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teering wheel is an essential part of the steering system that is the most important part of any automotive. It not only drives the car but the design and structure of the system also helps improve safety and enhance the driving comfort.
A glimpse back in the history of Indian automobiles gives a clear picture of the cars that were equipped with a simple steering wheel. In the olden times, the entire car weight was mainly accommodated on the rear axle and steering was just used to tilt a bit to move the front axle. The actual working of the car wheels was monitored by a complex steering system.
As the car industry headed further, various advancements also approached. Advancements and improvements in car steering wheel was one of the most significant introduction, which further contributed largely to driving comfort and pleasure.
With improvements and innovations, two basic types of car steering wheel were introduced. These are explained below:
Standard or Re-circulating Ball Steering
This type of steering wheel use a series of links and arms to make both the wheels turn in the same direction simultaneously.
The recirculating ball steering gear comprises a worm gear that is divided into two parts. It also contains the tie rod, track rod, pitman arm, and the steering arms. The first divided section of the gear is a metal block with a threaded hole and teeth cut on the outside. The teethed surface of the section engage a gear to move the pitman arm. Pitman arm is a steering component that connects the steering gear to the centre link and the tie rods at the pitman shaft. Pitman arm is linked to the steering linkage and therefore, when the arm is moved, it steers the wheel. The steering wheel is linked to the threaded rod in the hole of the metal block and thus moves the block when it is turned. When the block is moved, the gear is also moved, which in turn offers motion of the wheels.
All the threads are filled with ball bearings that continually recirculate through the gear and help reduce friction. These ball bearings also reduce the slope felt in the car while changing the direction of the steering wheel.
Rack and Pinion Steering
Rack-and-pinion steering system is one of the most common types of steering system accepted today. This system is enclosed in a metal tube with rack ends protruding out. Then, a tie rod is linked to each end of the rack and the pinion gear is linked to the steering shaft. The other end of the tie rod is connected to the steering arm. When the steering wheel is turned, it spins the gear, which in turn moves the rack. This movement of the rack moves the car wheels.
The key advantages of the rack and pinion steering wheel is that it helps in the conversion of rotational motion to linear motion that drives the wheels. It also ensures reduced gear reduction to turn the wheels.
With modern day innovations and advancements various other types of car steering wheels are also introduced including the power steering and adjustable steering wheel.
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