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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last night on returning to my car having been parked for 4 hours, at 0.4kwh off full charge, it would not start up completely because the steering lock would not release, and the "Service steering lock" message came on. The information message would not clear and many car functions were unavailable. I had great difficulty getting it to shut down but kept retrying the startup sequence approx 20 times before calling Vauxhall assistance. I also tried setting charge hold and opening the bonnet but the engine did not start so no benefit there. 

After the breakdown was called I managed to shut it down to leave the vehicle for the wait, and decided to give it one last try. It started up normally with no message even momentarily! I cancelled the call-out. I drove it back to the holiday house and shut down and restarted many times with steering in many different positions with no trouble. 

It had remained faulty for over 30 mins, which was seriously inconvenient, but what I want to know is how best to get out of that situation if it recurs, and what servicing should be done to prevent it?

I had seen this message occasionally before, but only fleetingly, and usually if the steering was not neutral when switched off.

I am waiting for feedback from either Ampera helpline or my dealer, on what can or should be done next.
 

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No idea Rick. Sorry. I have seen that msg myself a couple of times but it always went away without incident.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The difference with this occurrence was the lock remained firmly on, and this prevented the startup sequence from completing. I suspected if I was at home and plugged it in it might clear with the charge complete reset sequences, but I was not. It seemed that a long wait with it left in the fault condition followed by an off and on was the way that cleared it. But not much empirical evidence with only one episode.
 

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I've had this at my brother's place about a year ago. Car would not shift out of park or shut off. Had to rock it to get the lock to disengage. A few weeks later I saw the message again at a Little Chef, but holding down the blue power button did force a shutdown. The service steering lock message then came on again a few minutes later while in motion on the A34.

On the second occasion I got a photo. Vauxhall said they couldn't reproduce the problem.
 

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Ampera aka IGOR
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This is just purely a suggestion as I do not have my car yet.
On cars I have driven with an ignition key etc the steering lock is engaged mechanically by removing the key and, sometimes, by turning the wheel to engage the lock. If the wheel has to be turned against the resistance of the tyres then it will put a bit of strain on the steering column and so the steering lock and to release it you need to take the strain off the steering lock before you can turn the ignition key. Now with the Ampera, as far as I understand, it uses an electronic servo type mechanism to engage the steering lock so could it be that the the same type of feedback pressure is stopping the servo from disengaging when trying to start/initialise the car and so triggering the warning message?
I hope what I have gleaned from this forum will perhaps help me avoid/be ready for any issues I might experience.
 

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That's what Vauxhall initially tried to claim with me, i.e. I must have parked against a curb. However I parked straight in to a bay and it wasn't touching anything.

Having it happen in motion was an unnerving experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
h8ten said:
This is just purely a suggestion as I do not have my car yet.
On cars I have driven with an ignition key etc the steering lock is engaged mechanically by removing the key and, sometimes, by turning the wheel to engage the lock. If the wheel has to be turned against the resistance of the tyres then it will put a bit of strain on the steering column and so the steering lock and to release it you need to take the strain off the steering lock before you can turn the ignition key. Now with the Ampera, as far as I understand, it uses an electronic servo type mechanism to engage the steering lock so could it be that the the same type of feedback pressure is stopping the servo from disengaging when trying to start/initialise the car and so triggering the warning message?
I hope what I have gleaned from this forum will perhaps help me avoid/be ready for any issues I might experience.
I had felt, like you, from past experience that the previous occurrences of momentary message appearance that it was down to static torque left in the system at shut down, so I had developed a habit of centering the wheel and rocking the car back and forth to leave everything neutral when shutting down. Seemed to reduce the incidence. The OP event was not this however, as I tried every which way of starting it up, with and without tension on the wheel being one of them. I was going to get the breakdown man to try disconnecting the 12v battery for a few mins before letting him try and drag it onto a tow arm or anything. I since found out how to release the drive shift lever manually on the GM Volt forum so it could at least be in neutral in such a situation. I might start carrying a torch so I could have a go at that myself next time.
If I was near a power source I would have charged it to full and then retried as that fixes so many niggles. There is a point where the current drops to a few hundred milliamperes for about 15 - 30 mins after the battery is showing full, and all sorts of good things happen in that final phase. I wish they would tell us more about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'd like to disable the whole add-on as I see it has zero benefit to anti theft. Once they have worked out how to start up the car it will turn the darned thing off for them anyway. The Americn Volt has none.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Still getting no suggestions from Vauxhall ( dealership & Ampera helpline contacted) with suggestions on how to recover more quickly., but they have promised to ring me back.

