Car Power Steering – Function, How It Works, Price

The car power steering system is a system to lighten the steering wheel. It becomes easier for the driver to turn the steering wheel when they want to turn or turn, even at low speeds.

Drivers who use cars without a power steering system will usually require a lot of energy when they have to maneuver. Whether it's for parking or when you have to make a sharp turn at low speed.

Fortunately, nowadays most of the newest cars already use power steering. Then, how does the power steering work? And what makes steering so much lighter using this system?

What Is Power Steering on a Car?

The meaning of power steering on a car is a system that is added to the steering wheel to make it easier to control. This system makes it easier for the driver to maneuver at low speeds, such as making sharp turns or when parking the vehicle.

Historically, quoting from Car and Drive, this system that makes steering easier was first used on a Chrysler Imperial car in 1951. Prior to this system, car steering required a lot of wheel rotation when cornering in narrow lanes or when parking the vehicle.

As an illustration, a car without power steering requires 2-4 kilograms of power to turn the steering wheel. At first glance the weight looks light, but it will be different when you have to drive and control the vehicle for quite a long time.

With the power steering, the driver does not need full power when he has to turn or turn around, especially at low speeds.

Types of Car Power Steering

Until now there are three types of power steering known in the automotive market. Although different types or types, but all three have the same function, namely making the steering lighter when at low speeds or when parking the car.

The three types of power steering are:

Hydraulic Power Steering

This type of power steering is found in cars from the 1950s to the early 2000s. The steering propulsion system in this type utilizes fluid as a medium for conducting energy.

The workings of this power steering when the steering wheel is turned, the valve in the gearbox will open. The power generated from the power steering pump will then be channeled to the piston.

Well, this power helps the driver when turning the steering wheel. Until now, hydraulic power steering is the most widely used, including the Toyota Avanza and Daihatsu Xenia.

In this type there are four main components that are interconnected, namely the pump, reservoir tank, pipes and hoses as well as the steering gear box.

Each of these components has its own functions and tasks, which are described as follows:

  • The reservoir in the power steering system serves to accommodate fluid.
  • The pump is in charge of generating pressure
  • The hose has the function of draining fluid from the pump to the steering gear box and channeling it back from the steering gear box to the reservoir
  • The steering gear box is in charge of turning the steering wheel into a left or right movement.

Unfortunately, this type of power steering has drawbacks, such as because the pump continues to work even when the vehicle is moving in a straight line, causing energy to be wasted.

In addition, it is also vulnerable to oil or fluid leakage from the hose or from the gear box.

Electronic Power Steering

In contrast to hydraulics which rely on fluids as a conductor of energy, this type uses an electric motor as the medium. The motor rotates the shaft in the steering column, in Alphard cars, or in the steering gear box in BMW cars.

In general, the components in this type of power steering are EPS control module, electric motor, steering gear box, steering angle sensor, and rotation sensor. Like hydraulic power steering, this type of steering lever has its drawbacks as well.

Among other things, when passing through a flood, common problems make loud sounds and of course it is very dangerous when passing through puddles of water.

Because the electric motor is positioned at the bottom so it has the potential to be heavy when in a high puddle position.

Hybrid Power Steering

This power steering system is the latest technology that adopts the way it works from the previous two types. The way it works is like hydraulics but uses the help of an electric pump.

It's just that it should be noted, this type has the disadvantage of more expensive maintenance costs. But the advantage is, the engine on the power steering type is not burdened because it is assisted by a hydraulic system, which makes the steering system easier and safer.

Power Steering Function on the Car

As explained above, the function of the power steering is to provide convenience for the driver when controlling the steering wheel. To be able to see the benefits of this power steering, you can see the difference between old school vehicles that do not have power steering and the latest cars that are equipped with this system.

In a car without power steering, the driver will expend great effort to turn the vehicle or turn the steering wheel completely. The steering also feels heavy and you have to struggle to control it.

In contrast to a car with power steering where the driver does not have to bother and have trouble turning the steering wheel when needed. In fact, the steering wheel can return to its original position after a full turn or turn.

So, in other words, the function of this power steering lightens the driver's work. In addition, this steering system also functions to reduce shocks when walking on uneven road surfaces.

How the Car Power Steering Works

Functioning to make the steering light, the way the power steering works is influenced by two factors, namely the speed and motion of the car, the explanation is as follows:

1. When the Car Goes Straight

When the car is in a straight line, the pressure generated from this steering relief system is returned to the pump inlet. So that the piston does not move to the right or left.

