Steering and Suspension
SAS systems in automobiles can be divided into two categories. Steering is a complex chain that includes levers, joints, bushings and shifters. It helps you control where you go. The automotive suspension section uses various configurations of hydraulics, struts and springs to position your wheels and keep your vehicle at the proper ride height.
Stay in Control: Your Steering System
If you've ever had steering problems, you've probably heard the terms "rack and pinion" or "parallelogram." These are the core systems of many contemporary steering systems. Below is a brief description of how each of them works.
Link Arm and Power Steering
Another popular type of steering design is called a parallelogram steering. Don't worry, you don't have to solve for "x" here. The term refers to the way all the joints and levers work together to form a shape that reflects the angle of the wheel as you steer. Some of the key components of the design are the power steering pump, link arm, idler arm and center link. The last three are the metal parts that make up the famous parallelogram, but we'll discuss it in more detail when we start discussing common steering issues.
Rack and Pinion
By turning your steering wheel, you are actually turning a small gear. This rotational force moves the rack, which tilts your wheels in one direction or the other. Here's a visualization: a rack is a piece of metal with teeth, like if you lay the outer edges of the gears flat in a line. The pinion is a circular gear that mates with the teeth of the steering rack. When the pinion turns into place, the rack is forced to move left and right. You have tie rods and control arms connecting this center shaft to the steering knuckle. As you move the wheel, it pulls the knuckle back and forth to the desired angle, allowing you to control the direction of the car or truck.
Smooth Ride: Your Pause
When it comes to suspension, there are so many different designs, it's usually best to go to the store and get some specific answers about your vehicle. There are many terms and designs. Independent suspension, independent suspension, MacPherson struts, double wishbones, multi-links and semi-trailing arms are just a few of them. General information doesn't cut it. That said, models in a given class tend to have some similarities in their suspension systems.