I think they are reluctant to recommend the one thing that is likely to sort it, purely because it will destroy any error codes that may have been logged. Too many secrets in these cars!

Just bring the car in for inspection is all I have got so far.

It seems likely that I will not get a repeat occurrence before I get back to Surrey , but if I do - I reserve the right to try anything in the user- serviceable realm to get going again, that I can think of in the absence of effective instruction from the Dealer.

Eden Vauxhall confirmed a while ago that no harm can be done by a cold reset ( disconnecting the 12v battery for a few minutes ). It is my conjecture that this whole thing is software bug not hardware malfunction, so in the absence of other procedures it should avoid a flat-bed and crane requirement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
dpeilow said:
That's what Vauxhall initially tried to claim with me, i.e. I must have parked against a curb. However I parked straight in to a bay and it wasn't touching anything.

Having it happen in motion was an unnerving experience.
Did the steering actually lock when in motion? :eek:
 

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Had the same problem happen to me yesterday, after parking for about 1.75hrs while eating in a Restaurant.
Got back to the car, and pressed the power button, everything seemed normal until I could not disengage the gear lever from "park". Then noticed the message "service steering lock". Turning and rocking the steering wheel from side to side and up and down had no effect. Shut power down by pressing the power button got out of the car, locked the door with the remote, waited 30 seconds, unlocked the car, reentered, pressed the power button, no message, drove the car away with no problems.
I stopped and and parked on a further 3 occasions yesterday without problems.
The reason for getting out of the car and locking was that I had read somewhere that it takes about 30 seconds for all systems to shut down after the car is locked and it seemed to me that the first thing to try was to reboot the car's computers. I was probably delayed in departure by about 2 minutes.
 

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Ampera aka IGOR
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LK13 said:
Had the same problem happen to me yesterday, after parking for about 1.75hrs while eating in a Restaurant.
Got back to the car, and pressed the power button, everything seemed normal until I could not disengage the gear lever from "park". Then noticed the message "service steering lock". Turning and rocking the steering wheel from side to side and up and down had no effect. Shut power down by pressing the power button got out of the car, locked the door with the remote, waited 30 seconds, unlocked the car, reentered, pressed the power button, no message, drove the car away with no problems.
I stopped and and parked on a further 3 occasions yesterday without problems.
The reason for getting out of the car and locking was that I had read somewhere that it takes about 30 seconds for all systems to shut down after the car is locked and it seemed to me that the first thing to try was to reboot the car's computers. I was probably delayed in departure by about 2 minutes.
Another 'quirk' I will have to try and remember and just hope if it happens it is not during a torrential downpour.
 

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RickMGoldie said:
Last night on returning to my car having been parked for 4 hours, at 0.4kwh off full charge, it would not start up completely because the steering lock would not release, and the "Service steering lock" message came on. The information message would not clear and many car functions were unavailable. I had great difficulty getting it to shut down but kept retrying the startup sequence approx 20 times before calling Vauxhall assistance. I also tried setting charge hold and opening the bonnet but the engine did not start so no benefit there. 

After the breakdown was called I managed to shut it down to leave the vehicle for the wait, and decided to give it one last try. It started up normally with no message even momentarily! I cancelled the call-out. I drove it back to the holiday house and shut down and restarted many times with steering in many different positions with no trouble. 

