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C. Walker, Jr.
C. Walker, Jr., Auto Mechanic
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 711
Experience:  Shop training and experience.
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Chev Malibu: I have a 2005 Chev Malibu. For a while, the power

Customer Question

I have a 2005 Chev Malibu. For a while, the power steering would quit for a fraction of a second (usually while turning) and then start again. The length of time that it was out gradually increased until it was completely dead. I took it to the dealership and they informed me that the power steering module was shot. So, I bought another one and installed it. The power steering now works (although it failed for a fraction of a second yesterday) but my cruise control won't engage and my brake lights are flashing intermittently. Did I break something when I installed the new power steering and, if so, what?

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  C. Walker, Jr. replied 4 years ago.
You did not break anything. The module must be reprogrammed to work properly in the vehicle. Than everything will be back to normal.

Steps for reprogramming

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

This will fix my cruise control and brake light problem?

Expert:  C. Walker, Jr. replied 4 years ago.
The cruise and brake light sounds very possibly a bad brake switch. This will not allow the cruise to operate if there is a short. It will also cause the brake lamps to come on and off. The switch is located right under the pedal. The brake pedal actually depresses when you push the pedal. They do fail and can cause this issue. I would begin by checking the connector and make sure it is all the way plugged in. But if it has a intermittent short it will be hard to verify unless you have a volt meter connected to it when the problem is occurring.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

And, what is the scan tool being referred to in the pdf document? Do you have a suggested or recommended model of tool?

Expert:  C. Walker, Jr. replied 4 years ago.
If you do not have the scan tool your best option is to contact any local shop. They normally charge 50 dollars or less to do the programming for you. The hand helds run in the 1000 and up range.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I read the report you linked to more closely last night and it doesn't address my problem. The report describes how the power steering must be reprogrammed to deal with steering wheel centering issues (return to center or centered wheel). I don't have either of those problems. The problem I have is that the power steering quits from time to time. That is a very different problem.

Expert:  C. Walker, Jr. replied 4 years ago.
I really feel the update is needed to fix the concern. If you have never had it done and have already replaced the unit itself than you either have a bad unit or the programming needs to be done. I have never seen a bad steering unit out of the box causing the same problem on this vehicle. It is possible but highly unlikely. I would be way more questioning the programming. Sometimes it fixes other issues but I know your concern is similar to what is shown on the update calibration for the steering.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

But, the problem I see now is the same as the problem that prompted the replacement of the unit in the first place (at the urging of the dealership). Initially, the power steering would quit for very brief periods of time. It increased until the point that it never worked. Now, with the new unit, power steering works most of the time. Occasionally, it will quit for a fraction of a second. That is what I am trying to fix, not centering the steering wheel. It centers fine now.

Expert:  C. Walker, Jr. replied 4 years ago.
This is not just to center steering. But if the computer has outdated programming it could stop working as you have just stated. Basically you have a safety hazard here that the shop should fix at no cost to you. I am positive the situation is either programming or a faulty unit. They replaced the unit and it should not have failed so being that it is failing the concern needs to be fixed immediately at no cost to you.

I would ask them to run the programming at no cost. Try it out if the issue is gone you are good. If the problem is still occuring at all they need to replace that unit out and give you a brand new one at no cost. This is unsafe to drive when it could fail permanately going down the road which may cause a accident.