The Steering and Suspension System

What is the Steering system of a vehicle?

The steering system is a key safety-related system that is designed to enable the driver to control and continuously adjust the steered path of the vehicle. The suspension maintains the relationship between the wheels and the vehicle’s frame. It interacts with the steering system to provide vehicle control.

Over time, steering and suspension components wear out and require replacement. Regular checks are critical to maintaining safety. Factors that affect wear include driving habits, the type of system, frequency of chassis lubrication, and wheel alignment.

Symptoms indicating possible problems with the Steering and Suspension system includes:

  • Vehicle draw to one side- especially when applying the brakes
  • Uneven tyre wear
  • Excessive vibration or noise
  • Loss of steering control
  • Fluid leaks around the shocks and struts

The Suspension System components are:

  • Springs that allow a vehicle to absorb the energy of a bump or pothole. Most cars have 4 springs made from spring steel and are wound in a spiral shape. Some cars have transverse (across) springs and are made from fiberglass or other composite materials. Springs are made to last the lifetime of the vehicle, and seldomly needs replacement.
  • Shocks dampen the spring's natural tendency to oscillate. A shock is designed with fluid and internal passages to control the movement of the wheel and dampen the spring.
  • A Strut is a unit that combines the spring and shock into one unit. A MacPherson Strut is a more sophisticated version of a Strut which also serves as the upper pivot point for the suspension.
  • Sway or Roll Bar: When a vehicle turns a corner, the forward motion wants to roll a vehicle's body to the outside of the turn. The Sway Bar counteracts this force and helps to keep the inside wheel in contact with the ground, ensuring better and safer driving.
  •  Ball Joints: The suspension is designed to move up and down with the road. This is accomplished with control arms that are connected to the spindle by ball joints which allows movement in two dimensions. Most modern ball joints are lubricated with grease and are sealed. Older ball joints and some newer truck ball joints do have a grease fitting to allow adding grease.
  • The Spindle serves as the center point for your wheel, and rotor to rotate around. The spindle also connects to the lower control arm and upper control arm or MacPherson Strut.  Suspension geometry is designed to keep as much of the vehicle's tyres in contact with the road as possible.

The Steering  System components are:

  • In most modern cars, small trucks, and SUVs, there is a rack and pinion steering system. This converts the rotational motion of the steering wheel into the linear motion that turns the wheels and guides the vehicle's path. The system involves a circular gear (the steering pinion) that locks teeth on a bar (the rack). It also transforms big rotations of the steering wheel into small, accurate turns of the wheels, giving a solid and direct feel to the steering.
  • Most vehicles have a power steering system. This gives that extra energy (either hydraulic or electric) to help turn the wheels and easier parking and manoeuvering. The rack and pinion steering system is slightly different when combined with power steering, including an added engine-driven pump or electric motor to aid the steering assembly.
  • Rack and pinion sets include axial rods, tie rod ends, drag links, center arms, steering rack gaiter kits, tie rod assemblies, and wheel-end bearings.

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Posted on May 21, 2020 by Auto Repair Directory

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