How Does a Power Steering Gearbox Work?

Power Steering Gearbox

Are you having trouble with your power steering? Understanding the basics of how a power steering gearbox works can help you diagnose your problem.

A recent survey shows 72% of car owners perform maintenance on their own. That’s a great way to save money. Knowing how to take care of your investment takes research.

Some components of a vehicle are more difficult for the average person to understand.

Do you know the difference between a power steering gearbox and a torque converter? Learn how a power steering gearbox works here.

What Is Power Steering?

Power steering allows you to steer or turn your vehicle in the direction you want to go. Older cars didn’t have power steering, and turning your wheels required a lot of strength.

Newer systems use hydraulics or electronic steering systems. The two main types of power steering are rack and pinion and hydraulic power steering.

Rack and Pinion Steering

Many vehicles use rack and pinion steering systems. They don’t have a power steering gearbox. Often there is a hydraulic system inside the rack.

There is a metal bar between the two front wheels, called the rack. The rack has notches in it. The pinion is a gear with teeth that moves along the notches in the rack.

When you turn the steering wheel, the pinion gear turns. That moves the rack to one side or another, which moves the wheels of the car.

Hydraulic Power Steering System

This system uses a power steering gearbox which uses pressurized hydraulic fluid to help with steering. The pressure is created by a pump that is powered by the engine.

Electric-hydraulic power steering systems may use an electric motor such as an Inline DC Planetary Gear Motor to drive the pump and pressurize the hydraulic fluid.

What Is a Power Steering Gearbox?

The power steering gearbox is found in hydraulic power steering systems. The main elements of a gearbox are connected to the steering wheel, a hydraulic system, and a pitman arm. This arm moves the wheels of the car.

How Does a Gearbox Work?

The various components of a gearbox work together to allow the driver to easily turn the wheels of your vehicle.

When the driver turns the steering wheel, the gearbox takes that motion and moves the pitman arm in a sweeping arc. The pitman arm is the part that moves the wheels from right to left.

What Is a Torque Converter?

A torque converter is a component of a vehicle’s transmission system. It works similarly to a clutch in a manual transmission.

Automatics doesn’t have a clutch to disconnect the transmission from the engine. They have a torque converter instead. It uses fluid to allow your engine to spin while your vehicle idles.

It also allows your engine to engage with the wheels, driving the vehicle forward. It’s not part of the power steering system.

Knowledge Is Power

Understanding how your power steering gearbox works can take a bit of research. When you find a great source of practical information, you’ll be able to learn more about your vehicle.

Did you find this article helpful?  If so, be sure to check out our other resources. We offer a toolbox full of helpful tips and repair manuals for most vehicles.