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Electric vs Hydraulic Steering: Which Do You Need?
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Electric vs Hydraulic Steering: Which Do You Need?

With all the innovations and updates in today's vehicles, it can be difficult to stay current with what's available. One example is choosing between hydraulic and electric power steering.

The choice between electric and hydraulic steering represents a critical decision in the automotive industry, with profound implications for driving experience, efficiency, and overall vehicle performance. Electric steering systems have gained prominence for their energy efficiency, precise control, and adaptability, contributing to advancements in vehicle technology. On the other hand, hydraulic steering, a traditional but reliable system, relies on fluid pressure for operation and is known for its robustness.

As the automotive landscape continues to evolve, understanding the nuances between electric and hydraulic steering becomes essential for both manufacturers and consumers, shaping the driving dynamics and sustainability of modern vehicles.

Our expert guide will look at both and compare the key differences to help you make an informed decision.

What Is Hydraulic Power Steering?

For many decades, hydraulic power steering was the standard, and the system used a pump cylinder and valves that controlled the flow of hydraulic fluid. All of this was driven by a belt run from the engine, which helped to direct the motor speed. Control valves are in place to return pressurized fluid to the reservoir to maintain a consistent balance and correct responsiveness.

The system has been fine-tuned through the years, allowing for greater connection to the road via the steering wheel, which gives the driver better handling. Its biggest disadvantage is needing to replace the power steering fluid, and it's not uncommon for fluid leaks to happen.

Most systems need maintenance every 50,000 miles, and it's a more complicated design than electric systems, so there are more parts that can wear down or break down.

What Is Electric Power Steering?

Electric power steering has been around since 1876 and doesn't rely on a hydraulic fluid pump but instead uses an electric motor. The sensors work with the electronic control unit, which changes the steering settings based on factors like the vehicle's speed.

Electric power steering is an easier option to maintain because no power steering fluid is required. It offers a simpler design and can be integrated with ADAS systems, providing support for functions like lane-keeping assistance when driving conditions or if there's a bad wheel alignment.

The biggest concern with electric power steering is that it can be more expensive due to the electronic functions, and the design may provide less road feedback, decreasing the steering feel.

So, Which Is Better: Electric or Hydraulic Steering?

It's clear electric vs. hydraulic systems are very different, and while hydraulic power steering has been around for decades, electric power steering is a newer technology.

With hydraulics, you're dealing with a more complex system, making them a heavier option than electrical, and there aren't as many cars today that have hydraulic systems in them.

While electrical still has some fine-tuning to get a stronger road feel, it's less expensive and has fewer parts. New systems are coming to the market all the time, with one of the biggest concerns moving away from relying on power steering fluid.

Get Custom Steering Solutions With BSM North America

The steering system in your vehicle makes all the difference in your experience behind the wheel, and you need the system to have exceptional performance. Custom steering can make all the difference, and when you need an expert in the field, BSM North America delivers.

For over 30 years, we have specialized in steering wheel columns and in industrial and commercial sectors for the highest quality machining and parts manufacturing available.

Our team is happy to answer all your questions. If you would like to schedule an appointment, feel free to message us online or give us a call at 952-890-8146 today.

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