The Major System Components include:
- Power-Steering Fluid - Power-Steering Fluid is highly
formulated hydraulic oil that transfers power from an engine-driven hydraulic
pump to hydraulic chambers attached to steering linkages. Precisely machined
gears, valves and tubing rely on the fluid to lubricate and cool the system in
all driving conditions.
- Power-Steering Pump – The Power-Steering Pump is the
“heart” of the system. This creates the hydraulic pressure required to assist in
turning the wheels. Supplied by its reservoir, the pump pressurizes the
Power-Steering Fluid and directs it through tubing to the steering gear.
- Steering Gear – The Steering
Gear is the component that causes the wheels to turn. It has small diameter
passages and spring-loaded valves that direct pressurized Power Steering Fluid
to reduce steering effort.
The Basic Power Steering System
Although electric system assistance for
steering is included in most cars and trucks today, the basic system for power
steering that was initially developed mechanically was an ingenious creation.
The following describes the functions of the power steering system:
Power Steering Pump Pulley
The power steering pump used in this process is attached or connected to the
pump casings designed to support the structure. The pump is a pulley system,
which forms a round structure with small grooves on the sides. A runner belt and
pulley arrangement are interlocked and work in tandem by power supplied due to
the spinning of the crankshaft. This crankshaft is the core of the engine power
delivery system for pumps. These pumps consist of a rotor mechanism that rotates
rapidly, and thus pressurizes the fluid driving the power steering system.
Electric pumping is used alternatively, avoiding the use of the engine and
making the system more fuel efficient.
The power steering fluid is propelled out of the pump by the fast rotating
action of the rotor. The pressure regulator ensures that a pressurized fluid
reaches the steering mechanism, where it acts as a lubricant and reduces the
heating effect of the system. The power steering mechanism and the gears located
in the power steering gear box are operated on the power supplied by the
pressurized liquid. The power steering pressure regulator maintains the adequate
pressure required for the system.
Power Steering Gear Box
The gear system used for power steering consists of one of two functions, rack
and pinion or re-circulating ball type, out of which the former is used most
commonly. The pinion is connected firmly to the steering shaft, which is nothing
but the mechanism attached to the steering wheel. The fluid enters either the
right or left side of the assembly, as directed by the valves. The pinion is
attached to the steering shaft by means of a torsion bar. When the driver turns
the steering wheel, there is immediate resistance from the friction of the tire
and road contact and the weight of the car.
The resulting effect changes the position of the valve assembly, guiding the
fluid to the connected end of the cylinder. The alignment change between the
valve and the input shaft causes the pressure delivery to the corresponding
side. The steering effect is caused by the movement of a nut, which moves back
and forth, due to the turning screw, powered by the pressure system.
Thus, the smooth and comfortable maneuvering of cars is made possible by a power
One more word about the Power Steering Fluid: Similar to your engine oil, when
subjected to extreme temperatures and friction, the Power-Steering Fluid can
break down. The results are: contamination, loss of lubrication properties, and
formation of varnish deposits. Worn out, contaminated Power-Steering Fluid can
cause valves to stick and accelerate wear in the pump. This can lead to pump
squeal, leaking seals, and “chatter.” Ignoring these problems can lead to
mechanical failure and costly repairs.
If you’re having Power-Steering problems, one of Alabama Auto Repair’s trained
technicians can flush your Power-Steering System and remove the old, worn out
fluid, then replace it with new fluid. We can inspect your Power-Steering System
and advise you if we find any concerns. Come to Alabama Auto Repair for your