Main Components of Power Steering System
- Power Steering Pump
- Power Steering Fluid
- Steering Rack
- Speed Sensor
- Steering Wheel
- Tie Rod
How does the Power Steering System work?
As you steer your vehicle, its power steering system assists you by directing part of the engine’s power toward one front wheel or the other.
Most power steering systems rely on a hydraulic system to turn the vehicle’s wheels. The power steering pump is a rotary hydraulic pump that is driven by a belt from the main pulley of the engine at about twice the engine speed. This pump circulates highly pressurized power steering fluid toward the steering rack located under the vehicle between the front wheels. The power steering fluid is designed to withstand about 1200 lbs of pressure without breaking down or foaming.
The speed sensor is attached to the transmission and senses the vehicle speed, determining the degree of assistance to be provided by the system: as speed increases, assistance decreases, up to 35 mph when there is no assistance provided; when speed decreases, the system provides increasing assistance until the vehicle has stopped.
When turning the steering wheel toward left or right the pressurized fluid is directed to that side inside the steering rack to reach the tie rod located at this extremity of the rack.
Signs of troubles related to your vehicle’s Power Steering System
- Excessive tire wear
- Poor steering control or off-center steering wheel
- Loss of control during sudden stops
- Excessive swerving while changing lanes
- Belt squealing
- Excessive leaks
- Noise during full turns
- Squealing noise at startup
- Steering very hard or jerky