Steering Systems

Steering Systems

You know that when you turn the steering wheel in your car, the wheels turn. Cause and effect, right? But a lot of interesting stuff goes on between the steering wheel and the tires to make this happen.

We'll see how the two most common types of car steering systems work: rack-and-pinion and
recirculating-ball steering. Then we'll examine power steering and find out about some interesting future developments in steering systems, driven mostly by the need to increase the fuel efficiency of cars.

• But first, let's see what you have to do turn a car. It's not quite as simple as you might think!
• You might be surprised to learn that when you turn your car, your front wheels are not pointing in the same direction.

• For a car to turn smoothly, each wheel must follow a different circle. Since the inside wheel is following a circle with a smaller radius, it is actually making a tighter turn than the outside wheel. If you draw a line perpendicular to each wheel, the lines will intersect at the center point of the turn. The geometry of the steering linkage makes the inside wheel turn more than the
outside wheel.

• There are a couple different types of steering gears. The most common are rack-and-pinion and recirculating ball.