A steering position sensor is a donut-shaped sensor in the steering column. It monitors the steering angle and relays the data to the ECU. (Read more about the steering position sensor and its role here.)
Like all the sensors in your car, your steering position sensor can wear out over time. In the event that it fails, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible. The lack of a working steering position sensor can jeopardize your safety.
Getting a Replacement Sensor
Luckily, OEM steering position sensors are inexpensive if you buy one from an authorized online seller like GM Parts Center. For example, a steering position sensor for a variety of Buick, Cadillac, Camaro, and Corvette models (part no. 13589991) normally costs over $75, but GM Parts Center sells it for under $44. Another sensor that fits a number of GMC and Chevy trucks and SUVs (part no. 26064468) usually costs over $100. GM Parts center sells it for $59.
Steering Position Sensor Location
Steering Position Sensors are located in the steering column assembly, in one of two places:
- At the top of the steering column, behind the steering wheel. To replace this sensor, you must remove the airbag assembly and the steering wheel. Removing the airbag is potentially very hazardous, so we recommend that you let a dealer do this.
- In the middle of the steering column, which is under the dash above the floorboards. Replacing a sensor in this location is pretty easy. The sensor on many GMC and Chevy trucks and SUV's is in this location. We'll list the steps to replace it below.
Replacing the Sensor in 15 Easy Steps
Image credit: Tracy
Replacing your steering position sensor is quite a simple process. It requires only a few basic tools such as screwdrivers and socket wrenches. The whole project should take less than an hour.
- Disconnect the negative battery cable.
- Turn the wheel slightly to the left.
- Locate the sensor.
- Locate the bolt just under the sensor. The bolt connects the upper and lower portions of the steering column.
- Using a socket, loosen, but do not remove the nut on the bolt.
- With the steering wheel, position the front wheels straight ahead. Make sure they're as dead center as possible.
- Lock the steering column.
- Remove the steering column bolt.
- Push the lower part of the column down towards the floor. Open a gap in the column just large enough to slide the sensor out.
- Use your fingers or a small screwdriver to release the sensor retaining clips.
- Slide the sensor down the column. Note which side is facing up.
- Disconnect the sensor from the wiring harness.
- Reverse the last three steps to put the new sensor in place.
- Pull the lower steering column up into place, and put the bolt through the column. Finger tighten the nut.
- Once the bolt and nut are in place, you can unlock the steering and turn the wheel slightly to the left. Then you can use a socket to fully tighten the nut.
Don’t Want to Deal With a Failing Sensor Again? Consider Bypassing the EVO.
If you install a new steering position sensor, it might fail again. The sensor and the EVO solenoid valve in certain GM power steering systems are prone to failure. GM quickly responded to complaints by developing an actuator kit (part no. 19168825) that is designed to replace the EVO solenoid with a bypass pipe. This kit also makes the steering position sensor unnecessary.