Have you ever wondered how does a steering system of your car works? What mechanism it has got inside that bonnet which let the rotating motion of your steering wheel result into the swiveling motion of the front wheels. Here in this article, we are going to understand the basic working of the steering system.
Earlier, the cars had an arm connected with the front wheels to change their direction. However, that system was successful in providing the direction to the vehicle but it failed to provide handling and comfort.
Today’s steering systems come with power assistance which helps the driver in maneuvering a vehicle easily. Hydraulic, electric, and electric hydraulic systems give power assistance to the steering steering system. Among these power assistance, cars generally use electric system.
Types of the steering system
Rack and pinion steering system
In this system, the rotating motion of the steering wheel converts into the linear motion which turns the front wheels of the car. At the end of the steering arm there is a small gear or pinion which meshes with the gears of the rack.
When the steering wheel rotates this pinion also rotates and in turn moves the steering rack. The motion from rotational to linear converts at the meshing point of pinion and steering rack. Further, the linear motion from the steering rack transmits to the wheel via a tie rod.
Rack and pinion has fewer moving parts as compared to the other steering systems. Therefore, there is less chance of wear and tear of the parts and their is more accuracy.
The steering ratio is generally 3 to 4 rotations of the steering wheel to go lock to lock( extreme right and extreme left).
In this system, there are various components namely
- Steering wheel
- Steering arm
- pinion and rack
Steering box system
Worm and gear
In this system, there is worm gear inside the box at the end of the steering arm. To put it simply, a worm gear is similar to the short bolt. When turn the bolt holding the nut, the nuts move up or down along the length of the bolt. This same phenomenon happens in the steering gearbox. The worm gear remains in mesh with a part of a gear or a peg which transmits its motion to the wheels. The peg is connected with the drop arm to transmit the motion to the wheels.
The recirculating balls steering system is similar to the worm and nut system. The steering arm has helical grooves at the end of it. There are grooves too on the nut. The space between the grooves of the steering arm and nut is filled with small metal balls. The steel balls reduce the friction between the steering arm and the nut. These steel balls recirculate in the system.
The power steering is assisted with hydraulic, electric, or hydraulic and electric systems. There is an external mechanism to provide assisting force to the moving parts in the steering system. Today all the vehicles come with a power steering mechanism.