Power steering is an important part of every car. Without power steering, drivers would have to use all their strength only to turn the steering wheel in a particular direction. This could cause accidents as drivers will have to take their turns in a second or two. Then, the power steering plays its role, it does not need a lot of strength at all to get turned.
Two types of power steering are very popular today. One is hydraulic power steering and the other one is electric power steering. The basic purpose of power steering is served by both simply by allowing the driver to turn the wheel easily. The difference exists in only how they function. I will discuss both types of steering in detail in this article.
Hydraulic Power Steering
This type of steering is one of the oldest forms of power steering systems. This system consists of a number of components as well as parts, such as a pump, pulley, drive belt, hoses, and the fluid of power steering. These all components work together in order to create the hydraulic power which is used by the steering wheel to turn very easily.
Principle Of Hydraulic Power Steering
A car’s engine consists of a rotary vane pump which produces hydraulic pressure at the time when it is really needed. Whenever the steering wheel is turned or rotated, the pump generates a lot of hydraulic pressure which increases the power of the force as the wheel is being turned. The pressure gets increased mainly because the additional hydraulic fluid enters the hydraulic cylinder from different valves. After that, the steering gear receives the pressure from the cylinder and makes the wheels to move with the steering.
Advantages Of Hydraulic Power Steering
- Feedback is good.
- It is comparably cheap then the electric power steering.
- Technology is old and hence reliable.
- Even if it fails due to speed while driving, the steering effort required hardly changes or does not change at all.
Disadvantages Of Hydraulic Power Steering
- The power consumption is very high as the pump is always running
- Hydraulic fluid needs replacement with time.
- Pump reliability is not the best for the motors which are high revving.
- This steering system is complicated.
- Hydraulic Power Steering System usually has more weight than the Electric Power Steering
- Hydraulic Power Steering uses hydraulic fluids for the operation which means a number of fluids are required.
Electric Power Steering
Electric power steering uses lesser components or parts as compared to the hydraulic power steering. Electric power steering depends only on the motor which is operated electrically to create the necessary pressure. The steering rack of the electric power steering system consists of the electric motor and the precious sensors. These sensors measure the exact quantity of the torque of the driver.
Principle Of Electric Power Steering
When the driver turns the steering wheel, the engine generates some amount of electricity which is necessary to sustain the demand of this torque. This electricity is only generated if the steering wheel turns. This helps to prevent the precious power in the vehicle from getting wasted. It also means that the engine will last longer, and it does not need frequent repairs.
Advantages Of Electric Power Steering
- Power consumption is very low.
- The engine at lower speeds requires very little effort.
- The feel is better potentially as compared to hydraulic power steering.
- Electric power steering is very reliable as well as simple.
Disadvantages Of Electric Power Steering
- Feedback is poor or there is even no feedback in some cases.
- In case it fails while driving, it can almost lock solid.
Hydraulic Power Steering VS Electric Power Steering
Now the question arises that which type of power steering is better? Most car experts and manufacturers will say that the electric power steering is far better than the hydraulic power steering. This is mainly because the electric power steering system is very simple with very few components. The hydraulic power steering system consists of so many components, which means that it can fail really easily. This will make the owner spend more money on repair costs associated with the system.
Apart from the power steering systems, their overall impact on the vehicle should also be considered. Hydraulic power steering uses usually 90% more of the power of the engine and other resources than the electric power steering.
If all that wear and tear on the engine is considered, it can be concluded that it will shorten the lifespan of the power steering considerably. The electric power steering, however, does not require nearly as much power to perform the same function as performed by the hydraulic power steering. The life of the engine can be preserved if one chooses to use electric power steering in her/his car. The vehicle will not even need much maintenance.
Which Power Steering Should You Choose?
After reading this article, it can be said that no doubt the Electric Power Steering is better than Hydraulic Power steering. But still, choosing one over the other mainly depends on the choice of an individual and the needs of that person largely.
I hope this helps you to decide when you look into the features of the car you buying.