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How does a car steering work?

Steering is one of the main systems of the car, which is a set of nodes and mechanisms designed to synchronize the position of the steering wheel and the angle of rotation of the steered wheels (in most car models these are front wheels). The main purpose of steering for any vehicle is to ensure turning and maintaining the direction of travel given by the driver.

Structurally, the steering system consists of the following elements:

  • Steering wheel – designed to control the driver to indicate the direction of movement of the car. In modern models, it is additionally equipped with buttons for controlling the multimedia system. The front airbag for the driver is also integrated into the steering wheel.
  • Steering column  – transfers power from the steering wheel to the steering gear. It is a shaft with swivel joints. To ensure safety and protection against theft, the column can be equipped with electrical or mechanical folding and locking systems. Additionally, an ignition switch, controls for lighting equipment and a windshield wiper of the car are installed on the steering column.
  • Steering gear – converts the force generated by the driver through the rotation of the steering wheel and transfers it to the wheel drive. Structurally, it is a gearbox with a certain gear ratio. The mechanism itself connects the steering shaft to the steering column.
  • Steering drive – consists of steering rods, tips and levers that transmit power from the steering mechanism to the steering knuckles of the drive wheels.
  • Power steering – increases the force that is transmitted from the steering wheel to the drive. Additional elements (steering shock absorber or “damper”, electronic systems). It is also worth noting that the suspension and steering of the car have a close relationship. The stiffness and height of the first determine the degree of response of the car to the rotation of the steering wheel.


Depending on the type of amplifier that the steering device provides, the systems are distinguished:

Hydraulic booster (power steering). Its main advantage is compactness and simplicity of design. Hydraulic steering among modern vehicles is one of the most common. The disadvantage of this system is the need to control the level of the working fluid.

Electric amplifier (EUR). Such a power steering system is considered the most progressive. It provides ease of adjustment of control settings, high reliability, economical fuel consumption and the ability to drive without a driver.

Electro-hydraulic amplifier (EGUR). The principle of operation of this system is similar to a system with a hydraulic amplifier. The main difference is that the amplifier pump is driven by an electric motor, not an internal combustion engine.

The steering of a modern car can be supplemented by the following systems: Active Steering (AFS) – the system changes the gear ratio depending on the current speed. It allows you to adjust the angle of rotation of the wheels and provides safer and more stable movement on slippery surfaces.

Dynamic steering – works similarly to the active system, however, in the design in this case, instead of a planetary gearbox, an electric motor is used.

Adaptive steering for vehicles – the main feature is the lack of a rigid connection between the steering wheel of a car and its wheels.

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