Any vehicle’s steering system gives the driver control and often confidence on the road. Depending on the maintenance and upkeep of truck steering system parts, a driver’s safety can come into question. To prevent any significant risks to the driver and vehicle, it is necessary to understand the steering system and how to maintain it.
Anatomy of a Truck Steering System
When discussing a steering system, you discuss more than just the steering wheel. Granted, the steering wheel is a crucial system component, but it is not the only significant part. The wheel is only the initial point of driver input.
The steering column, that long rod connecting the wheel to the gearbox and linkage, is just as important as the wheel. The column transfers the driver’s input, the wheel’s rotation, to the steering gear.
The steering gearbox amplifies the driver input, converting it into a linear motion. From there, the motion transfers to the steering linkage, including tie rods or steering knuckles, which turn the wheels accordingly. Also, Most steering systems today have power steering, which uses electric or hydraulic assist to make steering the vehicle easier.
See also: Truck Safety Tips and Tricks
Understanding Different Steering Systems
When looking into replacement car parts for your vehicle’s steering system, you need to know what type of steering system your truck uses. There are two primary steering systems: recirculating ball and rack and pinion. Recirculating ball steering is more common in heavy-duty trucks, and its design is robust and straightforward. Rack and pinion steering is best for lighter trucks and is more precise and responsive than other steering options.
Both steering systems can benefit from electronic or hydraulic assistance. Anyone who has tried manual steering understands how difficult the vehicles are to maneuver. While it is possible to drive with manual steering, it is incredibly tiring and uncomfortable.
Learning Maintenance Essentials
As far as maintenance goes for steering systems, it is similar to any other automotive maintenance. You want to maintain a maintenance schedule and routinely inspect or assess various aspects of the system. Essentially, you want to inspect for wear and tear, and you can do that by checking for play in the steering or loose parts. You can also check the system for fluid leaks and levels. Improper tire alignment can also cause premature wear of the system.
Whenever you find something wrong after an inspection, you want to ensure rapid repair. Avoiding repairs is a safety risk and can compound the damage. Contact a mechanic at the first sign of trouble.
Upgrading Your Steering System
If you want to upgrade your truck with items like the 178-1032 power brake booster or improve responsiveness in the steering system, contact a mechanic to discuss proper upgrades. You may want to invest in stabilizers and shock absorbers to improve handling while minimizing wheel vibration. You can also do simple upgrades to improve comfort, like installing steering wheel covers or knobs.
Your truck’s steering column is important for driving performance, responsiveness, and safety. If you feel something is off in the steering system, schedule an assessment with a licensed mechanic.