Power steering system in cars - Explore all facts

Team Ackodrive6, Jun, 2022

If you compare today's cars with the cars manufactured a decade ago, automotive technology has come a long way. Nowadays, cars are way easier and safer to drive than they were ten years ago. The credit goes to the advanced features in new-age vehicles that improve their safety, convenience, and overall driving experience. 

One of the most impressive advancements in cars today is power steering. They have made steering so much easier than it used to be with manual steering. Today, we will help you understand the different types and working of power steering. So, let’s dive right in!

Power steering system in cars

What is a power steering system?

In simple words, the power steering system reduces the strength required to turn the steering wheel. A driver doesn’t have to put too much effort to turn the wheels while driving. Before the inclusion of power steering, driving a car used to require too much arm strength while steering. 

Working of a power steering mechanism

A power steering system contains a steering wheel, steering column, a universal joint, a rack and a pinion. The steering wheel connects to the steering column, which stays attached to the pinion and rack through a universal joint. The other end of the rack remains attached to the wheel assembly through the tie rods.

The steering wheel is the contact point between the driver and a car. The driver applies the twisting force on the steering wheel in order to rotate it. 

But, how does power steering in cars work from the inside? A power steering mechanism works in the following steps.

Step 1: The input given by the driver to the steering wheel rotates the steering column.

Step 2: The motion then transfers from the steering column to the pinion and rack through the universal joint.

Step 3: The pinion and rack contain two gears and turn the car wheels in the desired direction. 

Difference between power steering and manual steering

Below are the key differences between power steering and manual steering systems.

Power steering Manual steering
Power steering in cars offers assistance to decrease the manual strength necessary for steering.  A manual steering system requires the driver to provide the entire force alone for steering. 
Power steering doesn’t allow the wheel resistance to reach the steering wheel, making steering quicker. Manual steering is slower as compared to power steering due to the difference in wheel movement resistance.
Power steering helps to absorb shocks on uneven road surfaces. Manual steering is less effective than power steering in terms of absorbing shocks on uneven surfaces.
Vehicle drivers can easily control the steering wheel. Vehicle drivers feel difficulty in controlling the manual system of steering as compared to a power steering system.

Types of power steering 

Most modern cars offer power steering as a feature. A power steering system can be of three types, as explained below. 

1. Hydraulic power steering

Hydraulic power steering was the first type of power steering system introduced in cars. The hydraulic pump supplies pressurised fluid to the steering rack, reducing the strength required to steer the vehicle.

Below are the key factors of how a hydraulic power steering system works.

  • The hydraulic pump obtains power and direction from an engine-drive part called the serpentine belt.

  • When the driver applies force to turn the steering wheel, the hydraulic pump sends the high-pressure fluid to the rack from the reservoir.

  • The fluid is always delivered to the opposite direction of steering. For example, if the driver is turning the car left, the fluid will reach the right-hand piston to reduce the driver’s effort. 

2. Electric power steering

Today, most of the car models in the market come with an electric power steering system. It is because of the better efficiency that electric steering offers. This type of power steering uses electrical energy to ease the working of the steering assembly. A bi-directional magnet motor remains permanently attached to the steering gear or the steering column.

Here are the key factors of how an electric power steering system works.

  • When the driver turns the steering wheel, a sensor detects that movement and turns on the electric motor.

  • The electric motor gives assistance in the direction where the driver wants to turn the steering wheel. 

3. Electro-hydraulic power steering

As the name suggests, an electro-hydraulic power steering system uses the elements of both electric and hydraulic steering systems. The structure matches with a hydraulic system except for the serpentine belt. Instead of the serpentine belt, this system uses an electric motor for steering assistance.

What are the advantages of power steering?

Following are the benefits of power steering in cars.

  • It doesn’t allow the wheels to transfer resistance to the steering column.

  • It makes steering easier and less tiring for the driver.

  • Power steering in cars helps to adjust the steering speed based on road conditions. 

Among the three major power steering systems, the electric one is considered the most effective. It is the reason why almost all cars nowadays come with an electric power steering system. Some of the major benefits are mentioned below. 

  • The electric power steering offers enhanced accuracy than a manual or hydraulic steering system.

  • The electric motor works more efficiently than the pressurised fluid of the hydraulic steering.

  • An electric steering system comes with several driving modes, allowing the driver to customise the steering input.

  • It doesn’t require too much energy from the engine, which helps to maintain the engine’s efficiency and life in the long run. 

Electric power steering vs hydraulic power steering

If you compare the workings of both kinds of steering systems, the following differences become clearly visible.

  • Hydraulic power steering is much more complex than an electric power steering system.

  • A hydraulic power steering system requires more maintenance than an electric system.

  • The parts used in electric power steering systems require less space and weigh less than hydraulic power steering systems.

  • An electric power steering system uses sensors to deliver accurate assistance based on the driving conditions. It is not possible with hydraulic power steering.

  • A hydraulic power steering requires 90% more power from the car’s engine than the electric system.

Also, read: How do electric cars work?

