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How Does Four-Wheel Steering Work?
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How Does Four-Wheel Steering Work?

At BSM North America, we're devoted to embracing modern technological advances. Just check out our blogs, for instance, on CNC machining and water-jet cutting. By harnessing the power of these new feats of engineering, we're able to provide faster turnaround times, more precise products, and, at the end of the day, a more satisfied customer.

These advances also enable us to make custom steering columns that integrate seamlessly with four-wheel steering. It's an increasingly common capability in cars and off-road machines—but what is it, and how does it work? We explain all of that and more below.

What Is Four-Wheel Steering?

Let's get one thing out of the way: it's not the same as four-wheel drive, though the two terms are often confused.

Four-wheel drive deals solely in power. In other words, it allows all four wheels to do active work on the ground below. Four-wheel steering, on the other hand, deals with maneuverability. It gives all four wheels the power to influence the machine's direction when the operator turns the steering wheel.

Though the rear wheels may not always be at the same angle as the front, all four tires work as a system to influence the direction of travel.

How Does Four-Wheel Steering Work?

It's not as straightforward as you might think! When a machine with four-wheel steering travels at low speeds, its back wheels point in the opposite direction of its front.

Called "counter-phase steering," it lends an otherwise clunky off-road machine a tight turning radius and supreme maneuverability.

Though in the off-road vehicle sphere, not many will travel at higher speeds, those that do also can make use of four-wheel steering systems.

When a machine reaches a high enough speed, "in-phase" steering activates, in which the rear and front wheels face the same direction. This creates a more stable ride.

The Different Types of Four-Wheel Steering

Naturally, there are multiple options for four-wheel steering solutions, and a few of the leading brand designs are:


The Nissan four-wheel steering utilizes an electromechanical version that uses an electric actuator from the rear steering rack and the computer to determine how the angles of the rear wheels need to be adjusted to accommodate the conditions.


This four-wheel steering system involves using two steering gearboxes, one at the rear and one at the front, linked via the center shaft.


Mitsubishis is fully hydraulic, and pressure is sent to the trailing arm joints in the rear suspension and will accommodate for steering force in vehicle speed.


BMW has implemented technology using a hydraulic-assisted rack and pinion system with integrated planetary gear that will vary its ratio depending on how quickly the vehicle moves, particularly around curves.


The Acura design allows for fully independent rear-wheel steering, and when the front wheels are steered, the rears can pivot up to 1.8 degrees in the same direction for more agile handling.

What Are the Advantages of Four-Wheel Steering?

There is no doubt that Four-Wheel Steering can offer you advantages that traditional and four-wheel cannot and the top benefits are:

More Control and Maneuverability.

Because it enables tight turns and a quick steering response, operators can get around the job site with better control and enhanced ergonomics and get work done more quickly than ever before.

Smoother Ride on Rough Roads

While four-wheel drive is the typical go-to for snow and ice, four-wheel steering can help regain control more quickly because all four wheels can more easily adapt to the environment.

Tighter Turns

The design of a four-wheel steering system means all wheels are going to be working together, but the beauty of the design is that it allows for them to turn independently. And if you can turn the front and rear wheels in opposite directions, you can complete circular and smaller turns, even at a slower speed.

Increased Stability

When cruising down the road, sometimes you have to make a lane change quickly, and all-wheel steering enhances this. It allows you to change lanes without putting much effort into tearing the wheel, you don't have to accelerate as much to stay up to speed, and it stabilizes your vehicle when maneuvering through high winds or potholes.

Couple that with a custom off-road steering column for the pinnacle of control and watch workflow shift into a higher gear.

BSM North America: The Best Technology & Turnaround Times

If you're looking for with-the-times providers of commercial machining, industrial fabrication, and more, look no further than us. BSM North America has been a leading provider for over 30 years, and we take pride and being a comprehensive provider that offers customized solutions through advanced technology and design.

To learn more about our steering wheel columns, contact our Burnsville location online or give us a call at 952-890-8146 today.

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