It had remained faulty for over 30 mins, which was seriously inconvenient, but what I want to know is how best to get out of that situation if it recurs, and what servicing should be done to prevent it?

I had seen this message occasionally before, but only fleetingly, and usually if the steering was not neutral when switched off.

I am waiting for feedback from either Ampera helpline or my dealer, on what can or should be done next.
I have had this twice. One factor I think is if it is parked with the steering well off centre, anyone else associated that as a possible connection to the error?
 

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After not seeing this for nearly a year, it happened to me again this weekend. Once again it was on my brother's drive, but the steering wheel was dead centre. It hasn't happened every time there, but it seems that a steep downhill sets it off. At least this time the car shifted into reverse and moved, and didn't just lock up and even refuse to turn off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Go Vauxhall ( Phoenix as was ) have had my car in for two weeks to explore all the possibles and managed to recreate the fault in the workshop. I hadn't in the intervening period. Lots of software updates and maybe a replacement module to do with door locking and I hope to never have to disconnect the battery to do a cold reset after all. If it does happen - I will get out and lock the car and start from unlocking again next time as there may be an association there.

Nice of them to lend me a 2013 Ampera for the duration. The updates did not give me the the Kw graphic meter which I quite liked, and wished for, sadly.

They really have started caring about us Ampera customers again which is refreshing.
 

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Yes, I had this to my great embarrassment as it happened outside the Sandbanks Ferry tollbooth, Studland, Dorset on a busy sunny Sunday afternoon in July. I called the AA and it powered up after he had checked numerous things within his remit. It eventually powered up, and he had no idea how or why !
On reflection, I should probably have locked everything up walked away with the remote out of range, and then gone bank and restarted, i.e. the old computer trick of switching off and on again. Vauxhall did a full computer check with acres of printout. The relevant bit for steering lock seizure said 'password not recognised' !

Rambling Rex
 

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It solved the problem after I saw the video forum. By coincidence, I found the video titled "Ampera steering column lock fault video" posted on Speak EV and found the advice on taking out F2 fuse and replacing it which reset the memory. It worked.
 

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Just had the full "Service Steering Lock" experience. As with a couple of you, I'd seen it occasionally before but I could just drive away with no problem. Yesterday I had the full experience. I don't usually lock my car in the garage but when I do a pre-condition I lock it first (It seems to work better like that). Anyway, it came time to leave and I unlocked it, disconnected the charging lead, shut the flap and got it. I'm not sure but I think the car was already on (this happens sometime if I haven't waited long enough for the pre-condition to finish). Anyway, I had the "service steering lock" message (not unheard of) but I was unable to shift gear or turn the car off. After messing about, pressing buttons I reset the codes with my ODB scanner. Patting myself on the back for being so clever. I drove it around to make sure it was OK and put it away again (My wife had driven off to do our jobs in her car). Today, off we went to do some more stuff (no pre-condition and so the car was not locked). We arrived, got out and locked the car. Upon returning, the car started and showed the steering lock error message. It wouldn't shift into gear, and I couldn't shut it down. Got my ODB thing out but couldn't clear the message. At some point (after a while) suddenly the steering lock was released and I could shift into gear. With much relief we got home where the car wouldn't switch off.
Anyway, thanks to the US GM-Volt site I've learnt how to shut it down by pressing the blue button WITHOUT my foot on the brake (big thank you to them). I've also tried to remove fuse F2 and replace it but that does not seem to work. I'll try and be more methodical about it See I NEED URGENT HELP! Steering wheel not functioning, locked in P and won't turn off!!
But what I'm missing is a definitive solution to this. I'm happy to disconnect the steering column lock (I'm due an MOT in January - is that a requirement?). I was going to replace the 12V battery (I seem to have read that it fixes the problem, but again nothing where everyone says that that's the thing to do).

So does anyone have a permanent solution. I can't turn up to my MOT and have the thing brick itself!
 
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