Some common steering components include the steering column, the rack and pinion assembly, the universal joint and the tie rods. The steering system allows a driver to change the car's direction by turning the wheels with minimal effort.
The steering column connects the driver's hands to the rest of the steering system. It includes the steering wheel, the shaft, the turn signal switch and related wiring.
When the driver turns the wheel, the steering shaft turns with it. In a rack and pinion system, this movement is transferred to the rack assembly through one or two universal joints. These joints allow an angled connection to the rack.
The rack and pinion assembly includes a small pinion gear that connects to the base of the shaft. The pinion gear's teeth mesh with the teeth on the rack that sits in the housing. Turning the shaft rotates the pinion gear, which slides the rack back and forth.
Tie rods at each end of the rack transmit this motion to the wheels. Tie rod ends with ball and socket joints are threaded onto the tie rods, allowing for adjustment during a wheel alignment.