This is a system that assists to reduce a car’s steering effort. The power steering system utilizes hydraulic or fluid pressure to deliver quick response when driving.
The power steering unit is placed at the lower end of the steering column. It comprises of a valve body and power cylinders with pistons. When making a turn, the valves deliver oil to the system hence there is less resistance to wheel movement.
Types of Power Steering Systems
1. Hydraulic Power System
This system mainly uses hydraulic fluid and the pressure generated through the fluid. When you turn the steering wheel, the hydraulic pump starts pumping compressed hydraulic fluid. This action builds up pressure that likewise acts on the steering system. Much energy is consumed as the pump runs continuously even when there’s no steering assistance required.
2. Electric Power Steering (EPS)
This is popular to most cars nowadays and is the most advanced model of power steering systems. The hydraulic system is fully replenished with electric motors and sensors. When an input is sent through the steering wheel, electronic sensors connected to the steering column read the input and carries them to the vehicle’s ECU ( Electric Control Unit ).
ECU evaluates the inputs and provides a voltage signal to the electric motor indicating whether gears are in continuous network with the pinion gear. If so, the ECU voltage signals start the motor ( Powered by vehicle’s battery) and provides torque depending on the value of voltage signals.
3. Electric Power Hydraulic System (EPHS)
It operates like a hydraulic assist system just that the hydraulic motor is driven by an electric motor and conserves energy opposed to Hydraulic power system.
Pros and Cons of Power Steering System
- Greater safety
- Reduces driver strain
- Absorbs shock. Prevents the wheel from transferring load to the steering column
- Fluid leakage
- Costly compared to manual steering
- Complex design.