direction – Car veers to one side despite centered steering wheel. Indicates EPS calibration issues.
- Vibrating steering wheel – Feels loose or shaky when holding straight. Points to motor or reduction gear damage.
Any sudden change in steering assist or control should be addressed immediately for safety.
Causes Of 2013 Honda Accord Electric Power Steering Failure
The electric power steering (EPS) system in the 2013 Honda Accord has proven to be prone to certain electrical and mechanical failures. Based on analysis of customer complaints, dealer reports and Honda’s own investigations, the main culprits identified so far are:
- Power Steering Control Unit (PSCU)
- EPS Motor
- Steering Column Connector
- Torque Sensor
- Software Bugs
Power Steering Control Unit (PSCU)
This computer module is the brain of the EPS system. It processes signals from the torque and steering wheel position sensors and controls the electric motor accordingly.
Software flaws or faulty electronics within the PSCU can lead to abrupt loss of power assist. Owners report the issue emerging after 20,000-50,000 miles. Warning lights may flash and diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) set pointing to PSCU failure.
Resetting the PSCU may initially resolve problems temporarily. But issues return within days or weeks in most cases. The PSCU needs reprogramming or replacement to permanently fix errors. Honda has issued updates but some bugs persist.
The electric motor provides the power assist for steering. But some 2013 Accord motors have proven prone to overheating issues.
Prolonged high loads can cause the motor’s windings or permanent magnets to deteriorate. This reduces torque output and leads to gradual loss of assist over months. Eventual motor failure is likely once overheated.
Audible noise when turning could indicate initial motor problems. Honda may need to revise the motor design or specs to address heat and longevity issues.
Steering Column Connector
The large wiring connector linking the steering wheel inputs to the electric motor is a known trouble spot.
Vibration and road impacts over time can loosen this connector. Corrosion can also build up on the terminals. This disrupts communication between PSCU, sensors and motor.
Intermittent electrical faults lead to sudden losses of assistance while driving. The connector needs to be inspected, cleaned up or replaced to restore reliable EPS function.
The torque sensor measures the steering force applied by the driver. If readings get erratic, the PSCU may shut down assist as a failsafe.
Road debris or moisture ingress can damage the delicate torque sensor, causing abnormal signal outputs. This triggers an EPS fault and unassisted steering.
Troubleshooting and replacement of the sensor will be needed to rectify the issue. Honda may need to improve the sensor’s sealing and durability.
Honda has issued multiple software updates to address various EPS problems reported by owners. However, some problems have persisted indicating that the coding still has flaws.
Undetected software bugs can lead to issues like PSCU crashes, sensor misreads and calibration errors. Honda needs to keep refining the programming to eliminate gremlins in the system.
Thorough diagnostics and analysis of faults in multiple vehicles is required to isolate all software issues and release improved updates.
Fixing 2013 Honda Accord Power Steering Problems
Based on the root causes identified, here are some typical repairs required to resolve EPS issues in the 2013 Accord:
- PSCU Replacement
- Software Updates
- EPS Motor Replacement
- Wiring Inspection & Repair
- Sensor Replacement
- Gearbox Flush & Refill
If the PSCU is confirmed to be faulty through trouble codes or diagnostics, replacement is necessary.
Honda dealers will reflash the replacement module with the latest software update during installation. This minimizes chances of the new computer also failing prematurely.
Expect 1-2 hours labor for removal and installation. The PSCU module can cost $200-$400 for the part.
Where EPS problems stem from calibration flaws rather than hardware failure, software updates may provide a fix.
Honda has issued multiple patches through recalls and service campaigns to eliminate bugs identified in the original PSCU programming.
However, some owners report issues persisting even after updates. Thorough troubleshooting helps determine if hardware or software is ultimately at fault.
EPS Motor Replacement
If the motor windings are damaged or permanent magnets demagnetized due to overheating, the EPS motor assembly will need replacement.
Removal and installation involves disconnecting all electrical connectors and the worm gear mechanism. This typically takes 2-3 hours of labor. The motor assembly costs around $800-$900.
Proper cooling measures may need to be incorporated into the motor’s design to prevent heat-related failures.
Wiring Inspection & Repair
Intermittent faults from corroded or loose connectors can be tough to trace.
Thorough inspection of wiring and connectors between the control unit, motor and sensors is required, looking for damage, wear and corrosion.
Any suspect wires or terminals need to be repaired or replaced. Adding dielectric grease inside connections helps prevent corrosion.
If the torque or position sensors are confirmed to be outputting erratic readings, replacement will be necessary.
Once installed, the sensors need to be recalibrated per Honda procedures using specialized shop equipment. This ensures they provide accurate signals to the PSCU.
Labor time is 1-2 hours and the sensor costs around $150-$250 each. Using original Honda parts is recommended.
Gearbox Flush & Refill
In rare cases, an internal EPS gearbox leak can lead to loss of assist.
The gearbox needs to be drained, flushed and refilled with Honda-approved power steering fluid. Seals should be inspected for any cracks or deterioration.
This procedure takes about 2 hours for labor and fluid costs $25 per liter on average.
How Does Electric Power Steering Work?
Electric power steering eliminates the hydraulic pump and fluid used in traditional steering systems. Instead, it uses an electric motor to provide power assist. Here are the key components:
- Electric motor – Provides torque to assist steering based on input from sensors
- Steering wheel position sensor – Detects steering wheel angle
- Torque sensor – Measures steering torque applied by driver
- ECU – Receives signals from sensors and controls motor
- Reduction gear – Transmits motor torque to steering shaft
During steering, the EPS computer monitors data from the sensors. It then controls the electric motor to provide the appropriate assist. This improves fuel efficiency and performance. However, it also exposes the system to potential electrical failures.
Is The 2013 Honda Accord EPS System Safe?
Despite complaints, Honda maintains that the 2013 Accord’s electric steering is safe when operating normally. However, the number of failures and safety risks reported by owners has raised concerns.
Sudden loss of assist while driving can lead to accidents. Honda needs to identify the root cause and issue a recall if a systematic flaw exists. Until then, owners should be alert and ready to handle unexpected EPS problems.
The 2013 Honda Accord’s electric power steering system has proven problematic, with over 100 complaints of sudden power loss reported so far. Faults in the PSCU, sensors, motor and wiring have been identified as some leading causes. Diagnosing DTCs and symptoms accurately is key to fixing issues promptly.
Honda should continue investigating the problems and assist owners with repairs, considering the safety risks involved. Being aware and vigilant about EPS operation can help 2013 Accord drivers handle any steering failures safely.
Also Read: Charging System Warning Light Honda Accord