Cars in India with power steering feature

These days, power steering in cars is pretty common. However, most power steering cars contain an electric steering system. While there are many options, some popular car choices with power steering are mentioned below.

Hatchbacks having power steering feature in India

Below are some of the hatchbacks that have the power steering feature in India.

Model Price (Ex-showroom, Delhi Fuel type Engine displacement Mileage (ARAI) Seating capacity Boot space
Maruti Alto 800 Rs. 3.25 lakhs to Rs. 4.29 lakhs Petrol 0.8 litre 22.05 kmpl 5 177 litres
Datsun Redi-Go Rs. 3.83 lakhs to Rs. 4.95 lakhs Petrol 0.8 litre/1 litre 20.71 kmpl to 22 kmpl 5 222 litres
Maruti S-Presso Rs. 3.85 lakhs to Rs. 5.56 lakhs Petrol 1 litre 21.4 kmpl 5 270 litres
Renault Kwid Rs. 4.24 lakhs to Rs. 5.70 lakhs Petrol 0.8-litre/1-litre 20.71 kmpl to 22.3 kmpl 5 279 litres
Hyundai Santro Rs. 4.86 lakhs to Rs. 6.44 lakhs Petrol 1.2-litre 20.3 kmpl 5 235 litres
Maruti Celerio Rs. 5.15 lakhs to Rs. 6.94 lakhs Petrol 1-litre 26 kmpl 5 313 litres
Maruti Wagon R Rs. 5.18 lakhs to Rs. 6.58 lakhs Petrol 1-litre/1.2-litre 20.52 kmpl to 32.52 kmpl 5 341 litres
Tata Tiago Rs. 5.19 lakhs to Rs. 7.64 lakhs Petrol 1.2-litre 19.8 kmpl to 23.84 kmpl 5 241 litres
Maruti Ignis Rs. 5.25 lakhs to Rs. 7.62 lakhs Petrol 1.2-litre 20.89 kmpl 5 260 litres
Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Rs. 5.29 lakhs to Rs. 8.51 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1-litre/1.2-litre 18.9 kmpl to 25 kmpl 5 260 litres
Tata Altroz Rs. 5.99 lakhs to Rs. 9.69 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1.2-litre/1.5-litre 19.05 kmpl to 25.11 kmpl 5 345 litres
Maruti Baleno Rs. 6.35 lakhs to Rs. 9.49 lakhs Petrol 1.2-litre 22.35 kmpl to 22.95 kmpl 5 318 litres
Hyundai i20 Rs. 6.98 lakhs to Rs. 11.47 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1-litre/1.2-litre/1.5-litre 19.65 kmpl to 25.2 kmpl 5 311 litres
Toyota Glanza Rs. 7.70 lakhs to Rs. 9.66 lakhs Petrol 1.2-litre 19.56 kmpl to 23.87 kmpl 5 339 litres
Honda Jazz Rs. 7.71 lakhs to Rs. 9.95 lakhs Petrol 1.2-litre 16.6 kmpl to 17.1 kmpl 5 354 litres

Sedans having power steering feature in India

Here are a few of the sedans you can buy with a power steering system in India.

Model Price (Ex-showroom, Delhi Fuel type Engine displacement Mileage (ARAI) Seating capacity Boot space
Tata Tigor Rs. 5.79 lakhs to Rs. 8.41 lakhs Petrol 1.2-litre 20.3 kmpl 5 205 litres
Hyundai Aura Rs. 5.99 lakhs to Rs. 9.37 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1-litre/1.2-litre 20 kmpl to 28 kmpl 5 402 litres
Maruti Dzire Rs. 6.09 lakhs to Rs. 9.13 lakhs Petrol 1.2-litre 23.26 kmpl to 24.12 kmpl 5 378 litres
Honda Amaze Rs. 6.38 lakhs to Rs. 11.21 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1.2-litre/1.5-litre 18.6 kmpl to 24.7 kmpl 5 420 litres
Maruti Ciaz Rs. 8.87 lakhs to Rs. 11.86 lakhs Petrol 1.5-litre 20.04 kmpl to 20.65 kmpl 5 510 litres
Hyundai Verna Rs. 9.32 lakhs to Rs. 15.36 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1-litre/1.5-litre 17.7 kmpl to 25 kmpl 5 480 litres
Volkswagen Vento Rs. 9.99 lakhs to Rs. 14.79 lakhs Petrol 1-litre 16.35 kmpl to 17.69 kmpl 5 494 litres
Honda City Rs. 11.23 lakhs to Rs. 15.18 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1.5-litre 17.8 kmpl to 24.1 kmpl 5 506 litres
Hyundai Elantra Rs. 17.86 lakhs to Rs. 21.13 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1.5-litre/2-litre 14.59 kmpl to 14.62 kmpl 5 420 litres
Skoda Octavia Rs. 26.29 lakhs to Rs. 29.29 lakhs Petrol 2-litre 15.81 kmpl 5 600 litres
BMW 2 Series Rs. 39.90 lakhs to Rs. 42.50 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 2-litre 14.82 kmpl to 18.64 kmpl 5 390 litres
Audi A4 Rs. 39.99 lakhs to Rs. 47.90 lakhs Petrol 2-litres 17.42 kmpl 5 460 litres
BMW 3 Series Rs. 45.40 lakhs to Rs. 64.90 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 2-litre/3-litre 11.86 kmpl to 20.37 kmpl 5 480 litres
Volvo S60 Rs. 45.90 lakhs Petrol 2-litre 14.08 kmpl 5 442 litres
Jaguar XE Rs. 46.64 lakhs to Rs. 48.50 lakhs Petrol 2-litre 12.66 kmpl 5 342 litres

SUVs having power steering feature in India

These are a few of the SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles) that come with a power steering system in India.

