Steering Systems and Suspension Systems (SAS): A Close Look

Tim Miller

Vehicles can be complicated for those who are not aware of how the parts interconnect. A car consists of multiple functions that work together to ensure that you arrive at your destination in one piece.

Today, we will look at two systems in particular to broaden your understanding of some of the vehicle’s crucial elements. Without these systems, you would not be able to handle your car on the road and certainly lose control of it. 

These two crucial systems are the steering systems and the suspension systems.

Here's where you can find out all about the steering systems and suspension systems (SAS)
In this article, you’ll learn all about the steering systems and suspension systems (SAS)

Bonus: Best Car Diagnostic Tools with SAS Calibration 2023 Review

Steering Systems

What is a Steering System?

First, we look at the steering systems—the “guidance” of the vehicle. The steering system is designed to convert the rotary movement of the steering wheel. In turn, this rotation swivels the movement of the road wheels through an angular turn of the front wheels.

The steering system is vital to maintain control of the vehicle. Without this, the driver will be unable to control and adjust the vehicle’s steering path. The steering system requires sufficient lubrication of the kingpins and regulation of tire pressure.

It is also essential to ensure that the wheels are on track and that the wheel is not “over tightened.” Failure to maintain these factors will result in stiffness of the steering, which, in turn, will create a negative response toward the direction in which the driver intends to turn.

How does this work?

There are two types of steering systems. The most common one in everyday cars is the Reciprocating Ball Steering. In this system, the motion is transferred to a below shaft when the steering wheel is turned. This secondary shaft is attached to a gear wheel called the pinion gear.

In turn, this gear engages with the rack of the vehicle, which runs across the car’s width. When you steer your vehicle, the rack gear will turn either left or right. The direction in which it turns will be in response to the direction in which you turn your steering wheel.

Simply said, the steering system uses these various gears to ensure that your vehicle turns effortlessly.

Suspension Systems

What is Suspension System?

On the other hand, suspension systems work slightly differently, even though they work hand in hand with the steering system. The suspension acts as your vehicle’s stability and has various functions. These include maximizing the friction between the tires and the road and providing steering stability.

So let us say for argument’s sake that you are driving on a completely flat surface – no bumps, no humps, only flat road. If this were the case, a suspension would not be necessary. Unfortunately, as we all know, we are not this fortunate. When we drive, there are plenty of bumps and potholes that we hit along the way.

Basic physics tells us that if the vehicle drives over a bump, it will lift off the ground momentarily. The forces of gravity will then play their part in bringing it back down.

When the vehicle experiences the shock caused by hitting the service, there needs to be a re-stabilization. This is where the suspension systems come in.

How does the steering and suspension system (SAS) work?

How a car suspension system works

So what have we determined so far? The steering system of your vehicle is responsible for the increase of friction and direction on the road. The suspension system maintains vehicle stability through bumps and imperfections on the road. These two systems are interconnected.

A vehicle cannot function without either one of these. If you want your car to be safe, stable, and maneuverable, both systems need to work together.

In summary

Both the suspension system and the steering system are crucial to maintaining control of your vehicle. If either one of these is not properly maintained, your vehicle will not survive the imperfections on the road. Without the suspension system, your vehicle will become shaky and unstable when you drive over a bump.

If the steering system isn’t maintained, your vehicle will swerve all over the road. You will not be able to control your direction or stability without proper maintenance of these two systems.

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