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Power Steering 101: What You Need to Know

Contrary to what we know, power steering is not actually a newfound technology.  It has been around for quite a long time. As a matter of fact, history records show that power steering has been tested as early as 1876 but has been ubiquitously used in 1934. In 1951, Chrysler Company began offering a power steering system called Hydraglide. By 1954, hydraulic power has become more common.

What is power steering?

Power steering is a complex mechanical system doing a simple job. In the most direct manner, power steering makes it easier for any driver to maneuver his car. For this main reason, power steering is also called as the SAS or the steering assist system. Without power steering, drivers will tire out their arms and driving will become strenuous not only physical but also mentally since it reduces the driver’s ability to drive instinctively because of physical drain.

How does power steering work?

Before we could know how power steering works, we must first know how to do proper steering in general. Your steering system must convert rotation from linear side to side motion. Steering in a side to side motion will allow the front wheels to turn via the tie rods. The two types of steering are called rack and pinion steering and recirculating ball steering, respectively.

Rack and pinion is more commonly used while recirculating ball steering is used more on heavier cars like trucks and SUVs. Regardless, steering involves pressure on the hydraulic system to push the steering mechanism which adds extra push to the driver’s manual input.

Power steering happens in the hydraulic power steering system itself. The magic happens with the involvement of the hydraulic fluid. It is stored and filled in the power steering fluid reservoir. To achieve optimum power steering, you must get the fluid to move around.

With this, you shall need the power steering pump. To get the fluid moving, a pulley spins in front of the engine until it reaches the serpentine belt and other engine accessories. You must know that optimum power steering is achieved when the engine is running harder. You do not need to worry since the power steering pump is designed to work even at low speed. Thus, you could still have power steering even while parking.

One of the major problems of power steering would be possible leaks. When there is a loss of fluids, there will also be lesser pressure. In this case, power steering will give diminished assistance.

Final notes

Power steering indeed benefits the driver in his everyday challenge with the road. Without the aid of power steering, driving will never become convenient since a lot of physical effort must be exerted to get the car to move at your own desired speed, motion and swerves.

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