Power steering enables drivers of vehicles of all kinds to steer with ease, efficiency and accuracy. The mechanisms that enable power steering are built into the vehicle at the time of production and are standard features of most contemporary road vehicles.
Power steering relies on a hydraulic or pneumatic pump that issues fluid to assist the steering mechanism of the vehicle. This allows cars to have smaller steering wheels as less leverage is required by the driver when turning the vehicle. There are two types of power steering systems, depending on the size and power of the vehicle. The most popular is the rack and pinion system that is fitted to smaller cars, but for larger vehicles such as four wheel drives and utility vehicles, a recirculating ball system is fitted.
Power steering allows vehicles to minimise their turning circle, using less time and energy to complete a sharp or full turn. In recent years electric power steering systems employed new technology to make the job of steering a vehicle easier. Instead of a hydraulic pump activating the process, a central electronic control system applies the necessary functions with the same results. More recently, an active power steering system has been developed to improve the fuel efficiency and torque of the vehicle, greatly improving performance with parking and other traffic manoeuvres.