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Power Steering System In Cars

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 18/04/2023

Cars today have come a long way. Technology has improved nearly every industry by leaps and bounds. That includes the automobile industry. As a result, cars are easier and safer to drive today than they were ever before.

In simple terms, power steering reduces the effort you need to exert to turn your car's steering wheel. As a result, you won't need much strength or effort to turn your car's wheels. Before its introduction, drivers had to have a lot of arm strength to manoeuvre the steering wheel in their cars.

However, cars still need to be insured despite being safer to drive - accidents still happen. So insurance for four-wheelers, namely, a car insurance policy, is a necessity today. They cover the financial cost for when your car or the third party's car gets damaged or reimbursements if it ever gets stolen.

What Is Power Steering In A Car?

Steering a car today is a lot easier than it ever was. This is because of a mechanism called power steering. The basic definition of a car power steering system is that it enables the driver to steer their car without exerting much strength or effort. Before its introduction, steering a car required a lot of arm strength.

A power steering system consists of a steering column, a rack, a pinion, the steering wheel and a universal joint.

The whole setup for power steering in a car would look like this:

  1. The steering wheel is attached/connected to the steering column.
  2. The universal joint attaches the steering column to the pinion and racks.
  3. The other end of the steering column is attached to the wheels.

This is how it works:

  1. The driver gives the input - steers the steering wheel. This rotates the steering column.

  2. This then rotates the pinion and the rack through the universal joint.

  3. The pinion and rack have two gears that turn the car's wheels.

Types of Power Steering In Cars

Most modern cars today come with a power steering system built into them. There are three main types of power steering in cars:

Hydraulic Power Steering

This was the very first type of power steering that was introduced. This system involves a hydraulic pump that supplies pressurised fluid to the steering rack. This reduces the strength required to steer the car's wheels.

Here's how a Hydraulic Power Steering system functions:

  1. The hydraulic pump gets power and direction from a part of the car's engine called the serpentine belt.

  2. The driver turns the steering wheel, and the hydraulic pump sends pressurised fluid to the rack from its reservoir.

  3. This fluid is always delivered in the opposite direction of the driver's steering to reduce the driver's effort. So, for example, if you turn the car left, the fluid will reach the right piston.

Electric Power Steering

Today most cars use an electric power steering system because it is more efficient. Electric power steering in cars means the system uses electric energy to ease the load on the steering assembly. The steering assembly here consists of a bi-directional magnet motor permanently attached to the steering gear and steering column.

Here is how an electric power steering system functions:

  1. After the driver turns the steering wheel, the movement is detected by a sensor, which turns on the electric motor.

  2. This electric motor assists the driver in turning the car's wheels in whatever direction the driver wishes to turn.

Electro-Hydraulic Or Hybrid Power Steering

This uses both the power of electric and hydraulic steering systems. The overall structure matches the hydraulic steering system without the serpentine belt. Instead of the serpentine belt, the system uses an electric motor for steering assistance.

Benefits of Power Steering

Here are the benefits of using power steering in cars.

  • There is no transfer of resistance from the wheels to the steering column.

  • It makes steering more effortless and less tiring for the driver.

  • Power steering helps the driver adjust their steering speed according to road conditions.

Which Is The Best Type of Auto Power Steering System?

Of the three, the vast majority consider an electric auto or car power steering system the most effective. As a result, most cars today come with an electric power steering system. Some benefits of this system are:

  • It offers better steering accuracy when compared to manual and hydraulic steering systems.

  • An electric motor is easier to work with than a pressurised hydraulic fluid.

  • It has multiple driving modes, giving the driver more customised steering inputs.

  • It requires less energy from the car's engine. This helps maintain the engine's efficiency and functionality in the long run.

  • The parts used in electric steering systems weigh less and require less space when compared to a hydraulic system.

  • Less maintenance is required.

Can You Still Drive A Car With Manual Steering?

A manual steering system has the driver provide the whole force when steering. This means manual steering can be slower due to the wheel resistance often felt when steering. Moreover, it's not as great when it comes to shock absorbency when driving over uneven surfaces and roads.

Although some cars don't have power steering systems - Like the Acura NSX from the early 1990s, the Lotus Elise and Exige, and the Alfa Romeo 4C - they still have good steering. That is because these purebred sports cars have lightweight bodies and narrow tires.

Choosing to drive with or without power steering in a car is up to you. However, you are advised not to for your benefit and the car's mechanical integrity.

Manual steering can put pressure on your car by increasing heat and friction, which can put your car at risk of severe damage. Moreover, manual steering can be incredibly tiring, especially when driving long distances. So it's not necessarily dangerous. It's just cumbersome.


Power steering is a great invention that improved the quality and performance of cars today. Without it, drivers would still be stuck having to exert a significant amount of effort when having to commute.

With all that said, power steering can help you change your car’s direction efficiently without much hassle. Still, it is insurance for 4-wheelers that can help you steer clear of the burdening repair costs to fix any accidental damages to your car. You can also use Tata AIg’s car insurance calculator to calculate the premiums before you buy your car insurance.

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