Last Updated at
- 06:10 pm, April 28, 2012
We give you a brief insight on Electric Power Steering and Hydraulic Power Steering systems.
Ask your grandpa why it would be really difficult to drive a 1980s car in today’s driving conditions and one of the primary reasons he may cite is the lack of a power steering system that you find on today’s cars. The reason these systems came into being was to reduce the effort needed by the driver to steer the car. While the older cars only used a direct connection between the steering wheel and the linkage that steers the wheels, the power steering systems in most of the modern cars add hydraulic or electric actuators to the setup in order to steer the front wheels with minimum effort that greatly prevents any discomfort to your arms.
Electric Power Steering and Hydraulic Power Steering are the two most commonly used power steering technologies in today’s cars. The newer systems not only assist the steering mechanism, but also gain weight with speed to ensure safety and precise handling.
What is Hydraulic Power Steering?
Hydraulic Power Steering technology is the older one of the two and has been put to use for decades. Unlike earlier systems, modern hydraulic units are speed sensitive and work differently when the car slows down or builds up speed. Hydraulic Power Steering uses belt-driven power steering pump, which creates pressure. The pressurised fluid is then forced into a cylinder for assisting the steering movement. When the driver turns the steering wheel, it opens up the flow or pressurized fluid in such a way that it helps in turning the wheels one-way or the other.
What is Electric Power Steering?
Electric Power Steering or EPS on the other hand is less complicated and more reliable in the long run. This system uses electronics instead of hydraulics. The whole mechanism works with the help of a control unit with some sensors and an electric motor. When the steering wheel is turned, the motor uses electricity to assist the steering moments required to turn the wheels. At high speeds it makes the steering damping stiffer, therefore making the steering feel ‘heavier’ or ‘weighted’ and in turn, safer.
Which out the two is better?
By all means, Electric Power Steering is a better technology of the two. It is rapidly gaining popularity to become the obvious choice for power steering systems. Some of the main advantages over the conventional Hydraulic system are:
- Electric Power Steering uses far less power from the engine compared to an Hydraulic unit; the latter consumes power from the engine, which results in loss of fuel economy. EPS takes power from the battery thereby reducing load off the engine. The EPS system is therefore implemented in newer cars to bump up the fuel economy as well.
- An Electric Power Steering is less complex compared to the Hydraulic system. It doesn’t carry any fluid, which means fewer trips to the service station.
- Electric Power Steering responds better to one’s steering inputs than the Hydraulic system and is therefore safer than the conventional system.
Which current cars use an Electric Power Steering system?
There are plenty of cars in the Indian market today that are equipped with EPS, however the most recent examples are the Maruti Suzuki Swift and the Hyundai i20.
First Published on 06:10 pm, April 28, 2012
Sagar is probably one of the most silent kids working in the field of automobile journalism. He loves Porsches more than Ferraris and believes that kicking up dirt and slush is more exciting than laying down rubber on tarmac. The only time he makes noise is when someone questions his state of origin!