How Truck Steering Systems Work | Brand voice

This article highlights the main components and functions of the steering system of a commercial truck.

When you think of a truck’s steering system, your mind automatically turns to its steering and front wheels. However, several invisible components translate the action on the steering wheel into the movement of the truck.

While commercial vehicles are heavy machines, the steering system allows the driver to control and maneuver them with minimal effort. The steering system limits fatigue by amplifying the efforts of the driver and compensating for the weight of the vehicle.

This article highlights the main components and functions of the steering system of a commercial truck. Read on if you want to learn more about how truck steering systems work.

Components of a truck steering system

Although a commercial vehicle steering system consists of several components, we can categorize them into four groups as follows:

  1. Steering wheel assembly
  2. Steering Mechanism
  3. Management connections
  4. Power steering system

Explaining the function of the above groups of components will help explain how commercial vehicle steering systems work.

Steering wheel assembly

The steering wheel assembly consists of the components that truck drivers control directly. They include your steering wheel and your steering column.

To initiate a turn, the driver turns the steering wheel in a radial motion, which initiates the transverse motion of the wheels. Truck manufacturers use a steering ratio to determine the relationship between the movement of the steering wheel and its wheels.

The typical flywheel ratio of a commercial truck is 20: 1. This ratio means that a 360 degree turn of the steering wheel translates to approximately 18 degrees of rotation on the wheels. A lower steering ratio increases the driver’s energy to turn the truck.

Steering Mechanism

The most common steering mechanism today is the rack and pinion system. The pinion is a radial gear attached to the bottom of the steering column. The pinion fits into a worm gear called a steering rack.

When the flywheel is turned, the cogs of the pinion and rack mesh to translate rotary motion into linear motion. The steering rack connects to the wheel assembly through the steering linkages.

Management connections

The steering linkages absorb the movement of the wheels relative to the steering mechanism. This relativity gives the driver more control over the vehicle. The condition of the road and the action of the shock absorbers mean that the wheels need some flexibility in relation to the steering mechanism.

Steering links provide pivot links that facilitate relative movement between the wheels and the steering mechanism. Below is a list of some of the steering linkage components.

  • tie rods
  • Steering arm
  • Pitman arm
  • Drag link
  • Ball joint
  • Pivot assembly

Power steering system

The power steering system reduces the force required to turn your truck’s steering wheel while maintaining its steering ratio. There are three types of steering systems today. These are:

  • Hydraulic system
  • Hybrid system
  • Electrical system

The hydraulic power steering system uses highly compressed hydraulic fluid to amplify the driver’s action on the steering wheel to turn the wheels. The hydraulic system relies on a hydraulic pump driven mechanically by the truck engine.

The hybrid power steering system combines hydraulic and electric power to drive the steering system. It relies on a hydraulic pump driven by electric actuators in your truck’s engine.

The electric power steering system is the most reliable of the three. It uses a series of sensors and electric motors to drive your truck’s steering system.

In summary, truck steering systems rely on the efficient operation of several components. However, failure or damage to any steering component can result in fatal traffic accidents. Today, maintenance and repair of complex steering systems is simplified with easy access to spare parts for European trucks in Australia.

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