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sprinkles08
sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Chrysler
Satisfied Customers: 22826
Experience:  ASE Master & Advanced level certified, Chrysler Master Certified, Trans and Hybrid Specialist
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PT cruiser: P0551 - The power steering switch may not be working

Resolved Question:

The code on my PT cruiser is P0551 - The power steering switch may not be working. My power steering is fine.. What does this mean?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Chrysler
Expert:  cardoctor74 replied 8 years ago.
What year is the car?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The engine icon light came on on my instrument panel recently. I turned the ignition switch on/off twice to find the code for this particular icon, and it came up as P0551 which reads in the Chrysler PT Cruiser computer codes as "The power steering switch may not be working". I am not having any problems with my power steering. What does this switch do? and is it harmful to drive my car while this light remains on? What does this type of repair cost? When I looked in my owner's manual it showed the icon having to do with emmisions (or check the gas cap - which I did and it was loose, but the light remains on) so I am confused...
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 years ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!

 

The power steering pressure switch is on the steering rack. It senses the pressure in the system, and when the pressure goes high from turning the steering wheel, if you are at idle it will raise the idle speed slightly. you may not even notice that it's not doing it anymore. This isn't an uncommon problem on these cars. It's very likely that you'll need a new switch. It threads into the back of the steering rack and has a two wire electrical connector. It isn't expensive and it isn't hard to replace.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
So is this a different problem than the malfunction indicator light (OBDII) that monitors the emissions and engine control systems or are they related?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 years ago.
The engine light came on because the P0551 code was set. The power steering pressure switch is a direct input to the engine controller, so the engine light came on to alert you to this problem.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

How immediate is it for me to replace the switch - I am going on a trip tomorrow and don't have time to take it to my mechanic before I leave.. (trip is 250 miles round trip - mostly freeway)

Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 years ago.
It's not going to hurt anything at all to drive it. You probably didn't even notice that it wasn't working anyway. It's only purpose is to raise the idle a bit when you are turning the steering wheel with the engine at low speeds, like in a parking lot. Outside of maybe having a little bit of a low idle in these situations it isn't going to hurt anything at all.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

And you don't feel I need to have my emmissions regulator valve checked for a clog? The only reason I ask is that the owner's manual has a Caution! box in the Malfunction Indicator Ligt paragraph that says:

 

Prolonged driving with the Malfunction Indicator light on could cause damage to the emission control system. It could also affect fuel economy and driveability. If the Malfunction Indicaor light is flashing, (it's not) severe catalytic converter damage and power loss will soon occur. Immediate service is required.

Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 years ago.
You don't have an emissions problem. You have a problem with the power steering pressure switch. The check engine light can come on for problems in the engine, trans, or evaporative emissions system. The only time that driving the car may do damage is when the light is flashing while you are driving. When it is flashing while driving it means there is a severe and rich misfire and excess unburnt fuel is entering the catalytic converter. If the P0551 is the only code you have set you don't have an emissions problem.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I appreciate your time and patience with my questions. I am a woman who does not want to be taken advantage of by mechanics, so I try to research as much as I can on my own. I will definitely have the power steering switch replaced when I return from my trip.

 

Thank you kindly for your help with this matter! :-)

Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 8 years ago.
You're welcome, and good luck with it. Please click the accept button and let me know if you need any more help!
sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Chrysler
Satisfied Customers: 22826
Experience: ASE Master & Advanced level certified, Chrysler Master Certified, Trans and Hybrid Specialist
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