2. When the Steering Wheel Is Turned

The way the power steering works in this condition, the resulting oil pressure will then be channeled to the rotary control valve in the rack and pinion. Then, the channel to the piston on the rack and pinion in the control valve will open.

This position makes the power steering oil will go to the piston and move it to the right or left, depending on the direction of the turn. From here the piston channel on the other side will open so that it is pushed towards the reservoir.

3. When the Steering Wheel Turns Full

When you have to make a full turn, the steering wheel will be fully turned until it stops. When conditions like this the pressure to the piston is very large.

This causes the relief valve on the pump to open and some of the power steering oil returns to the power steering pump inlet.

4. at High Speed

The speed factor also affects how the power steering works. At a high speed position, the power steering oil pressure will be reduced so that the steering does not become too light.

Simply put, the higher the speed of the car, the power steering is made heavier.

Cause of the Power Steering Is Quickly Damaged

Currently, most of the latest cars already use the power steering system and become the basic standard. Therefore, you must pay attention to this section to ensure its function runs optimally.

However, as the use of the vehicle some components in the car can be damaged.

No exception with the car's power steering system. Usually when the steering lightening system is damaged, it is marked by a heavy steering wheel. As a result, driving is no longer comfortable.

Then, what can cause a damaged car power steering? The following are common causes of system crashes:

1. Tires That Are Under-Inflated

The lack of air pressure in the tires can cause friction in the tires and the road which causes the vehicle to run slower.

This condition then affects several components, one of which is the power steering which becomes heavier and harder. If the condition is left for a long time, then the power steering will be damaged.

2. Less Lubricating Fluid

Lubricating fluid or oil in the engine is another cause of power steering damage. Because, in the process of working the power steering requires fluid oil. So, if the oil is insufficient, the steering wheel becomes heavy which in the end the power steering does not work optimally. Regular service is an effective solution to this problem. Because if you leave it for too long, it will actually worsen the resulting damage

3. Lack of Oil Fluid

The second reason why the power steering quickly breaks down is due to the lack of fluid in the engine. Actually the power steering in carrying out its function requires sufficient oil fluid to function optimally.

Therefore, when the power steering lacks oil, the car steering becomes heavier and the power steering cannot function optimally.

4. the Steering Wheel Is Often Rotated Until It Gets Stuck

The habit of turning the steering wheel until it gets stuck can be the cause of the damaged power steering. So that this system is not damaged quickly, you should avoid turning the steering wheel until the pole or until you hear a "click".

If this habit continues, don't be surprised if your car's power steering gets damaged quickly.

5. Tires Suddenly Burst

Another trivial thing that can cause a damaged power steering is a leaking tire that is left too long.

When the tire is punctured and still forced to go, it causes the steering to be heavier, as a result the steering lightening system works extra. This condition can trigger damage to the car's power steering.

6. the Steering Rack Is Broken

A damaged steering rack affects the power steering, because this component is part of the steering wheel. Damage to the steering rack causes the steering wheel to become heavy and difficult to control.

It is predictable if this system becomes heavy it can affect the power steering. Therefore, you should do the service regularly so as not to affect other components.

7. Belt Slack

Another component that can cause damage to the power steering is a loose steering system belt. The reason is, this belt serves to make the steering stop turning. Therefore this one component is very susceptible to damage. Make sure that the belt is loose or even broken.

Because, if that happens, it is certain that the power steering will be damaged and repair costs will swell.

How to Fix a Broken Power Steering

As a steering controller on a vehicle, the role of power steering is very important. Therefore, if this component is damaged, of course you have to pay a lot of money.

One of the common problems that often occur in power steering is a leak in the steering center seal. If your car experiences this condition, there are several steps you can take, including:

  • Place the car on a flat and flat surface. To be more comfortable when repairing, jack up the front. Use the stand to lock the wheels.
  • Make sure that the leaking fluid comes from the power steering pump. It is located under the engine bay near the end of the steering column.
  • To check for leaks, it's a good idea to place paper or newspaper under the car to determine the location of the leak.
  • If the leak is confirmed to come out of the power steering pump, you can fix it by turning the ratchet with a nut. But there are times when the hose clamps come loose due to vibrations while driving.
  • When you find a gap in the power steering hose, you inevitably have to replace it. The trick is to loosen the hose clamp to remove the old hose. After replacing with a new one, make sure the hose clamp is securely attached.
  • Another possible location for a leak is the steering column rubber seal. Check this part and replace it with the required seal.
  • Leaks can also occur in the steering pump or steering rack, immediately disable the power steering by removing the power steering pump belt and take it to the nearest repair shop.

Please note, leaks in the steering center seal can be found in vehicles that use hydraulic power steering.