We have often noticed people say “my wheels are finally turning” when anybody makes a progress in life. Have we ever thought why? Even in the literal sense, life would come to a standstill if the wheels stop turning. All the modes of transport be it cars or trains or ships, will be rendered useless without the existence of wheels. The discovery of wheels have allowed the mankind to conquer distance. But what is it that allows us to flawlessly navigate our way to the destination? It is the steering system. Thanks to the implementation of fine engineering which has allowed a slightest touch to the steering wheel make a car run or change direction smoothly.
The steering system converts the rotation of the steering wheel into the swivelling movement of the road wheels. Better the steering system of a car, more precise is its response. The steering system provides an interface between the human world and the machinery. It is important to have a well functional steering system to handle a car and the panicked last minute swerves effortlessly.
Mentioned below in a nutshell is the necessary information one requires to have about a steering system-
The steering system:-
Steering system is used to establish command on the direction of a vehicle’s motion. It allows the driver to guide its response while it is on the road so that it may give the passengers a smooth route forward . All modes of transport, except the railways, are navigated with the help of steering system.
Components of the steering system:-
Steering wheel, gear, linkage, drop arm, ball joints, drag link, stub axle, column knuckle, power steering fluid reservoir, power steering pump, fluid cooler, king arm, left tie rod, etc.
How does a steering system work?
Before we discuss the working of a steering system, it is important to know the most commonly used steering systems, namely-
• Rack and Pinion Steering System
• Recirculating Ball Steering System
And lastly, we have the Power Steering System which acts as a support to the aforementioned systems.
We shall now discuss their function in detail.
Rack and Pinion Steering System:-
As much as it is preferred for cars, one does not opt for its implementation in heavy vehicles. It gets its name from the usage of the rack, the linear gear, and pinion, the circular gear in its functioning.
FUNCTIONING:- Rotating the steering wheel rotates the shaft which in turn rotates the pinion which makes the rack move linearly thus moving the tie rod. This rod then makes the wheel turn with the help of the steering arm. The pinion amplifies the amount of turning one gets from the rotation applied on the steering wheel thus making it difficult to handle. A small pinion is thus desirable for proper controlling of the car.
Recirculating Ball Steering System:-
Mostly found in old cars and heavy vehicles, the worm gear and the sector gear are the most important components of this system.
FUNCTIONING:- Rotation of the steering wheel rotates the shaft but the gear is prevented from moving up and down which thus makes the block and the worm gear rotate. The moving block moves the sector gear which finally moves the pitman arm. This allows the thread of the worm gear to be filled with ball bearings which are infamous for reducing friction and thus ensure smooth functioning.
Power Steering System:-
This system comes is also called power assisted steering. It gives additional hydraulic or electric energy to the car and helps one overcome the troubles faced while parking. It makes manoeuvring effortless and easy. It gives the car a higher gear steering which means rotating the rim of the steering wheel to a small extent will cause a greater turning in the road wheels. This enhances the response of the steering system thus making it precise. This ensures proper control over the car which helps avoid accidents and allows one to move safely in roads packed with traffic.
Mankind has never failed to reach insurmountable success with its inventions. The steering system is one of those discoveries that helped mankind progress by leaps and bounds. I hope this article has successfully conveyed to the readers the working of this marvellous invention, thus allowing them to be well versed with the existence and working of the steering system.