Have you ever had a customer come in complaining how they can’t turn their steering wheel enough to fit in a parking place? To tackle that issue, you have to know about the vehicle’s power steering. In this video, Tire Review’s Maddie Winer goes over the three different types of power steering you’ll most likely see at your shop in the Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio at Babcox Media.
Power steering has evolved over the years, and today, there are three types your shop might encounter: hydraulic power steering, electric power hydraulic steering and all-electric power steering.
Let’s start with hydraulic power steering. This system uses hydraulic fluid supplied by an engine-driven pump to assist in turning the steering wheel. The pump provides pressurized fluid to the power steering pressure hose and delivers it to the inlet side of the steering rack to be further directed by a spool valve. Power-steering fluid is then pulled from the reservoir, which is replenished by a low-pressure power-steering hose that returns fluid from the gear.
In the push for better fuel economy, manufacturers have introduced electric systems to reduce the load on the engine. Electric power hydraulic steering uses similar components as the traditional hydraulic units, but the hydraulic steering pump is driven by an electric motor instead of the engine.
All-electric power steering is a non-hydraulic system assisted by an electric motor, which is operated by a software-driven power-steering module. An all-electric system reduces the load on the engine and is only active when the steering wheel is turned one way or the other, which improves fuel economy.
Remember, each system has its own characteristics. If a customer is complaining about the way their steering feels, ask a few baseline questions first before you quote a repair.