Whenever you drive, you won’t travel through a constant path, nor will you travel always in a straight line, toward your destination. While you’re using use the steering wheel, the steering system (of the vehicle’s wheels) moves accordingly.
This movement happens thanks to the steering wheel system. And now’s a good time to get to know it better.
How does steering work?
The steering system has 1 main function: to transmit the movement and force from the steering wheel to the wheels, making them move in the direction chosen — right, left, or straight ahead. For its normal operation, it’s important that you don’t forget to calibrate your tires regularly.
But don’t think that the steering system only works using a single piece (the one that connects the steering wheel to the wheels) — because you couldn’t be more wrong.
This system starts, indeed, at the steering wheel. Then, you move the steering wheel in the direction you want. In turn, that movement carries over to the steering column. The movement ends immediately afterward, at the steering gearbox.
Thus, there are 3 parts involved in the whole process.
And it’s in this gearbox that you find the rack and pinion, a bar that connects the wheels to the steering column. Both pieces ultimately perform the final thrust. Only then do the wheels turn in the direction you chose.
What about assisted steering system? What is that?
To be honest, assisted steering isn’t highly valued nowadays.
That’s because most drivers have never owned a car without this type of steering system — which means that most people have never applied an (almost) supernatural force to turn the steering wheel.
Assisted steering came over 100 years ago, but the first car released with this system only launched in the 1950s.
Needless to say, it was a huge success. But enough history for now. It’s time to learn about the 3 types of assisted steering systems.
How the assisted steering system works
This system allows the steering wheel to be lighter, as it doesn’t take much effort to make it move. This system basically gives you much more comfort and safety while driving — yes, because it’s not only the brakes that guarantee more safety.
You can even feel more comfortable when you turn the steering wheel at a lower speed.
Safety, on the other hand, directly relates to higher speeds. When driving faster, the steering system becomes heavier. The steering wheel maneuvers become safer, and you have more control over the car.
The 3 types of assisted steering systems on the market (plus a brand-new 1)
Get to know them now: the hydraulic, electric, and mechanical steering system. They all have different functions, which are important to know:
- Mechanical Steering: it’s very common in older cars since it doesn’t use any electrical assistance. It depends on the strength of the person who’s driving;
- Hydraulic Steering: this is the most popular type of steering system in cars. It uses a specific oil that’s pressed by the car’s engine when you turn the steering wheel.
- Electric Steering: it uses electric motors that act directly on the steering gearbox when you turn the steering wheel.
But wait, there’s more.
We want you to know one more assisted steering system: the electro-hydraulic steering. This one guarantees even more driving comfort.
And while in the hydraulic version the car’s engine presses the oil, in this version an electric motor pressurizes the oil (meaning: we’re facing a huge leap forward in technology).
Imagine your grandparents putting in all of their strength to maneuver the steering wheel of a car… Nowadays, no driver will have to worry about that.