Steering Systems: Which One Powers Your Subaru in Albuquerque, NM?

by | Dec 23, 2020 | Autos

Any Subaru dealership in Albuquerque, NM will tell you that a good steering system will help your car handle well when you’re on the road. But not every car uses the same steering system. Depending on what system your car has, it may have certain maintenance measures that you need to follow when you’re checking up on your vehicle. 

Here’s a guide to the different steering systems that your car may have under its hood. 

Conventional/Integral Steering Gear System
From the 1950s to the 1980s, most automobiles used the conventional steering gear system, otherwise known as the recirculating ball system. However, this system has become rarely used outside of vehicles such as trucks and SUVs.  

The system uses a part called the worm gear. This gear can be broken down into two main parts, a metal block with a threaded hole and the pitman arm. The former engages a gear to the latter. The steering wheel connects to the mechanism using a threaded rod, which sticks into the block’s hole. This rod is fixed like so: when the steering wheel is rotated, the block is moved, which moves another gear that turns the wheels. 

This system uses ball bearings that recirculate the gear while it turns. These balls serve two purposes: reducing the friction and wear in the gear as well as reducing slop buildup within the gear. 

Maintaining the Conventional/Integral Steering Gear System
This kind of steering system is very complex to maintain. When inspecting a vehicle with this kind of steering system, it is best done on the ground or on an alignment rack. 

First, inspect the pitman and idler arms. Next, inspect the worm gear. Ideally, there should be about two inches of free play in the steering wheel and no binding when the wheel is turned from full lock to lock. This also applies to the recirculating ball gear. If the ball steering gear looks worn upon inspection, the usual best course of action is to have the steering box replaced by a trusted manufacturer.

Rack and Pinion Steering System
The rack and pinion steering system is the more popular among the two in more modern cars, small trucks, and SUVs. If you drive a newer Subaru in Albuquerque, NM, your car likely uses this kind of steering system.

Compared to the recirculating ball steering system, the rack and pinion is a much simpler mechanism. This system has a rack and pinion gearset enclosed in a metal tube. Each end of the rack protrudes from this tube. A tie rod is then used to connect each end of the rack. A pinion gear is then attached to the steering shaft, which moves the rack as the steering wheel is rotated. This system makes turning the wheels of the car much easier. 

Maintainingthe Rack and Pinion
Most rack and pinion systems are power-assisted, so it’s a good habit to check the power steering fluid level and its condition every maintenance session. It’s also best to inspect both the boots and pinion seals of the system for any leaks or other internal problems. If the gear is damaged, the best way to approach it is to replace it with a new or remanufactured one. 

Looking to get a new car with the steering system that you like more? Check out Fiesta Subaru car dealer located in the Albuquerque, NM area for a variety of car models.

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