woman moving steering wheel. power steering concept.

A Hard Day’s Driving

It’s difficult to think about it nowadays but time was that operating a car was a physically exhausting prospect. This isn’t the typical drowsy driving that plagues so many people today, where you’re likely to doze off because driving has become easier by the year (with some cars being fully self-driving). 

No, this fatigue was due to exertion. Cars and trucks weren’t just big, they relied on torque that needed to be provided by the driver’s own muscles as they wrenched the steering wheel with every turn. Long trips caused soreness in the arms and wrists and getting the car stuck in mud or deep snow was somehow even worse than it is today.

As revolutionary as cars were — and as inherent to the identity of America — this struggle between man and machine couldn’t last; not if cars were to continue being our made mode of transportation. Cars needed to be easier to control.

Easy Does It

It is often said that tomorrow’s jobs solve problems that don’t exist yet. In some cases that’s true but for the seemingly eternal profession of car repairs, technicians like those at the Master Muffler car repair center in Layton simply add new skills to their growing repertoire.

As the cars evolve, so does our team, and in 1951 when power steering became the standard in commercially-available vehicles, we evolved once again. As it stands, our mechanics can service any make or model that you bring in.

In many ways, power steering signaled that the “science of easy” had come to stay in the world of American automotives.

How It Works

The mechanics of power steering have evolved with the times, as well. However, the assistance is rendered, either through hydraulics and fluid or electricity, or both, the principles remain the same. 

As you turn your steering wheel, you create torque. That torque must be applied to the axle that turns the tires. Because cars are so heavy, an incredible amount of torque must be produced in order to travel down to a component known as a torsion bar which then applies pressure to the axle. Power steering makes this process a lot easier. 

Depending on what type of power steering system you may have, your car’s parts may differ slightly. Most systems, however, have followed the hydraulic method.

The Hydraulic Pump

Your power steering is achieved by using hydraulic pressure to move fluid past a rotary to the torsion bar. This fluid is pushed through the rotary by the pump which has been fitted with a belt that spins in tandem with the engine’s power.

  • Depending on the rate of speed that the car is traveling, it will need more or less fluid to help control the direction of the wheels. An idle car, naturally, doesn’t need much hydraulic pressure at all.
  • The pump regulates how much fluid enters the rotary based on the car’s needs.

Your hydraulic pump is one of your vehicle’s most important components. Bringing your car into our Layton car repair center for a regular tune-up will keep this pump working in optimal condition.

The Rotary Valve

Think of the rotary valve like a fidget spinner: depending on how hard you flick the spinner, it will spin fast or slow. In the power steering system, the spinner is the rotary and your finger is the power steering fluid, provided by the pump. 

The more fluid pushes the rotary, the more torque is produced to send to the wheels. Sometimes the rotary is connected to the steering wheel via the steering column and sometimes it’s connected to the axle.

The Best Car Repairs in Layton

The “science of easy” has made driving not only easier on our muscles but also more fun and efficient. If you are finding it difficult to steer your car, you could be experiencing an issue with any of the components we listed above. 

We are prepared at Master Muffler in Layton to get your car back in working order as fast as possible. Simply come on by and we’ll take care of you.

Categories: Automotive Info

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