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Honda Civic – Electric Power Steering (EPS) Unit Replacement

Question: If you replace the EPS in your Honda Civic, is there a reset or an initialization that has to be done? I was surprised that I couldn’t easily find the answer to that question. So after going through something of an ordeal with this, I wanted to write a post to help others. I have a 2012 Honda Civic EX that began having power steering issues several months ago. The first time it happened was quite startling as I thought the engine had stopped running, but it was just the loss of power to the steering wheel. These cars are incredibly hard to steer when the EPS goes out.

Honda developed electric power steering in the early 1990’s which they refer to as motion-adaptive electric power steering (EPS). It combines Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Honda’s electric power steering (EPS). I bought my Civic as a used car and I didn’t even realize it had this feature. I assumed that it had a traditional power steering pump and fluid. Nope.

And it turns out that the 2012-2013 Honda Civics are somewhat prone to issues with the EPS. There are tons of posts about Honda Civic electric power steering problems, and people write about resetting their EPS. Some common searches people use on this include:

  • honda civic eps reset
  • honda civic eps module
  • honda civic electric power steering problems
  • honda civic eps module location

I wanted to know more about replacing the EPS module with a new one as a DIY/DYI effort. I was able to remove my EPS unit, and on close inspection, there were signs of aging and potential corrosion (see pic below), so I assumed it would be a fairly simply remove and replace procedure. NOPE.

Here’s what I have learned.

How to Perform a Reset of the EPS in a Honda Civic

When you get the fault indicator for the EPS, it’s worth trying a reset procedure. There are a few variations on the instructions for this, but one common method is: Turn the ignition switch OFF, and then turn ignition switch ON. The EPS indicator comes on for about 6 seconds. Within 4 seconds of turning the switch ON, while the EPS indicator is on, turn the steering wheel 45° to left from a straight ahead driving position, and hold steering wheel in position until EPS indicator goes off.

Another variation says: Turn the steering wheel 45 degrees to the left from a straight position, then turn the ignition to ON. The EPS light should come on for 4 seconds and then go off. When the EPS light goes off, immediately return the wheel to the straight position.

Alas, none of those steps helped me. I learned that the above is more akin to a reset of the angle sensor for the EPS.

How to Fix the Electric Power Steering on your Honda Civic

I also read that for some owners, the issue can be caused by a simple build up of corrosion on the connections to the EPS. By disconnecting and reconnecting the wiring harness to the EPS a few times, that can sufficiently scrape the connectors and restore a good connection. The YouTube video below does a pretty good job of showing how to get to the EPS on a Honda Civic. In short, the unit is mounted to the interior wall of the car just below the glove box. To get to it, you have to remove two plastic covers that are snapped into place in that area, next to the passenger door opening.

YouTube Video on Removing Honda Civic EPS Module

How Much Does a New EPS Cost for a Honda Civic?

While there are used EPS units available on Ebay that cost around $200, I wanted the assurance of a brand new EPS in my car. So I bought a new unit from which arrived to my door about 4 days after ordering. In my case, the part number was 39980-TR3-A11 and it cost me about $385 with taxes and shipping included.

How to Initialize a New EPS for a Honda Civic

The bad news is that this must be done by a Honda dealer. They will perform a software update and initialization process on the new electric power steering (EPS) module. I tried to simply install the new EPS in my Civic with the assumption it would just work, but alas I immediately got the power steering failure alert on my dashboard with the new EPS connected. The dealers use a diagnostic software tool kit to update and initialize a new EPS. I have an OBD reader/scanner (Amazon link) that works fairly well for reading trouble codes, but it can’t perform the software update.

How Much Does it Cost to Initialize a New EPS for a Honda Civic?

I live in Virginia, and my local Honda dealer charged me $135 to initialize the new electric power steering module in my car. In checking, that seems to be a fairly common charge, but obviously that price can vary based on location.

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