A car’s steering may well be one of the most underappreciated and least-understood of all the car components and yet day in and day out we rely on the steering wheel and its components to turn us safely as we drive. Don’t you think it’s about time we pay a little attention to the steering parts and give them their due? Let’s get started then!
There are three types of steering in automobiles: rack-and-pinion steering, recirculated ball steering and power steering.
With rack-and-pinion steering the steering wheel is attached to the steering column (or steering shaft); it is the steering shaft that turns torque (the turn of the wheel) into power in order to turn the wheels. This is pretty basic physics so far folks, using two of the simple machines of physics and applying them to turn the car. Other parts are needed, however, before this task can be completed. In rack-and-pinion the shaft is attached to the rack which has grooves; the pinion fits into these grooves and when the wheel is turned the pinion moves along these grooves and pulls the rack to one side or the other, thus turning the wheels.
In recirculating ball steering the steering column connects to the recirculating ball gearbox. As the gearbox rotates (helped by ball bearings) it rotates another piece known as the pitman arm. It is this arm which actually turns the wheels and the ball bearings make that turn much easier and smoother.
In power steering the steering column connects to the rotary valve. It is this valve which tells the steering pump to pump fluid; it will not pump fluid unless 1) the engine is running and 2) unless the steering wheel is turned. Once it is turned steering fluid is released and the car turns because of hydraulic pressure from the fluid to the wheels. All modern vehicles have power steering because it is so much easier to turn the wheel using hydraulic pressure.
No matter what type of steering you have in your vehicle you can count on salvage yards like All Import Auto Parts of Fort Worth to have the steering components that you need. If you are a do-it-yourselfer then you know that steering components are fairly easy to reach and replacement parts are easy to install. Going to a salvage yard just makes good sense if you are the type who likes to save money and really, who doesn’t like to save money?