When buying a new car in 2020 or a car that is less than 5 years old it will more than likely have electric steering. The steering system will rely on an electric motor instead of a hydraulic piston for power. Electric steering which includes electric steering racks is becoming increasingly more popular because of the benefits.


What is a steering rack?

The steering rack is an essential part of a car’s rack and pinion steering mechanism. It is a metal bar that sits parallel to the front axle that moves left and right as the steering wheel is turned. The steering rack is what controls where the vehicle’s wheels are being directed. It communicates the steering wheel directions to the wheels. 


Electric Steering Rack

An electric steering rack is an electric motor that is mounted on either the steering column or steering gear. Electric power steering uses an electric motor to assist the driver of the vehicle. The electric steering rack works by the reading from the input sensor going into a small computer inside the ESR. The computer determines how much assistance it needs to give to make it easier for you to steer and direct the vehicle’s wheels. It only provides assistance when the steering wheel is turned. If the steering wheel is at the straight-ahead position then the system won’t provide assistance.


Difference between power and electric steering rack

The power steering rack pump is constantly running, whether the steering wheel is being turned or not. The constant running puts a load on the engine which in result affects the vehicle’s fuel consumption. 

Having an electric motor installed will reduce the load on the engine because it doesn’t constantly run. The electric motor only runs when the steering wheel is actually being turned. With less load on the engine, it produces a better fuel economy. 

An electric motor reduces the amount of weight on the vehicle and reduces the mechanical drag on the engine compared to a hydraulic engine-driven pump. The Electric Power Steering (EPS) system doesn’t use power from the engine as the hydraulic system does, resulting in the electric power system being more efficient. 


Can you replace a hydraulic steering rack with an electric one?

You can’t put an electric steering rack on a car that has an existing hydraulic steering rack. Electric steering racks are connected to an electric computer so it isn’t as easy as replacing hydraulic out for an electric one. If your vehicle is manufactured with an electric steering rack then you can get it repaired or even replaced, as long as it is like for like. 


Electrical Steering Rack Issues

The electric steering system can encounter issues due to regular usage which will cause ongoing wear and tear, age of the parts, or an accident/ crash. It is important that you take notice of any symptoms of premature wear of the power steering system. Electric steering issues that are ignored will only get worse and can cause further damages to other parts of the vehicle. 

The two most common warning signs to look for are difficulty turning the wheel/ stiff wheel and the check engine light comes on. When electric steering goes out the first thing drivers will notice is the difficulty turning, not being able to maneuver the car with ease, and not having control over the steering. This can be very dangerous so you will want to get it inspected by a mechanic straight away. The second major symptom is if the check engine light (or other related dash warning light) comes on, it may come on if the electric steering issue is related to the control module or an electrical issue. If the engine light comes on you will need a diagnostic run by a mechanic.   


Electrical Steering Rack Repairs in Hamilton

If you’re having any kind of steering rack issues whether it is a hydraulic or electric steering rack you need to get it checked out straight away by a mechanic. Power steering issues can lead to other damage and make your vehicle become unsafe that is why it is important to have it inspected if you suspect any issues. At Grimmer Motors we have reliable and experienced mechanics that can diagnose and repair (or organise the repair) of your steering rack issues. If you can feel a difference in your steering or your engine light is on, book in with Grimmer Motors today!

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