Let's Take a Peek at How Power Steering Works on Cars!

The automotive world is difficult to understand? This only applies to those who have not studied it. If you are curious and interested in the automotive world, you should know what power steering is and how power steering works.

This time, automotive tips will share information about power steering including its understanding, how it works, types, and functions. If you are curious, make sure you read this article as a source of additional information.

To be able to drive, the car utilizes power steering. However, not many people know what power steering looks like.

What Is Power Steering

So, what exactly is power steering? Power steering can be said as a component or tool used in the car steering system to be able to lighten the rotation later so that it is easier to drive.

Power steering can not be installed without reason if it does not provide benefits. The benefits that can be obtained are:

  • Reduce steering effort
  • Extremely high stability during driving
  • Helps reduce shock when driving on uneven road surfaces

Power Steering Function

Although it is an additional system, but the power steering has an important role. In fact, it has its own function. The steering wheel will return to its original position after being used to turn.

What you should know is that some cars have a heavy load on the steering wheel when used to turn. This burden makes it difficult for the driver because he has to use all his hands just to turn. Then, what if there are many turns that must be passed during the journey?

Imagine what would happen if the steering system of a car did not have power steering! The driver will find it difficult to operate the steering wheel because it feels heavier. Therefore, do not underestimate the existence and function of the power steering.

There are several factors that affect the weight or lightness of a steering system, including:

  • Vehicle speed
  • Error in FWA adjustment or wheel geometry
  • Tire profile used
  • Air pressure in tires
  • Steering gear comparison

Types of Power Steering

You or other drivers can be more responsive and agile if the steering system is easy to control. The direction of the wheels also increases the safety of the vehicle gradually in various terrains of travel.

The rotation system or steering wheel uses several components to remain effective. The next question that arises in your mind is how many types of power steering. If this is true, you will also have further questions about the differences between the types.

There are three types of power steering, but all of them have the same function, namely to lighten the steering power, especially at low speeds or when parking.

1. Hydraulic Power Steering

Are you familiar with hydraulic power steering or are you hearing this name for the first time? Yes, this is one of the most commonly used types of power steering. As the name implies, this type of hydraulic uses a fluid as a medium for conducting energy. Meanwhile, the power is generated from the engine speed.

Until now, this one type is the most often and widely used including the Toyota Avanza and Daihatsu Xenia pads. When the steering wheel is turned, the valves in the gearbox will open. This is what makes the fluid power generated by the power steering pump channeled to the piston. The engine speed will increase the hydraulic pressure because the engine is in the running position.

There are several components in the hydraulic type power steering system, namely:

  • A power pump that functions to convert some of the engine's energy into hydraulic pressure.
  • Steering rack or a series of gears that have a fluid chamber that will work to perform power assist.
  • The fluid acts as a pressure delivery medium coming from the pump.
  • The reservoir has the function of accommodating fluid in the power steering system.
  • The power steering hose with its function is to drain fluid from the pump to the steering box and also to return fluid from the steering gearbox to the reservoir.
  • The steering gear box with rack and opinion model will work to change the steering rotation into a movement both to the right and to the left.

Another thing that should be known is the problem that is often found in vehicles that use hydraulic power steering. One of them is a fluid leak that can occur at any time. Leaks can come from hoses or gearbox seals.

Another problem is mechanical damage from a weak steering pump. Although this problem is very rare, you still have to know how to solve it so you don't panic when this problem occurs.

Perform periodic replacements using the right ATF so that all components are maintained and do not hinder your activities using the vehicle.

Another thing to remember is that the steering will feel heavy if you move the car with the engine off. How could that be? This happens because the engine rotates the pump. When you find a leak or ATF starting to get dirty, it's best to make repairs as early as possible. Damage that is left unchecked can lead to other problems that are getting out of control.

In addition to needing a longer repair time, you may also spend more money, effort, and time while the car becomes a vehicle that is used for daily activities.

2. Electronic Power Steering

Judging from the name alone, we can tell that this type does not use fluids but electric power. This type of steering became popular in 2000 even though it has been around since the 90s. There are many cars that use this EPS including the Toyota Yaris and Auto Karimun.

The electric motor can rotate the shaft in the steering column or rotate as in the Alphard steering gearbox in some BMWs. However, the components in the Electronic power steering are the same in general.

  • Steering motor which has the function of providing rotary power so that the driver's load becomes lighter.
  • The steering rack is a series of gears that extends between the left and right wheel ties and is used as a place for power assists.
  • The EPS module is an electronic circuit that will work to determine motor performance based on sensor data.
  • Electric current is a very important component because it is a source of driving power for the EPS.
  • Steering and torque sensors work to detect the direction and moment of the driver by which the detection of the speed of the rotating steering wheel is carried out accurately.

The engine can work more optimally in moving the powertrain so that it is more powerful and economical. This is because this type of power steering does not burden the engine. Steer control may vary because the magnitude of the electric motor power is not fixed. The reading of the torque sensor on the steering column affects the power of the motor.

This is an advantage that can be felt when driving a vehicle that uses an electric type of power steering. Unfortunately, this species is very vulnerable, especially when crashing into puddles. The location of the electric motor that is at the bottom can cause problems. To avoid this problem, close the cover tightly. Also, make sure the battery does not run out to keep steering control light.

