Have you had issues with how it steers as well when the light comes? On this model you have an electric power steering pump with a module most likely being a part of the pump. First thing that needs to be done to diagnose is to have the power steering pump module scanned for fault codes so you would need a pretty good scanner that can read all the control modules. For now here is a service bulletin on the characteristics of the electric power steering pump.
Subject: Information for Normal Operating Characteristics of Electric Power Steering (EPS) System During Extended Lock-to-Lock Turns or When Held at Maximum Steering Wheel Rotation and/or DTCs C0176 and C0476 Set
Models: 2004-2011 Chevrolet Malibu, Malibu Maxx
2005-2011 Chevrolet Cobalt, Equinox
2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR
2010-2011 GMC Terrain
2005-2010 Pontiac G6
2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit (Canada Only)
2006-2009 Pontiac Torrent
2007-2010 Pontiac G5
2002-2009 Saturn VUE
2003-2007 Saturn ION
2007-2009 Saturn AURA
Equipped With Electric Power Steering (EPS) Only
Supercede: This bulletin is being revised to add model years and clarify the information. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 06-02-32-002C (Section 02 - Steering).
- The purpose of this bulletin is to inform technicians of the normal operating characteristics of the electric power steering system (EPS) when the steering wheel is turned in either direction or held at maximum rotation for an extended period of time.
- When the steering wheel is cycled repeatedly or turned to its maximum rotation, the power steering control module (PSCM) will command the maximum amount of current to the EPS motor. If the steering wheel is held in this position for an extended period of time, the PSCM will go into overload protection mode to avoid system thermal damage. In this mode, the PSCM will limit the amount of current commanded to the EPS motor, which will reduce the power steering assist level.
- If the PSCM detects a high system temperature and the overload protection mode is initiated, DTC C0176 System Thermal Error may set. On some models, DTC C0476 Electric Steering Motor Circuit Range/Performance may also set. These DTCs indicate normal PSCM action, to reduce the steering assist in order to prevent thermal damage to power steering system components.