Model Price (Ex-showroom, Delhi Fuel type Engine displacement Mileage (ARAI) Seating capacity Boot space
Tata Punch Rs. 5.64 lakhs to Rs. 9.18 lakhs Petrol 1.2-litre 18.97 kmpl 5 366 litres
Nissan Magnite Rs. 5.76 lakhs to Rs. 10.24 lakhs Petrol 1-litre 17.7 kmpl 5 336 litres
Renault Kiger Rs. 5.79 lakhs to Rs. 10.22 lakhs Petrol 1-litre 18.24 kmpl to 20.53 kmpl 5 405 litres
Kia Sonet Rs. 6.95 lakhs to Rs. 13.69 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1-litre/1.2-litre/1.5-litre 18.2 kmpl to 24.1 kmpl 5 392 litres
Hyundai Venue Rs. 6.99 lakhs to Rs. 11.87 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1-litre/1.2-litre/1.5-litre 17.52 kmpl to 23.7 kmpl 5 350 litres
Tata Nexon Rs. 7.39 lakhs to Rs. 13.73 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1.2-litre/1.5-litre 16 kmpl to 22.4 kmpl 5 350 litres
Maruti Vitara Brezza Rs. 7.69 lakhs to Rs. 11.34 lakhs Petrol 1.5-litre 17.03 kmpl to 18.76 kmpl 5 328 litres
Mahindra XUV300 Rs. 8.16 lakhs to Rs. 13.67 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1.2-litre/1.5-litre 17 kmpl to 20 kmpl 5 259 litres
Maruti S-Cross Rs. 8.80 lakhs to Rs. 12.77 lakhs Petrol 1.5-litre 18.55 kmpl 5 375 litres
Honda WR-V Rs. 8.82 lakhs to Rs. 11.86 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1.2-litre/1.5-litre 16.5 kmpl to 23.7 kmpl 5 363 litres
Toyota Urban Cruiser Rs. 8.87 lakhs to Rs. 11.58 lakhs Petrol 1.5-litre 17.03 kmpl to 18.76 kmpl 5 328 litres
Renault Duster Rs. 9.86 lakhs to Rs. 14.25 lakhs Petrol 1.3-litre/1.5-litre 14.19 kmpl to 16.42 kmpl 5 475 litres
Kia Seltos Rs. 9.95 lakhs to Rs. 18.19 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1.4-litre/1.5-litre 16.5 kmpl to 20.8 kmpl 5 433 litres
Hyundai Creta Rs. 10.23 lakhs to Rs. 17.94 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1.4-litre/1.5-litre 16.8 kmpl to 21.4 kmpl 5 433 litres
Mahindra XUV700 Rs. 12.95 lakhs to Rs. 23.79 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 2-litre/2.2-litre 16.5 kmpl to 19 kmpl 5 to 7 60 litres
MG Hector Rs. 13.94 lakhs to Rs. 19.90 lakhs Petrol/Diesel 1.5-litre/2-litre 13.96 kmpl to 17.41 kmpl 5 587 litres

As clear from the above lists, power steering in cars is pretty common nowadays. Hence, you can find this feature in almost all segments of cars. 

Frequently asked questions

Below are the most common questions answered related to power steering in cars.

Can I drive a car without power steering?

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You can choose to drive your car without power steering, but you should avoid that as much as possible. Manual steering puts pressure on the car by increasing the heat and friction. As a result, you put your car at risk of serious damage by driving without power steering. Moreover, driving without power steering can be tiring for you.

How would I know if my power steering is not working fine?

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The role of power steering in cars is to make steering easier for you, especially while driving at lower speeds. So, if a power steering system gets damaged, you will find a noticeable increase in the force required to steer the vehicle. Moreover, you can keep an eye on strange noises or any leakage from the steering system.

Do all cars come with power steering?

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Most cars nowadays feature a power steering system due to its advantages to the driver and cars alike.

Are there any disadvantages of power steering?

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Cars with power steering cost more than cars with manual steering. Also, fluid leakage can be a problem in hydraulic power steering, causing inefficiency in the steering system.

Is it better to have electric power steering over hydraulic power steering?

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There are many advantages of electric power steering over hydraulic. It doesn’t require fluid or oil, which removes the problem of leakage. The electric steering system requires way less power from the engine than a hydraulic system, reducing the pressure on the engine. 

Moreover, electric power steering comes with a sensor that detects the precise amount of assistance required while turning the wheel. All these reasons make electric power steering systems more popular in vehicles nowadays.

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