3. Hydro-Electric Power Steering

Hydro-electric is the third type of power steering which is a combination or combination of hydraulic and electric. In the steering rack, the way it works is like hydraulics, namely using the steering vane to determine the direction of the assist. However, the hydraulic pressure does not come from the engine pump but from the electric pump.

In other words, the engine is not burdened by power steering but still uses a hydraulic system so that the steering system becomes more durable.

How Power Steering Works

After knowing the meaning and type of power steering that is widely used in vehicles, the next thing you should know is how it works or how power steering works optimally in carrying out its functions.

Each type has a different way of working because it has different components. So, how does a car's power steering work?

1. How Power Steering Works When the Car Is Running Straight

When the car is in a straight line, this also means that the power steering is in a normal state which means it doesn't work at all. In this position, the fluid flows into the free line or relief port through the valve. Next, the oil or fluid will be returned to the power steering pump.

If hydraulics rely on power at engine speed, the electric type uses electricity.

2. How Power Steering Works When the Steering Wheel Is Turned

Have you ever observed how the power steering works at certain times, for example when the driver turns the steering wheel? The resulting oil pressure is then channeled to the rotary control valve on the rack and pinion.

Then the channel to the piston in the rack and opinion and the control valve will open. The power oil will go to the piston and push it according to the turnaround, for example to the left or right. Not only that, the piston channel on the other side will open so that it is pushed towards the reservoir. Yes, this is how the power steering works when the steering wheel is turned.

3. How Power Steering Works When Turns Are Full

How about a full turn? At a full turn, the pressure to the piston is certainly very large. This is what causes the relief valve on the pump to open. Some of the oil will return to the power steering inlet.

4. How Power Steering Works at High Speed

At high speeds, the oil pressure will be reduced so that the steering becomes very light. Some types have a pressure control that depends on the engine speed while in other types it depends on the speed of the vehicle. As such, it really depends on what type of power steering is being used in the vehicle being driven.

How to Overcome Damage to Power Steering

Even though it is an important part of the steering system, it does not mean that the power steering can always work optimally. There are times when you experience problems or damage. This is certainly not expected by anyone, especially if it happens when you want to drive your favorite car.

In addition to knowing how electric power steering works or how hydraulic power steering works, you also have to know how to deal with damage that can happen to the system at any time.

Try Checking Air Pressure in Car Tires

As a first step to overcoming damage to the power steering, you can check the air pressure in the car tires. Where the air must be filled according to the PSI recommended by the manufacturer of the car or vehicle you are using. Incorrect tire pressure can cause the steering wheel to stiffen.

Check Liquid Level

The steering system cannot be separated from the liquid in it. When the steering system is damaged, immediately check the fluid or oil to see if it is still there or not. The steering system will not be able to work without this fluid, so don't run out of it. That is why it is important to check when it is felt that something is wrong with the system.

View Belt Pulley

In addition to the two things above, there are other things that need to be considered, namely the condition of the belt on the pulley. To be able to determine whether the belt pulley is still in good condition or not, turn off the car engine first. Try pressing the belt with your thumb to check the tension. Power steering is in good condition if the belt pulley tension is as it should be.

Steering System Maintenance Tips

In terms of maintenance, there are several things that must always be considered properly so that the condition of the power steering remains good and can last a long time.

1. Make Sure the Position of the Wheels When Parking

When parking, the wheels must always be in a straight position. If the wheel is allowed to turn for too long, it can overload the hydraulics on one side. This can also cause damage to the hydraulic system in cars that use hydraulic or semi-hydraulic power steering.

2. Avoid Maximum Turn of Steering

An increase in temperature and damage to the rubber in the hydraulic system is very likely to occur, especially if you turn the steering wheel too often until it makes a sound. For the maintenance of the steering system, make sure to avoid maximum rotation of the steering wheel.

3. Reduce Speed ​​On Broken Roads

The terrain is not always the same and sometimes you have to go through damaged roads. It is recommended not to hit the damaged road regardless of the type of steering used in the car because it can damage the condition of the steering itself.

4. Component Replacement

Each component in the steering certainly has its own age limit. Generally, the lifetime of each component is not more than five years or if it has reached a mileage of 100,000 km. If the components on the legs of the car are in bad condition, then this will make it difficult to control the wheels. As a result, the power steering must work harder.

5. Avoid Flood

As with damaged roads, flooding should also be avoided as much as possible. On Honda or other cars with electric power steering, the electric motor is mounted directly on the steering axle that is parallel to the axle. An electric motor that is submerged in water can be damaged. If it is damaged, it must be replaced with a new electric motor because it cannot be repaired.

Maintenance of vehicles with the type of EPS or Electric Power Steering is not as complicated as the type of hydraulic or semi-hydraulic type. Most of its components use electrical systems and are controlled by computers. Damage can be more easily detected through indicators read by the computer. Unfortunately, the damage is very difficult or even irreparable. The only option is to make a replacement.

Do you know how power steering works and why it has an important role in a vehicle? Taking care of the vehicle is the responsibility of the owner and this is an attempt to extend the life of the vehicle itself.

In addition to proper and maximum care, protection is no less important. This protection can be obtained with insurance products specifically for cars. This protection complements your efforts to keep the car in good condition.

Even if there is damage to the car, you don't have to worry about the cost of repairing because it will be covered by the insurance provider.