The steering and suspension system on your vehicle is responsible for maintaining comfortable riding conditions and driving performance. It also helps drivers remain in control of their vehicles at all times.

When the power steering fails, the wheels of the car become extremely difficult to turn. The wheels will turn, but the force required to make this happen can be unpredictable, creating an unsafe scenario. If power steering failure occurs while a car is in motion, an accident may result.

How Does the Power Steering System Work?
In a power steering system, movements made on the steering wheel cause fluid pressure inside the hydraulic pump to move to one side or the other of the pump. This pressure causes a piston to move, and that piston directs the gears to steer the car. The device that senses the force on the steering wheel is called the rotary valve.

The key to the rotary valve is a torsion bar. The torsion bar is a thin rod of metal that twists when torque is applied to it (torque is a force that tends to rotate or turn things). The top of the bar is connected to the steering wheel, and the bottom of the bar is connected to the pinion or worm gear (which turns the wheels), so the amount of torque in the torsion bar is equal to the amount of torque the driver is using to turn the wheels. The more torque the driver uses to turn the wheels, the more the bar twists.

The torsion bar also turns the output of the steering gear, connecting to either the pinion gear or the worm gear depending on which type of steering the car has. As the bar twists, it rotates the inside of the spool valve relative to the outside. Since the inner part of the spool valve is also connected to the steering shaft (and therefore to the steering wheel), the amount of rotation between the inner and outer parts of the spool valve depends on how much torque the driver applies to the steering wheel.

Components of your Power Steering System Include:

  • Power Steering Pump
  • Power Steering Fluid
  • Rack and Pinion
  • Steering Gear
  • Belt
  • Rotary Valve
  • Torsion Bar

How Does the Suspension System Work?
The suspension system converts forward energy created by bumps in the road into vertical energy that travels up into the vehicle frame. Suspension system components, like coil springs and shock absorbers, help to dampen the impact of this road force. While the individual components comprising each suspension system may vary, all suspension system components will weaken over time through stress applied during normal driving conditions. Similarly, off-road driving and erratic driving can wear down suspension components more quickly.

Signs of Power Steering Failure
Knowing the signs of power steering failure can help drivers fix problems preemptively, thereby preventing accidents and potential problems on the road.

  • Steering wheel feels stiff, jerky, or unpredictable in movements
  • Whining or squeeling noise while turning
  • Steering wheel vibrates excessively while idling

Regardless of your driving preferences, Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Center have the necessary equipment to identify and correct any issue plaguing your steering and suspension system. Our staff is trained to inspect the steering and suspension components in order to determine whether your service will entail a minor adjustment or a replacement.

Shaky, unsteady, off-center, and stiff steering are all cause for getting a steering system inspected and repaired. Excessive bouncing or swaying during bumps and intermittent control while driving and braking are cause for a suspension system inspection. Uneven tire wear is also a potential sign of a suspension problem, though this may also point to alignment issues

Have you Hit a Pothole Recently?
Potholes can also damage steering and suspension components if you’re not careful. Worn suspension components will reduce the stability of the vehicle and the control of the driver. Because suspension system components combine into one working unit, suspension issues that go untreated have the potential to increase the wear on other suspension components, which may result in more extensive repairs down the road.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, please contact us online or by phone today. Give Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Centers a call at 1-775-525-2420 to schedule your Steering and Suspension Inspection.

 

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