We’ve come a long way since the days of pulling on horses’ reins to drive our carriages. Modern steering systems are so simple to use that you have to turn the steering wheel, and we can be anywhere we want. Did you know that? Your steering system is more than just a wheel. Find out how the most popular steering system works and how alignment can make sure you steer safely and smoothly.

Your Steering Sytem: The Basics

This is a simple example of how a steering system works: Stand up straight and face forward. Turn your body so that you are facing the right.

You can do it again but pay more attention to your feet. Your right foot likely moved slightly, pivoting in the right place, while your left foot probably moved significantly (at least relative to your right). Your entire body changed direction, but your feet moved in different directions. Similar things happen with your steering system and wheels. The two front wheels of your car must be at an angle when you make a right-hand turn. For the inside wheel (right), the angle is much steeper.

The interconnectedness of the two main components of your steering system, the steering wheel and the front wheels of your vehicle, is what makes it so complex. What parts ensure that your wheels are at the right angles while you steer? The majority of cars we drive today have a rack-and-pinion steering system.

Rack-And-Pinion Steering

Modern cars have a rack and pinion steering wheel alignment. Here’s a quick overview of the system from top to bottom:

  • The shaft extends from the steering wheel.
  • This shaft is equipped with a pinion and round gear at its end.
  • The pinion is attached to your left and right wheels by a notched rod, also known as a rack.
  • The pinion moves the rod left or right as it passes through the rack.
  • Your wheels move with the rod!

The long story is short. To send messages from your steering wheels to the steering shaft, it uses a combination of gears and notches.

Pro-Tip: Be careful when driving a car you are unfamiliar with. Different steering systems may not be the same. Different steering ratios can result in drastically different results depending on the vehicle.

Steering And Alignment

Steering Wheel alignment is an important aspect of steering your car in the right direction. Safety steering and correct wheel alignment go hand-in-hand.

Your wheels were pre-set at specific angles when your car was manufactured. This ensured that they ran straight and drove smoothly. Your vehicle must align perfectly to move and respond to your steering properly.

Your alignment can be thrown off if you hit a curb or a pothole, drive on rough roads, or if your tires aren’t maintained properly. Improper alignment can reduce the life of your tires and impact your ability to safely and accurately steer. You may need to align your tires if your car pulls in one direction.

Isn’t Your Car Directed In The Right Direction?

Proper alignment will ensure that your vehicle moves in the right direction and in the manner you expect. A simple alignment at Elite auto repair can help you avoid dangerous driving situations. To ensure your vehicle is in top shape, our technicians will inspect your vehicle’s steering and suspension systems. Book an appointment online with Firestone Complete Auto Care to schedule a service visit. We will point you in the right direction!