Power steering meaning: The steering system of a vehicle is one of its key components. It is formed of several different mechanical components that work in synergy and translate the turning of the steering wheel by the driver into the rotation of the front wheels of the automobile. Steering systems can broadly be divided into two categories. These are namely the standard steering system and a power-assisted steering system.
What is meant by power steering? What is the difference between power steering and normal steering?
Power steering is an advanced form of steering system in which the overall effort required by the driver is reduced through an increase in the force applied on the steering wheel with the help of either electric or hydraulic assistance.
How does power steering work? Three main types of power steering:
- Hydraulic Power Steering: In a hydraulic power steering system, the effort required to turn the wheel of a vehicle by the rotation of the steering wheel is reduced with the help of hydraulic assistance. When the steering wheel is turned, a hydraulic pump, which draws power from the vehicle’s engine, starts to pump hydraulic fluid through the system’s lines. This high-pressure hydraulic fluid then enters a cylinder and exerts force on the cylinder piston. This piston then pushes the hydraulic fluid ahead of it through the system’s lines, which in turn exerts pressure on the rack and pinion, coupling arrangement, multiplying the input force several times and resulting in the rotation of the vehicle’s front wheels.
- Electric Power Steering: In an electric power steering system, when the driver of a vehicle turns its steering wheel i.e., gives input, it is read by the sensors on the steering column and relayed to the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) of the vehicle. The ECU, after analysing these inputs, sends an electronic signal to an electronic motor. This motor is at the end of the steering column. The gears of this electric motor then provide torque on the basis of the received signals from the ECU to the pinion which relays this torque to the rack and hence, turns the wheels of the vehicle.
- Hybrid Power Steering: In a hybrid power steering system, the entire working concept remains the same as that of the hydraulic power steering system. The only significant difference is that the hydraulic pump, which is driven by the engine, is replaced with an electric pump. This makes the whole system a bit more reliable than the one in which a hydraulic pump is used.