Skip to main content

steering system

steering system, in automobiles, steering wheel, gears, linkages, and other components used to control the direction of a vehicle's motion. Because of friction between the front tires and the road, especially in parking, effort is required to turn the steering wheel. To lessen the effort required, the wheel is connected through a system of gears to components that position the front tires. The gears give the driver a mechanical advantage, i.e., they multiply the force he applies, but they also increase the distance through which he must turn the wheel in order to turn the tires a given amount. Various types of gear assemblies, none with any decisive advantages over the others, are used, although some manufacturers prefer a rack-and-pinion system. In faster, heavier cars the amount of force required to turn the tires can be very great. Many of these cars use a power-steering system. The system contains a hydraulic booster, which operates when the engine is running and supplies most of the necessary force when the driver turns the wheel. When a vehicle turns at a rate exactly proportional to the rate at which the steering wheel is turned, it is said to have neutral steering; if it turns at a slower rate it is said to understeer; if it turns faster it is said to oversteer. While any vehicle can react in any of these ways under extreme conditions, most automobiles are built to understeer. Racing vehicles are often designed for neutral steering; few vehicles are built to oversteer, since this is considered hazardous by many authorities. As a safety feature in many modern cars the column on which the steering wheel is mounted will collapse if the driver is thrown against the wheel in a collision.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"steering system." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"steering system." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/steering-system

"steering system." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/steering-system

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.