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Power Steering and How it Works

Power Steering and How it Works


It’s easy to take modern conveniences for granted. One example is a feature on our vehicles that makes our lives easier: power steering.

The cars of yesteryear lacked this important advantage until the early 1950s. Before then, steering an automobile required the driver to exert sheer strength in turning the steering wheel and often required multiple turns to change the car’s direction. Power steering changed all of that.

What is Power Steering?

Simply put, power steering refers to any force, other than a human driver, that turns the front wheel of a vehicle. Before its availability in 1951, the ability to steer a car depended solely on the muscle strength of the driver’s arms; consequently, turning a car was hard, and the turns were sometimes imprecise.
Steering this way was difficult, but it was the only method at the time. But all of that changed when a more convenient way came along: A steering-assisted mechanism, which allowed a car to be guided with ease and with fewer turns of the wheel.

Two Steering Innovations

The first invention that made steering easier, faster, and more precise was known as hydraulic power steering. This mechanism used controlled fluid pressure to power the vehicle’s turns, taking most of the force off of the driver. The amount of pressure, corresponding to the motion of the steering column controlled by the driver, helped the car turn more easily.

The downsides of hydraulic power steering were that it constantly ran off of the car’s gasoline, and the power steering fluid had to be regularly maintained. If the fluid got too low, the car lost power steering and had to be steered the old-fashioned way.

That problem was solved around the year 2000, when electrical hydraulic steering became commonplace. Controlled by a computer—which corresponded to the motion of the steering wheel—electric power regulated the “torque”, or level of assistance, needed to complete desired turns.


Electric power steering also made steering more precise, and, since it drew power from the car’s battery and not from engine fuel, it improved mileage efficiency. It also removed the need to refill the fluid required by hydraulic systems.

It’s Still Improving

Advances in power steering continue to this day. Technologies now exist that help vehicles adapt to wind shear (wind-assisted) and stay in lanes (lane-assisted). Power steering is also used in automated parking systems. It’s all part of the advancements being made as the automotive industry develops self-driving technologies.

Take your vehicle with a specialized mechanic and be sure to purchase high-quality tools and spare parts to replace the damaged ones. In the Sun Transmissions online store you will find a wide variety of products that you can buy and receive at home, like the power steering rebuild kits, automatic transmission filters, transmission coolersautomatic transmission sensortransmission pan gasket or automatic transmission solenoids.

For more information write to us through our contact form or to support@suntransmissions.com where we will gladly solve all your questions.

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