Steering system

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Updated: 3/28/2003 1:53 pm
There are two types of steering mechanisms on cars. On small cars where space is a concern, the type of steering is usually rack and pinion. On this system, a pinion or gear is attached directly to the steering wheel. This pinion meshes with the rack, a flat piece of steel with notches. The rack is connected directly to the tie rods, which position the wheels. The rack and pinion system requires fewer parts between the steering wheel and the front wheels. This provides more precise handling and a better feel of the road. On larger cars, precise handling isn't as high a priority. Also, more space is available. So the system used on large cars is the Mitman Arm system. This series of rods and links are designed to shorten the arc of the steering wheel, requiring less rotation to point the wheels in a desired direction. Also, the extra rods and links tend to act as shock absorbers, reducing steering wheel vibration. Many large cars also feature power steering, which employs a hydraulic pump to aid steering.

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