Power steering pump & fluid, Speed sensor, Steering rack & wheel
Did you ever wonder how the power steering works? Let me explain it to you.
The components of the power steering consist of:
- Power steering pump
- Power steering fluid
- Speed sensor
- Steering rack
- Steering wheel
The POWER STEERING PUMP is a rotary pump driven by a belt from the main pulley of the engine at roughly twice engine speed. This pump is designed to circulate POWER STEERING FLUID through the SPEED SENSOR and at very high pressure from the pump to the STEERING RACK. STEERING WHEEL movements cause pressurized fluid to be directed one way or the other inside the steering rack.
The steering rack is under the vehicle between the front wheels. The power steering fluid is directed under pressure to the rack. The steering wheel provides input from the driver to the rack, directing power assist when necessary. Power steering fluid is designed to withstand about 1200 lbs of pressure without breaking down or foaming. Hondas use a special fluid that is a type of whale oil. Do not attempt to use any other type of fluid, as it will foam under pressure and destroy the seals in the rack assembly causing loss of fluid resulting in loss of power assisted steering.
The speed sensor is attached to the transmission and senses vehicle speed. The power steering system is designed to provide maximum assist when the vehicle is traveling slowly. As speed increases, assist pressure decreases. So that at 35 MPH the power steering is providing no assist. The power resumes with reduction of speed. On vehicles with four wheel steering, the front rack assembly provides power assist to the rear wheels.
A new type of power steering is now available on the Civic hybrid. This steering is based on electricity, not fluid. This means that the power steering is available, even if the engine is not running, such as when the auto off feature is in effect. The electrical power steering has several benefits: Less power from the engine to operate, more precise steering, power steering is available at all times, not to mention less weight.